Ain't Nobody But Me

Saturday, July 30, 2005
I've got 11 to 17 tomorrow. I'm almost sure that's what I was listed for on my fifth day, but when I looked at the schedule when I was there, it said 11 to 18. If it wasn't just my imagination, and they try that again, I'll just leave at 5, anyway. I don't think they have any alerts or procedures if somebody doesn't show up or stays different hours than they should have.

Al was telling me that they'll always try to get you to stay longer. I'm not familiar with schedules of this sort, but what do they get out of holding us there 10 minutes after our shift? We're still paid for it. I hope. You never know with this place.

So, a couple times when I've looked at the schedule sheet hanging in the "crew room," I've noticed the number next to my name is circled in pen. It's more of a poorly-made square or polygon.

I'm the only person on the sheet with that designation. I know I'm not the only new person. I might look too much into these things, but I have a feeling that some bastard manager or supervisor did that for some detrimental purpose regarding me. Since there aren't words written, it could fit Shaneequa's MO. Then again, to figure out it was my name, she'd have to read something. Maybe the notation was made after she asked someone which one I was and she marked it so she would remember. Don't worry folks, I'm going out for a smoke right now.

Speaking of smoking, Al asked me if I did.

"No, I don't."
"Good. You don't smoke the weed, do you?" he asked in a lowered voice.
"No, I don't."
"Good. If you're ever in a group, don't let them pressure you to do it."
"I graduated high school."
"Did you?"
Yeah, I already told you this a couple days ago. Anyway, that led into the conversation about the Discovery Channel that's in the previous post. At least he didn't ask which uni I am going to.

So his questions about what I smoked meant that he does both of those things. The least he could do is realize I know this and not try to give me a pathetic attempt at a lesson. If I wanted to deal with hypocrites, I could be at home.

Burn Update: I woke up in pain, today, to see it completely raw. Up until now, it hasn't been hurting. In my mind, that's a sort of insult to the injury. Maybe the insult is that I still have to work there, or when I get called a screw-up for my mopping skills by a cro-magnon man.

If you want to see an artist's rendition of what the manager who called me pale and a screw-up looks like, click here. He really does look somewhat like an angry Curly. (Curly DeRita more than Curly Howard.) The stark difference between his five-0clock shadow-like hair and dark eyebrows is more defined in real life.

If any of you want to know the only thing I've deemed safe to eat at the Franchise, it's the ice cream. No human hands touch it. They keep a cover over the "shake mix" that is made into the ice cream, so not many flies get mixed in, I imagine. Stay away from any chicken or fish products, especially. The quarter pound meat should be avoided, as well. To put cheese on your burgers, they need to pick off slices from a block of cheese that's been heavily compacted. That means they're using their fingernails to pry it apart. Fingernails + cheese - gloves = bad.

My Sixth Day

Friday, July 29, 2005
I'm not sure today even warrants a mention. It was uneventful. I became friends with a young guy named Al. [Don't want to end up a cartoon, in a cartoon graveyard.]

Oh, I almost forgot. When I first got there, the other person at the grill was a fat kid. Guess what? He's a freshman at where I went to high school. I had never seen him before. It's too bad he's not in school now, because I want to know if they fixed the lockers my friends and I tried to tear down, or erased my name I wrote on a door with a hall pass. I told him to avoid taking journalism classes. I got in quite a bit of trouble while taking those. I'm not going to write about that, but if you want to read a slightly similar, but far more interesting account of how far writing can get you in trouble, check out this. It's not very well written, but it got my attention enough so that I read the whole thing.

So when I told this kid to stay away from journalism, I also grumbled that the school newspaper, and everyone involved with it, were terrible.

"Yeah, I never read the newspaper. I get it in homeroom and think, yay! More stuff to burn when I get home."

Right... It's so hard to laugh at the things the other employees say.

Later on, Al was asking me about uni. Al isn't the kid from my high school. I can't remember what he asked me if I was going to be studying, but it was something odd.

