Thursday, October 3, 2013

Jobs: 2nd job

(For previous installments, scroll down).
Job #2: Golden Corral, St. George, UT
1 day, somewhere in the early 90s

Of all my timeline questions, this one might be the most perplexing. It was only one day of my life, but I have no idea really where it fell. I want to say that I was maybe 15-ish years old and was in 9th grade or so, but it could have been later.
Anyway, I remember thinking I wanted to work here because I liked Golden Corral at the time (though as far as I know, I had only attended it once or twice in my entire life up to that point) and thought that I could get some good free food. This is what we now refer to as "making poor decisions based on even worse inputs."
I noticed they were hiring, went in to fill out an application, and was given an interview right there with the manager. The manager asked me why I would like this type of job, and I think I said I liked interacting with people-a bald-faced lie. He also told me that the job 'could' involve working 'later into the evening.' I said that would be fine, that I was a 'night owl.' This was and mostly is still true, but we'll soon see how this came back to bite me.
I was offered the job ON THE SPOT, which should have been my first red flag. I thought, "Wow, I must have really nailed the interview!" which I think was technically true in the sense that I was able to string sentences together in mostly the right order and I had a pulse and was willing to work at the Golden Corral.
The job: Dishwasher. This should be easy, I thought. You just load up dishes and put them into a thing and then go hang out for 45 minutes while it washed them.
I got there around, I think, 6 pm: just in time for the dinner rush. My trainer was a guy named, I think, Darnell. He seemed nice. And then he provided me with a hair net and I decided right then and there that I would be quitting. I asked if they were optional and he said they were mandatory per the health department. But no matter: even if the job had involved loading up the dishes and then eating Golden Coral food for 5 hours, I would have quit.
But we were just getting started. Someone brought a pile of disgusting dishes over to us and I found that we had to 'pre-wash' them off first, and that most of them were covered in filth and garbage, like used napkins and stuff. Plus most had been purposely messed up. Like people would put their toast into their cups and would just make a disaster of everything.
So, gagging, I had to scrape all the food off and clean up everything before I could put the dishes in the dishwasher. Finally I had that ready (Darnell told me I was going too slow-apparently other dishes were starting to pile up in a line, so this was a 'do this in about 1 minute' kind of thing) and we were ready to load things up for the dishwasher!
The dishwasher is a technical term. You put everything on this rack and then slide it down a path on some wheels and then you pull this big box thing down over the top of it, and it sprays out steam that is maybe only 200 degrees hot or so, and it sprays out onto your hair net, but you aren't supposed to notice that because you're supposed to be scraping food off the other dishes to get them ready for the 2ND DISHWASHER. The job never stops. You are constantly washing dishes. There is no single time in the entire night where you are not interacting with dishes, in a blazing inferno that is 7 million degrees hot, in a kitchen area that is extremely loud and clanky, where the cooks scream at each other all night long and fight over messing up the food or don't have the food ready yet, etc.
We did this for literally 4 hours straight, and then Darnell told me it was lunch time. It was 10:00 and we were only half way through the shift. And I was in like 9th grade and it was a school night.
Aft er the restaurant closed, we washed the remaining dishes for a few more hours and then helped clean up the restaurant and the kitchen and mopped and vacuumed. We finished everything and I wound up going home at about 1:30 am or so, dead exhausted. I think I had to call my Dad to come get me. I'm pretty sure I wasn't driving yet.
I returned the next day and told my boss this wasn't going to work out, that I couldn't possibly work that late on school nights. He said, "I thought you said you were a night owl." I said, "Sure! Like 10:00, maybe 10:30." And even that is technically fairly late for a school night.
I gave him my hairnet and left the Golden Corral in shame. I never got paid, either.
1) That I am ill-suited to certain forms of manual labor. Not all forms, just certain forms.
2) That about 95% of waitresses apparently smoke and badmouth the customers, and that when they go back into the kitchen, they only do so to get away from the customers and to hang out and smoke and badmouth the customers. They're not like 'helping with the food' or anything.
3) That I don't always make the best decisions.

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