My Tenth Day

Saturday, August 06, 2005
Since I've been working more, these posts just keep on coming. Don't worry, you'll get a reprieve tomorrow.

I learned something new today. Breakfast is hot. Having all grills open and 2 open ovens makes the kitchen one big slow cooker.

The second thing I learned, which is more something I was reminded of, was just how awful I feel in the morning. I wake up from a nightmare to a bunch of idiots havering on the radio alarm. You would think they'd play music in the morning. My biggest complaint of mornings during the school year is how cold I am. Today was the first day in months that it's been about 70. 70 isn't bad, but in comparison to the 85 that we've been holding at, it feels pretty cold.

As much as I gripe about how terrible I feel when I work there, it makes all the difference when people are nice. The first person I see there was Curly, who usually isn't nice to me. Today was no exception. Luckily, he was overshadowed by two other managers who are nice. One is the woman who orientated me. She's rather nice. The other is this hard-ass guy who, for some reason, is very nice to me. Maybe it's because he thinks I'm of the intelligentsia after hearing where I'm going to uni. Unfortunately, everyone heard when he asked me. The female manager asked me if I was excited and whatnot, but I can bet Curly is just going to resent me for it. It's nothing too major, in case anyone reading this is wondering. It's just sort of strange in comparison, and it's pretty far away.

Not a whole lot happened, but there are some things to write about.

On the schedule, they have a disclaimer at the bottom that says something like: "All material on this page is copyright of the Franchise corporation. Any reproduction of this, without prior permission from the company is strictly prohibited and will be subject of legal action."

Not only am I writing that down now, but just a few days ago, I wrote my week's schedule down, thus violating that disclaimer. You know, at one point, they paid a lawyer, who probably charged over $200 an hour, to write that, and he forgot a comma after "company".

I noticed all that as I was sitting in the crew closet for my break. I also noticed this: (click to read)

At the end of the day, that hard-ass manager, who I haven't come up with a nickname for, said that he was looking forward to working with me more.

My Ninth Day

Friday, August 05, 2005

I'm freaking out. The prospect of waking up at 7 am tomorrow, after waking up at around 10 am for the entire summer, and working for 5 hours through the breakfast and lunch rushes, does not sound appealing to me.

For those of you who only check this at night, you probably haven't read my eighth day.

First thing when I get in, I see Curly. Just great. After he clocks me in and tells me to mop the back room, I walk past the nice manager from my seventh day. I'll call him Joe. That's his real name, so it shouldn't be too hard to remember. This guy is really nice. He always says hello and is cordial. He asks me if I've been taught how to do something before assigning it to me.

After I mopped up, I went to him to tell me what to do next.

"You know how to close the grill?"
"Well, yeah, a bit."
"So, do you want me to close the grill?"

This was horrible. Earlier today, when I was doing my normal pre-work freak-out, I tried to tell myself that there wasn't anything really bad about closing the grill. I've never been burnt doing it, I don't have to deal with other people, I have an excuse for not doing anything else, and so on. I don't think I can tell myself that anymore.

The only other people in the grill area were the foreigners. There was the girl I mentioned in my last post who doesn't speak English, and the woman who I mentioned in my third day, who I thought was Russian but whose accent sounded almost Italian. I heard her talking today about Italy, so it seems like I was right to doubt myself. Perhaps, I subconsciously thought that Russians were more likely to be working at a place like this than Italians. Don't get the wrong idea about that; I have more Russian in me than Italian (1/16th vs. ?/?), but that's just the stereotypes that are so hard to escape from. Anyway, she is obnoxious. She stood over me and tried to direct everything I did. I just smiled. From now on, whenever she calls for anything, I just happen not to hear.

So I'm cleaning the grill while those two just sort of lounge around. When it became a little busier, they expected me to drop everything I was doing and help them out. All in all, it took me about an hour and a half to clean the grill.

Right as I'm finishing, I walked back to the grill where Curly is looking over the divider asking who closed the grill.

"I just closed it."

Any reply was lost in the shuffle. I'm sort of glad I didn't have to hear him point out what I screwed up. Maybe he was going to say I did a great job until he found out I had done it.

Right about then, the older guy with no bottom teeth starts his shift. Everybody likes this guy. He knows the ins and outs and he's got a sense of humor. He's been nice to me since I started.

"Did you close this grill?"
"It looks great. Good job."
"Did it take you about an hour?"
"Maybe a little bit more, but I had to do other stuff in between."
"Well why don't you close the other grill now."

2 grills... 1 day. I'm ecstatic. You should see my uniform. It's a casualty of war. By the time I closed the second grill, I only had 15 minutes left.

