The Episodic Story of a Working Ant

Here there was a page to enter comments. It has been replaced by the blog found on the site.  Here is the comments page containing your input, kept for archival reasons.

There has been a related series of events on Spadina Avenue, referenced on the site blog. But, please note that nothing is posted there until, note until, I approve it: the spam emails that have arrived will never be allowed.

AE Micro Internet Café
Having walked past the address (next to the Second Cup at the junction of Bank and Somerset) at the end of October, 2007, I discovered that the Café is gone. The actual premises is under the control of an official bailiff. It eventually became an art gallery.

Why did it take so long?

January 29th., 2007: Last Saturday night there was a scene in the AE Micro Internet Café right out of the movies. A man knifes another who stumbles out into Bank Street. The police see this and can't access the café because Ms McConkey has locked the door. The story is in the Ottawa Sun and the Ottawa Citizen. Ms McConkey has spent the remainder of the weekend in gaol, which she practiced earlier by locking herself into a walk-in safe whilst hiding from the police. What will happen is anyone's guess: she is charged on several counts (items in Ottawa Sun, Ottawa Citizen).
Here is the article from the Ottawa Sun, which is linked above, but is not completely available (click the link to see why):

 Mon, January 29, 2007

Bank St. stabbing drama
Ex-con, cafe manager busted after bloodshed
By JON WILLING, OTTAWA SUN

A man convicted in the 1995 shooting death of a young gas bar clerk is now accused of attempted murder in connection with a stabbing at an Internet cafe in Centretown early yesterday.

Ottawa police surrounded the AE Micro Internet Cafe on Bank St. at Somerset after watching a bloody 40-year-old man walk out just after 1 a.m. The man, who was suffering from stab wounds to his face and neck, was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Police believe a 46-year-old man entered the Internet cafe and had an argument with the victim. The dispute escalated, and the accused pulled out a knife, police said.

When cops arrived at the cafe, a woman who police said manages the business locked the doors and allegedly refused to help police.

Police smashed the front door and pointed their flashlights at a male suspect, who had his hands on his head.

POLICE DREW GUNS

Paul Galipeau, 24, was in the area waiting for a bus when he saw cops descend on the cafe with guns drawn. Police ordered the man to crawl out the door and they arrested him on the sidewalk, Galipeau said.

A 43-year-old woman hid inside a walk-in safe and didn't surrender until around 4:30 a.m., police said.

People who know the Internet cafe well said that at times it could draw a sketchy clientele.

Paul Dickins, 64, said he refused to work the night shift there because of the questionable people coming inside.

He was so put off by his brief employment at the cafe that he launched a website (this web page, actually, ed) chronicling his experiences. Other former employees have also written to him with their own tales to tell.

Following yesterday's incident, Lori McConkey was charged with obstructing police, breach of recognizance and attempting to help Wyman Hadley escape arrest.

DEATH THREATS

Hadley has been charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and uttering death threats.

McConkey and Hadley are expected to appear in court this morning.

In January 1999, Hadley pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of 21-year-old Danny Jones, who was killed outside a Mitch Owens Rd. gas bar on Aug. 24, 1995, during a robbery.

Hadley was the Crown's key witness in the case against his former pal, Martin Pinkus, who was found guilty of second-degree murder after a trial. Pinkus was sentenced to serve at least 20 years of his life sentence.

Hadley's manslaughter plea netted him a five-year jail sentence.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This is significant (written 03/16/2004): late last year I was a witness at the court on Elgin Street concerning an action brought by Ms McConkey against an ex-employee for theft. I only discovered yesterday that the case was thrown out and the accused was cleared of all charges. Not only that, but the judge apparently called the complainant an "eel". Mon dieu!!

Other significant items:

  • What, a new cheque to replace the old one I gave to the Ottawa Royals? Yes, indeed. That's what I received on June 9th. '02, Sunday evening, when I was at this redoubtable "café" doing an update to my sites. And, Lori said she will look into my remaining money, circa $80. It's not a lot to you, maybe, but it is to me, not least as a matter of principle.
  • Tuesday 11th June, 2002. Well, I never did! Lori called me up the stairs, yesterday, and we sorted out what was owed to me. So, at last the debt was paid. How about other people?
  • Friday 28th June, 2002. Just a note to state that some employees at the Caff of Horrors are obviously immature. Telling tales to Mummy, what! Simply not done if you have any commonsense.
  • Monday, 8th July, 2002. The Lori McConkey lady came and told me that I was persona non grata in the store. Can't take plain talk and accuracy, it seems. Not a problem, I'll go and spend my pennies elsewhere.
  • Clearly, this sentence shows that I have found another place where I can go to edit my Internet pages. And at a cheaper price than found at Bank and Somerset, forsooth. (But later from home, actually, since I had been provided with a free dial-up connection. Damnably slow, however! Of course, that was then, it's now 2007 and I use National Capital Freenet 5Mb DSL.)
  • March 7th., 2003: Almost Revenue Canada time. I doubt whether a T4 will appear. I doubt, too, whether I earned more than $500, probably a lot less. But, since I don't have any pay receipts, how can I confirm the details? In fact, I did manage to obtain a seemingly non--standard T4, sitting amongst a pile on the window shelf. That was a shock, although it was found after the date for tax paper submissions had passed. No notification was made that these forms were available to any ex-worker, I believe.

Below are comments, dates from March 27th to June 18th., 2002. Items above show particularly significant events.

