Widgets Magazine

Aug 3, 2011

Ice Cream, You Scream

 Teach invited me out for ice cream tonight, and never one to turn down an offer of a delicious treat, I agreed. We decided on Arctic Circle just down the street. After we waited in an incredibly long line for our Brown Toppers (vanilla cones dipped in crunchy chocolate topping), we headed for home. I guess the girl making the cones felt bad for us because they were quite a bit bigger than the usual cone. “When I was working at Arctic Circle, we would have gotten in so much trouble for making a cone this big,” I remarked. She bit into the top of her monstrously high swirl. “When did you work for Arctic Circle again?” she asked. So I guess I have another story to tell that my kids probably haven’t heard because it is not one of my proudest moments.

Picture credit
When my sweetie and I had been married for four months, I got pregnant with Bossy. I had never been so sick in my life! It was in the middle of the spring quarter (semesters came later) and my sweetie and I were both attending the University of Utah…sort of… It seems that honeymooning and school didn’t agree very well with us. We would much rather stay home and cuddle all day than attend class. My sweetie was taking engineering classes and after he failed the same math class two quarters in a row, he mostly quit school.

My attendance was sporadic, but my teachers were much more tolerant than his. In fact, I took a Shakespeare class that met five days a week. I attended only one day each week to take the required quizzes and I earned a B in the class! Anyway, we were struggling on all fronts, but most especially financially. We both started looking for jobs and because of my fast food experience in high school, I was immediately hired at Arctic Circle to work the front counter.

Pregnant and ornery
I was forced to wear an ugly brown double-knit uniform, clean bathrooms, and wash tables. I waited on impatient customers and made drinks and shakes, cones and brown toppers. The pay was lousy, but at least it was something. By then I was about three months along with Bossy and the morning sickness stretched all day. I threw up twice a day, regular as clockwork…once when I first got up, and once in between classes. I dropped my Spanish class (which turned out to be a big problem later, but I’ll save that for another post), and then I was able to work evenings.

I mostly hated the job, not because I didn’t like to work fast-food, but the smell of the oil made my growing tummy churn. I had a manager and an assistant manager, and both of them were named Mike. Mike the manager was kind to me and sympathetic of my circumstances. Mike the assistant manager was not. He delighted in making my life miserable. He always sent me to clean the bathrooms even though there were usually three of us who could have done it. But the thing that bothered me the most was when he would randomly ring up a purchase on my till. Because he was in management, he had the right to jump in whenever he wanted and help customers even though he was never assigned a till of his own. The bad part about that is that the counter people got blamed if their tills were short even if they were not the only ones making transactions.

Picture credit
I was called in for having my till short by assistant manager Mike one evening after I had stayed late to help close. Remember I was only 19 and the injustice in the world still bugged me. I told him it wasn’t fair that I was held responsible for my till when he had been using it for nearly an hour. I guess that was the wrong thing to say because his face got all red and he yelled at me some not very nice words. After that, things only got worse between us. I asked Mike the manager to not schedule me with him, but that wasn’t really possible.

So about a week later we were on the floor together. It wasn’t even busy when some people he wanted to impress approached the counter. He helped himself to my till once again. When the customers had received their food and settled themselves in a booth, I calmly gathered my purse and jacket, announced I was leaving, and headed out the door. Mike screamed at me that I was fired and I replied that wasn’t necessary because I was quitting. I thought he might have a coronary, but I never looked back. I had only been on the job for six weeks.

Pregnant with Bossy
The next day I visited for a long time with Mike the manager. I explained why I had walked off the floor in the middle of the shift. He placed my side of the story in my file, changed my status to re-hireable (nasty Mike said they would never talk to me again about another job!), and wished me luck with my baby and my life. I’ve grown up a little since then and I know that I probably should have handled the situation differently…can I just plead "pregnant"?


Lacy@uphillandsmiling said...

I think you handled it great -- that is completely RIDICULOUS that other people could use your till and YOU were accountable for it!

Your pictures are SO cute :)

Middle-aged Mormon Man said...

Man, I never realized there could be so much drama behind the fry sauce!

Sara Bell said...

Aw, I just love pregnancy pictures!
I'm lucky not to have had quite that experience, though I have had to deal with some pretty weird "policies" before.

Jenny in NC said...

That was a great story, and the best part was the picture of the FRY SAUCE!! I currently live in the south and people don't know what fry sauce is. Such a shame. I'm going to Utah for a wedding next month and I think I'll take a trip to Arctic Circle and sauce up!

Emmy said...

Okay and dip bag Mike should have handled it better to! Some people just should not be in charge.
Oh and I really want fry sauce now.

Rhonda said...

I walked out of a job one night because I simply asked to be re-clocked in as a "busboy" or "foodrunner" rather than as server since servers only got $2.13 an hour plus tips and the others got $4.13 and tip share. The manager refused and said I'd stay and run food and be happy about it or I could no longer have a job. I chose to no longer have a job.

Arkansas Patti said...

Can't say I would have done differently. Shoot, I am one of those ignorant of fry sauce. I must have led a sheltered life.

Controlling My Chaos said...

I bet it felt good to walk out on Mike. I think you should be proud of yourself for standing up to him.

Lara said...

How I miss fry sauce. :)

It is nice to look back and learn from our actions, although I don't think you were entirely out of line!


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