Local News

Local group boycotts Mac’s stores

By Robin Alberti

In mid-June Don Pitaniello, 58, of Rutland, thwarted a robbery at Mac’s Convenience Store at 145 North Main Street in Rutland by drawing a gun on a knife-wielding robber Sunday night, June 15. He was subsequently suspended from his job as a clerk at the convenience store.
Upon hearing this, folks in the Rutland community started a Facebook page called “Boycotting Mac’s,” which now has over 875 members. This past Saturday, July 19, members of the group and other locals organized a gathering in front of Mac’s Convenient Store on North Main Street to picket.

The boycott and Saturday’s picketing event were designed to call attention to the injustice done. The group supports Pitianiello, who said he had defended himself by using his legally carried concealed weapon while working as a cashier at Mac’s when he was robbed at knifepoint. No one was injured as the result of the incident, and the robber left the store without further incident.

But Pitianiello was in violation of Mac’s policy of no firearms at work. Pitianiello did expect to be reprimanded, he said. But when he attended a meeting with Jennifer Allen, owner of Mac’s Market chain, rather than a typical reprimand (which could include being dismissed from his job) Allen proceeded to verbally vilify him, he said. She accused him of being a liar, and left him no choice but to quit, he added. This was his second job. He took it on to help with his family stay afloat with mounting medical bill due to his wife’s medical condition. Don Pitianiello is a Vietnam veteran.

Since this incident, many people in the community consider Pitianiello a hero, and are outraged by the treatment he received from his former employer. Since this incident, many past employees have come forward to share their stories of mistreatment by Allen. From management to cashiers, there is consistency in the stories of mistreatment by owner Jennifer Allen, the group says.

Since the boycott was made public, Allen has contacted business vendors and threatened to stop doing business with them if any of their employees are members of the Facebook group boycotting her stores. This is further evidence that of her “out of control behavior,” the group cites. Additionally, Allen took out a “No Trespass Warrant” on Don Pitianiello, for seemingly no reason. He had done nothing to harass Allen, Mac’s stores, or any of its current employees, the group maintains.

Richard Majka, a member of the Facebook group and attendee of the picketing Saturday told The Mountain Times, “I don’t think it is right how Ms. Allen had treated Don. Rutland has changed; it is not as safe as it used to be. People need to stand up and fight against the increase in crime. Don did that, and we are proud of him. More people need to have the guts to say this is not ok.”

“This is not a Second Amendment issue,” Pitianiello told The Mountain Times. “We are trying to bring awareness to the mistreatment of employees. And if this also brings awareness to the community about the rising crime and drug problem in Rutland, that’s good too.”

Rutland Country Store on North Main Street in Rutland hired Don Pitianiello soon after he left Mac’s. “I get less hours there, but they (Rutland Country Store) treat their employees with respect, and I feel safer,” he said.

On Saturday, simulateously with the picketing event, Allen was giving away free coffee, and reduced the price of gas by 20 cents per gallon.

8 comments on “Local group boycotts Mac’s stores

  1. I also worked for macs as an assistant manager. I got 9.75 an hour which was lower than I had anticipated. I was always being asked by the territory manager if I liked it there and he always commented on well of a job I was doing. I had know they went thru managers and assistant managers very often…I mean at least 5 the year previous to me. My first encounter was when I was dealing with an upset customer and when I was trying to explain something the customer stormed out. Jennifer was standing right next to us the entire time and instead of acknowledging what actually happened she yelled at me for not telling the customer something. I asked her if she saw her storm out and if.I was supposed to yell to the customer as she was walking out but no use….it was my fault and I was insubordinate and I got written up, even though everyone around me including my manager agreed with me. And finally the infamous newspaper firing!!! I took a break and was reading a newspaper…now how many people read one on break and customers read them and put them back? Everyone. I didnt take it out of the store. I put.it.back in perfect condition. It was evening and there was someone else still there. Apparently Jennifer was circling the store and saw me and I.stead of.coming inside decided to call the store and start yelling at me. Im saying YELLING at me like I was a child about to be spanked. She.didnt tell me whp she was so I said I was going to hang up and she finally said she was someone.from the office. The next day I went into work and got.sent to that office and was met by the territory.manager and someone else who said I was getting let go. They tried saying I didnt do my job and didnt push up inventory in the cooler and a whole bunch of bull. I am a hard worker, and have many referneces saying that and I even did extra in the evenings because it was so slow. All the things they mentioned that I did wrong were in the first few weeks I was there so I was in training. I witnessed her mistreat many people and obviously I experienced myself. I already do not spend my money at any if her stores. I support this whole boycotte wholeheartedly and am disappointed I didnt know about the protest last sunday because I definitely would have attended. I have even heard that the running joke between employees is “dont touch the newspapers because you will get fired”.

  2. Abby Normal if you have ever worked for this company you would understand this…this is a lot more then just 1 employee being let go for breaking policy. He admitted he broke policy, he also had no problem with being let go….its called ethics. Now follow the story and see how many other employees were mistreated, still are on a daily basis and all by the same woman who treated this man very poorly. It could have been a very simple termination but she proceeded to run her mouth to him, degrade him and treat him like crap!! We are all here to stand up not just for Don and the sh** he was put through but to also stand up for every employee who has had to be in the horrible woman’s path!!!

