“Hey,” I said, nodding to one of my fellow employees, Donavan, as I walked into McDonald’s three minutes before my shift started.
I had started three weeks ago and was proud to say I was doing fairly well. It was the first job I had ever managed to get, and I was treating it with the upmost care. I hadn’t been late once and forced myself to keep a smile no matter how irksome the customer was.
Because it was a McDonald’s, we’d had plenty of freaks come in the short time that I had been working.
I slipped into the back room, dropping my duffle bag down. I pulled out my uniform, going into the back bathroom to change into it. It was like all other McDonald’s uniforms:, black pants with a black shirt, two gray lines going down both of my sides. I pulled the name tag out from the bag, poking it through the shirt where I had poked it thirty times before. Pulling my hair back into a pony tail, I stuck the visor on, officially ready to work.
As I walked up to the extra cash register, I surveyed the restaurant. It was three-thirty on a Tuesday afternoon, which meant rarely anyone was in here. A few old men sat arbitrarily through-out the restaurant. Most of them ate the same general meal.
Two or three of them were regulars. I had seen their faces enough to be able to know just exactly what they wanted to get.
Yet, as the good little employee I was, I always asked to make sure.
It didn’t surprise me when they gave their order to me exactly what I had imagined, for it was the same thing they had gotten the day before and the day before that.
My shift was from three-thirty until eight at night. For most of it, it was fairly slow business on weekdays. Around five-thirty, business would pick up considerably, especially in the drive-through lane. Our manager, Ronnie, always kept me on cash register.
The reason was because I was “a cute face paying customers liked to see” and “too in-experienced to handle the drive-through at dinner time.”
I was satisfied with the former, but annoyed with the latter, to say the least.
After seven o’clock, business would slow down. Everyone would take the time to clean the fryers that weren’t being used or to wipe down tables and mop up floors. It was, for most of us, quitting time.
While the McDonald’s was open 24/7, I hadn’t met any of the night crew. They usually showed up an hour or so after I left. I never returned to McDonald’s after work if I could help it.
I braced my hands against the counter top, standing on the tops of my toes. I sighed dramatically, earning an eye roll from Donavan. I shot him a smile, one that wasn’t returned, unfortunately.
My eyes moved to the door as a small family of four walked in. The older man had a little girl in his arm while the older lady had a small boy in her hand.
The approached the register.
I glanced over at Donavan, noticing how he had conveniently disappeared to the back to ‘refill’ the cups at the soda fountain.
I didn’t have to ask—it was always the same excuse.
He always made sure that I took the customers during downtime first.