"No, I'm going to study history," I replied.
"American?"
"No, modern."
"Oh, so you could be the voice of that guy on the Discovery Channel?"
You mean like in American Hot Rod, I thought.
"Probably more the History Channel than the Discovery Channel."
"Hey, do you watch Animal Planet?"
"Not really, no."
"You gotta be 21 to watch some of that stuff. You know, when the animals get on each other?"
"Yeah, I know."

Another day, another dollar. Then again, they have shown no inclination to pay me.

Since I started working at the Franchise, I have made $55 from my ex-employer, and $0 from the Franchise.

Come on, Office Market, please pull through! I know what an Ethernet card is!

Casual Conversations

I took part in a sort of "fast food conversation" on my fifth day, but it slipped my mind when I wrote the original post.

I was clocking back in after my break, and there was a girl waiting to do the same thing ahead of me. She told the manager her number was 73 and walked away.

(I'll indent my parts in this conversation)

"What's your number?"
"She left."
"Where'd she go? What's her number."
___"I think it's 73."
"Just hold on a second. Does anybody know her number?"
"It's 45 or something."
___"I'm almost sure it's 73."
"Wait a second. Is it 60 something? Someone call her back here."
___"She said it was 73."
"Hey, you left without telling me your number."
"It's 73."
"Okay."

That was the first time I smiled that entire day, although the threat of an eyeball punch was equally enjoyable.

Now that it's two days since my burn, I can clearly see what the scar is going to look like for the rest of my life. It's the biggest scar I've ever gotten.

I'm sort of torn between disregard and anger over that permanent reminder of what hell the Franchise is. It's like someone tattooing you without your permission. Then again, it's on my elbow. If it were on my face, I'd have gone postal.

Unease

Thursday, July 28, 2005
I'm really frantic about going to work tomorrow. It's 4 to 8, so I'll be closing the grill, again.

I called up Office Market. They said it was going to be a couple days before I'll know if I got the job. I don't know if I can wait that long. I went to an ice cream place this morning and talked to the owner, but he wasn't looking for seasonal work. I then went to a couple other places and got applications. I finished one and turned it in, but I still have the other to do.

I've started to go back to the traffic building things, so if you're coming from one of those, feel free to browse through my archives, as I've only been at this for about a week. I have the important posts listed in the right-hand column.

Off Topic

Wednesday, July 27, 2005
I know this is completely off topic, but as someone new to this blogging thing (and probably only a temporary member), I've found that a lot of blogs have terrible writing or are just plain boring. I've tried to make this blog neither of those things. I've been too lazy to try to get more readers, but I have given a lot of patronage to others' blogs. I found one a while ago that I just checked on now, and it continues to be a very well-written, meaningful account of an interesting person's life. I think the downfall of most people's blogs is that nothing interesting is happening to them in the first place. I mean, I'm writing about working at a fast food restaurant! Anyway, please check out http://lostlush.blogspot.com/

This is the sort of person I'd like to collaborate a novel with. Maybe that's just the way I think.

I wish comments were activated, though.

My Fifth Day

Usually, I can write these synopses with a bit of humor and joviality. Today is different. I'm furious and exhausted.

First, when I got there, they had me sweep and mop the floor in the kitchen. That's fine. Then the supervisor guy comes up to me (he's the one who remarked how pale I was) and says something like this:

"You're having all sorts of trouble. Give me the mop. You have to do it like this. You're a screw-up."

Sir, do you realize that my SAT score is higher than the collective SAT scores of every single manager and supervisor at this place? I've been through more honors and advanced placement courses than your entire family ever will? I'm not an arrogant person, but when you question my intelligence, I'm going to defend myself. Of course, I didn't defend myself and I did thank him for the tip.

After I finished the floor, I was told to stand right in front of the fryer and follow the directions of Shaneequa. The first thing I did was take out the batch of whatever that someone had put in there before.

"Never make anything unless I tell you to!" said Shaneequa.
"I didn't put this in."
"I know!"

Right... A little while later, I had to go to the bathroom, but there was a rush on, so I decided to hold it in until things got calmer. When they did get calmer, I walked up to Shaneequa.

