Oh How I Hated Working at McDonalds

In January of this year I dropped out of university and moved back to my hometown while I attempted to figure out what to do with my life. In the meantime I decided to get a job. I’d worked at McDonald’s before in another city and it had been a great experience so I decided to put in an application.

The McDonald’s I worked at was franchised. The store owner interviewed me and I was hired that day. He seemed like a very nice person at first, but I later found out that he was more like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. When there was training going on or he had an interview he acted like the nicest person on the face of the earth. When only experienced employees were working he would scream at us over every little detail. When he came into work us crew felt like were walking on egg shells around him. Slowly but surely, this man managed to alienate all of his staff with his behaviour. An example of it would be the time when he yelled at a co-worker of mine for being pregnant and having morning sickness. She regularly opened the store and he would not allow her to be sick during the mornings. She said, I can’t help it, which caused him to go off on a long tirade about how wrong it was for her to be pregnant and unmarried (she was 20 and engaged). Yet he treated the other pregnant girl there like gold because she was so good at drive-thru times.

Some of the managers there were not much better. There were some awesome ones that I had the pleasure of working with (and miss now that I’ve left) but they were few and far between. For some reason the stupidest people were routinely promoted to management. While I was there the newest promotion was a woman who had at times come to work either drunk or hung over and routinely stole from her till. As far as I know she was never disciplined for either action. Another manager had two kids that she sometimes brought to work. They usually watched TV in the crew room or played in the Play Place. Being that they were only five though they had short attention spans. They would be in the lobby or the grill causing problems and getting in the way of everyone. The manager would discipline them and make them go sit in the crew room but they would always come back. Some of the crew even had to watch these kids while doing their regular work. If the kids were at daycare the manager would often send a crew person to get them and bring them back to the restaurant. She allowed us to be on the clock while doing it. I’m not sure if the owner had any idea that this was going on.

At the previous McDonald’s I’d worked at things seemed to operate well because employees were trusted to punch in and out on time and to be responsible. Our breaks were paid as well. Probation reviews were always completed on time at the end of the three month period and I’d passed mine with flying colours. At this McDonald’s crew had to ask a manager if they could leave work. They always said no and kept us anywhere from an extra 20 – 30 minutes. I rarely managed to leave work on time. Breaks were unpaid and were deducted from our paychecks whether we got to take them or not. Breaks had to be approved by a manager and sometimes they would conveniently forget to give them to us. Complaining resulted in nothing happening. At the end of my three months I waited for my probation review to be done. It never came. Crew were also rarely allowed bathroom breaks. During peak times (11:00 am-1:00 pm and 5:00 pm-7:00pm) we were not allowed to use the bathroom. You try working an 8 hour shift when you can’t go pee for 6 hours! It’s near impossible to be friendly to customers when your teeth are floating.

Customers were the best and worst parts of the job. It was nice getting to know the regulars and the ones that are friendly. Some people came in and always ordered the same thing and I got to know what they liked. But then there were some that made my job miserable. I’ve had customers throw tantrums like two year olds, swear at me, throw things at me, and demand discounts because they’re too cheap to pay for their food. At McDonald’s you are NEVER allowed to argue with a customer even if they’re clearly in the wrong. As such, they’re allowed to abuse the staff any way they see fit. And some of them even laugh about it. They also leave some of the most horrendous looking messes I’ve ever seen. Blood, pee, drinks, shit, condiments – you name it. I’ve probably cleaned it up from the play area, lobby, and bathrooms. The play area is the worst though because kids often disobey the posted rules. They take food everywhere and even pee inside the play structure. And their parents aren’t much better. I’ve found dirty diapers lying out in the open or in the mop closet. And the place is rarely cleaned. The only time it ever got a thorough cleaning was when the health inspector paid a surprise visit and threatened to shut it down. Don’t ever let your kids play in the Play Place. God knows what they’ll pick up!

Recently I quit my job at that craphole. I’m going back to school and I’m going to make sure that I come out of it with a degree and a good paying job. I hope I never have to work at another McDonald’s again.