"Okay, I'm going to test your memory," said the older guy. "Go get 1 box of 10 to 1s, 1 box of 4 to 1s, 2 bags of small chicken, 2 bags of fish, 1 bag of the crispy chicken, and 3 bags of grilled chicken."

Those are the actual numbers. Normally, my memory is terrible, but I could visualize each of those things, so it made it easier. If you can visualize things, it makes it much easier to remember. After some people were impressed that I had quickly memorized the 5 pillars of Islam for an International Relations quiz, they all started using the house technique, which I had just read about earlier that day. You make a visual representation of each thing in a list, and mentally place each thing in a room of your house. Charity, undivided faith, fasting, prayer, and pilgrimage. Oh, at times like these, I look down at my grease covered shoes that I used to wear to the symphony and wonder what I'm doing working at a fast food place.

I don’t know much about posttraumatic stress disorder (or hypochondria, for that matter), but no matter how many times I wash my hands, I can’t seem to get the smell of the place off them.

Since I've stopped using traffic sites, I'd like to thank everyone who has linked here. I'm getting all my traffic from you guys. You're all on my links, and if you're not, e-mail me. By the way, someone from Australia must love this place, because they've clicked every single entry twice. I'm also the most popular in Virginia. I have dramatically more visitors from VA than any other place.

My Eighth Day

I walked in, yesterday, and took a quick glance around to find the closest manager. The only one in sight was this heavy-set young guy with a small head. I'd never really talked to him.

"Hey [my name], how are you?"
"I'm good, and you?"
"I'm good. What's your number?"
"Okay, all set. You're going to be helping out Doug back there."
"Okay, thanks."

Wow. A manager... Was nice to me. Right after that, I was smiling for real, for the first time since I started working there.

Doug is the friendly 17 year old I wrote about, earlier. We did some grilling for a while, and then Doug called me to the back of the building for a "trash run." This involved taking this disgusting cart out to the dumpster pavilion.

"Oh crap, there's a swarm, today. Watch out for the bees."

I don't know what it was, but I was still in a good mood. As I hurled dripping bags of trash past a myriad of hornets into the dumpsters, I was smiling all the while.

An hour or so later, things had calmed down and there were almost no customers coming in. Right about then, this new manager guy shows up. He's the sort of guy that exudes bitchiness. I'm not sure if you know the type of person, but in a place like the Franchise, you get a lot of caricatures. He starts bustling around while talking on a cell phone. I got the impression that he was relaying the number of boxes of supplies. He comes over to the grill where I was standing. He looks at the bacon.

"They only have 6 strips. Wait, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Yeah, 6."

He proceeded to look through the fridge where bacon was kept.

"3 packs of bacon."

The Eastern European girl who I've mentioned before was working the grill with me. She walked up to me.

"Should we make more bacon?"
"I guess. Sure."

This is where I did something stupid. I pulled out the bacon and started making it. Before I actually got any of the strips out, that manager rushes back and yells at me not to make bacon. Okay, fine.

A couple minutes later, he walks back--still on the phone--talking about the bacon.

"We're missing a sheet of bacon. I looked all through this thing. Doug, did you make any bacon, tonight?"


"Alyona, did you make bacon, tonight?"


"Bacon- this. Did you cook any of this, tonight?"


I guess they couldn't yell at the girl who doesn't speak English. I would like to give some advice to any Franchise managers who stumble onto this: The people at the grill only make what other people tell them to make. It's almost always someone else's fault. Like later that night, there were two nugget bags out. I asked the guy if I should make them. He said yes. I started making them. The asshole manager comes over and yells at me for about 2 minutes.

Anyway, back to the bacon. 20 minutes after they find out that Alyona was the bacon theif, they come back still talking about the bacon. I have 2 problems with this whole situation.

1. If she cooked the bacon and it wasn't needed, wouldn't it all be on the cart? It's almost as if they needed it.

2. A bag of bacon must cost them about 45c. I'll pay for it if you shut the hell up about it. I'm not too proud.

After that, I was doing odd jobs, like mopping and getting stuff out of the walk-in freezer. I was walking back to the grill when I heard some old fat woman talking to anyone who was listening. This is the same woman who had tried to tell 2 people that, if she didn't get out, she would kill someone.

"Behind you. You know, more people should do that... Say 'behind you.'"

Doug was working on my side of the divider, a distance from the speaker.

"Shut up, Nancy," he said in a low voice. I smiled.

"It's a safety thing. There would be less accidents if people would just say 'behind you' when someone is mopping or something."

Doug looked up at me from across the grill, and I smiled again.

At one point, I told Alyona to cover me as I went to the bathroom.

This is where it gets awkward. I step into the men's bathroom, and there's someone with their back to me. This person is in a Franchise uniform and has a long ponytail. I instantly thought back to my first day, when a woman was waiting to clean out the men's bathroom.

