The shouted responses from the 80-plus servers, greeters, bartenders, cooks and dishwashers who were sitting in the crowded dining room at 9 o’clock 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 walking through this very same dining room, looking for our ...

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