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The Week in Ideas, September 24, 2012

This week: Darden gets an earful, a Manhattan burglar finds there’s no free lunch and a Texas operator doesn’t know what to do about his dirty sidewalk.

Idea #1: Hijack the shareholders meeting. Darden Restaurant’s shareholder’s meeting last week was joined by several workers organized by the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, an advocacy group that has sued Darden's Capital Grille over allegations it underpaid and discriminated against workers. According to the Orlando Sentinel, during a question and answer period John Cronan, an organizer with ROC, said he was a former Capital Grille waiter and often waited on customers while ill. "I couldn't afford to take a day off even if I was sick," he said. CEO Clarence Otis told Cronan, "As a former worker, you know that we have very strict and aggressive rules to encourage people not to come to work when they're ill, so I'm glad you're a former employee and not a current employee."

Idea #2: Tunnel to free vodka. Prolific Manhattan restaurant burglar Shawn McAleese was sentenced to a lengthy prison term last Wednesday. Prosecutors said he tunneled or dug through walls to get to his prize—including vodka, sake, pork belly and hamburgers—in addition to nearly $23,500 in cash along with computer equipment, according to the New York Times.

Idea #3: Don’t clean your sidewalk. A Corpus Christi, Texas, restaurant owner has been threatened with a $2,000 fine if he continues to spray bird poop from the sidewalk in front of his store into the street. A city law forbids anyone from washing pollutants into the storm drain. Crawdaddy’s General Manager John Webb told local news station KRIS-TV, “If I can’t wash my sidewalk off what am I supposed to do? I’m at a loss at how to clean this up.” The city suggested vacuuming the droppings.

Idea #4: The $350 steak.It has arrived.

Idea #5: Call cops on moms. A manager at an Applebee’s in Covington, Georgia, called the cops on a mom who was breastfeeding her child. Cops decided not to file charges and Applebee’s home office released a statement saying everybody is welcoming “"including nursing mothers who have the right to nurse in public."

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