God Bless the Monkey

Because ‘Follow Your Bliss’ was already taken.

Anyone Still Out There? December 8, 2008

Filed under: Average-Day Prose,Tales from the Shop — kateos @ 4:59 pm
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(Times Burned: 0; Wrong Orders: 0; Customers I Want to Slam Over the Head with a Skillet: 0, Major Catastrophes: 0)

In case you haven’t already deduced, I quit my job at DD. I had a whole slew of quitting-related blog posts to share, but as summer came to a close, I simply ran out of time. In case you were wondering, the only reason why I quit was because I knew that I simply could not juggle schoolwork, work, and my personal life. The boss didn’t fault me for it, just was a little displeased that two months of training was going to pot. I was a little sorry, but later learned from a friend that the boss left a few weeks later to focus on schoolwork as well.

Do I miss working there? I miss certain aspects of the job. I miss making coffees. Aside from the pay, I think baristas have it made. I miss feeling vital and independent. I miss the chocolate chip muffins (so bad for you, but so good!). I don’t miss the chronic foot pain (seriously, I could only hobble by the last few weeks). Nor do I particularly miss the people (not that they were mean; we just didn’t get along). I do sometimes find myself feeling nostalgic for the place.

Whether or not I am going back is a wide open question. I already have summer plans for the next two years (busy busy), but I may find myself working there part-time sometime in the not-so-near future. Who knows?

I guess this must be the closure post or something, for me at least. It’s definitely not the end of this blog. I feel like jumping the shark by posting this, but I don’t think this blog will stay inactive for very long. Until then…


It’s Pretty Sweet August 11, 2008

Filed under: Tales from the Shop — kateos @ 2:31 pm
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(Times Burned: 1!; Wrong Orders: 3; Customers I Want to Slam Over the Head with a Skillet: 2, Major Catastrophes: 0!!)


It’s Sunday, and I check the position board upon arrival: the shift leaders have put me on front again. Not that I mind; I much prefer working at the front than as drive-thru cashier. There’s much more space, no annoying window, and the freedom to make the coffees myself. I help the previous shift’s front worker clear out the long line, then sit back and anticipate my 5 hours of relative boredom. Natasha is in today, along with Nicole and Irene, who usually works the night shift. After April and Britney leave at 2, it’s leaves just the four of us, and we make a stellar team.


With almost no customers at the front, I end up putting on some gloves and working the Sandwich Station as well, something new and utterly thrilling to me. While I still don’t know how to make breakfast sandwiches, I quickly pick up flats, pizzas, and bagels, only burning myself once in the process (as regular readers know, this is quite the improvement for me). 


An order pings in through the drive-thru. 


“What’s in the Southwest flatbread?” the man wants to know.


“Umm, well,” Natasha, says, looking at us with a HELP-ME expression on her face.


“Chicken, cheese, and peppers!” I’m shouting.


“There’s chicken and…cheese and…peppers…and a sauce.” she eventually says.


“What kind of sauce?”


“A…Southwest sauce?” she says hopefully. “It’s pretty sweet.” 


“Okay,” the man says, as the four of us burst with laughter, Natasha with her hands slapped over her mouth. “In that case then, I’ll take one of your breakfast sandwiches…”


Ten minutes later, we’re still poking fun at her.


“It’s pretty sweet,” I mimick, in an exaggerated laid-back tone. We all laugh again. Another order pings in.


“Hi, welcome to DD. How can I help you?” 


“Hi, is your Southwest flatbread any good? I mean, what’s in it?” We all look at each other. Didn’t the last guy just ask this? 


“I’ll take this one,” Irene says. “Well, first there’s the bread. Then, there’s the cheese. Then, there’s the chicken. Then, there’s this sauce.” I can’t tell if she’s saying all this to be funny, or if this is really her idea of a good response. “The sauce is sweet and really good, kind of like…kind of like teriyaki sauce. Like, if you’ve ever had the Teriyaki Chicken Sub at Subway, it’s like the sauce on that.” The woman drives away.


“Come on!” Irene yells to the room at large. “How can you not like teriyaki sauce?!?” 