"May I please go to the restroom?"
"Nope, you'll have to wait until 1:30."

I looked at the clock. 12:13

Around this time, I heard something quite funny. Somebody got on Shaneequa's nerves so she had this to say:

"Shut up! Don't take your frustration out on me, or I'll punch you in your eye ball!"
Keep in mind that this is my boss.

A while later, she began to sing. She wasn't singing a song, mind you, but rather her rendition of opera. It went something like this:

"Do la me you... Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah... Figaro figaro figaro..."

She was 100% serious. It was as if she were practicing. I was thinking of questioning her if she knew any other bits from the Barber of Seville... or even knew what that was. She kept this up for about 2 hours.


After that whole business, I got burnt... seriously burnt. That's my elbow, if you can't tell. I was pulling a frying cage out and it swung up against my elbow. I let out a little whimper and then smiled to show that everything was all right.


At the end of the 7 hours, I was ready to tell everybody off and tender my resignation. I decided to hold off until I had a while to think about it. I went to Shaneequa at 6:01 and asked her to clock me out.

"You need to clean up the grill. Dump all the trash cans and put new trash bags in them."

After I did that, I went back up to her.

"Did you sweep and mop both sides of the kitchen, yet?"
"What? Sweep and mop both sides?"
"Well, you just need to sweep, but do it well."

After I did that, I went up to her, again. She was talking to someone else about nothing important and ignored me. Fine, I'll just get my paycheck while on the clock.

I went into the first closet office and asked the supervisor guy who called me pale. He went through all the paychecks. He then went through them all again. Then he went to the computer.

"For some reason, you're on the next pay schedule. You'll get your paycheck next payday. That's the eigth."
"In two weeks?"
"Yeah."
"Okay, thanks."

Fine, that's it. I walked to the front and up to Shaneequa.

"I'm leaving. My number is 71."

Even if Office Market doesn't call me back, I'm finding a different job. I cannot take this place.

The Results

Tuesday, July 26, 2005
I just got back from the interview. Let's go over how it went.

A woman led me into an office in the back of the store. Here are some excerpts of the interview:

"Are you working now?"
"Yes, at McDonald's."
"If you got this job, would you keep the one at McDonald's?"
"No." (I was thinking somewhere along the lines of "Hell no!")

"What's the earliest you could come to work in the morning?"
"I think 8."
"How about 7?"
Err... What's with everyone trying to haggle with me. If I meant 7, I would have said 7.
"Yeah, 7 is all right."
Damn my low self esteem

About this time, somebody thought it would be a good idea to call me. I have my phone set to vibrate, but it was audible. She ignored it, but then it was even louder every five minutes when it would buzz to tell me I missed a call.

"What strengths do you have would fit working here?"
"I'm friendly, personable, responsible, and I'm good with computers."
"When you say good with computers, would you know what someone was talking about if they asked for an Ethernet card, and would you know whether they needed it or not?"
"Yeah, absolutely."
This is partly true. I do know what an Ethernet card is, and I think I'd be able to know if they needed it.

"What's a time when you performed exemplary at work?"
"At McDonald's, I can make more burgers than company policy says, which is more productive."
"Okay, if a co-worker was breaking company policy, what would you do?"
Shit!
"If it were hurting the company, I would either talk to the co-worker or go to a supervisor."
That's probably not the right answer.

After screwing up every single question, she told me that she would check my references and give me a call this evening. If everything worked out, she would give me a schedule in the next couple days. What? That sounded like I pretty much got the job. But then again, she'll have to talk to me ex-employer, who is 100% insane. I don't know if I've mentioned that before, but he is. There's no telling what he'll say. Here's what I imagine:

"Hi, I'm calling on behalf of Office Market. We're looking at ....'s application, and he has you listed as a previous employer. What can you tell me about him?"
"Well, he's a communist. Don't get me wrong, he's a good guy, but I wouldn't trust him with me Jello pudding snacks."
"What do you mean?"
"When, the sun goes down and the tide goes out, they all get together and they all start to shout, hey, hey, Uncle Dud, it's a treat to beat your feet in the Mississippi mud!"

