My Horrific Fast Food Experience (Communist Revolution Now)

My Twitter tweet:

“Should I write a blog post about working at Long John Silver’s for a year and a half for $5.15/hour? The worst job I’ve ever had in my life? My gratitude for not working there ever again? #Thanksgiving”

Well, the response from my 8 readers was positive, so I’ll do my best.

I got hired at Long John Silver’s after a 3-month job search. I was 16, and expected to earn my keep. Old enough to work, you’ve got to work.

So, of course, I applied to all the retail places at the mall. Then it was fast food. Fast food is bottom of the labor hierarchy. Let’s not kid ourselves.

Jack in the Box did not hire me. I had no labor experience. Neither did Burger King. A man who had a huge crush on me when I was in High School, who later went on to serve as a tank crewman in Iraq and came home to be an air-conditioner machine repair man, who eventually committed Selvmord, said “I work at Long John Silver’s. I can help you get a job there.”

I went in for the interview. They made me watch multiple videos telling me I would be fired and prosecuted for anything if I stole anything from them.  As if Long John Silver’s had anything to steal, besides, maybe, the purse of money at the end of the night. It really says something when your employer openly says he expects you to be a thief.

It was $5.15/hour.  I considered myself lucky, because at that time it was $4.25/hour.

Let me tell you, good reader, what I had to do: I had to constantly stock ice, clean the dining room, empty garbage that weighs 30 lbs, scrub everything down, clean pubes out of the male toilet, restock the freezer with “key lime pies,” deal with an aggressive Mexican fry-cook who wanted to “date” me, and, again, deal with a person on the drive-thru.

For $40 a day after taxes.

I remember, vividly, coming home and collapsing in bed. My healthy teenaged body would ache. My clothes would reek like oil.  My feet would hurt. My back would hurt.

I will suck dick for money before I go back to that. As long as the guy isn’t a scary piece of shit, it’s not remotely comparable.


4 thoughts on “My Horrific Fast Food Experience (Communist Revolution Now)”

  1. Every scion of ultra rich parents, every pampered frat boy, every right-wing ideologue, every member of congress, every senator, every presidential candidate, should be subject to the draft and made to live and work under these conditions for two years, with no other means of support.

    This, for a better world.

  2. Well, your tale made me curious so I visited their website. There is only one Long John Silver’s in the NYC metro area and it’s way out in the middle of Long Island, so I will never sample their culinary delights.

    I did find the description of a job that looks a lot like yours:
    ******
    CUSTOMER SERVICE SPECIALIST/CASHIER

    The Customer Service Specialist/Cashier is the key service provider to our guests and is responsible for ensuring total guest satisfaction through positive engagement and interaction, consistent order accuracy, quality product presentation, and expected speed of service.

    The successful Customer Service Specialist/Cashier is able to:

    Greet and positively engage guests to the restaurant.
    Accurately accept the guests’ orders and process payments.
    Address and resolve all guest inquiries and concerns in a timely manner.
    Maintain a safe, secure, and comfortable work area for guests and team members.
    Ensure that all orders are properly handled and presented with the greatest care and concern for accuracy, quality and guest satisfaction.
    Keep service area stocked; clean dining room tables and floor; clean and restock restrooms.

    Minimum Requirements:

    Must be at least 18 years of age. No previous experience required.
    Ability to read and interpret documents such as safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, procedure manuals, and training materials.

    Physical Demands/Working Conditions:

    While performing duties of this role, the employee is regularly required to stand and walk; talk and hear to communicate with employees; and taste/smell. The employee is frequently required to handle, feel and reach with hands and arms. The employee is occasionally required to sit, climb, or balance; and stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 50 pounds. Specific vision abilities required for this role include peripheral vision and the ability to adjust focus.

    The employee is occasionally exposed to cooking fumes. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.
    ******
    This makes it sound so important. Gives a rather different impression than your description. And I see that they raised the minimum age to 18. Must be a classier place now. Nothing in the job description about sexual harassment by drive-thru window clerks and Mexican fry cooks. I guess that’s a fun surprise for any 16 year olds who end up working there.

    One of my first jobs was at a local department store chain here in NY, long defunct. Boy, did they keep an eye on us for theft. They had cameras, two way mirrors, plain clothes store detectives planted among us regular employees to spy on us. And on day one, we were all told that if we stole anything they would prosecute us to the fullest extent of the law. Even if we took one of the ball point pens we used to fill in order slips. Of course, I had to steal something in such an environment. I stole a chrome plated metal corkscrew, which I never even used and was worth maybe $10, just to prove I could steal when I wanted to. An eighteen year old headed to college with a bad attitude.

    One lesson though– Be nice to people in low level service jobs. Never sneer, berate, complain in a loud voice, mock, or insult them. My uncle once said to a garage attendant, “If he had any brains he wouldn’t be in this job.” I was 13 and thought this was very funny. I laughed out loud. My mother pulled me aside and told me to never, ever, mock someone doing a job. Service jobs are honest work and it only makes me look like a jackass if I am less than polite and pleasant to them. My uncle was a jerk. This is one of the few times my mother expressed any interest in how I behaved, so it has stayed with me.

    Looking at the Long John’s menu, I would feel terribly sad if you stole any of that food to feed yourself.

    1. Hi John! Thanks for reading my blog again after my long hiatus! For what it’s worth, I did miss you!

      I think the legal age to work–or, at least, the regulations concerning it–are different in New York state than in the state in which I grew up. Kids younger than 18 need a permit: https://labor.ny.gov/youth/14-to-17.shtm

      Anyway, the job description for Long John Silver’s is not inaccurate. It simply does not mention that you have to work almost constantly–and I mean CONSTANTLY–trying to do your best with a dozen tasks you have to fulfill at the same time. And believe me, we ran our asses off. Management also runs the store on a skeleton crew to keep labor costs down. Ha, ha. What labor costs? Unless you were the store manager, there were no benefits. They kept everyone in the store under 30 hours/week to avoid paying health insurance. I saw cooks get burned from the oil in the fryer, 2nd-class burns, company’s fault because the fryer was calibrated improperly and the oil was much too hot, and they didn’t get a dime to pay for medical coverage of their injuries.

      I worked retail in a department store, too–one in the status-twilight zone between JC Penny and Macy’s. Oh boy, were they assholes! Just like you said: watched my like a hawk and assumed I was going to steal everything. They wanted to check every woman’s purse at night to “make sure.”

      I stole 5 pair of fancy panties PURELY out of spite and I do not regret it!!! I put them on over my regular panties in the changing room and laughed all the way to my car, like I’d just robbed a bank.

      Moving on, I’m glad you are polite to people who work in service positions. I consider it to be one of the litmus tests of every man I date and my friends.

      60% (at minimum) of the US population doesn’t have a college degree. My education suggests it’s closer to 70% and the Department of Labor is skewing the stats. This is our labor population. They have to make a living, and the country needs them to fuel our economy.

      To make fun of them is not just cruel, but folly.

      Again, thanks for reading.

      Margo

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