God Bless the Monkey

Because ‘Follow Your Bliss’ was already taken.

Roadkill Pizza and an Evangeline Lily Look-alike July 18, 2008

Filed under: Tales from the Shop — kateos @ 10:27 am
Tags: ,

(I am so seriously behind on posts. There is one more coming up after this, and one that I originally planned but have now scrapped. Bear with me, please.)


At the fifth rest stop we hit up on the way to Toronto, our crew piles out, absolutely ravenous. We eye the crowd in front of McDonald’s with fear and, in my case, disgust. I can’t imagine why anyone would wait in line to shell out an unreasonable amount of money to eat processed, preservative-laden crap.


I line up at Original Pizza of Boston. The name should have been the first warning sign. I mean, you hear about New York pizza, Chicago pizza, but Boston Pizza? I just wikipedia-ed their company, and apparently, they’re based out of Canada, and have no affiliation with Beantown whatsoever. False advertising, much?


Anyways, the line is crawling at such a sluggish speed that I’m about to rip my hair out in frustration. Besides being understaffed, the few staff members move like we owe them our lives, and manage to find time to strike up a robust conversation amongst themselves. Aside from managing to ignore our scowling faces, chatting is their favorite pastime.


By the time we finally make it to the front of the extremely short line (wow, I really wonder why!), I figure we could’ve made it through the Moscow McDonald’s line four times and still had time to trot our way back. The restaurant’s only saving grace is the fact that the cashier/server looks JUST like Evangeline Lily from LOST, only skinnier and with thinner eyebrows, which delights me to no end.


“Are the wings spicy?” I ask her, as she glances at me with haughty, I-could-care-less eyes.


“No, I don’t think so.” I place my order, and she crams a few wings under the broiler rack.


“Oh my god, I can’t wait to get out of here,” not-Evangeline says to her co-worker. “I hate this place, I hate this job.” She pouts as she waits for the previous customer’s meal to heat up.


“Wow, I like totally demolished this woman’s pizza,” she says as she takes out the slice. I look and indeed, it looks like a truck ran over it and someone had tried scraping it off the road. She packs it up and unceremoniously shoves it at the woman.


Finally, I pay up, and she hands me my box of wings. They’re not bad, but it’s her lemons expression that kills it for me.


Somehow, working at DD has made me only expect more out of waiters, cashiers, and servers. If I can smile and look like my feet aren’t killing me, for six straight hours, so can they. Then again, this all is really judgmental. I don’t know anything about the girl except for the attitude she gave me during that one moment. Maybe her cat just died or she can’t afford to pay the rent. Whatever it may be, it ruined my meal. The weekend I got home, I smiled a little more at work, one for the customers, and one for all the waiters who, unfortunately enough, have lost sight of that.


I Sure Hope So June 30, 2008

Filed under: Tales from the Shop — kateos @ 2:47 pm
Tags: , , , ,

(Times Burned: 2; Wrong Orders: 8; Customers I Want to Slam Over the Head with a Skillet: 2, Major Catastrophes: 3)


It’s a little past one at DD, and the early shifters have left, leaving just the four of us there for the afternoon. The shift leader puts me at the front counter with one-month veteran Natasha (Note: Real names replaced for privacy purposes), but she is quickly dispatched to help the other two employees manage the busy drive-thru window. I watch them hurriedly assemble bagel sandwiches and iced tea, while I pace back and forth behind the cash register, noticing that for once, I feel completely alone. No worries, I figure, since afternoons here are relatively slow.


Before I know it, a middle-aged, tired-looking woman and her grown daughter are in front of me.


“Anything you want, Mom,” the daughter says, as the two of them scan the menu overhead. “My treat.” It takes a little while, but the mother decides on a Medium Toasted Almond Coffee, Sweet n’ Lite. The daughter orders a Small Hazelnut Iced Coffee, Lite with Three Splendas. I move instinctively towards the Iced Coffee dispenser, grab two cups and start filling them with ice. I’m halfway done when the mother pipes up, “Excuse me, I ordered a HOT coffee.” Cursing my stupidity, I ditch the cups, head to the hot coffee dispenser, and frantically start assembling.


“This sugar machine isn’t working,” I mutter to Natasha, who is beside me filling a drive-thru order. She nods, not really listening and dashes off with a coffee. Furious at the sugar machine, which never seems to work for me, I jab the Medium button repeatedly, the machine giving off feeble little spurts with every press. Finally, the little mound of sugar comes rushing out, and I grab a lid, forcing it onto the cup with a little more difficulty than is normal. But by the time I’m finished making the daughter’s coffee, her mother is back at the counter.


“I asked for Sweet and Lite. This isn’t Lite,” she says, now a little cross.


