The shouted responses from the eighty-plus servers, greeters, bartenders, cooks and dishwashers who were sitting in the crowded dining room at 9 am that rainy Saturday morning were both frenzied and unnerving. “Fifty cents.” “Eighty cents.” “Thirty-five cents.” “Seventy-five cents.” This was no auction. It was an embarrassment. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Seven days earlier, around six o’clock the previous Friday evening, I was ...

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