My First Day

I started working at a fast food restaurant yesterday. I’ll refer to it as the Franchise. After my second day there, today, I decided that people might be interested in a different perspective on what it is like working at a well-known fast food restaurant.

A Bit About Myself:
I'm probably not the average Franchise employee. I am an 18 year old male, I'm going to be attending one of the world's top 100ish universities in September, I got above a 1300 on my SATs (out of 1600, not the new ones), I listen to Rachmaninov and Supertramp, and I like the Marx Brothers but detest the Three Stooges. This is my first official job that I've ever had.

That was just to put everything into perspective.

My first day began with me remembering that I still didn't have my uniform. I phoned them up, and a man told me to come in 15 minutes early to get one. At 4:48 (my first shift was 5 to 8), my ride came and drove the 10 minutes to the Franchise. It was about 3 minutes until I started, so I sheepishly walked past the counter and to the back where a tiny little closet-office was. There was a big man with a shaved head in there. He just stared at me.

"I'm starting here today..."
"You don't look like you are."
"Well, I need to get my uniform. I was told to get it today."
"Oh, I talked to you on the phone."
I thought of putting out my hand, but he didn't seem inclined to be too friendly, so I smiled and agreed. He led me to another closet (which was actually used as a closet) and asked me my sizes. This was the third person I had told my sizes to since I applied, and it didn't get more entertaining as it repeated.

He said the shirts and pants ran low, so he gave me them both in sizes too big for me.

"Is there some specific place I should change into these?"
"Just the bathroom. I'm sorry we don't have fitting rooms for you."

I wasn't too upset about his opposition, but then I saw the bathroom. First, it had just been mopped, so I slipped as I walked past the woman who had just mopped it. I got into disabled stall and tried to set my stuff down on the top edge of the baby changing station.

To make a 10 minute story short, the shirt was all right, but the pants were about 2 feet too long. I put my shorts back on, and walked out of the bathroom with the big shirt on over my shorts. The mop woman was waiting right outside the bathroom door.

"Are you new here?"
"Yeah... It's nice to meet you."
--blank stare--
I walked back to the closet-office.

"The pants were too big."
"In what way?"
"They were too long."
"Oh, well, I don't think any sizes are different lengths. I could get you a women's pair."
"I'll take my chances with the next lower men's size."

He rummaged around for a bit, and it was looking worse for my situation, but then, out of the back corner of the closet, he produced my size. I went back to the disabled stall and put them on. He was right, they were still pretty long, but I could cuff them.

This time when I went to the closet office, I met the woman who had walked me through the registration process a few days earlier. She brought me to another closet-office.

"Okay, we have this thing called 'e-learning' that will teach you the basic stuff for working here. I've just got to find it. I had it up a minute ago."

She started going through all the files on the computer.

"Is it the one right there that says 'Franchise'?"

"Yeah that's it. It's somewhere in here."

"Is it the one that says 'launch'?"

"Yeah, okay, I'll start you off on this one. Just tell me when you're done."

You expect something pretty bad, but then it starts, and you're left with a new appreciation for exactly how bad it can be. To appeal to the average employee, you're represented by the cartoon, Javier, the quick-thinking new guy, and you're taught by the lightly African American instructor.

After about 10 minutes of her telling me exactly how to put gloves on, I finished the section and went out to find the woman, again. She started me up on the next section. The characters began talking, and the supervisor woman laughed.

"This is so gay!"
That is coming from the person who has made it to the top of the ladder. I'm not one to judge; at least she's better than the uniform supervisor guy.

After about an hour of watching the cartoons telling me about platens and 10 to 1 burgers, I was utterly happy I was pretending to make the burgers instead of actually doing it.

Eventually, it ended, and I was sent to the kitchen. There was a girl who wasn't much older than me told to introduce me to the grills.

"I really hate teaching new people. I don't know why they have me do it. I'm no good at it."

I watched her do the stuff for 10 minutes, and then she was finished and began to wipe down the machines with a cloth. I stood there for a second.

"Is there anything I can help with?"
"Yeah, just get a rag and clean down everything I sprayed."

I would wipe down a surface, and she would go do it as if I did it so poorly that it needed to be completely redone. It's still not so bad.

This one guy about my age came up to me and introduced himself. He was the first person to shake my hand. I don't remember his name, though.

"I'm going to teach you how to turn off the grills tonight. When does your shift end?"
"Oh, then maybe I'll show you tomorrow."

The hapless grill teacher came back and had me grill some burgers on my own. I asked her how I knew when to make more.

"You can ask your manager, but I like to have three trays of 10 to 1...mumble mumble mumble..."
"Okay, thanks."
Who the hell is my manager?

Anyway, my shift ended, and I was picked up by my dad in his BMW. I hoped nobody saw.

When I got home, I washed my hands 14 times. In the Franchise, you're not expected to wash your hands. Protocol is that you wash your hands after every time you make anything, and then put on new gloves. Nobody wears gloves, and even fewer wash their hands. That's today's reason for you never to eat at Franchise.

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4:45 PM, July 21, 2005

What a great idea for a blog! I will check back often. Great writing, by the way...    

5:06 PM, July 21, 2005

Thanks for the nice feedback. I hope to see you again soon.    

12:37 PM, July 22, 2005

i think you have a good idea here for a blog and you do pay attention to grammar. however as a reader, if i may suggest, you should bring out the fun part of fastfood life as well(such as, yelling, hard to understand customer etc) have you ever heard of comedian dane cook? he has a bit in his routine about burgerking. check it out. my 2 cents    

3:11 PM, July 22, 2005

Thanks for your feedback. I'd love to bring out the fun side of working at the Franchise, but I'm going to have to wait until I find it. I don't deal with customers, yet, but I'm sure I will eventually. That should be a huge source of stuff to post. Anyway, I'll try to show the lighter side of all of this, as per your request.    

1:28 PM, July 24, 2005

I can sympathize with you somewhat. Working for 2 weeks at a restaurant was enough to drive me into further education....but I can't help but feel bad for so many who don't have a dad with a BMW. It's not that I begrudge hardworking people their nice things, but there isn't much understanding from many of those same people as to what it is like to HAVE to work at a crappy job their entire lives because a)they weren't accepted into a prestigious college and b) they couldn't afford it if they were. Maybe it really is a good thing you are working there even temporarily so that you won't turn into one of those horrible rich sorts who look down on the poor. I really have a thing about this, as you can see.    

3:53 PM, July 24, 2005

I know how you feel. In one of my later posts I mention how the adult employees go to soup kitchens for dinner. The experience is really showing me how lucky I am to not have to depend on working there.    

12:10 AM, August 16, 2005

Hi. I was a Wal Mart employee from hell for four long months. They were the longest four months of my life. And it was just this past winter. Never ever ever again. Good luck :)    

10:26 AM, December 08, 2006

Impressive webpage! I like it a lot! I'm looking forward to the next update


4:32 PM, August 11, 2015

Dude that was beautifully written, but holy hell, i start work today and now i'm a little worried.    

7:27 PM, July 19, 2017

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10:38 PM, December 18, 2017

Im 17 and imma start working tomorrow form 5-8 does time fly by    

1:14 AM, March 05, 2018

Is this a real life story? I have trouble sleeping at the time of writing this. It's like 1:10 a.m. and i start at 7:30 in the morning LOL. my first day at some fast food chain. hope everyone there at work is nice. shift is from 7 a.m. to 2p.m. , just three days a week. No weekends.

Do you have other blogs. I'd like to read more. hope to hear from you.    

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