I Spy With My Little Eye

March 17, 2010 at 10:32 PM | Posted in Riding In Cars With Pizza | 1 Comment
  Monday night I traveled back in time to 1984.  Mondays, like any day at The Three Jakes, are always a fun-filled cavalcade of comedy and excitement.  But last night they opened a new attraction for us called "The Paranoia Tram."
  The crew was  me, TJ, Cameron, and Marissa.  After we get there, the day people roll out, including Tony, they guy who was an assistant but demoted himself.  He’s indirectly the reason TJ runs the shift–when he left TJ was named the ersatz assistant.  As I mentioned before, TJ is already not happy with the situation.  *Then*, they (the fearless leaders of The Three Jakes) throw this at us.  And him.
  It’s a slow shift, and I get into my routine.  There are always a couple of the same prep jobs every day, and I dig in.  After about an hour, there’s a delivery, then another.  Woo-hoo.  I take them both.  After being back briefly, the phone rings and TJ answers it.  I look long enough to see that it’s not a run–none of my business.  I get back to work.
First Pass

  TJ gets off the phone, and says, "Okay, gather round everybody.  That was Brian–" the manager.  He didn’t even say hi, or how’s it going, or kiss my ass, or anything.  The first thing he said to TJ was, "How come nobody has their shirt tucked in?"  So…someone is spying on us?  Well, I wouldn’t put it past them.  Brian also said Marissa was leaning on the counter (instead of working, I guess) and also using her cell phone (probably for a quick text or two).
  *My* shirt was tucked in.  It wasn’t me, but I was being lumped in with them.  We figured it was a "secret shopper" type–someone posing as a customer who came in and graded the store.  But they sure did pick up a lot of detail.  Whatever.  We got back to work.
  Being a slow day, we get to do a lot of cleaning.  Dayshift must have been slow, because, as Tony showed me, they did most of the Special Bitch list.  We made fairly short order of the regular bitch list. 

Second Pass

  When I come back from another delivery, TJ is on the phone with Brian again.  Someone is watching us, and then calling Brian, and then Brian is calling us.  And this stuff is important enough to be calling us about?  We weren’t making sammiches fast enough.  Marissa started making a sammich and then walked away from it (she needed to get something in order to make the sammich, but that doesn’t matter), and it took three minutes to make it.  Plus, why did we keep going into the back room so much?  Why were TJ and Marissa in the backroom together?
  Well, I have an answer for that. All of the shit we need to do our fucking job is in the back room, and we have to go back there and get it because we can’t teleport the shit to us.  Why is that?  If you read this statement I signed as part of my hiring packet, I acknowledge that Company policy states no cell phone use or psychic powers on the clock.  It makes the job more difficult, but I understand their reasoning:  If I could use my psychic powers on the job, I would make the bosses shit themselves.  Continuously, and violently.  Why, you ask?  Why on earth not?
Third Pass
  The third call was more about me, so yay.  I was beginning to feel left out.  I’m not leaving on deliveries fast enough.  I didn’t drop everything and run like a maniac to the line and butt in everybody’s way to get my delivery made and out the door.  It took almost five minutes before I left.  Why is that?
  Well, they told us from the start that drive-thru is the priority, then in-shop.  Then delivery.  How can I get my sammiches made and get out the door if they get pushed aside for everything else?  I always get on the line and help them, and I especially help with the drive thru and in-shop so we can get to my delivery so I can take it.  But I’m not rushing fast enough!  I was in the middle of something–God knows what.  I was probably waxing the cash register or polishing the mop bucket, or washing diapers for the homeless in the triple sink.  Something of dire importance on the Special Bitch List.  The point is, I was almost done–I had ten seconds and then I was finished.  There were two people over there making one sammich.  Why don’t I drop everything that I’m doing right where it is to create more work for other people, then rush over there and push someone out of the way while I

