Fast food job memories

I worked in pizza places during the summers between years of college. Lots of delivery stories, including but not limited to:

  1. Got a $20 tip when I delivered to one of my neighbors. It wasn’t at his house, it was at a local hotel. And the woman there with him was not Mrs. Neighbor.

  2. Was offered joints as tips many times.

  3. Was once offered a blowjob as a tip. Declined that one. Customer was old enough to be my grandmother, very drunk, and not a looker.

  4. Was sometimes offered cocaine and/or marijuana by the manager “to get my mind right for the rush”.

Best thing I accomplished was the summer I was driving for the local “30 minutes or $3.00 off” chain pizza place. I negotiated a deal with a nearby drive thru daiquiri place. Every night at closing, I’d take them 2 large pizzas with everything, they’d give me two gallons of daiquiris. Closing the place for the night was sorta like a party…

Hmm, seems like the weed would be less efficient at preparing you for a lot of work than the coke.

This manager was…not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Guy woulda snorted soap if he thought he could get a buzz out of it. That location went out of business a couple of months after I went back to school.

I worked briefly at a walk-up Dairy Queen when I was sixteen. I actually enjoyed the job but the owner was a total dickwad so I ended up quitting. It just wasn’t worth the $1.25 I was making an hour. But I did get free ice cream!

McDonald’s. Back in the old days, children, food was pulled off the line after a certain number of minutes. It went in to a clean garbage bag, in its clean polystyrene clamshell box. This was picked up every hour, taken to the back, inventoried, and tossed. Unless somebody dumped a milkshake in there, you wound up with a clean bag of packaged, oh, say, McMuffins, perfect for stowing in your backpack to feed your starving college friends.

Ohhh, the memories. I worked plenty of fast food jobs - I got my first one at 14, worked them pretty much throughout HS.

Nastiest Place: Ms. Winners Fried Chicken, Chamblee-Dunwoody Rd, Chamblee GA. No longer there. Had a woman who had leg issues and didn’t like standing for more than 10 minutes. Her job was to wash the dishes, a job which pretty much demanded that you stand. Her solution was to fill two tubs full of water - one with soap, the other with the “sanitizing rinse”, sit on the floor, and hand-wash the dishes, placing the “clean” dishes directly on the floor.

Qutting: It was the Summer of Live Aid and I was putting in some time at Wendy’s on Savoy Drive in Chamblee, GA. Probably my favorite fast-food job, had a crush on a blonde beauty named Darcy Dunkerley, and the shift of regulars really jelled. Anyway, this woman walks in and orders a taco salad (of which it was neither). We ran out of chili earlier, meaning that taco salads would lack this very important ingredient. I told the lady this (as I told all the customers), and reminded her before I started making the salad, er, food product.

I also remember it as being very busy, Darcy had quit the week before, and school was in session. I was also supposed to close that night, and I suspect that a high percentage of all impomptu fast-food quittings involve in some way the thought man, I really don’t want to close tonight.

Lady gets it, goes to her table, and bingo - starts poking around her food product as if it were, you know… missing something. Brings it back to me.

“My taco salad doesn’t have any chili.”
“Yes, I know. I mentioned that a number of times when you ordered it, remember?”
“No, you most certainly did not.”
“Are you calling me a liar?” (I really didn’t want to close this night. Chris was going to bring some awesome weed to the party, which I would miss if I worked all the way to 2:30!)
“I want my taco salad replaced.”
“There are millions of people dying in Africa ‘cause they have nothing to eat, and you’re whining about your goddamned taco salad? Boo-fuckin’-hoo, lady!”
“I want to see your manager!”

Guess what? I ended up not closing that evening, after all! Yeah!

Cow-orkers: I knew all the stereotypes: the ex-con working his time off, the fat blowhard who was so full of shit he squeaked as he walked, the “wise” 30-40 something that seemed to have it all together… except for the fact that they’re 30-40 years old and working as a slicer at Arby’s, the cute teenage girl that would last a month at best, the guy with the primo dope who smoked in the freezer. Had a manager steal and try to lay the blame on me (at Ms. Winners, above), had another manager make me a dish washer (Pizza Hut, Chamblee-Tucker Road, Tucker GA) then forbid me from washing the beer mugs as I was under the drinking age… then she got mad because the beer mugs kept piling up and she had to clean them.

Never worked at a McDonald’s before. BK and Wendy’s, yes, but not McD’s.

I delivered pizza for an entire year and none of those things ever happened to me.

I got robbed, once.

