Adam Oester, a staff writer for The Picket, described in a commentary article what it's like to work in the food industry.

Life of a Fry Cook

(THE PICKET)- I greet the customers as they come into the restaurant, a husband and wife. I attempt to smile. They shoot me a blank look. The wife shouts to me that she needs three small sundaes, with extra hot fudge.  She puts extra emphasis on the word extra, as if I couldn’t hear her.

“There is a charge for extra ice cream,” I say. She complains but pays and storms off with the ice cream.

She later returns to my counter with a complaint. The sundae has been eaten, but she complains there were bugs in the ice cream. I guess the extra topping she paid for was maggots.  I refund her money, and photograph the cup so my district manager can see there are no maggots in the cup.

In my four years of working in the fast food industry, I have witnessed just about everything. Whether it is people making up stories for a refund, or someone swearing at me for forgetting a pack of barbeque sauce, there is no shortage in displeased customers. I feel almost every day has at least one customer who needs to complain about something.

Customers even get frustrated before they order their food. I was speaking to a man in drive thru who said he needed a moment. While he was looking at our menu I thought I could help and hand some stuff out up front.

While I am speaking to a customer, I hear him yelling in my ear. “I’m ready. Hello? Hello?” He shouts this for about 3 seconds. As I’m about to press on the headset button to apologize for this 3 second wait, he swears repeatedly and speeds off past the window.  Keep in mind that when people are always complaining about waiting in drive thru, the majority of the time our front lobby is empty.  They can’t be bothered to open their car door and come inside, and they expect their $25 order will be ready in a minute and a half. Most customers are displeased when they find out that I am indeed only a mortal man and that I can’t move that fast.

Working in the fast food industry isn’t the problem. Regardless of how I sound, I really enjoy my job. The employees are nice, and so are the owners. The problem is certain people, and unfortunately those people are everywhere. Next time you are going through drive thru, and you see a kid having a panic attack, try to tell him to have a good day. That’s all it takes.

Adam Oester is a staff writer for The Picket. He can be reached at


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