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View Diary: I worked for years in fast food, but I can't support this strike. (197 comments)

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  •  I worked fast food for several years (19+ / 0-)

    in the late 80s and early nineties, i.e., the "Morning in America" age of Reagan/Bush Elder. I lived in a college town oversupplied with cheap labor, so jobs were hard to find. Having worked years on the closing shift at Jack-in-the-Box, I feel qualified to respond to this, from the OP:

    Fast food work is work that kids do, because it's work that doesn't require taking really any responsibility for the work.  I worked it.  I know this.  It's work on par with making lunch for your younger brothers and sisters.  It's minimum wage no skill no responsibility labor work.  It's not worth paying the same as work that requires more responsibility and skills.
    Maybe when HE was working at Subway or Burger King, he took no responsibility. FSM knows I did see people with that attitude. When it is slow, that is not that harmful, maybe. But when there is a rush, people on the crew need to be in the zone or service slows to a standstill. Now myself, I don't like most fast food. I much prefer a sit down meal that takes a while to make. But although it is made as simple and easy as possible to make, making a lot of food in a short period of time isn't easy work.

    And keeping food preparation areas clean isn't the same as wiping down a counter with a dirty cloth. Keeping the floor spotless in an environment filled with grease isn't trivial (the ambient grease in the air alone results in clothes saturated after a single shift). Everything has to be cleaned. Everything. Prep trays, food bins, shake machines. Cleaning out a shake machine has to be done daily and done well. If not, the milkfat in the inner workings can go bad and sicken people. And you can't just use soap and disinfectant wash, or that'll end up in the food. No, you use that and then you rinse.  

    Then there was cleaning out the restrooms. I cannot briefly say how disgusting that can get, and how frequently. Suffice to say, very and often. I'm sure many people have horror stories about things they've encountered in public bathrooms. Think of the fast food workers who see that on a probably daily basis and try to clean it up before anyone else sees it.

    If you are working the register, you'd better not make any mistakes making change. Your drawer is expected to be accurate to a variance considerably less than a dollar after an 8 hour shift. In my workplace, you could be terminated after being off more than that three times. Incidentally, this last job detail wasn't a problem for me, as I'm pretty good with math, but then I was "overqualified" by the diarist's standards to be doing this work in the first place.

    Oh yeah, and speaking of money you don't get paid enough to be able to afford taking many sick days, even when you really need and want to, either. It's not as if you got paid sick days, after all. Or as if you got insurance through your work. Remember that the next time you roll up to a drive-thru.

    There has been quite a bit of inflation in the dollar since the time when I worked fast food in the late 80s and early 90s, and that means that if I remember right the wage I received then would be about $8 today. I was way underpaid for what I did (and I did everything I listed earlier) and I knew it, but there were no better jobs to be found in Reagan/Bush America just then for a young man in a college town.  

    By the way, the cost of a soda back then (to the owner) was mostly the price of the cup. A nickel total, perhaps. The amount of ice, syrup, and soda water involved cost maybe $0.02 of the whole. That was probably the biggest markup, but there were huge profits on everything, so these places don't operate on a razor thin margin the way unionized supermarkets do. We weren't paid less because the owner couldn't afford to pay more. We were paid less because we weren't union. There were workers there who could only make ends meet via a job plus some government aid, meaning that for each of them the owner got a subsidy from every taxpayer for paying so little.

    So I reject every premise in this diary. All of them.

    My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
    --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

    by leftist vegetarian patriot on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 04:24:24 PM PDT

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