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Nikia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 06:38 PM
Original message
Do you think fast food work is degrading?
Maybe, this is a bit of a copy cat thread but I was thinking about it at work. No, I didn't work fast food but I did for about a year when I was temping after graduating from college. The restaurant was close to where I lived and allowed a flexible schedule so that I could temp different shifts and look for a permanent job. A lot of people seem to think this work is degrading, but aside from the low pay and a couple of rude customers, I found it to be one of the least degrading jobs that I ever have had. Many customers seemed appreciative of the work that I did. Management seemed appreciative of the work that I did. There wasn't anything too personal or degrading about taking people's orders or bagging up food. In a rush type situation, taking people's orders and getting their food to them quickly and correctly seemed like an accomplishment. Some of the adults that I worked with (older people or parents with children in school) didn't really have to work but did so because of the social aspect. Maybe, I had a differnt experience than most fast food workers but I didn't find it degrading. Actually, I would prefer that work if I could make a middle income doing it without having to work long hours (like most fast food general managers).
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MrCoffee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 06:43 PM
Response to Original message
1. It sure looks degrading...
Everything I see from the customer side of the counter makes it look like the franchises *expect* their employees to be illiterate. There are pictures everywhere, and the most rudimentary written instructions.

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Nikia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 07:02 PM
Response to Reply #1
7. We didn't have many pictures
Except in the back to make sandiwiches.
I don't think it is necessarily bad to have pictures. One thing that you have to remember is that there is usually a lot of turn over in fast food because it doesn't pay well. Despite this, customers expect their order to be correct and served quickly. Perhaps in some high volume stores, employees start out by specializing in something easy, but in many stores the employee has to learn to do many thing quickly and be doing them quickly right away. You also shouldn't assume that every new employee is familiar with the fast food restaurants menu (I actually hadn't been to that particuliar fast food restaurant for about a year). Also, before you learn the cash register key board (the combos were in order but the other buttons didn't follow an entirely logical order), it can be hard to read all the buttons immediately especially when someone rattles off a large order on the drive thru as quickly as they can speak. Pictures can help because they are easier to see quickly.
Also if you don't pay well, you may have no choice but to hire some people who are below average or people who have never worked before, especially in markets where the job market is good. I wouldn't say that it is as easy of work as some other jobs that I have had which actually paid more.
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wildhorses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 06:53 PM
Response to Original message
2. anytime you can keep your soul clean, it does not matter how
dirty your hands get cos you can always wash your hands. Do it with pride whatever you do.
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barb162 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 06:55 PM
Response to Original message
3. no work should be considered degrading
unless it is illegal
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ThomCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 06:56 PM
Response to Original message
4. I don't think it's where you work that is degrading
it's how you're treated by your employer.

1. Absolute minimum pay
2. Treated like machines, keep moving and don't think.
3. Absolutely expendable by design, high turnover is expected and acceptable

Yes, I think that adds up to a hell of a degrading job.
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Nikia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 07:10 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. But you do have to think
Otherwise, you are going to mess up someone's order or being slow. I always hate it when I end going to a fast food restaurant where their employees don't think. It usually takes forever and something gets messed up.
While this might not be true at all fast food restaurants, I did get a performance evaluation and raise every 3 months.
As for your criteria, I have seen all those at other jobs, especially in manufacturing. While they might get paid a little more than fast food, the work is often tougher on the body. It is easier not to be treated like a human being because the worker doesn't even have to have to interact with outside humans.
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Darth_Kitten Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 07:00 PM
Response to Original message
5. I remember being a waitress.....
I worked with some nice people and I got treated pretty well. They let me fix up the lunch buffet every day and I got to be very creative with making the salads. They respected what I did.....I did HARD, good work and what's wrong with that? I was one of the few young people with a decent part-time job (lived in a small town, hard to find!)


