FORT LAUDERDALE – Many people have said that one of the great luxuries of living in the good ‘ol U.S.A is that we get to eat french fries whenever we want to..24 hours a day…7 days a week. That’s great, but ask any fast food worker about that and they will say that french fries are great, until you’re surrounded by it for 10 hours a day! Isn’t the smell of french fries just lovely — try working in a fast food restaurant, it seeps into every single pore of your body. Good luck trying to get rid of the scent of grease in your pores!
Say hello to Gerald. He works for an upscale Burger Joint in downtown Fort Lauderdale and despite a promotion to Manager and making $30,000 per a year, he is now required to close the store 3 nights a week and complete inventory at least 4 times a week at the end of each shift. In his own words, his promotion to Manager turned into a giant Goose Egg. He is now making about 35% less money putting in 75 hours a week! There are days that he struggles with complex orders and people dictate to him exactly how much mayonnaise belongs on their burger — he grins and smiles — but the rage builds within! Long gone are the days when he would devour one of the Burgers there in a flash — now his stomach starts turning every time he sees one on the tray!
The fast food business is a “high turnover” industry – catering to the needs of the young with fast, steady employment at the minimum wage level. With the gig economy expanding its reach throughout communities in the United States and the rest of the world, more and more people are gravitating away from their Drive-Thru duties for other ventures.
Gone are the days of wearing a hair net in front of customers who smirk and snicker at the mangled mess on top of your head. So too are the days when kids scream so loudly because their parents won’t buy them a dessert, and you know deep down inside you just want to lock those kids in the restroom and throw away the key! No more days of fielding stupid food-related questions asked by customers when the entire menu is visible in large pictures above your head.
As skilled production and administrative workers lose their jobs, they have moved into jobs in retail, fast food, home healthcare and childcare. The hourly wages are relatively low and most companies keep their workers on a part-time or quasi-full time basis; just below the limit so they can forego offering benefits like the Family and Medical Leave Act. The reality is that there is nowhere to go.
Few front line sales and cashier workers ever make it to first-line supervisors and what do you really have to look forward to in that position? First-line supervisors of food prep earn a median annual income of just over $29,000 a year and your day will come when repetitive stress injuries will catch up to you from your days of the flipping burgers and chucking those frozen fries into the deep fryer!
A fast food worker once told me that working in fast food sometimes felt like she was a hamster running around on a very tight wheel with nowhere to go. She had a great work ethic and her Manager always had her phone on blast with weird requests, “Ah…say….so and so didn’t come into today….say….you think you can cover her shift from 12 – 9”.
It’s hard to put on a happy front for your customers to mask the drudgery when you know your 8-hour shift is going to turn into 10 – 11 hours because “so and so” called out. Oh, and you got some snitches on your job. You thought the snitches were only in your family…wait till you start working at a fast food restaurant. Co-workers in your favorite fast food restaurant are some of the most sneaky snitches you’ll ever meet in your Life. No need to wait for your next family reunion- WUT!
Please watch this funny video clip, “Confessions of A Fast Food Worker” by IamNOTaNarcissist TC (please subscribe to her YouTube channel) for some “scary” confessions from a fast food worker:
Your Manager told you to take a break when Billy gets back…but Billy never came back….he turned in his apron and told everyone he quit (“in not so nice words”). When you’re tired and you just want to go home, someone in the drive-thru comes up with the most complicated order and the stress builds..especially when you’re at the tipping point of quitting because you have been in this cramped space with hot and heavy objects for the last seven hours and now you realize why you’re still single…and most likely will stay that way for a LONG time (if you work in this industry).
Go to college, my parents said. Make something of yourself. With a degree in Latin American Studies and a minor in Liberal Arts with bills to pay and massive student loan debt out the wazoo with mountains of interest piling on top of itself, you just found yourself in the food and beverage industry with nowhere to go! According to the National Restaurant Association, 10 percent (“1 in 10”) of the workforce in the U.S. work in the food service industry! That’s a lot of drudgery!
New Year? Bank holidays? Weekends? Fast food stops for nobody! If you work in the fast food industry or home healthcare, you should take a look at your options. While many people scorn the gig economy, it’s here to stay. Make it work for you!
So if you work in the fast food industry and an order comes through for a box of 20 chicken nuggets at 12 midnight and it’s almost the end of your shift and there are only 15 left — ask yourself, “Is this all there is for me?”
Please watch this funny video clip, “Things That Annoy Fast Food Workers” by Samantha Kim (please subscribe to her YouTube channel) to understand why you should try your best to always meet fast food workers half-way when you pull up to the drive thru window:
Companies like Uber, Lyft, Postmates, Instacart and Delivery Dudes — innovators of the Gig Economy are going to continue pushing forward with smartphone innovations to add more value to peoples’ lives while creating income opportunities for more and more people just like you.
So the next time you question your Life when a bunch of kids start screaming in your face or the customer is talking way too far from the microphone and they park way too far from the Drive Thru Window to give them their order as if you are “Mister Fantastic” from Marvel’s Fantastic Four, ask yourself, “Is this all there is for me?”.
Maybe not — but you will never know until to take a look at all of the options on the table. It does get better!