  3. lol looked it up, $9 hr for cashiers approx $30.000 a year to managers.. (approx $14.50 hr based on a 40 hour week, )
    and to also put up with having knives or worse waved in your face?
    if someone worked that job, and only that job, they would be on social welfare..
    it’s a canadian company and they should stay in canada.. seriously.
    anyway, all my friends are now boycotting them..
    bye bye MAC.. don’t let the state line hit you in the a**.

    1. Just to clarify. Mac’s market is a locally owned business. they have no affiliation with the Canadian Company also named Mac’s markets. Ms. Allen’s Father “Mac” Spent his entire life building this business, then handed it to his daughter Jennifer Allen. And she is the one responsible for what is happening here.today. Also for the post above about the Rutland Herald, They refused to cover this story and are clearly biased in what they report. They are controlled by influential locals and are never going to give you the whole story! We, know, as we have contacted them many times regarding this story and they refuse to acknowledge it.

    2. Okay……i am not sure where you got your information but i have a bachelors degree in business management and over 16 years of managerial experience and I worked for her as the Manager of the Fair haven Macs. I made $28,000 annually and that was also based off of a MINIMUM MANDATORY 48 HOURS. Not to mention that is unrealistic……..99% of the time I put in anywhere from 60-70 hours a week. I averaged about $5 an hour. The benefits were not bad but the level of disrespect you receive from the management is not worth 100,000 a year.

  4. I have read a few stories about this incident and am sorry to hear of the abuse Mr. Don Pitianiello had to deal with in regards to his dismissal. I had not heard that part. However, I am happy to say that I support this gentleman. It’s one thing to be a owner and have certain rules or certain policies in place. But when your treat your own employees like crap to begin with, I’ve lost all respect for your as a employer, as a so called “pillar of the community’ working to hopefully better the community you do business in and I’ve lost all respect I might have had for you as a business owner.

    I have managed multiple grocery stores at the same time not only in Boston for over 12 years but also in Vermont, my home state after I left Boston to raise my child in Vermont. The general rule I was taught when I first became a dairy/frozen foods manager at the age of 18 for Finast(First Nation(on Route 7 South in Rutland/Finast only had like 4grocery stores in Vermont at the time and then ended up closing all their stores a few years later) I was taught that the better you treat the people working below you/or beside you, the better they will work for you and devote their effort to make the business you run better. Sounds to me like Ms. Allen, being a business owner(a term I use lightly), lost sight of those simple rules long ago and treated people like a number, rather than a human being. I have no respect for someone like that. None what so ever!! I hope the protests and boycott strikes a note with her and any loss she suffers is only caused by her own actions.

    I can remember managing 3 grocery stores at the same time in Boston, HUGE stores. I didn’t just sit behind a desk pushing papers around. I actually slammed freight to shelves, unloaded tractor trailers, did inventory control, worked “Kicker” or “Backstock” or did price changes, among other tasks and set up end caps or aisle displays. I worked RIGHT ALONG SIDE teenagers who were making minimum wage money for their weekend fun or to help pay for their future college. If a customer approached me asking for a certain item, I DID NOT TELL THEM WHERE IT WAS, I WALKED then right to where the item was that they asked for. Not only did the customer thank me dearly, but it showed that you actually “CARED” about your customers and the company you worked for.

    The young teenage kids who worked for me saw that and started to act in the same manner and often would ‘bust a biscuit’ working for me. In return, I often got a few good size raises throughout the year or bonuses because my owner saw the multiple stores I managed were doing well business wise, I often tried to spread some of that nice raise that I got around to the actual employees below me who made me ‘look good’. I didn’t care if it was cashiers, stock boys/girls or baggers, it often takes employees from the ground up who make a business successful, not a owner!!

    Maybe Ms. Allen should spend a little time on her ‘sales floor’ amongst her customers and see what it takes to be ‘customer friendly’ and in turn, maybe she’ll see that the employees that work for her deserve to be treated with RESPECT and DIGNITY. because they are the ones who are the face of HER business.

    Good Luck, Ms. Allen, you truly need all the help you can get because if you continue to treat people like crap, nobody will want to truly work for you, they will simply punch in, do the least amount of work, just enough to get by and not care about you or your business. Simply put, they will only care about themselves, not trying to make your business a customer friendly place to shop!!

    I hope you’ll excuse my ‘rant’ on here. I’ve managed multiple grocery stores for over 26 years and KNOW that your employees come first and so do your customers because it all trickles downhill.

    Post Note: I hope I don’t wake up tomorrow and find a police officer at my down with a “No Trespass Warrant” in his hands. If I do, I’ll proudly stand with Don Pitaniello in protest along with 875 of his good friends who protest Ms. Allens business ventures!! Haha!!

    1. You all are missing the point
      As it was clearly stated in the Herald…
      he was suspended for violating 2 company policies
      That’s it!!
      Quit making it out to be more than it is!!

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