– Once I had enough experience under my plastic, McDonald’s-issue belt, the managers had me train new recruits. That was kind of fun. I’d take them to the break room and show them the same cheesy video that taught me when I first started. Then I’d show them the laminated keyboard and then take them upstairs to start exposing them to the public, and let the public expose themselves to the newbies..That sounds so wrong.
– The newbies would soon morph into more experienced workers, and one day while we were all scrambling around during a lunch rush, I rushed up to the fry bin to fix my fry order only to find one of my trainees had already set aside my fry order for me. “Thank you!” I said all impressed and grateful. The young guy just smiled, shrugged and said, “You taught me well!” I got chills, I tell ya. I was so proud, like I had raised him myself only without the intense labor pains.
– We were praised for having perfect register drawers, which meant when the managers counted all the drawers at the end of each day and your drawer was the perfect amount, you got a star on a chart. Once you earned enough stars and credits you could get a reward. Slightly childish, but it helped motivate us to be careful when giving back change. I can’t remember all the prizes that were offered, I know I saved up to buy Ronald McDonald earrings. We’d get pins, though, for our shirts. Pins up the wazoo. I still have them, found them late last year! Can’t give those up.
– One of my first nights I must’ve given someone a ten dollar bill back instead of a dollar. Whoever it was didn’t call me on it. The managers called me into the office and told me my drawer was off ten dollars. Being the sensitive flower that I was at the time, I cried because I thought I’d be fired or something. My manager C said everyone has had an imperfect drawer at one time or another while working there. The next time they counted my drawer, the same manager came up to me, put her arm around my neck and said, “Guess what? Perfect drawer. See?” I can’t remember an incident like that happening again after that.
– I said “I love you” to a customer once. Didn’t know his name, he didn’t know mine and he actually started it. A young guy with a car full of his friends pulled up to the drive-thru window to get their meal. It was probably a late, Friday night and everyone was in a good mood. I gave them their order and he said “Thanks Tara (he read my name tag)! I love you!” I waved him off casually and said, “I love you too.” They laughed and drove off.
– One time a car drove through and ordered six Big Macs at around 11:30 at night when we were getting ready to close. We prepared them all only to find out it was a prank and the people drove off laughing without paying.
I could really go on and on about all sorts of things that went on, but frankly I should wrap this up. Eventually after feeling weird that I was the new owner of a college diploma and was still working at a fast food joint, I felt compelled to look for another job. I found one in an office in Downtown Cleveland. When I told my manager at McDonald’s that I was giving my notice, she closed her eyes in not a “Oh I’m so happy for her” but rather like “Who’s gonna work Friday nights now?” expression. She told me eventually that McDonald’s was like a revolving door and that I could always come back. On my last day my coworkers bought me balloons and a farewell card. I was not really sad to leave, it was kind of my time to move on. But once I started the uncomfortable and cold job as a receptionist for a Cleveland CPA, I wished I was right back at the place where “everybody knows your name”. Thankfully I didn’t stay in the CPA office for long and found a job as an office assistant in a much more cheerful place and worked there for about three and a half years before they layed me off. But that is a whole other story.