"Excuse me," I said frantically. Then I noticed that this person was not surprised to see me, so that raised the likelihood that it was a man. Still, I wasn't going to take any chances, so I made the split-second decision to walk into the one stall and close the door.

This is how I found out it was a man:

I was working the grill. 11 rolls around, and everyone leaves. I mean everyone. Doug, Alyona, everyone... except me, and the asshole manager. I'm the only person at the grill. I looked up at the monitor that tells people what to make, and there was something up there. Shit! I don't know how to make anything. I stumble about and pull out the little burger box. Buns! I look through the bun racks, pick out the wrong type, put it back, find the right one, put it in the burger warmer, pull it out, and try to think of how to put the stuff on it. I'm really lost at this point. I see that ponytail guy walking past.

"Hey, I've never done this, could you give me a hand?"
"Okay. You're doing it right, so far..."

This guy is very interesting. He's short and fat. I'm not very tall, but I'm taller than this guy. He has a skull tattoo on his lower-right arm. He has a skull and crossbones earring in his left ear.

I couldn't get enough of that. This guy is so unscary. He's also bordering on the retarded. That earring is just too funny. Beware the burger pirate!

There isn't much else to say about yesterday. I did pick up a Groucho Marx gate to counter my aching feet and slippery floor. If I ever want the grease mustache and eyebrows, I know where there's some grease. I came out of that place feeling all right, for the first time. Don't expect me to start liking the place, but yesterday was unique.

I'll probably post again, tonight, after my 5pm to 8pm shift.

Oh, and get this: I just called Office Market and asked for the woman I had interviewed with and talked to on the phone. Guess what? She doesn't work there, anymore. That's it. Man's second greatest asset is his ability to hope. Now, I am without that.

As Promised

Thursday, August 04, 2005
My shift starts in an hour and a half, and surprisingly, I'm not looking forward to it. There are 5 sound reasons for this:

1. I just got a retainer, and it's chosen today as the day to start giving me a terrible headache. As soon as I take it off, the headache goes away. Even though I'm supposed to wear it full-time, I'm not going to wear it tonight.

2. I'm going to have to close the grills tonight.

3. I'm going to have to stock up for breakfast, which I've never done before.

4. They're going to have me at the "table" making the burgers, which I'm horrible at.

5. I've got to work until 1 am. I'm fine staying up until 1 or 2 when I'm watching TV or hanging out, but working into all hours of the night will probably take its toll on me, which means that there's a huge probability I won't post about it until around 11 am tomorrow.

I don't know how many of my readers are still patrons of the Franchise, but I just want to let you all know that I used to eat there a couple times each week, and since I've started working there, I have completely stopped eating everything but the icecream, which I've only had twice. I would highly recommend that everyone else does the same.

You know that story of that French guy who drove a tractor or bulldozer or something through that fast food restaurant? Here it is. Well, I used to just think he was some anti-globalization idiot, but I can sort of sympathize now. Maybe he does birthdays...

UPDATE: So, it's 7:17 now, and I had a terrible thought, did my mother finish cleaning my uniform? The answer: No. If I hadn't just thought of it, I would have not had a uniform to wear. It's still going to be wet, though. Doubleplusgood.

Highlights From My Ex-Job

Wednesday, August 03, 2005
I just got back after spending two hours with my ex-employer. I'm helping him sell his car which he has told me he isn't actually going to sell. He just wants to waste my time. He wants to sell it on this elusive device people keep talking about, the Internet. I asked him why he didn't just put a For Sale sign on the car. This a picture of it (yes, that's MS Paint's airbrush I used to black out the background):

"I did that, but I got a lot of people calling me up. One guy said he'd take it for $500, so I took the sign down. What did that guy think he was doing?"
"I don't know."

So, he's watching his son's dog. He wanted to go up to the library, but his son told him he couldn't leave the dog in the car when it's 95 degrees out.

"Can you believe that? He said the damn dog would die."
"Well, actually, if you... nevermind. Yeah, that's crazy."

At the end of the day, I really had to go to the bathroom, but I figured we'd be leaving in a second. Wait, the dog needs to go. Nope. But look at him run after squirrels!

"Damn, those books I told you I'd give you aren't here. Let me go upstairs and get them."
"No! That's all right. Forget about them."
"Well, I guess you're not going to read them today, anyway."

We get in the car, and some horrible noises start coming out of the car's speakers.

"My wife likes to listen to this stuff. Do you know what this is?"
"Is it... learn Hebrew songs?"

--Shalom means hi, how do you do! It's fun to sing about the words we know!--

"Shit! My wife drove all the way to the city and didn't get gas! I'm going to be running on air. I've got to get this to a gas station fast!"

His gas was 25% full, of course.

