Hot Fun In The Summertime
Memorable Summer Jobs

Workin' at Arby's

By John Hargrave
Home Page: ZUG

I worked at Arby's one summer. (I always thought everyone in the world had Arby's, but I recently found out otherwise. It's a fast-food chain that serves roast beef sandwiches rather than hamburgers.)

My first week on the job, I was assiged "kitchen." I had to wash stuff all day long, and do the occasional sweep or mop. I was also responsible for -- and this is what my trainer neglected to tell me -- putting slabs of roast beef in the oven and pulling them out when they were cooked.

Now, these slabs o' meat weighed 15 or 20 pounds, and they would make all the sandwiches for an entire day. I saw this meat that someone had put in the oven, and I wondered who was responsible for it. "It's not MY meat," I gaily said to myself, sweeping with renewed vigor.

At the end of the day, of course, I found out otherwise. The entire crew gathered around me as the manager pulled the hardened, charred hunk of flesh out of the oven. "Well, THAT'S fifty bucks down the drain," said the manager, glaring at me. The rest of the crew laughed and pointed. Some took pictures.

My favorite "station" was drive-thru, because I could get a little nutty. One of my favorite things was to take on strange foreign accents, a different one for each car, and then try to remember which customer got which accent when they reached the window. I built up an arsenal of accents: British, Scottish, Indian, Asian, and that one tribe in Africa that clicks their tongues a lot.

Our drive-thru wasn't really a window, it was a rotating glass cylinder, like a mini-revolving door, that I suppose kept us from ever getting choked to death by an angry customer. To talk to a customer, you had to speak into this microphone while pressing the TALK button. The advantage was that without the TALK button, I was in a soundproof chamber. If a customer made me angry, I could just sit there and mutter insults under my breath and the person wouldn't have a clue.

One night we were very busy and a woman was taking forEVER to count her change. Finally, I burst out with a "GEEZ, LADY!" She looked up, startled. I had accidentally been pressing the TALK button.

NEXT: Ice Cream Man

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