  [and mother fuck I knew it.  I knew there would be some goddamn fucking reason for a fucking bitchfest in this fucking shit.  We wear the disposable gloves every time we handle the food.  Of course.  {I have no problem with the theory, even though it is flawed because if you wear gloves you feel your hands are protected so you touch all kinds of surfaces along with the foodstuff when you wear them.  But that’s not the point.  The idea is to protect the food.  Not wearing gloves and washing your hands often is safer from a foodservice safety point of view, in my professional opinion.  You can try to prove me wrong, but you got some explaining to do to make your case.}  But that’s not my problem.  The latex powder gloves are a snap to get on–and inside of a week my hands were breaking out.  Brian orders some other gloves, because people have this problem.  These other gloves–no powder on them, and no give.  Plastic, essentially.  If you have one sammich to make, make it your damn self because by the time I get my gloves on, you’re going to be done with it anyway.  The largest we get are large, and they don’t fucking fit on my fucking hands.  If my hands are wet–say I was washing dishes or happened to wash my hands–I can’t get them on.  I look like OJ fucking Simpson in court with the glove half on his goddamn hand and stupid look on his fucking face.  If it doesn’t fit, you must make the fucking sammich yourself.  I have never-ending frustration with these goddamn gloves.  Working with Will is so much fun, because he will do the entire sammich except wrap it, and then walk away.  So I have to put on gloves just to wrap it, and then take them off.  I could have been halfway to the goddamn address in that time.  Every time.  Every fucking time.  About four out of seven times that I put a glove on, it rips.  Usually I ignore it, because it’s just a hassle to try again.  But if I’m squeezing the tuna {one of the many bullshit jobs in the store} you have to wear gloves, because you’re doing it by hand, and even with gloves on your hands are going to smell like you’ve been working at the free clinic all day.  For Chrissake, can I get some bigger fucking gloves?]

  try to squeeze on a pair of gloves and clumsily make the sammich?  Yeah, why don’t I?
  So TJ was told that HE has to make all the sammiches the rest of the night.  I don’t recall if he said, "by himself" or not.  But obviously, they were still watching us.  We were starting to get paranoid, and wondering if one of our own was the spy.  It was like John Carpenter’s "The Thing," but with slightly less blood and a different soundtrack.
  Then, just to test us, we get a call from A-B.  That’s Anheiser-Busch.  Some outsourced marketing vendor working late has ordered several times a week, and it’s been a big order and a good tip.  This was no exception.  Dinner for 8 people–eight sammiches, half a dozen bottles of water, bags of chips and pickles–about 85 dollars, I think.  TJ was on the phone with them for quite a while, getting it all down, and trying to get it correct.  When I looked over his shoulder to see what the order was, I knew we were fucked. 
  So the choice is this:  Either sit on my hands and follow the directives given to us no matter how illogical they are…or do what is in the spirit of The Three Jakes paradigm and in the best interest of all the parties involved.
  I had two sammiches made and the third one started before he got off the phone with them.  By this time Cam was gone, so it was just us three.  I helped TJ finish the sammiches, and Marissa got the other items together.  I bagged everything up, and checked it against the receipt.  Then I was gone.
  That 13 dollar tip doubled the money I had made so far on this piss-poor night.  But this is not about that.  This is about the anal-retentive culture and the philosophy of total control and the illusion that perfection is attainable, and the after-thought rationalization and pompous elitism of upper management that they can do no wrong or make no wrong decision.
  I don’t know–do they want to be the McDonald’s of sammiches?  They have a long way to go, a long row to hoe.  Ray Croc (founder of McDonald’s, for you cave-dwellers) said, "If you have time to lean, you have time to clean."    That’s his motto.  You know what my motto is?  "For minimum wage, you’re fucking lucky I’m even here."
  The Three Jakes wants perfection.  For minimum wage, you don’t get perfection.  The best you can hope for is, "We didn’t kill anyone today."
  At some point you have to live in the real world.  If you really want everything done exactly the way you want it done with no variation whatsoever, the do it your fucking self. 


1 Comment »

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  1. I like their sandwiches and all, but I think you should find another job so fast they\’ll freak.

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