Closest I ever got to fast food work was concessions at the movie theater. Not too exciting I guess. I did discover a cockroach at the bottom of a 50 pound box of popcorn salt once-it was effectively mummified. This was an old, big theater unlike the modern mini cinemas. It had a balcony with a separate entrance to give you an idea of its age. After every show we had to walk through the auditorium picking up junk left behind. Sometimes I’d find a few dollars which was nice. More often it would be empty beer cans and liquor bottles (it was a dry county). One memorable night I found a skirt and pair of panties. It was warm weather and I hadn’t noticed anyone leaving half-dressed. I still wonder about that one.
On slow weekends the older woman I worked with would bring a bottle of white wine and stash it in the ice machine. She’d slip me coke cups full of wine throughout the night. Goes good with popcorn.

I remember frying things. I remember not understanding why a certain person always worked drive thru and always had an excessive amount of cash. I remember being scared to ask for a dime an hour raise.

What I remember most was the day I showed up for my shift and my manager was crying. I was a sixteen year old boy. I could not talk to girls. She was a girl. So I did not ask. I just ran register while she made tacos and cried.

The next day I got the paper. Her fiancé, my coworker, was outed as having an affair. Normally affairs do not make the local paper. The local paper made an exception to this rule. Because her fiancé and his paramour schemed to kill his paramour’s husband. With a crossbow. It took two bolts. The story went large.

There plan involved collecting insurance money and running away to somewhere. It was a stupid plan, but it was probably the best he could come up with. They fiancé and paramour are both in jail, and will be there until the walls fall or they do.

I remember, at the time, wondering how that shift could have been any more awkward. And I feel bad for not asking. But I think of what sort of support the sixteen year old me could offer, and I don’t get much past “Wow. That sucks.”. So my silence was probably for the best.

I worked for 5 years in a Firehouse Subs throughout high school and college. I met most of my best friends to this day through that place. The best food from that place isn’t on the menu. We would come up with all kinds of crazy stuff that worked.

I saw just about everything you can see working in the same restaurant for 5 years, so most of these posts remind me of it. The movie Waiting is an exaggeration, but it’s pretty close.

Waiting didn’t get very good reviews but both my wife and I liked it. My wife moreso because of the 10 or so years she spent as a waitress and manager.

My only fast food experince is delivering pizzas for Dominoes one summer. I never liked Dominoes but I was trying to get an internship so I wanted to work evenings. I’ve heard of people spitting in the pizzas and other unpleasantries, but that never happened when I was there.

I did see a driver get fired on the spot when someone pulled into the parking lot and complained that he (the driver) took off too fast when pulling out into the street.

One frequent customer used to give the drivers copies of Watchtower as tips.

Sometimes on Sunday nights, the manager would have a six pack and those of us over 21 would get a beer while he counted cash. The assistant manager occasionally made himself a pizza for lunch and slopped garlic butter and spices on the crust so they actually tasted fairly decent.

Despite the food content, I think this is more of an MPSIMS thing. Moved.

Wow, that is downright devious. People like that should be burned at the stake.

Smart owner though.

Hey, a place to post movie theater stories!

I worked in a theater, but only as usher/ticket taker and then box office. I only worked concessions when we got slammed. As said earlier, cups were inventory, so we couldn’t use them, but we had little cups we could give out to people who asked for water. Those cups weren’t inventoried, so when we wanted a fountain drink, we’d just use those. For popcorn, we used the hot dog wrappers, which also weren’t inventoried.

One memory, which will take some explanation: the oil for big movie theater style popcorn poppers comes in big steel 5-gallon buckets. At room temperature, it’s a solid. Underneath the popper is a cabinet with enough room for at least 2 buckets, with a warming light bulb. Ordinarily, you have two buckets down there. One is an open bucket, attached to the special cover that has an additional warming element to keep things liquid, plus the dip tube that sucks the oil up to the kettle where the popping happens. It is wise to keep a second, unopened bucket down there as well, so that the warmer can coax the oil to a liquid state, keeping it ready for action when you need to change buckets.

Well, one day the oil ran out, and wouldn’t you know it, whoever had changed buckets the last time hadn’t put a new unopened bucket in the cabinet to warm up. And you just can’t operate a movie theater without popcorn. So, we ran back to storage and got a new bucket, put in under the popper, and waited for it to melt. Unfortunately, this just wasn’t happening fast enough. So, we waited until there wasn’t anyone around, and one guy got a little knife and started carving a path through the solid oil. It was slow going, and oozy, and he was in that artificially-yellow popping oil past his elbow. Really grody. But we finally got that lid on.

We experimented sometimes with the popcorn, too. The approved procedure was to put one spoonful of this salt-flavoring mix over a scoop of popcorn kernels before you dumped it into the kettle. We occasionally made a batch with four or more spoonfuls to see how orange we could get the popcorn to get. We also put additional scoops of jalapeno juice into the nacho cheese to make it super-hot.

I don’t really have any fond memories of my times working at fast food restaurants. My first job that wasn’t a paper route was when I was 13 and worked at – yup – McDonald’s. Made a whole $5 an hour, generally working at most 4 hours a night after school.

