Food Industry vs. The Costumers

After the school year let out, I knew I was ready to get a job, and I was hoping for something that would better prepare me for my future career. Now, at first I started out applying at any type of public relations firm that was in or around Tulsa, Oklahoma. After all of those firms denied me a job because my window of time for employment was too small, I went on to apply to radio stations. I had a station even tell me that I would have a permanent job there the next day if that was what I was looking for.  After being denied jobs at car dealerships, I applied to call centers and veterinary clinics, but even they didn’t want to hire me because I only had one month I could work.

So, my search ended up being a Carhop from Sonic. I started out with the job excited and actually enjoying my time there learning the “Sonic Way” inside of the building, but little did I know that the real problems I was going to face were all outside. The speed of Sonic is fast. There are usually two people taking out food to 28 different locations. You have to run and get the food out as soon as possible because you are more likely to get tips, and you sure do need those tips. I bet you didn’t know that Sonic Carhops make $3.63 an hour and the entire rest of the pay has to come from complete strangers who honestly were more than often rude, hateful and thoughtless. Now, I’m not saying that you should tip big or make a big deal about it or anything. Honestly, I constantly had customers that would feel bad about giving $1 tips in a mixture of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. I simply told them that I live off of change and smile really big when I walked away. On average, I was making $20 from tips a night and only around half of it was in paper money. But my point isn’t the money.

I have worked as a radio disc jockey, a TV station as a director, and Oklahoma State University’s intramural sports, but Sonic taught me the most about the real world and the people in it. People are rude about food. I would say that everyday about someone who would pull on the lot of Sonic stalls.  Yeah, you might be thinking about why in the world would you be rude to someone who is preparing the food that fuels your body. Sonic employees would never do such a thing to costumers’ food, but I can all agree we remember those employees from a pizza place that were recorded messing with the pizza.

When problems really started for me was when the weather really warmed up. I was the only Carhop taking care of lunch rush hour when near the a woman made me absolutely hate my job, or actually, made me really dislike people. That was the day that the air conditioner in the building quit working and the inside would be roughly 15 degrees hotter than outside. Keep in mind that outside’s average temperature was in the upper 80’s.

So, back to the story about the worst day I’ve had in years. I brought a woman’s food out and read off the items on the ticket and handed her the large bag of food as she asked if her child’s meal was in the bag. I replied that everything that was on the ticket was in the bag with a smile on my face.  {One day, a coworker said to me, “I wish I knew who the rude people were so I wouldn’t waste my niceness on them. That really resonated with me later on when I am cried my eyes out for 15 minutes.} She practically threw the food back and raised her voice saying that it wasn’t in there. I told her that I was so sorry and that I would run the food back in and make sure everything that was on the ticket that she paid for was in the bag.

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After examining the bag and the items in it I found that everything was accounted for. I took the women’s food back out and told her that everything that was on the ticket was in the bag and that if she wanted to order more she could just push the red button. At this point she lost her cool and screamed at me as I apologized and walked hastily back with tears in my eyes into the confines of the burning rooms of Sonic. With out thinking I answered the head set that the lady ringed in on. She began talking poorly at me about me. She had no idea that she was talking to the woman who just took their food to them. She proceeded to call me rude and a mixture of other hateful things when I lost my cool. I was walking around yelling for my manager to take this off my hands, but she was no where around. For a moment longer I listened to her cried/yelled to her, “That girl you’re talking about is 19 years old and started a week is me.” I threw the headset off and began to shake with sobs.

I grew up in a small town, everyone was nice to each other. I had never been called rude or hateful names. The food industry is a different world. The general public is rude when it comes to food. But why? I really want to know. When I worked there I was told that the costumers are always right no matter what. Now, while that is fine and dandy since it is their money, they should get what they pay for, but why are most people rude and hateful when they don’t get what they want? This blog isn’t to gain sympathy or anything of that sort. It’s just an eye opener for people. I wouldn’t trade my time at Sonic for anything just because I really did learn a lot about people.

So, I challenge you, think about the people who serve you. Be kind. Be thoughtful. That boy or girl who is serving you is someones baby.

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