March 27th: Well, well, a job found. Just a menial position (and probably, since I don't know yet, poorly paid) as one of the hosts in an Internet Cafe at Bank and Somerset, Ottawa. Nevertheless, it is a start back from the abyss. Save up the pennies, pay off some bills, find a new place to live and out will come my books and computers and pictures. 

April 12th: After a period of reflection, a few days, I am now desperately hunting for another job. The Internet Cafe position, failed for two reasons. Firstly, they wanted to pay me at basic minimum wage, less a charge of twelve hours a week in lieu of time spent on the Internet. Not on, is it? I need as much money as possible. And, having said that, I was told that I was not wanted. Just because I wanted the minimum required wage?

Secondly, the two ladies that were/are managers, one actually being the owner, have come to blows. Or one could call it "marital discord", to put it in gentler terms. The owner, Lori, a nice, but immature, lady, gave me the full and horrible history of their relationship on my last shift, last Sunday.

What gives with my constant involvement with poorly run companies? A crook in Vancouver. Corrupt Union members also in Vancouver. Idiot managers at Taima/Convergys. At least I can laugh at it all!! 

April 15th: Amazed that I can keep my domains alive, but this month was the worst I've been financially. No payment from AE Microsystems, although they state that they might give me further hours! I thought they didn't want me, or couldn't pay me? Or, to be precise, only in a certain number of Internet hours, plus the difference in a cheque that I can't cash? See above.

Lori later gave me a $100 cheque in lieu of wages due. This I put towards my soccer fees for this season. Naturally, this was returned because the bank won't honour third party transactions. See below about what happened when I spoke to Lori.

May, unknown date. I had come in when Kerri (sic) had worked here. This was about 1100hrs. I asked her if my cheque was here, as promised. Kerri went upstairs and asked Lori what was happening. When she came down Kerri told me I could expect a cheque within two hours. So, I returned when Lori was on the desk, and asked her for the cheque. She denied having one, saying that she hadn't told Kerri that it would be ready. She also said that her lady accountant had not been around lately, so that things were in arrears. Oh, am I so easily fooled? This is transparent nonsense.

Recently, I went down to her bank, at the bottom of Metcalfe. This was a cheque for about $60, on an inaccurate basis for work done in March, possibly. The bank were going to charge me $12 for certification, but took pity on me.  It is the TD Trust whatever. What a palaver! Can't cash a cheque made out to me, even if it is made from an account held by a person banking at this branch. Such is the state of modern banking. Can't perform basic services at the counter, and staff aren't, it would seem, trained to understand a customer's requests.

June 3rd: Anyone who has worked at AE Microsystems on Bank and Somerset Streets recently is probably in the same boat as I. Note that the owner, Lori, has three businesses, one of which is a non-profit, and the other two, of which the Internet cafe is one, are dependencies of same.

When I took a cheque in, the one returned by my soccer team, she wouldn't swap it for cash, even though she had loads of money on her desk. Wages have to be paid by cheque says she, declining both to produce a new one, or an offer of payment for the balance of my overdue wages.

People at AE are making comments at an increasing rate and volume. This is mainly about payment for work done: owed but not being received. Even current staff are not being paid in a fair and reasonable fashion. It seems it is those whom she likes that receive monies and even then in an inequitable fashion. And let the others go hang. Sadly, not a way to run a business.

Now then, so many people, including current and past workers, are owed money that they are thinking of instituting a class-action suit!! Almost a joke. Apparently, the Better Business Bureau is aware, as is the Labour Board. Comments received from official sources have told of tax evasion.  Some of the staff, past workers especially, are also seeing lawyers. What should a person do who has worked nights for some time, only to find he would never be paid. He's trying to find recompense whilst living in Toronto. Good luck!

There is food handling at AE that should bring in the health inspectors. Don't work with cash and then make a sandwich without washing hands and wearing gloves, what?

Additionally, nearly all of the computers are badly set up: for example, anyone off the street can install any programme. That does not help users' security. And the smell of cigarette smoke on one's hands after using the keyboards is nauseating, at times.

Much more could be said: it still won't bring in my money, will it? I'm not owed a lot, so that in my case the small claims court is inappropriate, and that is (was) my probable only means of obtaining justice. It takes too long and costs too much.

June 5th: What else would I say? When Lori came in and saw me at a computer, she asked me how I was doing. Instead of turning the air blue with rage, I told her I was so-so. Just so-so, she said. Jesus wept, what she needs is to pass Human Relations 101.

June 14th: I discovered that no one is paid for training time here. Given that training was minimal, that I worked on my own for both those days, and then worked an extra day to fill in for missing staff, I have been kind to Lori. I could have demanded more to settle my account. However, something from here is better than nothing. And also, during our conversation, Lori let slip that the accountant she uses must have been correct in paying me before. That was before the previous statement and the extra shift are taken into account.

June 16th: Is it so peculiar that whenever one sees Lori she seems totally unaware of the need to clear the air by paying out her debts to her workers? Does she think we have forgotten about what we are owed?

What I had forgotten to add yesterday is the idea a co-worker mentioned of placing pickets outside the doors of AE. The pickets would list the other places that sell Internet access in the neighbourhood. Not a bad idea, hein? Furthermore, I have been told by a worker here that she is the worst kind of woman. That she is basically a shop worn girl, who has no morals. That she is in emotional straits, is lonely and is incompetent in life skills. Sad, but seemingly true.

June 18th: I found that a staff member was recently fired for not turning up, although he had given Lori two days notice. That seems contrary to the Labour Code, given that she had agreed to the time off on the day he advised his absence. There have been increasingly large numbers of new staff here. A sign of what, pray?