Spouse Sparrow says:
During my time as a manager at a McDonald's in Belfast, the head restaurant manager was an English girl called Jill. Her style of management was bossy, she was always there to catch you doing wrong and never saying a good word about you. She was a Psychology major, as you would say here in America, and thought she knew how people's minds work. If it was some young person's first job or someone had worked there for numerous years she thought she could treat them like shit, as they wouldn't leave. One time she did say "This is all they know." I felt insulted that she had summed someone up like that, and it occurred to me that she was just a dickhead without a clue. When I get pushed I suddenly feel the urge to go slower and not really give a crap, which is why the Army didn't suit me well, and Jill pushed me.
Jill would do the 6 month Progress Reports (or P.R.s as these dreaded things were called) on her managers. If you did well you got a raise, not much but it added up with the hours you do. I used to get these from school and they usually said "quiet in class" and "must try harder." I would be doing my job, happy and content that I was doing a good job. I could motivate crewmembers, I was liked and I sold burgers. Well okay, I did get 2 complaint letters, one from a customer that was drunk and an asshole, and another from the owner's friend who said he saw a blue-shirted blond manager eating fries on front counter. I knew I would never do that, the fries stink and besides I lead by example; also it sounded like the other blond manager that worked there but it got pinned on me.
When it came time for my P.R., I felt confident. Then I had an hour of Jill telling me how crap I was. This became the routine at every P.R., and I expected it; those that didn't lick up to her got the shit end of the stick. I am glad to say I never kissed anyone's ass which is why I didn't do as well as I should have. I grew to hate Jill, and I did my job, no more no less. I sold burgers, kept the place clean and protected my staff and customers, and I only did favours for other managers I liked.
Then it happened; Jill got moved to our other store in DunDonald. I had worked there for a while, it was a drive-thru unlike the Belfast one and definitely not as violent as the Belfast one.
We got a manager called Michael but then the franchise owner, Ian, screwed him over and demoted him forcing him to leave. Then we got a manager called Johnny. I loved that man; funny and easy going and quick to compliment you. I knew him from when I was a crewmember and he was a trainee manager, he spoke up for me to get my (manager's) shirt.
One shift, Johnny told me I was going on my BOC at the end of the year which is a promotion and meant I'd be salaried with a white shirt. Sure I was happy, I'd be about 4th in charge. Well, the end of the year came and went and no one told me a thing. Johnny said Ian had changed his mind. That's when Ian made his big mistake. He was a good businessman, but always f**ked you over for a profit. A McDonald's slogan was "People are our most important ingredient," I guess they meant in the Mac sauce as they f**ked you over in the work place.
I got the newspaper "The Belfast Telegraph" every Friday for 3 years as that's the day the job finder was out. A fellow manager, Sharon, used to joke that I would never leave, and how long have you been looking for a job? I even applied for a funeral home as dead people usually don't try to punch you over burgers. I creeped Sharon out by saying that if she died I might be the last person to see her naked. I'm sure she imagined something else happening, as I didn't have to say a word, the look on her face was priceless. To see a millie lost for words and disgusted at the same time is a wonder.
For 3 years I searched for a job. We were always short-staffed at McDonald's as Ian loved the low labour figure (who cares what corners were cut), then Johnny announced he had given in his 2 weeks notice, then a Dunkin' Donuts opened (first ever in Belfast) and 2 other managers gave their notice. One of them was called Eileen, a tall girl with a kind soul, she called me "Sparrow Boy full of the horn" whatever that meant; it was a term of endearment. Things really went downhill fast. No adverts were placed in the paper for new workers, it was very unreal, and Ian worked shifts doing everyone's head in with busy work.
I had a really bad morning shift one time, as the night manager Mark was really slack. I had called him on it before. This time he left a really shit clean up, also my front counter staffer sent a night staff person home without me knowing, saying that she would finish their job of removing Ajax from stainless steel. My 10 am person didn't come in, and we were packed to the doors. Tracy on till and me in the kitchen, that was it. Lobby full of people, trays all over the place because fast food customers can't manage to put their rubbish in a trash bin. Nevermind it's not your job, you're just a lazy f**ker, otherwise you'd be cooking at home, ha!
That was the day that 2 regional supervisors walked through the door. I am not making this up. They asked "Where is all the staff? Have you phoned anyone in?" all the questions you don't really need when you are trying to feed the 5,000, then they worked in lobby for me.
When it all had settled down and some staff came in one of the regional supervisors sat me down and told me of his worse shift, he was trying to make me feel better. I was shaking due to adrenaline and not having eaten anything all day. They went and threw some sauces that were a few days out of date, possibly due to bad rotation and when everything was fine they left.
Ian, the owner, came in. He wasn't angry, he was like "Oh shit, what do they know? What did you tell them?" He took me and Tracy to Laveries (the pub next door) and got us a couple of drinks and pried some info from us.
I was still in shock at having the worse shift I've ever had, and now I was a little beer buzzed, although I only had 2. Ian got me to go through the trash area and bring in the sauces that were thrown out, as they were only out there for 2 hours and in black plastic bags so to him they were all right. I didn't give a shit, I just wanted the nightmare to end.
Then the impossible happened; one of the many jobs I applied for came through. It was working days instead of nights for the same money, and it wasn't McDonald's, so I gave 2 weeks notice.
I was working a graveyard shift at McDonald's, as we were open 24 hours. And at the end of that shift Ian called me to his office. He showed me printouts of low profits (so he said) and how he couldn't have promoted me back then. I recalled how him and his secretary (that he was banging in the top office) both got new cars then. He asked me what I thought of getting my white shirt and now going on my BOC. Well, 3 managers leaving, which leaves 3 not so good managers and one good one (Sharon) and she was going to be the restaurant manager. I said to Ian that I was pissed off that no one had told me I wasn't getting my shirt, he blamed Johnny of course. Ian told me I'd only do day shifts, and he even offered me to work just Saturdays, cash in hand, and then I said my movie line "The only move I want to make in McDonald's is out."
On my way down the stairs, I saw Eileen who had waited to hear about it, I told her he had offered me my shirt and I told him to stuff it. She was so excited and couldn't wait to tell her mum who for some reason really disliked Ian. I was now a hero.
Johnny agreed to stay on an extra week before he realized I was leaving too, then he kicked himself for being dumb. On my last shift, a morning, I came in with a sweater on, and in slow motion with trumpets sounding (well in my head that was happening) I took it off. I was wearing a white manager's shirt underneath the sweater. I had been issued one when I first started, until I got my blue one. This was a statement completing my legend. Ian came in and said that it looked good on me.
I didn't want to leave that last shift but my time had come. When you wish for something to keep you at work it never does.
Weeks later, one of the inexperienced managers called my home so I could talk him through the safe's combination. I was happy to be the on-call assistance. Later a customer, a bright female student, was using the hand dryer in the disabled toilets and it electrocuted her dead, it was on his shift. Unlucky for both of them. Drunk customers punch and break anything in McDonald's, including hand dryers; I cringe every time I use one now.
They made a manager of a moron that Ian swore once would never be a manager and he poached staff from a Burger King. I may have been burnt out at the end, in need of time off but I do miss working there sometimes. Jill had a baby and mellowed out though I still really disliked her and would avoid her in the street.
Now I am in America, and I still have Mac sauce in my veins. Every time I eat at a McDonald's, I have to open up my burger before I eat it to check and make sure the dressings are centered, and that the pickles are side-by-side, and not touching. They never are, as Yanks are slack f**kers who just can't be arsed. They are all soft as shite over here, the McDonald's in Belfast that I worked at was like that movie "Roadhouse" but with burgers.