Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Burger Fling Therapy

You know something? In a twisted, mean and probably harmful way, the Fling is theraputic to me right now. I go from a job where I am afraid to say anything but "Yessuh Massa", to a job where I could probably tell a customer "Fuck You" and return to work the next day with no ill will from anyone. It makes my bitter little heart smile. I was in the "Present" window, where you pass drinks and food to the customer, yesterday. I was having a pretty sunny day because I was supposed to be off, but was covering someone's shift, and didn't have to wake up until 8 AM, instead of 4:30. The Burger Fling bigwigs were coming to check out the store, but amazingly, I was due to leave before they arrived. And then Hoemiesha arrives.. I hate to stereotype, but she is just so average! Just by looking at her, I imagine her as at forty-year old single mother, working at a Section-8 office and complaining about all of the trifling trash that she has to help find housing. She reeks of self-righteousness. She was expediting(putting the crap in a bag or a tray and putting it in the right place.) and we got in one of those trainwreck-waiting-to-happen rushes. One minute everyone is standing around drinking soda and the next, six Triple Floppers and eight ToughGrills cover the board. After about a one-minute lull after the first rush, I hear Hoemiesha sneakily (and yet still loudly) saying to an employee at the broiler, "Yeah, she's bringing it back because Shuflayn passed the wrong thing out the window." Ugh..... I felt the pinpricks of irritation at the back of my brain at hearing her words, and when the lady got back to the window, her face was scrunched up with a bulldoggish look. "I wanted a hamburgah kids meal. I didn't ask fo no dayum chicken nuggets!" I apologized immediately and let her know we would replace it ASAP. I waited, and about a minute later, Hoemiesha daintily placed the bag upon the counter. "THIS is the hamburger kids meal." She then snobbishly twirled around to go back to her station. Oh hell no... I essentially sailed the woman's meal out of the small window and wished her a happy/wonderful/sanctified afternoon. "So I guess I'm the only one to ever pass the wrong FUCKING thing out of the window?" She stopped with her only-present-during-lunchtime diddybopping when she heard me. "It's not MY fault, YOU are supposed to look in the bag before you..." I started tuning her out after that. She was starting to make no sense, and also sounded like Butters from the T.V. show South Park. A few minutes later, I had to ask a car to pull forward because we were cooking something and the drive-thru is on a timer; having them wait at the window would have killed whatever relay race we were going for. The next woman had a Double Cracker value meal with Onion Rings and a Sprite. That's it. So when Hoemiesha threw a bag next to me that contained chicken nuggets, I blanched. I started reading the screen with orders, trying to figure out where this needed to go, when I heard her say, "It's a Double Cracker Meal! Get it out the window!" I flipped out. "Well what the hell are chicken nuggets doing in here?" I tossed the barely warm package onto the counter. She ran over, ready for a confrontation. "No, you can't do that. You....." I looked back in the bag and saw fries instead of onion rings. "This whole order is wrong! Get your shit together!" I responded, and almost flung the bag at her. The lady at the window's jaw dropped. I saw Hoemiesha's bottom lip quiver and I knew I had won. She assembled the order correctly and stalked back to the kitchen, presumably to tell a manager. Surprisingly, the store manager made her stay back in the kitchen and work, and nothing was said to me at all. And I don't feel worried. Damn, that felt wonderful.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Seafood Department That is My Brain

What you see is row upon row of gleaming fillets of halibut and grouper and salmon. You see the shiny scales of fresh rainbow trout. The fluffy pieces of catfish, begging to be battered and deep-fried. You see the neatly arranged shrimp, waiting to squirm their way into a bowl of pho or a stunning shrimp cocktail. You see the majestic king crab legs, full of lucious meat...

What you don't see is the struggle to lift heavy boxes of fish and the pain of falling with said boxes on an icy cooler floor. You don't see the scars on my brown hands from being stabbed repeatedly with shrimp tails, crab legs, and sharp knives. You don't see my ashy, puckered fingers at the end of a night, wrinkled from chemicals and cold.

You hear the loud hum of bone saws, cutting your porterhouse steaks, bone-in pork chops, and depending on who's there, frozen salmon. The friendly, helpful banter between employees and customers, and the P.A. system advertising the pharmacy and the discounted chickens in the Deli department.