“So sorry, ma’am,” I say, though in my head I’m screaming, “I made it a FUCKING Lite!! If you need a thousand liters of cream to dull the strength of coffee, then don’t fucking drink it, like I do. Geesh.” I’m already back at the dairy machine, adding more cream. By now, the cup is overflowing, and a nice ladleful sloshes onto my wrist as I set it down. Owwww. I knock over the coffee funnel, which clatters on the ground. Frodo (he looks like Elijah Wood) over at the Drive-Thru turns around and laughs at me. The coffee cup that I return to the woman is dripping wet.


“So sorry about…the wetness. Yeah…” I nervously giggle. The woman does not smile back. The queue that has lined up behind them is half thinking of leaving. They stare at me, wondering if they can trust a newbie with their coffee fix. Later, as I am dunking the funnel in antiseptic, I wonder when I’ll ever improve.


However, the day isn’t a complete fail. A sunny, short old man with his tall wife amble into the store later, and they’re the mellow, joking type.


“Can I have a donut?” he asks, turning to her like a kid in a candy factory.


“No, you most certainly cannot have a doughnut,” replies she.


“Two donuts, then.” I grin as they playfully bicker. They don’t complain when I drop the paper bag I was attempting to shake open with one hand or when it takes me a little longer to make their decaf iced coffees.


“You new here?” he pokes.


“You guessed it,” I say, looking down at my tired feet. “Is it that obvious?”


“Nah,” he expertly lies, waving his hand at me. “Listen. You get better at it.”


“Boy, I sure hope so,” I say. He chuckles.


“Pick up your sandwich here, sir,” Frodo calls out from the other counter.


“Bye, dear,” both of them say. On their way out, the old man looks back and calls, “Remember. You’ll get better at it, yeah?” I wave to them, and take a moment to lean my clumsy self against the front counter, savoring a rare moment of peace. “I sure hope so,” I whisper to the racks of glistening donuts lined up for duty and the funnel I dropped, now dry and sparkling clean.


Work…then Wall-e June 28, 2008

Filed under: Average-Day Prose — kateos @ 7:49 pm
Tags: ,

If you come into your local DD and ask for a Medium Lite French Vanilla and Hazelnut Iced Coffee with four Splendas and skim milk and then round it off with three more equally complex orders shot at me one by one without mercy, I may very well drop down on my knees in the middle of the slippery coffee-stained floor and blow my head off right then and there (okay, I was kidding about the last part). Never being a coffee drinker myself, I never understood that some people want their coffee a CERTAIN WAY and that if it is not that CERTAIN WAY, it simply will not do. I think of coffee as coffee. No matter how many glugs of cream and mountains of sugar you add to it, it is still spit-it-out-of-your-mouth intolerable. *sigh* How sheltered I was.


I’ll not go into specifics. Maybe another day, I’ll supply you with witty and insightful tales a la Waiter Rant and Barmaid Blog (two very well-written blogs by the way, bitching about the service industry).


Work is…well, work. It’s tiring. It’s eye-opening. It occasionally scares the shit out of me when I blank out and can’t tell a medium cup from a large and the customer is standing there thinking, “Well, this is great. My Labrador Retriever who drools into his water bowl could tell the difference.” Is it fun? To a degree, yes. Is it boring? Never. Kinda like owning a ferret, I guess.


But the best perk of having a job is that underlying feeling that I am achieving something. I have worth! Sure, I’m only worth minimum wage, but I am out there, I am paying taxes (like shaving, it’s one of the worst things about growing up), I am sipping from the cup of life (I’m pretty sure that’s from Bye Bye Birdie?), and I am (almost) a certifiable adult. Now if only I could drive…


Oh yeah, then I watched Wall-e. It was cute. The end.


Hello, My Name is Fuck-up! June 27, 2008

Filed under: Average-Day Prose — kateos @ 8:35 pm
Tags: , , ,

I got my test scores back yesterday. Don’t bother asking me what they were for or how high (or low in this case) my scores were; I’m not going to tell you. I’ll just say I feel like a royal fuck-up right now. I’m just trying to figure out whether retaking it is worth my time seeing as how I greatly underestimated my stupidity. The worst part is that my parents actually think it’s a good score, so they’re prattling on about how proud they are of me when really, I just feel like a total shitheel. My parents’ ecstatic surprise is definitely not encouraging. Apparently, they thought I was even more of a dumbass than I think I am right now.


Well, tomorrow’s the big day: My First Day Working for the Dunkin Donuts Empire. I feel a little bad that I am partaking in its efforts to strangle the last vestiges of creativity and soul that remain in my neck of the woods, channeled by our local coffeehouses. But hey, those local coffeehouses didn’t hire me.


Wish me luck!