I didn't always get that appreciation or respect at my "adult" jobs.
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ForrestGump Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 07:02 PM
Response to Original message
6. Much work, especially in the service sector, CAN be
but only if you let it. Bad employers (plenty of them) and bad customers or clients (plenty of them...especially in the good old USA) can make the job unnecessarily unpleasant, but whether it's truly degrading or not has more to do with we, the worker, than it does the job, inherently, or our tasks. Even the most humble jobs ('humble' is the best word I can think of right now, and the definition of what jobs qualify will, of course, vary widely among us) can be eminently worthy...they can have their own Zen, if that makes any sense. And even the most fisccally rewarding and 'prestigious' jobs can be soul-killing.
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bicentennial_baby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 07:40 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. I think that's why I enjoy factory work...
I haven't done it in a many (6-8) years now, but in the right environment, I truly enjoy it....Zen indeed. Once I became a manager, I understood how rewarding the actual doing of stuff can be... :)
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idgiehkt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 09:14 PM
Response to Reply #11
16. I've done plenty of factory work and if my co-workers aren't
deranged I enjoy it. Of course most of the time they are. I'm trying to figure out how to make a living without having to interface with other humans, or as little as possible, since that's what causes me the most agony on my jobs. People. I was taught growing up that having a good work ethic is an asset so it has been pretty disillusioning to find out there is is little or no truth in that whatsoever. It's not what you do but who you do, I think, so much of work is based on personality transactions and I am talentless in that arena because I just am not keyed into the frequency and can't read people.
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driver8 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 07:21 PM
Response to Original message
9. They start at $9.50 an hour at In-n-Out...that's not too bad.
Also, they always look like their having fun when I go through the drive-thru.

Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do!!
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democracyindanger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 07:38 PM
Response to Original message
10. All work in food service is.
Plenty of restaurant patrons, no matter the level of cuisine, think the price of their meal includes treating the staff like shit.
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Kajsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 09:18 PM
Response to Reply #10
17. Not all work- My son works in food

service for a great company-IKEA.

The wages are fair, and they treat their
employees very well.

If there are any problems at work, they are discussed
in private and resolved. That's why you find many
employees who have been with the company for
10+ years.

My son has learning disabilities (high spectrum)
and his co-workers and supervisors go out of
their way to help him succeed.

I love that place.
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democracyindanger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 11:07 PM
Response to Reply #17
23. I'm talking about the customers.
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LostinVA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 07:26 AM
Response to Reply #17
32. I love IKEA!
Affordable, great furniture, etc.... and they treat their people great. Lowest retail turnover in the US. That says a hell of a lot.

All reasons why they get my money. ,I'm going there weekend after next, actually.

Guess who has the highest retail turnover?
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Kajsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 10:15 AM
Response to Reply #32
37. Hi LostinVA,
Edited on Fri Oct-13-06 10:28 AM by Kajsa
I don't know, who has the highest turnover?

Hey, thanks for the good words on IKEA.
It's a fun place to shop. I end up buying too
much stuff, though. My son says I have an
IKEA addiction!

Did you know that Ingvar Kamprad, their founder
flies coach everywhere he goes?
To quote him, " the front and back of the plane
arrive at the same time". What a great guy he is!

;-) :hi:
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LostinVA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 07:57 PM
Response to Original message
12. No honest work is degrading.... however, the way fast food workers
Are treated is degrading... hell, how any public service employee is -- by both their employers and many of their customers.

And, yes, I've done it. The summer before college, at KFC. And, the summer before my last year in college, when an internship fell through (that was waitressing. I also worked retail management for a chunk of the 90's.
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Nikia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 08:17 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. But I think that being in public does provide some protection
Yes, not every place in the restaurant is public and not all people care about appearing to be (fill in your favorite word to call such a person). All managers and customers vary regardless of the business but that provides the employee some protection. Businesses that are more private provide more oppurtunities for employer abuse. Some businesses that pay more than average are more likely to abuse their employers (without doing anything illegal) than fast food places, if the temperment of the managers is the same, because the employee is less likely to leave for that reason.
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Generic Brad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 09:06 PM
Response to Original message
14. There is no such thing as degrading work
That's right. I said it. Prove me wrong.
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Monk06 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 10:04 PM
Response to Reply #14
19. Dudley Moore wouldn't agree with you...............


Quote:

Peter Cook: "What's the worst job you ever had?"

Moore: "Fishing lobsters out of Jane Mansfield's arsehole."

Come to think about it that's more kinky than degrading.
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JVS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 11:21 PM
Response to Reply #19
24. What do I watch to see that conversation?
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Monk06 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 11:31 PM
Response to Reply #24
26. Beyond the Fringe. Late 60's early seventies Brit satire show
Edited on Thu Oct-12-06 11:36 PM by gbrooks

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqRxAPG6WDA&search=

I'm not sure the Jame Mansfield Clip made it to
TV. I heard it on the radio.

They also did a hilarious skit about two Cocknies
who bid on the Chunnel contract.

The budget? 34 pounds 6 shillings hay penny....very funny
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sendero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 09:08 PM
Response to Original message
15. Not really...
... I believe there is a kind of dignity in any honest work. I've had some really crappy jobs when I was young, I didn't like them particularly but I didn't feel "degraded".
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alarimer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 09:54 PM
Response to Original message
18. Yes I sure felt degraded when I did
Customers treat you like crap and the management thinks you are stupid (even though I knew this guy was only ever going to spend his life in fast food- while for me it was only a part-time job in the summer).

