Wednesday, October 13, 2010

D is for Donuts, Again

As a mother, a reluctant homeschooling mother, a volunteer teacher, and tutor...and wife, and friend...yeah, not finding so much time to be Tina the Writer. I wrote this post earlier this spring when I was playing catch-up after joining round 1 of Alphabe-Thursday at the letter K. I thought I'd throw it up here again since there were only a handful of takers last time. Yes, shamelessly looking for feedback. Writers are like that...So here you go...D is for Donuts, Take 2. (Not really, didn't even have time to re-edit it.)

It was a big change going from gymnastics coach to donuts, but I'm a firm believer that to graduate from high school, you gotta serve time in food service. There are so many good life lessons to be learned. I learned mine at Winchell's.

First there's the lesson of humility and having a servant's heart. Once you've been behind that counter having to politely wait on all manner of people, from the nicest little blue haired grandma to the drunken, slobbering, reach-over-the counter-and-grab-your-D-cups fool, you'll have more patience and compassion for the pimply, shy boy who forgets your french-fries.

Respect for authority. Regardless of the idiocy of said authority. My boss was a stoner who somehow missed the memo that we were no longer in the 60s. He used to go into the men's room to smoke his marijuana. For long periods. Customers would want to use the ONE restroom. And couldn't. I'd apologize. “It's out of order, I'm so sorry.” I'd finally had enough and confronted him. Casually. “Jerry, someone's been smoking marijuana in our restroom, and I think we should alert the police.” This brought his eyes UP from where they usually rested during our conversations. (Finally!) His reply, “But we don't know which customer it is!” Too which I calmly replied, “Oh, but I do.” And stared him down. I guess he had some functioning braincells left because he didn't do it again. He just came to work already stoned. SIGH.

Hard work. Do a good job at whatever job you find yourself. It just makes it more pleasant for everyone. It wasn't long before Jerry had me working the oh-dark-hundred morning shift. “You're so fast, I need my best girl in the morning.” If you want to get on my good side, making me get up at 5 am is NOT how to do it, buddy. But I'll say this, time does go by a lot faster when you're on your toes for a morning rush than it does in the afternoons when all you're doing is cleaning up the grease in the back room and making frosting for tomorrow. And you don't have to mop in the mornings.

Customer service. People appreciate extra attention and the personal touch. These days a lot of us make regular stops at coffee shops for lattes and such. Back in the 80s when I was schlepping donuts, people made regular stops for our coffee. It was good coffee, and being a coffee snob, I always made sure we had fresh pots, and I did memorize which regular had which size and what they took in it. And since I couldn't help but also know what car they drove (my dad worked for a car company, I'm always looking at cars) I'd have their order ready when they hit the counter. They liked that. Ok, there was that one time that I spilled LargeCoffeeBlack's order all over the counter...but that was when my apron got stuck in the cash register...which is a whole post by itself.

So if there's ever a petition going around adding fast food to graduation requirements, I'll be signing it. But apparently I didn't learn my lessons well enough at Winchell's, because I had a few more hard ones to learn at Wendy's. In costume.

This is Alphabe-Thursday, the letter D over at Jenny's.  Come on over and link up!

23 comments:

Tina said...

Why does blogger mess with the font size? It's all the same size and spacing in the preview, then when it posts I get this randomness...if any of you savvy web designers out there know what I'm doing wrong...I'd appreciate it!

Brian Miller said...

i never worked in fast food...i did work in a restaurant when i was between jobs as an adult...it is a thankless job at times...but you learn to smile...

Amanda said...

I enjoyed reading this both times around!

Rayna M. Iyer said...

Didn't read it the first time round, but loved it now. I love how you used to keep the coffee ready. If only others in the service industry to learn from you.

And take care.

clean and crazy said...

this is a great post. i too am a graduate of fast food restaurants, diners, dives and bars for that matter. unfortunately kansas is an at will work state so there is the most unprofessional atmosphere in the food service industry in the country.

some of the waitstaff is pretty bold but since our jobs only pay 2 bucks an hour we do what we can for tips.

been out of the business for about 6 years now and i don't miss it nor do i envy those thinking of taking a fancy to the business. may they find peace in thier journey!!

again great post.

Annesphamily said...

This was a different post and I really liked reading it the first time for me. Thanks and enjoy your week. Anne

Kay said...

I would sign that petition. Everyone must serve one year in a customer service position (face to face)...

J. Kwiatkowski said...

Customer service is an under-appreciated and under-compensated skill. Not everyone can do it.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I haven't worked in fast food, but have visited many restaurants. It doesn't look like this would be an easy job.

Cheryl said...

Fast food was my first "not on the farm" job. I learned to smoke. It ain't easy being the kid behind the counter.

My name is PJ. said...

It was worth re-posting. I agree wholeheartedly. That being said, if I worked at a donut shop, I'd be too big to get out the door, so I'd have to die there. Probably happy too. Just sayin'.

mle said...

Mmmmmm! Doooonuts : )
I agree that everyone should pull a stint behind the counter for a better appreciation of what it entails. Unfortunately, the one's who need it the most would never be caught dead there and will continue being the demanding snobs they are!!

Mumsy said...

I like the part where you stare your boss down and confronted him! That takes lots of courage, but you clearly deliver the message.

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

Whole different take on donuts (I posted about a giant donut). Huh, you post a lovely story about a rite of passage and I post about a giant donut...

Well, maybe next week I'll try and veer away from food and write something insightful?

I loved this post, it's beautifully written...

AmyLK said...

Beautifully written post! I also did my time in the food industry.

Jingle said...

sweet D post.

Jingle said...

I understand what you are talking..
it is a matter of individuality, people are all different, in working place, you must obey the boss, at home, kids must obey you even if they disagree, thus you shall take it easy.
Happy Thursday!
you deserve the best.

Sue said...

I loved Winchell's donuts, but I don't think I could have worked there without gaining too much weight!

You made some good points here. It's important to do our best no matter where we spend our time or what we are doing.

=)

H said...

I'm VERY pleased to say that I have never worked in fast food; though I have had experience of customer service. Well done you for staring down the boss, and well done you for memorising the coffee orders:)

Judie said...

What exactly is "fast food?" I seem to be constantly waiting in line, and then my order is wrong so I have to wait some more!

Viki said...

This was great. I bet the kid/boss sobered up pretty quick when you mentioned the police LOL. I wish we had good customer service like when you worked now. I think it is sorely lacking now.

Jenny said...

I love the wonderful analogies you used in this post to teach us. We had a Winchell's donuts here a long time ago. I love donuts. Sigh.

I don't know what to tell you about the font...I took the new designer off my blog and things work a lot smoother like that.

You know, I love your idea about working at fast food as a graduation requirement. It would certainly give a lot of kids a good hard dose of reality as well as wonderful life lessons.

Thank you for linking.

A+

Mina Lobo said...

I think you should resurrect this post EVERY A to Z! This should, like, go in the Parents' Handbook. Not that there is one. OMG, wouldn't it be WONDERFUL if there were??? :-)