If you knew him, this wouldn't sound so absurd. Anyway, I've got to call him and let him know he'll be getting a call from these guys, or else he'll say something like, "I thought he was working for McDonald's now, who are you working for! You're imposters!"

Mind the Thermal Tiles

I'm just about to leave for Office Market. I'm really hoping I get the job. Chances are that I won't, but they've had a couple positions open for a while and they're calling me.

I'm the one with no job experience on his resume.

If I do get the job, I hope there's an employee discount, as I desperately need a new office chair. Well, one thing at a time.


Thanks to the 14 regulars and all the other folk who stumble upon this blog. I've decided to not use Blog Explosion for a while. I figure that enough people are watching my blog for updates. I'm getting a whole lot of visitors from Call Center Purgatory, so, if you haven't already, please check it out.

Short Term Memory, Again

Monday, July 25, 2005
I forgot to mention that I had also gotten a call a couple days ago from Boston Mart (I know I have no creativity in changing names) asking me to do an interview. I turned them down. There are four reasons for this:

1. If it is an upgrade, it will only be marginally better.
2. It was going to be a hassle to quit and join somewhere else.
3. There would be no hope of a reference from the Franchise.
4. They were pissy when I applied. I went in, and asked for an application. Some manager guy handed me one and gave me a pen.

"Actually, could I fill this out at home and bring it back to you?"
"No, you have to fill it out here. That's our policy."

Right... because so many people are going to go home and cheat. I like lists, so here's one of the things that they didn't get from me by making me fill out the application on the spot:

1. My Social Security number.
2. One of the two references requested.
3. The address of the one reference I did have.
4. My previous employer's correct address.
5. My school's address.
6. My school's phone number.
4. Me working there.

After I finished the application, I handed it to the manager guy. He stood there and started browsing through it. I was tempted to walk away, but it seemed like he hadn't dismissed me. I stood there looking around. There was an old couple looking at me. Eventually, he looked down at me.

"Are you looking for something just for this summer?"
"Well, I'm going to school after the summer."
"We're not looking for seasonal work, but I'll file your application... Under banana peal... In the trash."

Okay, he didn't say the last two sentences, but he conveyed the same message. For all his stony demeaner, it turned out they did need me. I have a little bit of pride, and that's where I draw the line.

Curiouser and Curiouser

I just got another phone call. It was a number I didn't recognize.

"Hello?"
"Hi, this is Christine, is .... there?"
"Yeah this is ...."

Damn. It must be the Franchise, again. Don't they get it? I'm not going over there today.

"You applied to Office Market [name has been changed]. We were wondering if you were still interested and if you wanted to go for an interview."

Hmm... Here's the situation: I'd love to work at an office store than the Franchise. I'm also only going to be around for the end of the summer. I'm actually going to be leaving much sooner, but that will come up unexpectedly. Chances are they aren't looking for seasonal work. It can't hurt to try.

"I'd love to."
"Great, how does tomorrow sound?"
"Sound great, what time?"
"What about 10 am?"
"Sure."

Just then, I realized I had actually forgotten the exact name of the store she said she was from. Damn my short term memory! Damage control:

"Oh, what's the address?"

Good, now all I need to do is find it. I'm pretty sure I know which one it is.

Honestly, I don't mind switching the entire format of this blog if I could work for an office supplies store. Think about what they do there. The employees have the most basic understanding of technical jargon. I could help those customers in my sleep. I already stock heavy boxes at the Franchise, who cares if they have frozen strawberries in them or reams of paper.

I'm so excited! Ha!

Still Groggy

Right before I went to sleep last night at 2:30 am (insomnia), I noticed I had a burn on my thumb, too. I'm surprised I missed it, as it is much worse than the other ones and it still hurt. It would hurt whenever I moved my thumb, thus proving that working at a fast food restaurant will make you devolve.

