Tuesday, January 01, 2013
My three evenings as a fast-food worker (in 2003)
I don’t think I’ve talked in detail about the “ultimate” interim job. That was to work three “volunteer” shirts for a church group in Minneapolis in 2003, at the Metrodome, in fast food concessions, selling mostly frankfurters.
The first session occurred on a Saturday night in February 2003, during a “rodeo”. The second was on the Saturday night of Independence Day weekend of July 2003, when the Twins lost a rout to the Cleveland Indians. The third occurred on the second Saturday night of August 2003, when the Vikings played a home exhibition game.
In each case, we had only quarters to make change. We did not have to balance a register like most “real people”.
We always met to start around 3 PM, and the shifts ended around midnight. (Then, on to The Saloon.) We got lessons on taking the internal temperature of meat being cooked.
At the time of the first assignment, I was working in telefunding for the Minnesota Orchestra. For the second time, I was working as a debt collector for RMA. For the last one, I had quit RMA and was preparing to return to the DC area to look after Mother later in the month. I was on a downslope.
Although I did not receive a “wage” for these three evenings, I kept track of what I would have earned at minimum wage. I looked at is as “very interim employment”. It was suitably humbling.
But my own father used to preach the virtue of lowly manual labor. Every starts out as a prole, and some people come back to the proletariat. I make a pass at it.
Barbara Ehrenreich did a lot more of this, as in her book “Nickel and Dimed”.