The worst thing of all is that I have to work tomorrow, anyway. 8pm to 1am, and Office Market still hasn't called me back.

I'm stuck between a lunatic and an insane asylum.

Getting Through Some Things

Monday, August 01, 2005

Have you ever took the time to look at your nuggets? As I was trying to dig them out from their tray the other day, I had quite a bit of time to look at them. They're obviously molded into their shape. They're all pretty much the same. My question is why that shape? They're like little North Americas. They certainly don't look like a part of a chicken. I don't think they should, for that matter. Wouldn't they be better-off just making them ovals like in their old add campaign (pictured left)? Here's what most of them look like:

Yesterday I found one that looked a bit like this:

I think back to that woman who found a chicken head in hers. That thing was huge. Most people wouldn't notice this one. Now, I'm not 100% sure that this is anything but an odd shape, but I wouldn't eat it.

Now that I've gotten through that, I figure I can get a little off topic. I'm scheduled to work on Thursday, so I'm left with quite a bit of time between now and then. They'll probably call asking me to come in at some horrible time in the morning. UPDATE: They just called me this morning. My phone wasn't with me, though. My mother asked me why they didn't leave a message.

"Mom, these people... they're Neanderthals... and Neanderthals... they don't leave messages."

So, you know that blog I wrote about a few days ago, well it still intrigues me. I guess I should put the disclaimer (or rather I should have) that it can get a little racy at times. It honestly isn't about that, though. The biggest draw, in my opinion, is how odd it is. It's almost like a book adapted to blog vernacular. It's like reading a professional author using lots of exclamation marks and missing a couple commas, here and there.

Iris, since you still haven't opened comments or provided an e-mail address, and I know you read this, I'd like to tell you that if you're not dead set on acting, you should consider writing.

Maybe I'm just havering.

My Seventh Day UPDATED

Sunday, July 31, 2005
Today was different than all the other days. Not interesting-different, but rather boring-different.

When I walked in, Curly, who is pictured here, told me to start cleaning up the surfaces with a rag. I did this for about 45 minutes. There was about 7 minutes worth of stuff to clean up, but I wasn't enthusiastic about going back up to Curly. He could get me when he was ready.

Eventually, some salt-and-pepper, wiry old manager asked me if I knew how to work the grill. Why yes, I just happen to know. He set me work at the fryer for a while, but then there was some sort of leak in the dishwashing area, so I mopped that up. Click to enlarge the picture.

Right as I was finishing the mopping, Curly comes in to tell me I'm on the table.


He wanted me to go help prepare the sandwiches.

"You've done this before, right?"
"No, actually, I haven't."

So, I started at the end of the line. Someone would make the sandwich, and I would add the meat to it and wrap it up.

"What are you doing?" Curly asked me in his uniquely rhetorical tone.
"I've never done this before."
"Yeah, but show some enthusiasm."

What? That would make me the only person in the entire building, save for some kids hopping and screaming next to the toy display, who would be enthusiastic. So, do you know what I did to change? Absolutely nothing.

As I said, I only added the meat, so the two times I got yelled at for making the wrong thing, were pretty uncalled for. One of those times, the guy who actually screwed it up told the manager, "it's all right, he just messed it up a bit, we're making a new one." Thanks for having my back, you dick.

Eventually, I got the hang of it. After 2ish it got slow so they turned my side off and moved me to the other side. Her I worked with a girl who doesn't like to speak English. She understands most of it. She's obviously from some Eastern European country. My guess, based on her facial features: Romanian.

We became friendly, as much as two people not talking to each other can be. I've gotten good at the language barrier friendship thing after spending a few months abroad.

As I was working, I noticed that there was an attractive girl working at the drive-through. This is one of the two attractive girls I've seen. The other is quite a bit taller and has very public emotional problems. This girl seemed maybe a little younger than me. I probably wouldn't find her very attractive if it weren't in contrast to all the other people working there, but I can't help that. Anyway, I'm in such a subordinate social position that I shouldn't even think about such things. The picture doesn't really do her justice, but if you click it, it looks a little better. I couldn't emphasize how dark she makes her eyes. ***EDIT***: I forgot to draw her freckles. Those drive me crazy. The sad thing is that I spent a bit of time trying to memorize her face so I could sketch it better. Now that old wiry guy and the pretty girl both think I'm creepy, since I stared at both of them. I just wanted to draw their pictures and show them on the internet to complete strangers. If that's creepy, I don't know what isn't.

***Amendment***: Looking back on this post, those pictures look horrible. I can honestly say that I was better when I was in middle school. All these words have pushed out whatever part of my mind that could draw. I still like my picture of Curly, though, even if it doesn't look anything like him. In case Curly is reading this and doesn't understand the textual cue to click on a link to view the image, here it is in all it's sketchy glory:
Click to enlarge.