Across Chicagoland– the end of an era– as dozens of Dominick’s stores closed for good and set more than 6,000 employees out of work.
“It’s been rough for a lot of people, definitely the ones who’ve been here for like 30, 40 years. Yeah, those are the ones I feel bad for.”
Steve Yamamoto, eight years at Dominick’s himself, Saturday, got suspended just minutes after walking in for the final hours, because of what he put on YouTube.
A parody video, two minutes long, made with his co-workers and edited right on his smart phone.
“Pretty much, the demise of Dominick’s. That was the theme; I guess that was the theme, yeah.”
“It was meant as a joke. Yeah, it was definitely meant as a joke. All in good fun. All in good fun,” he said.
But corporate apparently, didn’t agree.
“I came in for the last day, I was in there for maybe five minutes and then my store manager came and she got a call and brought me in the office and told me I had to be suspended, there were no hard feelings on her part. She was really sympathetic,” he said.
It was nearly three months ago that parent company Safeway announced its plan to close down the 72 Dominick’s, a financial decision, it said. The chain lost more than $35 million in 2013. But more than the loss for customers of a brand known here for more than 90 years was the loss of jobs.
“It was for the employees. That’s what it was for. It was only meant to lighten the blow. I made the video to pretty much raise the spirits of the employees, get a good laugh before the end of the year.”
His worry now, a severance package, three weeks’ pay he fears may not come because of this.
“Yeah, it’s unfair; it’s unfair I would say. Why? Well, I work hard. I’ve worked hard for them for a long time. I guess I thought I could’ve gotten into trouble but I never thought I would, actually. We’re closing. I can’t harm the Dominick’s name I can’t stop you from shopping at Dominick’s because there’s no more Dominick’s.”
Full video of Steve Yamamoto’s Safeway Parody “Thanks Safeway”