Some Bad News…

imageI had a completely different post prepared for today’s NaBloPoMo. However, The Bloke has had some bad news today and as the main purpose of this little blog is to be able to work through various issues in the process of writing, I decided to change my initial idea and just get back to free writing – something I haven’t done in some time.

I’m not going to go into too much detail, but The Bloke’s job security has been in a precarious position for a while. His place of work has been going through a ‘restructure,’ a word that has never been positive in my experience, and despite several opportunities to potentially stabilise this in the last month, he has placed his faith and loyalty in the words offered to him by the people that he should be able to trust. Continue reading

Would You Like Fries With That?

esq-burger-081009-lgI worked at a well known fast food restaurant for nearly two years in my teens. It wasn’t my choice, more my mother’s, who marched me down to the job centre at the age of sixteen, demanding that I start earning money and stop treating her house like a hotel. This was the only job that was suitable for my age and skillset at the time, and even though I would have rather poked myself in the eye repeatedly than set foot in those doors I soon I found myself standing behind a till, sporting my newly ironed uniform and a fake smile that would have put many Hollywood actresses to shame, for the princely sum of £3.20 an hour.

It wasn’t where I was working that was the problem – a job is a job and I was lucky to be working in the unstable economic climate of the last twenty years – it was the horror stories that had accompanied my place of employment. I had a number of friends that worked in similar places and they had regaled me with stories of rotten food, bodily fluids and aggressive members of the public, and I dreaded what was going to happen.

You may have heard the stories yourself. And I’ll tell you – they’re absolutely true, or at least they were when I worked there. Every one of them.

1. If I were given £1.00 for every time I saw the kitchen staff openly cough and sneeze on the food, pick patties up off the floor and continue to cook them and not wash their hands after they had come back from a break, I could have retired by now.

2. The smell of grease permeated everything – my skin, my clothes and my hair. A bath wouldn’t make the smell go away.

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3. After a busy shift, a man ordered a sandwich without mayo. As we were just about to close, we had emptied the vats ready for cleaning and the only sandwiches left were the ones that had already been made. I witnessed a manager scrape the mayo off, lick the sandwich clean and serve it to the customer. He laughed as he watched the man eat it, telling us to ‘get a sense of humour’ when we told him he was wrong.

4. I served a customer a drink. I watched him drink half of it, and then he came back and asked to speak to the manager, claiming that I had only filled his cup half way and it needed topping up. After lots of arguments, the manager gave in and gave him a new one, filled as full as possible. As he walked away, the customer winked at me.

5. I frequently saw customers order chicken nuggets, eat one or two in the box and then claim that they hadn’t been given enough and request more.

6. A man used to come into the store every Sunday and he would order a burger with no meat. After a few months I asked him about his order. He smiled and said: ‘I’m a vegetarian.’ I told him that we made vegeburgers and his reply was one of the best things that I’ve ever heard. “I don’t like vegetables.”

7. I had five stars on my badge. I didn’t earn a single one of them.

8. I was asked to help out with a children’s halloween party at the store, which involved my face being painted to represent a scary pumpkin. Unfortunately, the person responsible for doing the face paints wasn’t particularly artistic and when she had finished my face looked like Jackson Pollack had been experimenting with black and orange crayon on my face.  After the party had ended, my manager put me on the Drive Thru window and wouldn’t allow me to wash my face. I had to endure two hours of abuse from car passengers as they were ordering food. Some of them threw things at me.

9. A woman threatened to sue because there weren’t any Mr Men toys in her children’s meals. The Mr Men promotion had finished the year before.

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10. A woman had a screaming fit at a manager because she couldn’t hear the employee in the drive-thru and ‘our speaker system was faulty.’ She didn’t take into consideration the four screaming children in her car.

11. A man threatened to ‘kick my head in’ because he waited a few minutes for a burger.

12. A small child didn’t like gherkins, but his mother hadn’t ordered a burger for him without them. When he discovered them, he took it upon himself to throw them at the staff behind the tills. He then started throwing everything he could from other peoples tables – cartons, left over food, drinks. When my manager yelled at him, his mother screamed at him that we were all ‘racists’ for picking on her son.

13. You don’t want to know what goes into milkshakes and ice-creams.

14. I worked at another store in the centre of town for a few weeks as they were short-staffed. A really rude young girl started working at the store, caused lots of trouble and had lots of complaints made against her, only to be promoted to Floor Manager within a few weeks. We discovered that she was sleeping with the one of the assistant managers.