The worst part were the customers. I am so not a people person so it was a chore anyway. I did what I was told. Showed up on time, even worked extra when they needed me. Got good reviews but was always told to "smile more". Fuck that shit. I'll smile if I feel like it.
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scarlet_owl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 10:08 PM
Original message
I never thought it was degrading.
I made good money (for a teenager), made a lot of friends, and gained a lot of experience. Fast food was one of the more positive job experiences I have had.
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NewWaveChick1981 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 10:08 PM
Response to Original message
20. It can be, but it doesn't have to be.
I worked at Wendy's for three weeks in college, and it was the most humiliating job I've ever had. If there were a different manager, I think I might have had a better experience, but it was what it was. :( I worked for minimum wage ($3.10 an hour at the time), and this is when fast food jobs went begging. They had a permanent "Help Wanted" sign in the window. The work itself wasn't really bad, but the atmosphere and management were awful.

Anyone who does honest work and earns their money legitimately should not feel degraded doing that work. :)
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philosophie_en_rose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 10:10 PM
Response to Original message
21. Not inherently, but usually.
I see nothing wrong with working in the fast food industry. It's honest work, even if the industry is pumping grease into the arteries of America.

If someeone chooses to work fast food and enjoys it, I don't think it's degrading. However, I think it's degrading, if it isn't a true choice.
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DBoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 10:21 PM
Response to Original message
22. Oh yes it is
Granted my experience is 25 years old, but what it meant to me was working for minimum wage, being exhausted from long shifts (including one-person graveyard shifts), finding out that labor codes don't really mean anything, and being very aware that if I didn't do as expected, I could be easily replaced.

It's a bummer when you realize the only time you will get a raise is when the minimum wage is increased.
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Broken_Hero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 11:23 PM
Response to Original message
25. I never worked at a fast food franchise
but I worked for a deli at Carrs, and it was a pain in the neck, and I hated every second of it basically...if it wasn't for my co-workers, I probably would have quiet after a week, but I lasted over a year and a half, before throwing in the towel....

And, working McD's, Burgerking, looked worse than what I did at the Deli, so I'm leaning towards it "sucking" more than degrading...depennds on the definition I suppose.
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TheMightyFavog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 11:35 PM
Response to Original message
27. Thee's a reason I don't put money in the tip jar...
When I go to the local Cold Stone.

I feel that being forced to sing that stupid little song whenever someone puts money in the jar is really degrading.
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OllieLotte Donating Member (495 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 05:16 AM
Response to Original message
28. Not at all.
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WritingIsMyReligion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 05:43 AM
Response to Original message
29. I personally am not sure I would like it at all.
But then again, I get sick thinking about fast food sometimes, so I'd be utterly horrified to find myself making and selling it.

YMMV, of course.
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ScreamingMeemie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 06:31 AM
Response to Original message
30. No. I worked for McDonalds on and off for about 3 years when I
was in high school. My mother was a manager so I had no choice. They have a set way of doing things...down to floor mopping. I would say it was good training for me.
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LostinVA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 07:29 AM
Response to Reply #30
33. A question about your experience:
Would you say that working for McDonald's lead you down the path to owning a Yukon?

:spank: :spank: :spank:
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ScreamingMeemie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 07:33 AM
Response to Reply #33
34. ...
:spray:

You got me... That's not what I expected.

And yes, seeing as I purchased the vehicle from my mother...the former McDonalds manager... I guess you could say that. ;) :thumbsup:
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LostinVA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 07:48 AM
Response to Reply #34
35. OMG -- I didn't even think of that!!!
Institutionalized Freeperism...
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LaurenG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 07:12 AM
Response to Original message
31. Well to coin a stupid phrase, "it's hard work"
and I'm not kidding. I worked at McDonald's for a week when I was 38 and couldn't find anything else. (One that I applied for before finally called back, so that's why it was only a week). It was the busiest work I've ever done.

I went home the first day reeking of grease and so exhausted I could barely take a shower before I went to bed. They were short handed because all the kids had gone back to school and everyone was so busy no had a second to train me. I smashed a lot of buns before I figured out how to use the warmer... :-(
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Crazy Dave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 07:54 AM
Response to Original message
36. I don't think it's degrading nor do I think bad about the people working
I did when I had to and I blow people away when I walk up to a counter to place an order and call the 16 or 17 year old working there mam or sir.
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