“Cause teriyaki sauce is Asian and this flatbread is supposed to be Southwest. And Subway? What does Subway have to do with this?” Natasha counters good-naturedly. “I just came up with the best definition for the flat. We all have to use this one next: It’s like an Asian man who immigrates to Arizona…in your mouth!”


I can only imagine the amount of flats we would sell with that definition. But somewhere out there is a woman driving and munching on a Chicken Teriyaki Sub with its pretty sweet sauce and thinking, “So that’s what the Southwest sauce tastes like.” 🙂


Sorry, We’re a Chicken-Free Zone July 29, 2008

Filed under: Tales from the Shop — kateos @ 6:50 pm
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(Times Burned: 2; Wrong Orders: 3; Customers I Want to Slam Over the Head with a Skillet: 1, Major Catastrophes: 2)


It’s Sunday, and I’m working the afternoon shift from 12-6, something I despise doing but just have to learn to live with, like waiting in line and finding soggy tomatoes in my salads. Ariana, who is even greener than I am (yeah, not possible, right?) is busy manning the drive-thru, though, like me, her eye never strays from the clock. As April heads out the door, Josh hands me her drive-thru headset, which I eagerly slip on. I’m just about ready to explode with excitement after my weeks of training on the headset-less front line.

Of all the times I’ve been through a drive-thru, I’ve never once thought too deeply into how they work. It never occurred to me that while I was ordering, there was a tiny army of human workers listening carefully and assembling my order as I spoke. But that’s exactly how it works.


It doesn’t take me long to figure out how the headset works either. Push the first button and you can listen to the customer and the speaker. Push it again and you can speak with the customer. Push and hold the second button to talk to your drive-thru coworkers. I have no idea what the third button does. Pushing it uncovers no noticeable function. I press it for a little while, then quickly move on.


One major problem is that the headset wire is long and dangling. It’s not too hard for klutzy, uncoordinated me to trip over it as I bend down to pack boxes of Munchkins from time to time. After the third time I’ve tripped and sent the fist-sized machine flying to the ground, I decide it must be made from some sort of elf magic, as it barely leaves a scratch.


Josh ambles over to talk. He’s a nice guy, nearly out of college (Damn, I seem to be meeting an awful lot of those lately.). I glance up at him (he’s very tall) and decide I must have misjudged him when he walked through the door earlier in the morning. He may be gangly and his complexion a little spotty, but from the way he walks and talks, this is clearly his domain.


An order pings in through our headsets, and Josh quickly hurries over to the drive-thru coffee station.


“Hi, welcome to DD. How can I help you?”


“Yeah, I’d like an order of chicken tenders.” We look around at each other, then at the drive-thru camera.


“I’m sorry, we don’t carry chicken tenders.”


“Well, do you guys have anything like chicken nuggets?”


“Uh, no. This is DD. Maybe you want to try McDonald’s.” Josh is struggling to keep the sarcasm out of his voice at this point. The woman drives away without another word, as we shake with laughter and grip the granite countertop to keep from falling over.


“Hey, you got someone up front,” Josh says, and I hurry over to take their order. Before we know it, we’re in the weeds, as car after car lines up at the drive-thru and at the front. I hand the family at the front their change and slam the register shut. Josh yells for me to bring over two donuts for the car at the window, and I’m on it until I feel a tug at my hip, and realize that I’ve locked the register on my headset wire. I pull on it desperately (shit, shit, shit!!) , but I’m stuck as a fly in a spiderweb.


“Joshhhhhh!” I cry out. He surveys the situation with a grave look as he takes a car’s order.


“Do you have the key to the register?”


“No, the manager went home already.” Two more cars drive up, and Josh needs to take them. “Look,” he says. “Take it off. I’ll deal with it later.” I do as he says, but as luck may have it, more customers have appeared at the front. I hope ringing up their orders will help open it, but it stays firmly shut. Josh is back now, and, like our caveman ancestors, resorts to a combination of hitting the cash register and tugging hard on the wire. And then, to our amazement, it’s free. We give an exhausted cheer, and nearly collapse, then and there, on the floor.


I have a newfound respect for my shift-leaders as, everyday, they must think quick on their feet to smooth out my problems. My first instinct when confronted with a crisis is to wring my hands and run around in circles like a headless chicken. Though it doesn’t look too likely, I’m working on it.


Until then, all I have to say is: Thanks, Josh.