Now that that's settled, let's talk about this morning. I was rudely awakened at about 11:20 by my cell phone ringing. It is plugged into the recharger on the floor by the foot of my bed, so I trudged across my bed, leaned over, and answered it as lively as I could.

"Hi, is .... there?"
"Yeah, this is ...."
"Hi, this is .... (I actually forgot her name) from the Franchise. I was just wondering if you could come in tonight."

As I've said, I don't need to work again until Wednesday. That means I have my own little weekend for the next one and a half days. I'm also compulsively agreeable while talking on the phone.

"I don't know, what time will you need me?"
"What time can you come?"

I'm not haggling with you, lady. If you said something like 7 to 9, I'd do it, but instead, you put the ball in my court.

"Yeah, actually, I don't think I can come in tonight. Sorry."
"That's okay. Bye."
--click--
"Bye."

So, what would you have done? Come on, I mean, let my burns heal before I'm sent back out there.

A. I don't need the money
B. I don't want to go.
C. I hate it there.
D. They should have had a better scheduling system.
E. I don't want to go.

Seriously, what would you have done? Post a comment.

My Fourth Day

Sunday, July 24, 2005
I just got home, making this the first time I'm posting about my day at work, the day I was there.

Let me split this up into good news, bad news:

Good news:
I didn't see Shaneequa at all.

Bad news:
I had to close (clean) the grill by myself.

Good news:
When I went on my first bathroom break (ever!), Van Morrison's "Jackie Wilson Said" was playing over the speaker. It made me wonder why they didn't play music in the kitchen. I would love to listen to my ipod there.

Bad news:
As someone I knew from Berkeley would say, "I got hella' burned."








Good news:
I came up with reason #3 not to eat at the Franchise: Flies. Everywhere. On your food, in your food, defecating on you food. I'm not sure if this is good news.

Bad news:
I'm eating Wendy's as I'm writing this. I couldn't bring myself to eat from the Franchise, but I don't imagine this is much better.

Good news:
I don't have to work again until Wednesday!

Bad news:
I think some grease splashed into my eye when I was at work. I wonder what the long-term repercussions of this will be.


Okay, enough of that. At one point, somebody ordered 4 double cheese burgers... well-done. The 17 year old who introduced himself to me in the first post made an astute observation:

"He must think this is a restaurant or something."

We could have just given him the normal stuff, but I put his burgers in for twice as long as they usually go for. Then he asked for some sort of fried chicken... well-done. Those things are fried! Waiters in the fanciest of the fanciest restaurants in old Parîs don't ask you how you'd like your chicken done. There are only two options for chicken: Dark meat, or light meat. Anyway, we refried it. What he doesn't understand is that rawness is only one of the many factors leading your meal to be an unsafe/unhealthy/disgusting one.

So after he was gone, I heard the Franchise form of a conversation. It was different people coming up with the craziest stuff people have ordered.

"Double cheeseburger without cheese!"

That's the only one I remember that doesn't give the name of a unique choice that will give away the carefully guarded secret of what the Franchise really is... For those surfing here via Blog Explosion, you won't know what I mean.

So, I was thinking of putting together a list of all the choices in order of what's kept the most and least disgusting. The problems with that are:

A. It would give away the name of the fast food place
B. Everything is so disgusting I would just be kidding myself and all of you.

Thanks to everyone who has been reading this blog and posted comments, they are appreciated, so keep them up!

Pre-Launch

My uniform is clean and I'm just about ready to go. I'll be back in five and a half hours. If I'm not too exhausted, I'll make another post, otherwise I'll write one in the morning.

No Worries

My ex-employer called me this morning.

"I got your message a little late. When do you think you can come over? Are you busy today?"
"I'm just about to leave for tennis, right now, and then I have work all afternoon."
"Oh, okay. What's your schedule look like for Monday and Tuesday?"
"I don't know yet."
"Okay, I'll give you a call on Monday."
"Okay, see you later."
"Bye."
"Bye."
"Goodbye."
"Bye."
--click--

That means:
A. I have to go to work today, anyway.
B. I'll eventually have to do the de-weeding.
C. I can't keep putting things off, but I can try.