15. The staff regularly sneaked into the stock room to steal the Cadbury’s Flakes that were put into the ice-cream during their shift. In fact, the staff stole food all the time.

funny-mcdonalds-meme-pictures16. The managers regularly changed the time cards on the food even though it was technically ‘out of date’ to avoid throwing it away. Some people were served with food that had been sitting there for hours.

17. A couple decided to have drunken sex on the benches next to the drive-thru as we were closing down in the early hours of the morning. Little did they realise, they were directly underneath a security camera and were being watched by half the staff.

18. The staff used the customer toilets if they had a stomach upset, so as not to stink out the staffroom.

However, the good news is that when I visited the store last year, fifteen years after I worked there, I can happily announce that not a single one of the former crew remain. It was clean, it was a positive environment and it is now possible to see the kitchen from the seating area, which appeared to be well managed and under control. What surprised me was how familiar the place smelled – one whiff of those vats and all the memories came flooding back…

It also reminded me just how grateful I am not to be working there anymore – I’ll take angry teenagers and data spreadsheets over that any day!

What about you? Have you got any secrets about a former place of work?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog

Some People Need To Learn Some Manners

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izquotes.com

This morning I decided to treat myself and went to Subway for breakfast. The person working behind the counter was really young and had obviously only started there a few days ago. He was nervous, took ages to get my order together, apologising the entire time and when I had paid I thanked him, I went back to my seat and enjoyed my breakfast.

Just as I was getting ready to leave a young woman walked in. She was smartly dressed in a suit, had obviously just been to the hairdressers and was carrying an expensive handbag. This was the conversation that followed:

Woman: “I want a 6″ sausage sub on Italian Herb and Cheese.”

Employee: “I’m sorry, we don’t have any of that bread ready yet.”

“How about you just choose the bread then, seeing as there’s no point in me choosing it. I don’t know why you bother putting the list there if you aren’t going to provide me with all the options.”

“Sorry about that. Would you like it with cheese and toasted.”

“No.”

“Can I offer you any salad or sauce?”

“Why would I want salad on a breakfast sub? I want tomato sauce. And can you hurry up i’m in a rush.”

The employee made her order, she paid without saying a word and promptly turned and stormed out of the store without so much as a ‘thank you’ or ‘have a nice day.’

How rude. I don’t know how the poor lad didn’t resist the urge to shove her sub up her arse.

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thethingswesay.com

From the age of 16 I worked in several service jobs until I qualified as a teacher. My first was at a fast food chain and I was there for 18 months. It was one of the most depressing jobs that I ever had. Why? I was treated like I was a piece of dirt by the majority of customers that I served, who assumed that I was as thick as two short planks because of my place of employment. I was patronised, verbally abused and even threatened on a few occasions, all for the princely sum of £3.23 an hour. After this I worked at a cinema and then at a nightclub where I experienced similar issues, although I actually loved working at the nightclub because of the staff and the music. At university I worked in my local bar, sometimes doing up to 30 hours a week.

Here are some of the things that I learned:

1. Most service jobs are physically and mentally demanding. I was expected to run around for up to nine/ten hours straight without a proper break. While there are laws in place to prevent this, on extremely busy days almost every manager I have ever worked for ignored these.

2. Some people are never happy with anything. Regardless of the effort you make to please your customers, some will always find a reason to complain. The customer is certainly not always right.

3. Being paid the minimum wage does not entitle the general public to treat employees with minimum respect. If I had been given just 50p every time one of my customers had been rude, disrespectful or had left their manners at home I could have happily retired at the age of 25.

4. The policies of a company are not decided by the shop floor employees. If there is an issue with a policy, these should be taken to the management, not the 16 year old behind the till. They are simply following instructions set by their employers.

5. A job is a job and everybody lucky enough to be working should be applauded that they are doing so in such an unstable economy.

Of course, if an employee is deliberately rude or doesn’t provide you with the product you have paid for then you have every right to complain. However, you should only do so if you genuinely know you have justification to, not just because you are in a bad mood and should speak to the management.

Consequently, I go out of my way to be nice to all employees in the service industry. I’ve been there and I remember that a simple ‘thank you,’ a smile and a ‘have a lovely day’ made those shifts better. So, the next  time you are having a bad day, remember your manners!

Have you ever had a job where you were treated badly by the customers?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog