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Ever work at McDonald's?


therese
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A recent viewing of "Supersize Me" reminded me that I actually used to work there. Not my very first job (which was cashier at a cinema when I was fifteen), but I did work there for about two years, my last two years of high school (at the same time that I also worked at another cinema---surprising I did so well in school now that I think of it).

Anyway, not a bad job for a student. I was a cashier, working either the in-store counter or the drive thru window. Working the drive thru window was considered a particularly good job at the time, as I had a runner to fetch hot food when it got really busy and the cash register was computerized instead of the old mechanical ones in the rest of the store (where you had to figure out tax in your head and count back change rather than the amount being automatically calculated by the register---very good for developing math skills, actually).

Food was half price for employees. As a student my hours were limited, so I didn't necessarily need to eat a meal while I was there, but I did eat it when it was available. I remained as thin as ever, but then I was running my ass off.

My brother worked at Arby's. To this day neither he nor anybody else in our family will touch Arby's. He smelled so bad after a shift there (he cooked) that my mom would make him sit on a blanket in the car while she drove him home (he was only 15) with the car windows rolled down. He had to strip down in the garage, put his clothes (including his underwear) directly into the washing machine, and then go shower.

Any other eGulleteers out there with a similarly checkered past?

Can you pee in the ocean?

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I was the first of my family to ... NOT work at a McDonald's. My siblings all had the hats and the polyester outfits. I worked at LaRosa's on Boudinot, in Cincinnati, Ohio, and wore jeans to work along with a little Luigi LaRosa polo shirt and a red bandana-scarf on my head. They called us "phone girls," and at the time, "the girls" didn't cook. But a few of us revolted and I used to work the pizza and sandwich line, and then worked in the back making salads for the other two restaurants that shared the kitchen area with the pizzeria. We had a lot of fun and all the girls had a crush on Mike LaRosa.

I remember when we had to start paying for our sodas (snif). It was something like five cents. I used to make a shrimp and pickle pizza for one of the policemen who came in (they ate half-price, or the no-shows, and treated all us high-schoolers well). It was really, really good. As a matter of fact, most of my early education came from working there, including going to the Pirates' Den after closing on Saturday nights. First time (and last) that I ever saw a switchblade.

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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I worked at a KFC one summer in high school. I found it really unpleasant because the whole place was greasy, and I was all but vegetarian, so it grossed me out. But it wasn't a hard job.

My other food-service job was in college, in a deli with lots of health foods. Much more my kind of thing, and the free food was appreciated, but it was hard because I had to make sandwiches and wait on people at the same time. The place was not set up very efficiently. Also, I seemed to get a certain number of really impossible customers, which I either didn't get at KFC or didn't notice because the setup was more straightforward.

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I worked at a KFC one summer in high school. I found it really unpleasant because the whole place was greasy, and I was all but vegetarian, so it grossed me out.  But it wasn't a hard job.

McDonald's (the store I worked in, anyway) was actually quite clean (because we cleaned every minute that we weren't waiting on somebody) and so grease and associated odors weren't really a problem.

One of the reasons I liked the job was that the shift went by very quickly, unlike the endless tedious hours at the cinema. But the cinema was way better for my social life: no switchblades, but pretty much all of my dates started after 11 p.m.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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I'm guilty!

I used to work there my last year of high school, working the grill. It wasn't hard work, and time went by pretty quickly. Worse nights were the midnight rush after a concert let out up the street. If I remember right, we would regularly serve 5000 people in under an hour at midnight! For some reason, they all wanted snacks after the concert :cool:

We used to get a meal during a shift, and the kitchen staff would make anything they wanted for a burger. Double McDLTs were common, as was pulling some bacon from the walk-in for chicken clubs. Then there was someone who tried the quad McDLT...

We also had a fairly clean store, so nothing there grossed me out from eating at McD's again. Except figuring out later in life that there was better available elsewhere...

Edited by daves (log)
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High School. Wendy's. Not too bad. We were supposed to get half-priced meals, but the manager usually let us eat for free. We used to make up our own food combinations. Like chicken a la king sauce (remember the chicken a la king potatoes?) on french fries, custom nachos made with chili and the cheese sauce from the potatoes and tortilla chips from the taco salad, or the cinnamon sauce from the apple dumplings dribbled on top of a Frosty. And if you've never spiked a Frosty with Kalhua, you must do so immediately!

Back then at least, Wendy's was pretty fresh. The managers used to make the burger patties every night for the next day in a big burger-making machine. The chicken breasts were breaded and fried on-site (a process referred to as "dropping the chicken"). The chili was made every morning with leftover burgers from the day before. Pretty decent for fast food, but this was so long ago that we were listening to Oingo Boingo on the radio in the employee break area. Who knows how they operate now.

Right before I quit for a better after school gig at Burdine's department store, my manager got fired for stealing food. I don't know what he was doing with it, but rumor had it that it wasn't just a few chicken breasts for a backyard cookout. It was apparently cases of stuff. What would you do with cases of chicken a la king sauce and chili mix that would be worth getting fired? I've pondered it for 20 years.

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I shouldn't accuse that KFC of lax cleanliness standards. As I recall (it's been a long time), effort were made to keep the place clean. The sheer amount of frying that went on made it kind of inevitable that there would be grease in the air, I think.

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Back then at least, Wendy's was pretty fresh.

I much preferred (and still do) Wendy's hamburgers because they were more like hamburgers my mother and grandmother made. McDonald's didn't have tomatoes at that time, and tomatoes are a crucial part of the hamburger experience for me. And of course the weird shredded lettuce and rehydrated onion bits were not too appealing.

Our store was right down the street from a Wendy's, and the true aficionados would go to Wendy's to get their hamburger and then drive by McDonald's to get their fries (because Wendy's fries sort of sucked). Our dining room was downstairs in the basement, so customers would sometimes sneak Wendy's burgers in so as to enjoy their McDonald's fries alongside while they were still fresh.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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I worked at Subway when I was 18.

Only lasted about 6 months. Place was very clean & food safety was a priority.

Pretty decent job, we got one free sandwich per shift & a discount if we came in while we were off.

We used to make some weird sandwich combos for our meals. One guy made a steak & cheese with jalapenos, banana peppers, hot peppers, green peppers, onion, bacon, "hots" and ranch dressing. Sounds horrifying, tasted delicious. Another guy made an "everything" sub. Yep, one of every item we had in the store. I didn't try that, he didn't even it it all.... :laugh:

One of my favorites was chicken, bacon, provolone and BBQ sauce. Throw in the microwave to heat. Add lots of pepper & lettuce and consume. Very good. I still ask for it sometimes when I go to Subway.

I used to see lots of employee theft there. One of the closing managers used to take lunchmeat, cheese & bread home at least once a week. Lots of people took lunch meat actually. I even saw someone take some of the mayo ! The only theft I was guilty of was sliding my friends a free sandwich every now & then. :wink:

Today is going to be one of those days.....

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I worked at Wendy's when I was 15. My friend and I applied together, and they hired both of us. One got to be "Wendy" and wear the costume and the other got salad bar duty.

I was the salad bar girl, which is a good thing, b/c you'd be surprised how many skanky men will hit on a 15 year old dressed up as a young schoolgirl with a red wig and freckles.

After Wendy's, I worked for a year at TCBY which I loved. I used to fill a cup with heath bar bits and then put on a small squirt of chocolate yogurt. YUM. We got to eat whatever we wanted...

Danielle Altshuler Wiley

a.k.a. Foodmomiac

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I worked at both Wendys and McDonalds in the same summer (after my freshman year in college). I was able to do a side-by-side comparison. Wendys definitely won. Back in those days, the onions at McDonalds were dehydrated, and there was no fresh lettuce or tomatos. At least there were some fresh ingredients at Wendys. The McDonalds was a lot dirtier too. But this was many years ago.

For a while after that, I would eat at Wendys but not McDonalds. Now I won't eat at either one.

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Burger King for three weeks one spring -- quit right away. Something wacky going on there with the boss....

Then I took a job, which I had throughout my junior spring, that summer, and my senior fall, at Friendly's, an ice cream and luncheonette chain here in New England (and home to my biggest vice, butter crunch ice cream -- but I digress). I regularly worked the late shift (2-10 pm) in the Revere Beach shop that summer in BOH. On good beach days (hazy, hot, and humid), the early shift guy didn't show up, leaving me with dirty breakfast and lunch dishes filling every bus bin in the place, meaning I was washing dishes well past closing in a steamy hole. I kinda liked it -- and it cleared up my adolescent skin (or so I tell myself).

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I worked at Hardee's, Wendy's and Burger King during the summer after my freshman year of college.

Hardee's was gross. There's no other way to describe this one. I quit after a grand total of 4 hours.

Wendy's wasn't nearly as bad. It was pretty clean, the people were nice. I was working 4pm-2am, on drive thru. I remember one of my coworkers had a thing for putting plastic salad boxes in the deep fryer. The salad containers would shrink up to little 2x2 discs and get tossed about the kitchen for the rest of the night. They used to let me take home leftover pitas and tomatoes at night, and I lived on those and "borrowed" cups of Frosty while I was working there.

I went to Burger King for July and August because they paid better. They were even cleaner, to the point of wiping down the little playground area with bleach water every night. We had the fastest drive-thru time in the district while I was there, and as long as we held that record we could have free meals during our shifts.

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I worked at McDonald's...my very first real job...when I was 15. That was, let's see....1980. Gawd. Minimum wage was $2.85. As I recall, it was very clean, because 'if you've got time to lean, you've got time to clean'. I was still working there when they introduced the McChicken - they were really good back then. We got one half price meal per shift, and the guys in the back would make pretty much anything you wanted. At that time, all the burgers were held in long rows under the heat lamps, and the shift manager wrapped them. I can still hear him yelling 'Give me 6 Macs on the turn'. Grill orders were hand written, and the cash registers were manual. My mom taught me to make change the night before I started. I lasted a full year, and then a friend was assaulted in the crew room and I quit. I had my driver's liscence by then and drove myself home in our powder blue Hornet. My mom was so mad at me for quitting until I told her what happened...then she went down there and yelled at the manager for 20 minutes. Best day of my young life!

I got a job the next day at KFC, which here in Canada is a union job. Paid 7 dollars an hour with benefits! All the salads and everything were trucked in, and I worked the front counter and made fries. I worked there when they invented the chicken burger (what is it with me and chicken burgers?) and we were among the first to sell it. I remember one night having a cold biscuit fight and beaning a customer as she came into the store...we had to give her a free barrel pack so she wouldn't tell the manager. The colonel was still alive, and every year we would have a birthday sale - two pieces of chicken and fries for 87 cents or however old he was that year. Worst day of the year. Then he passed away and we all cried, until we realized No more Birthday Sales! Cold hearted teenagers that we were. We also traded food with the pizza place and Dairy Queen...I wonder if the manager ever knew that...

Good topic...lots of memories!

Don't try to win over the haters. You're not the jackass whisperer."

Scott Stratten

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Oh my. It was well over 30 years ago that I obtained my first job at McDonalds. I got to work in a brand new store at Markham and the 401. As I recall, minimum wage for students back then was $2.15 an hour and I thought I'd received a small fortune when I got my first paycheck.

Before actually getting to work in a store, we had three weeks of training, watching videos and working the various stations with seasoned employees. I seem to recall a test I had to pass first. We had the Seven Characteristics of a French Fry drilled into us.

Anything over a 4 hour shift, you got one meal for free, anything under 4 hours it was half price. Everyone was trained to clean when they weren't busy at their station and everynight, we "broke down" the store cleaned and polished every station, grill, and machine, and set up the grills etc for breakfast the next day.

I don't know if they still do this, but whenever a cashier would shout an order to a station, i.e. "2 large fries, 1 cheeseburger" each station attendant had to answer "Thank you!"

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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We had the Seven Characteristics of a French Fry drilled into us.

:laugh: Ha, ha! The Seven Characteristics of a French Fry! It sounds like something Hobbit-ish! I love it.

Actually, it was even funnier when I read it wrong at first and thought it said "The Seven Charismatics of a French Fry"! :biggrin:

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I worked at Polar Cup during the summer in between high school and college. I chose to work there because I loved the product! Polar Cup was a frozen lemonade slush. It was made with whole lemons, lemon juice, sugar and water. Nothing else, amazing! I ran the window. The owner hired me because there were no women there at all, and he wanted to 'soften up the place' and make the drivers behave more civilized. The place was a converted gas station, and they really never expected people to come to the window, but it kept happening, so he needed someone to run it. He used my hiring as the excuse to make a code of behavior for the company. After all, we can't be swearing around the nice 16 year old! Mostly trucks went out around town, like ice cream trucks. I got my first taste of marketing there, I saw a lot of guys coming during lunch with their sandwiches and burger bags, and I talked the owner into selling hot dogs at the window with the slushes. Why should he lose that business? We did very well, and he gave me a huge bonus at the end of the summer as a thank you. Ah, Polar Cup, I do miss that lemony sweet goodness!

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I don't know if they still do this, but whenever a cashier would shout an order to a station, i.e.  "2 large fries, 1 cheeseburger"  each station attendant had to answer "Thank you!"

What did you say when a particularly attractive person walked in?

I just remembered something hilarious. A friend of mine worked at a McDonald's and her mom told me that one night, after work, she walked in the front door and instead of yelling, "I'm home!," she yelled, "May I help someone, please?" :laugh:

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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My hometown and college town were both too small for Mickey-Ds, so I ended up working at:

The Prairie Winds Cafe. I worked first as a dishwasher, then as a waitress, finally as a cook. This was all between the ages of 15-17, evening and weekends. I think waitress pay was like $2.85/hr and I thought I hit the big time as a cook, $5.00/hour (tips really sucked so I made more as a cook, plus I didn't have to put up with customers.) Ate free as long as it was reasonable (i.e. no steaks).

During college I was a waitress at Country Kitchen (do they still have those?), worked 5p-3a, dinner and "bar rush" crowds. Lovely time being felt up by all the drunk guys. Lasted two months, then went on to a pizza/sub shop (which closed a couple of months later, not related to my working there, at least I hope not...), then finally to the Pizza Ranch. Even though I would diligently clean, the place was always greasy (we did "broasted" chicken too). Received several interesting scars from the pizza ovens and broaster (deep fryer+pressure cooker). We got to eat and drink free, and leftover buffet food got to go home with us (mmmm, pizza sitting under heat lamps for hours.)

Haven't worked food service since I graduated from college...but now my dream is to open a bakery. What's wrong with me?? :wacko:

Edited to correct grammar.

Edited by Darcie B (log)
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Then I took a job, which I had throughout my junior spring, that summer, and my senior fall, at Friendly's, an ice cream and luncheonette chain here in New England

Yum, Friendly's. We actually have one here in Toledo, though it is filthy.

Friendly's was always a special treat for us. I went to sleepaway camp, and us lifers (the kids that were there for eight weeks) got a lifer's night out at the end of the summer. Dinner in the parking lot of Friendly's and a movie. The year I remember most fondly was the one that featured E.T. :biggrin:

I seem to recall a funny name for the shakes at Friendly's. What are they called??

Danielle Altshuler Wiley

a.k.a. Foodmomiac

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We had the Seven Characteristics of a French Fry drilled into us.

:laugh: Ha, ha! The Seven Characteristics of a French Fry! It sounds like something Hobbit-ish! I love it.

Actually, it was even funnier when I read it wrong at first and thought it said "The Seven Charismatics of a French Fry"! :biggrin:

I swear. They even had a video. I can no longer remember all of them, but the few I remember are:

1. Uniform shape and size

2. Unbroken

3. Golden brown

4. long

I'll bet they still teach them at Hamburg U.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Remember learning how to bag an order? Which size bag to choose, what went in first, etc.? On those rare occasions when I visit McDonald's I still look to see whether trays are assembled in the correct order (from coldest to hottest). I think one of the things that I liked about the job was that it rewarded me for being both obsessive and efficient.

In the drive thru I used a foot pedal-driven microphone. I now use a foot pedal-driven dictaphone, and still find myself wanting to say "Good evening and welcome to McDonald's. Can I take your order please?" everytime I use it. Old habits die hard.

[edited because I actually had to go use the foot pedal to recall exactly what it was I had to say in the drive thru---brains are very weird things]

Edited by therese (log)

Can you pee in the ocean?

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