What you don't hear is the soft, under-my-breath swears of frustration, the muted moans of pain as your muscles slowly cramp due to months of refridgeration. You don't hear the hateful shouts from the management that make you feel worthless and dumb. You don't hear my unconsolable, child-like weeping in the arms the love of my life, hopeless because he can't heal me.

You smell the ocean-y scent of fresh, succelent sea scallops, and the clean, watermelon-like odor of organic Irish salmon. You smell the honey-soy-ginger marinade of chicken and vegetable kabobs, and the coconut and oreganato panko coating of the probably too old mahi-mahi fillets. You smell the strong, mouth-watering affair of steamed peel-and-eat shrimp and snow crab clusters, heavily spiced with Old Bitch Seasoning.

You don't smell the ammonia-based cleaner on the bathroom floor, snorted in, because of the severity of your sobs. You don't smell the expensive cologne on the store manager as you essentially beg for some type of feedback on what kind of job you are doing. You don't smell my nervous sweat as I wonder with every small mistake, if this will be the straw that broke the camel's back.

Because you don't have to. Every time I work, I deal with a fierce internal struggle between my pride and my common sense...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Fo Shizzle...

I hate music where white people are trying to sound black. The white music I like is white.-Kanye West

This also describes my feeling of "black" speech from someone who has admittedly never spent a day outside of the suburbs. And don't get me started on the issue of white/black "speech. If I had a nickel for everytime some redneck remarked, "You sayound lahk a whaat girl on dat speaker!" while I was in drive-thru, I would be able to turn my back on bullshitting fast food jobs forever. It saddens me that speaking properly and cohesively is considered "white" and "high siddity". My huge vocabulary often surprises everyone I meet. But karma comes back to bite me, I suppose, as the nOOb, Josh, was suddenly thrown into my department. This is where the management's poor communication skills come into play. I felt horrible, insecure, and worried. Why am I out of the loop? I found out shortly after that one of our most loved butchers was packing up his knives and getting the hell out of Dodge. God Damn! I suppose it has to happen, every department has to change eventually, but it's scary. Especially when your own job is threatened. By Josh. A wigga in every sense of the word. But, he seems to retain most of his ethnicity inside until I clock in. It was midly amusing at first, but he started getting aggravating at a breakneck speed. By the fourth time he asked a customer "Yo! Can I help you?" I wanted to slap the fuck out of him with a hammer. "Ayo; I'm about to take a break, yo. Is dat cool with you?" Me- yes, that's fine. "Aight, when I get back, I'm going to gangbang some of those leg quarters." My eyebrow shot up as I immediatly pictured him howling in agony as huge frozen leg quarters in assless chaps pistol-whipped him. He shuns anything that I try to teach him, in favor of any bulky, inconvenient method that Clay has taught him, from wrapping frozen shrimp, to defrosting large crabs before you put them in the display case. So I just gave up. I essentially became his little bitch who does everything at 3 or 4 that should have been done hours before I got there. I saw my fearless mentor, BayBay, a few nights ago, and he spoke one of the truest statements I've heard in months. "A.R. is not seeing you for who you've become, or any progress you've made. He is seeing you, still, as how you were when you started this job (complaining about not getting breaks, taking lunches that lasted more than 1/2 hour, being late because I did not read the schedule correctly, ect, ect, because I can't ever do anything right.). He is not going to consider you for a full time position." He kept getting passed over for management, so he moved on, too. It might be time for me to make that switch back to Hell-Mart before it's too late.

Briefly Back...

To congratulate the ghey who has a crush on my boyfriend. You just caused me to disable the anonymous commenting feature on my bloggy. I should have known that some people get butt-hurt too easily over something stupid. I also enabled comment moderation. Sorry to the decent folks who don't have the time to make an account, who usually have something relevant to add to my posts.

