On the same day Dominick's was set to close dozens of stores in the Chicago area, one suburban employee says he was suspended for posting a YouTube parody on the closings.
The video, titled "Thanks Safeway," was posted to YouTube Friday, just one day before the grocery chain's 72 stores close for good and leave an estimated 6,000 workers without a job. It parodied the closures and showed a sci-fi version of "how it really ends at Dominick's."
The sarcastic "thank you" note to Dominick's parent company Safeway Inc. showed stores exploding, dragons setting fires, helicopters crashing into the building and other sci-fi creatures destroying the store.
“We thought we were safe,” text in the video reads. “Unfortunately, we were wrong, like, Miley Cyrus wrong.”
The video's creator, Steve Yamamoto, said when he showed up to work his last day Saturday at a Glen Ellyn store, he was informed by an apologetic manager that he was suspended.
"My store manager got a phone call that she had to suspend me," he said. "I was like 'Are you serious? It's crazy as it is. I'm just dumbfounded."
But Yamamoto said the video was an attempt to "make light of a bad situation."
"It was all in good fun," he said. "I was expecting laughs from the employees, that's it."
Yamamoto's aunt, Tony Picket, who works at a Naperville Dominick's, was outraged by the suspension.
"We didn't think anything was wrong with this video. We thought it was fun," she said.
Yamamoto said his time at Dominick's has been fun, and considers his coworkers "like a family."
It was not immediately clear if any other employees were suspended for the video, but a store representative said they believe only one employee was suspended.
Safeway Inc. could not be reached for comment Saturday.
And Yamamoto hopes to take the blame for the video.
"It should all be on me if anyone gets in trouble," he said. "But it was all worth it."