I was the fry cook. I’d dump fries in the basket and dump the basket in the hot oil until they were done, when I’d dump 'em into the fry bin and salt them. I once dipped my thumb. That was neither bright not pleasant, but it was a split second dip so it wasn’t so bad.

But the one thing that ultimately led me to quit was quite possibly one of the most vile and disgusting things I could have imagined having to do at a fast food restaurant. I was working the fry station as I always did when this … stench … came wafting up from the back. Now, I was a good 30 feet away from the back but this odor was both strong and rank, like really rancid meat. I saw some employees back there doing something with some equipment underneath the rear sink. I discovered that this was where the reek was coming from, and it had a name: The Grease Trap.

As I understood it, this was where the grease, separated from wash water or wherever the hell it came from, was drained into, where it was left to ferment for two weeks, as that was the frequency with which the grease trap was cleaned – the activity the employees were engaging in when the stink of death wafted over. Evidently nobody liked this particular job, but it was a job that had to be done – which I certainly understand – and so employees were rotated every two weeks so that everybody got a turn cleaning the thing. Well, that smell had very nearly made me add an unexpected and undesirable ingredient to the fries I was cooking, and I knew damn well that if I was made to clean it, grease isn’t the only thing that would get trapped there. I managed to make it a month and a half or so without being called upon, but I knew it was only a matter of time before my number – and inevitably, my lunch – was up. So one day I just quit. There was no way in hell cleaning that thing was worth five bucks an hour.

I worked at a Burger King for five years 1980-85. I was one of the morning openers but I did everything. My least favorite job was filtering the fryers, we had three and this had to be done every evening. When the shorting was past it’s useful life you had to drain the fryer completely, clean it then manhandle 50 LB blocks of shortening into the fryer making sure chunks did not accidentally break off and fall into the working fryers splashing you with hot grease. This did happen to me once and my arm had second degree burns along it’s entire length. Fun times.

My first job was at Pizza Hut, where I was eventually made a supervisor. I’ve never seen a company so goddamn anal about their food cost. Everything had to be weighed to make sure the correct amount of topping was going on a pizza, and God forbid you accidentally put half an ounce too much of something on a pie and cost the company a tenth of a cent. We also had to take full inventory of the store every single night, and match up what we had with what their POS system told us we should have used. Jesus… it’s no wonder you hear all these stories about food hitting the floor and still being served.

One time I was in a hurry and threw open the walk-in door to get something, and made a guy who was already in there about jump out of his skin. He was restocking the salad bar, and dropped a bucket of garbanzo beans, which spilled all over the floor. Did we clean it up and throw it all away? Of course not - that $2.00 worth of food might have cost both of us our jobs! We scooped every last bit back into the bucket, and went on as if nothing had happened.

I saw my first penis when I was 15 and working the drive-thru at Hardee’s. Some deviated prevert in a convertible came through with his pants unzipped and his junk all hanging out. I actually had to do a triple take to figure out what it was, I’d seriously never seen one before (it was the 80s and we didn’t have cable yet). My manager laughed herself into tears after I explained to her why I came up front with such a strange look on my face.

<channels Terry Pratchett>

Well done, that man!


Not fast food, but almost as bad: night manager at a 7-Eleven. One of the guys who worked days was apparently selling weed on the side and the stoners used to come in by droves looking for a late night high. I bitched and complained about it constantly, but the only thing that happened was that the day guy yelled at me one time to quit being so ugly to his special customers.

Stores all over the place near me were getting robbed, but I never did. I made my place a cop hangout - I’d buy them Cokes and coffee, so they would come by at random times. I also put the word out that I was armed and would kill anyone that tried to hijack my store. It was totally against company policy and I got ragged on by the supervisors several times, but they never caught me armed. They looked in the register and under the counter, but never thought to ask me if I was packing in person. I let the cops know I was armed and the general response was just to make sure that when I shot someone, they could find blood inside the store.

Had a drunk pass out in the toilet more than once, so I eventually closed it. I’d just tell people it was broken. Had people try to buy beer after hours and when I refused them, they’d try to steal it. Had one guy try that when a friend of mine was in the store with me. He picked the beer up off the counter and walked out to his car with it. He got in and WB pulled him back out through the open driver’s window, then made him pick the beer up and go put it back in the case. Meanwhile, I’m laughing my butt off. Good times…

Reminds me of when I worked Chevron. Busy, busy night, with a constant line at the counter and a good 5-10 others milling about in the store. While ringing up another customer, I saw one dude just heft a couple of 36-packs of beer and walk right out the door. He probably thought he had cover in the crowd. Unfortunately for him there was a cop in the parking lot who I notified and he was caught before he was more than a block away.