When I first came to Seattle in 1994 there weren’t many jobs. I interviewed at temp agencies – turns out I could type 38 words a minute and anywhere else I could find an interview. This one company hired me – WASHPIRG, a public interest group that went house to house solicoting for cash donations. They didn’t tell me I’d be doing that and after 3/4 of a day of going door to door asking for money in the cold and rain, I said that I wasn’t really keen on sticking around. So then I interviewed at a bank. When I got to the room, I noticed I was the token white guy – surrounded by the women of a Benetton ad, except frumpy and not smiling and they were all wearing suit-like outfits. I got tested counting money but I wasn’t quick enough I guess. So then the one company that calls me is Burger King. At that point a salaried job of $15,000 a year seemed pretty good. They hired me to be an assistant manager. Seemed easy enough for me and I didn’t know anyone except 2 people so the embarassment would be low.
So I showed up. Blue pants, blue oxford and they provided the Burger King tie.
I had to train at one Burger King and then I’d be moved to another one. THe one I trained at was in the heart of the University District. Sweet- lots of homeless people.
My boss, was Gabby. Turns out she/he looked like Meatloaf a bit except she/he smiled. I was 20 or 21 I think and being from a small town I didn’t actually that men dressed as women or could live in a state somewhere in between. I also hadn’t ever seen a woman with an adam’s apple. Hot.
I found out that fast food restaurants sort of get the cream of the crop for employees.
I was soon made the morning manager. My main guy was this fellow who was on prison work release and after his shift, he went back to jail. He was a drug dealer (he looked like the caddy boss Lou Loomis from Caddyshack) whose house and property was booby trapped from end to end. Over the course of my training I got to learn all about how to build them and what it’s like to have the Feds raid your home.
I also met ‘shitty’ – that is what everyone called him. He was a homeless guy who went into the bathroom and flung poop all over the place. He’d also take about 30 packets of sugar and dump them into his coffee but usually missed the cup – so he’d leave piles of sugar on the table. The good part about management is that you could delegate things like ‘cleaning up the bathroom’. I never did it but usually had to promise people 3 extra hours of pay to clean the bathrooms.
At some point, someone told me that my boss Gabby was a man who was only halfway through a sex change. I think I then spent more time looking for man traits on Gabby than I did working.
I got transferred to my main job – I then became the night manager. There was another guy Alex who took the days. I worked with this guy who was a part time Kung Fu instructor who had his teeth punched out, his name was Bill- he didn’t shower often. His wife was over 400lbs and she had to sit in the middle of her car to drive – she dove an old Buick with a bench seat. I remember she would come in and get 2 Whoppers, fries, shake and a dessert. I think that’s over 2,000 calories – but she must have been in training for something.
I hated that Alex guy so when he started dating one of the under-18 girls who worked there, I told on him so he’d get fired. He did and I got the day shifts. They did tell us not to sex up the employees.
I usually got to hire and fire people. I did that a lot. I was always figuring I’d be shot at some point since most people who worked there over 20 weren’t right in the head.
- I had a woman from Turkey whose husband would sit outside the place while she worked so he could keep an eye on her. He was jealous of me. He also drove a Saab.
- I had a girl who worked for me offer to clean my house for me… awesome except she was 15 I think. She liked me.
- I had a kid who was Muslim who would take breaks to pray but I later found out he just went upstairs and stole food and goofed around, I didn’t fire him, I just didn’t give him any hours.
- The manager of the place was a poker player and made more money playing poker than he did working there. He’d yell ‘HOT STUFF’ when it was busy.
There was also a mental hospital not too far away, so I got lots of crazies – I even remember a cute one but she was crazier than the average woman so that wasn’t going to work.
I learned that you could drop a frozen patty on the ground and still put it in the cooker – a bbq like thing but on a conveyer belt with lots of flames. After they cook they STILL get put in a microwave – so I’m pretty sure anything on there was clearly dead. The frozen patties are about the size of a CD when you put them in and come out the size of a small burger when they’re done.
I was a vegetarian at the time – so I ate chicken sandwiches, except no bun. They have like 30 grams of fat the buns do. And yea, I ate chicken as a vegetarian. A lot of people order vegetarian Whoppers – which is just all the same stuff on it except no burger. When you get an order wrong (not often) people expected to get something free. Most of the time people would say they didn’t get something but most of the time they were lying. I did remember one lady who was so fat that she too couldn’t fit behind the wheel of her car – we forgot something in her lunch (you know when you get an order wrong by the leftover food sitting out – everything is made when it’s ordered) – so it was legit, so I said ‘a free lunch on us’ – she proceeded to order 6 whoppers. I remember this almost 20 years later. You want to know how obese people get obese? Fast food restaurants with $0.99 burgers.
Because I was salaried, I could get called into work anytime. So after about 2 months of getting called in on my day off, I would also be ‘going to Yakima’ for my day off or I stopped answering my phone. This was before cell phones and the internet.
I was paranoid of being robbed, so I usually closed the place early and only kept the drive through open, I never got in trouble for that – but I could have been fired. I could eat as much free food as I wanted, so I really just took the milk home so I could make Jello pudding with whole milk. I rode a mtn bike back and forth to work.
Most of those places get robbed because someone leaves the back door open. I didn’t.
After a while they decided I would go away to Burger King College to become a manager or district manager. I knew I was leaving Seattle to finish school in NH, so this wasn’t going to be good. So I had to make up something about not getting my credits transferred to the U of W, so I had to leave and finish school. So they gave my job to this nice guy named Daniel who had a kid and was married. He went to Burger King College and then got robbed when he left the back door open one night.
I left, finished college, and got a job a Microsoft where I still work 14 years later and I have a kid who spells ‘B.U.T.T’ just about at every chance she gets. That man (James Bond) touched her B.U.T.T (bee-you-tee-tee). ALL THE TIME.