Ever felt a sneaking suspicion about your boss who never seems to do any real work? Maybe they're always coming and going, without ever delivering anything or returning with any products. Maybe you've noticed that "Simmo," your shifty manager at the corner store, hasn't made any effort to restock the shelves in a really long time, and you know the money has to be coming from somewhere.
Or maybe nothing seems suspicious at all, which really makes you wonder—is that ice cream store on the corner really an ice cream store? We chatted with some people who discovered they'd ended up working at their local Los Pollos Hermanos, and their workplace was actually a cover for a drug business behind closed doors.
Looking back, I probably should've known the business was a drug front from the very beginning. The owners were a 30-odd-year-old couple who, in their spare time, wore watching Adidas tracksuits with Adidas slides and bum bags. They'd just moved to the small country town where I lived and had purchased the venue where I worked, turning it into a high-end cafe by morning, and restaurant and bar by night.
At the end of a shift, while I was polishing glasses and cutlery, my new boss would always ask me questions about where the party was, or what the people of the town "got on" and at which clubs. He was always going to "pick up and drop off deliveries" [despite the fact] it was a business that didn't deliver. He'd never actually return with any goods.
About six months after the venue opened, one of my fellow employees bought a car from our boss. It was a secondhand hotted up sports car. When she took the car to the petrol station to give it a little interior clean she found a set of scales and a bulk load of baggies stashed in the boot. She told me almost immediately, but we said nothing.
As time went on, the owners underwent more "deliveries" and continued the weird questions, until one day they sat us down and told us they were leaving. We didn't ask a lot of questions, so they didn't give us any answers. They sold the franchise to an uncle and aunty. And everything seemed like it was ending on pleasant terms, until their last shift when everything came out in the open.
The owners were standing at the bar when the aunty stormed in, shouting. She'd gone to their house, which had been turned upside down by the police. Turns out they'd been using the business to launder money for a cousin, who'd been in jail for the past six months for drug trafficking.
We later found out that they'd been pocketing all of our tax and superannuation too. But I can't tell you what happened to them after that, they disappeared. I quit my job, moved towns, and I never saw them again.
Dave, Coffee Shop
It wasn't hard to tell my manager was a stoner. She always looked like she was a little bit blazed. She used to sell weed to loads of people in the office. We worked in a huge building with over 2,000 employees, and sold coffee and food at a small café.
She'd been selling weed to employees from the offices above us for a few years. That was until she ended up selling to the nephew of one of the big corporate bosses upstairs and got busted. She had a meeting with the CEO and the next day she was gone. As it turns out, the head honchos discovered her drug dealings because the CEO overheard his nephew on the phone saying that he had been buying his gear from a girl at work.
Once the CEO discovered it was someone in the café he organised meetings with dozens of people to figure out who smoked weed in the café. Finally they pinned it down to my boss and they fired her. I haven't seen her since.
It wasn't my boss who shared the secret of the drug dealing she was doing at the restaurant every single night. It was the chef who had long shifts and productivity levels that increased rather than decreased, which got me asking questions.
I'd been working as a waiter at a busy restaurant for about two months. The chef had always been complaining about his workload, his long hours, and how frustrating it was that our boss was never there. She was always coming and going, taking people out the back into her office.
The chef was overworked, stressed, and fuming at the boss for not taking into consideration the hard work he was doing, or offering to hire another chef to help. So one night he decided to barge into her back office to quit. Little did he know, he had suddenly stumbled upon a major drug deal. Our boss was taking wads of cash from a customer in return for a large bag of cocaine.
Our boss freaked out and the chef made a new deal—he would keep his silence under the condition that our boss would supply him with enough coke to get him through his long shifts. I did notice the chef had increased his productivity and general contentment in his job.
But I didn't uncover any of this shifty business until I had to ask the chef what had changed. He let me in on the secret that our boss would supply him with coke to get through his long shifts, as long as he kept his mouth shut. I guess it was a win-win for all.