Fuckery At The Fling

Dang, it's been awhile since my last post. My morning job at the Fling ties me up much more than I am used to. It's very grating on your nerves to have two jobs dealing with customer service. And in my situation, you get to experience shitty people at opposite sides of the social class spectrum. But at Burger Fling, my biggest hurdle is not with the customer, most of the time. It's the janky-ass crew. The last thing I want to do when I have to get my lazy carcass out of bed at 3:30 A.M. to be ANYWHERE at 4:30 is deal with someone with a crappy attitude. If you can't get your shit together in time for you to be here, dealing with the public, stay home! I usually open with a manager named Dilbert during the week, then a woman named Shaquana on the weekend. The morning shift is peppered with interesting characters from all walks of life. There is an old guy, Playa, with a gruff New York accent, who always steers any conversations about anything, into a deep bucket of sexual harassment suits. I know it's time to find something else to do when he says, "Let me use this as an example. Say me and you was in the bed..." Then we have the token white guy, Wigga. He kind of reminds me of a bipolar squirrel with muscles. He looks NERVOUS. If he had a tail, it would definetly be jerking and twitching sporadically. But he also looks like he will choke someone with his bare hands, chew them up, spit them out and then form Angus Steak Patties with their flesh. Speaking of which.. We tested out this new monstrocity on April Fool's Day. The manager on duty stood over one of the guy's shoulders as he assembled it. "Nope, more crispy onions! Bun bottom in the microwave. No, you need more mashed potato spread!" When it was done, we all stood back and stared at it. It kind of looks like those embarrassing Leftover Burgers that Mom makes after dad comes back with all of the rent money spent on crack. Dilbert took the liberty of chopping the sandwich into pieces. I politely declined, citing carbs as my reasoning, but I kind of thought the combination of A-1 sauce and mashed potato looked and smelled like sour vomit. It's getting panned horribly on the 'net, but hell.. We sell enough of those damn things. When people order it, they say "loaded" in this lilting, sensual voice. The first person who did it surprised me, but I got used to the pornographic murmur, mildly amused as I watched them eying the picture of the huge sandwich lustfully. Buisness has been booming lately, and management has been desperatly hiring more crew, hoping to take care of or short staffing problem. One of the new hires, Lily( A "black" white girl), has been causing nothing but problems starting on her first day. She "fainted" up at the registers while learning how to use the POS. Everyone fawned over her and made sure she was okay. Turns out she's about four months pregnant... Her first child is seven months old and she's nineteen, like me. That's where the similarities end. I worked with her yesterday, and she was only up front, helping through a short rush period for about fifteen minutes, before she shlepped off to the bathrooms, looking bedraggled upon her return. Our shift manager, Hope, allowed her to sit down for a moment. Then they mutually decided that she should just go home. Supposedly she has these "spells" that cause her to become dizzy and to black out. I told her that if she could wait about twenty minutes, I would drive her home. It was raining and humid outside. Surprisingly, she had enough energy to ask me to lend her some money to buy two Chick'n Crisps and a Large Fry with, and she had no problem shooting the shit with some of the employees on break out in the lobby. While she waited for her food, the people taking a break verbally snatched some skin off her ass. They speculated that although she was pregnant, dizzyness usually did not hit this early on, but everyone is different, ect. One of the ladies that loads the Flopper meat into the broiler cackled as she said, "Richard says she has Black Sydrome. She pass out everytime she's around niggas." The table erupted into laughter, and Homie G came back looking like BooBoo the Fool, clutching her paper sack and her jacket. I shook my head and bid them adieu. I told her that I hoped she felt better, and she thanked me for being so nice. Why in ham sandwich did this harridan wear gray strechy jeans to work today and wonder why everyone looked at her like she was a big porcelain bumblebee. Hope promptly told her to clock out and go home. She then sulked around in various parts of the restaurant, saying loudly, "Well, that's good then. I can stay home all day and watch T.V." and "I didn't have time to wash my clothes so it's not my fault. " I was too sleepy to try and dispel the redundancy of her statement. Again, people on break bashed her almost loudly in the lobby. We both were heading home around the same time, so I offered to take her home again. The strange thing is, this jackass pulls out a pack of cigarettes and asks if I minded the smoke. I was too flabbergasted to speak. I wanted to put that cig out in her eye and then grind up the remnents and make her snort it. Probably would not take much force. In the car, she rambled on and on about how she had a medical condition, blah blah, blah blah, not my fault, blah blah. Then she made the mistake of thinking that she could not get fired from it. That's not true. They are documenting every tardiness, No Call No Shows, and stockpiling them, so when it's time to hand your ass that pink slip, that's all she wrote! She does not take her job seriously at all yet. She might, but I doubt it. Usually people with a "not my fault' complex are that way for life. The whole thing just made me want to manually remove her reproductive system with a rusty, syphllis marinated dinner fork. More on the Teet soon folks, I promise.