Friday People

For several years, grandson David worked at a fast food burger place when he wasn’t in college. He was never an opener, but he worked all different hours from 10 in the morning until midnight. It took me a long time to realize there was one day of the week when he was more likely to drag himself into the house and collapse on the nearest chair. I often asked how his day was, and he might share a short account of something that happened. Almost always an unpleasant experience happened on Friday. There was something about the day that made a few customers rude, overbearing, contentious, impatient, critical, verbally abusive, nasty and insufferable. If you can think of other adjectives, add them to the list. In addition, some asked for extra packets of a special sauce and refused to pay for them. David and I began to call these characters Friday People.

I’m sure none of you who read this act that way. Since you are one of the good ones, I’m going to ask that the next time you order fast food on Friday, you be especially pleasant to those who serve you. They may have already been maligned and mistreated unfairly. Whatever you can give – a smile, a friendly word, a thank you – please boost the morale of those behind the counter..

To be fair, I should mention the prize customers. When the dining room is open, there are people who come in for a meal regularly, often more than once a week. David comes home and says, “My regulars were in today.” Of course, they don’t belong to David; they are shared among the staff. These people have a nice word for everyone and often know names of workers. I think I’m right that occasionally staff members sit and chat with them if they are on a break. Some customers come in every weekday and order the same meal. As David says, you know what they’re going to say before they say it. These regulars are a pleasure to serve.

As David left for work on a Thursday, I said, “At least you won’t have Friday People today.”

With uncharacteristic pessimism, he replied, “Unless they come in a day early.”

This is my favorite Burger King photo of all time taken on August 24, 2011. David (16) and his brother Nathaniel (11) were having a lot of fun at lunch, bursting into laughter just after I took this shot. We were traveling upstate New York to see waterfalls, a favorite pastime even then. This was a Wednesday, so I’m sure we didn’t behave like Friday People.

43 thoughts on “Friday People

  1. Hi Anne
    I never thought of it that way – thank you for the reminder. I am sure I would be unhappy to pay for extra things any day of the week. But that Friday is the bad day of the week for an employee is food for thought. I will keep this in mind from now on.
    I’m sorry David has to go through this in his young life- rude and abusive customers- I would be tempted to up and leave the job- the fact that he continues shows his dedication and tenacity. He is running the good race.
    I can hear your heart break through the post.
    With love to all of you and a special hug to David for keeping at it.
    Susie

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  2. I’m sure you would never behave like Friday People, Anne. That IS a wonderful photo. Great expressions on the boys’ faces. I worked as a waitress for 10 years when my children were young, sometimes after working a full day teaching. Most customers were nice but I do remember running into some Friday People too. We noticed a lot of wackiness on the nights of a full moon!

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    1. Golly! You were running when your children were young — running to keep up with everything. I can’t imagine teaching all day AND waiting tables at night. I can’t even imagine teaching all day. *shudder* I admire teachers, because teaching is the last job I’d want.

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  3. What an adorable photo. Boy did Nathaniel sprout up since then!
    Ick to Friday people. Service industries can be so difficult. My girlfriend has been going through that as a grocery store checker. Why people have to be so rude, I can’t figure out… but then I’ve had such exasperating days when I worked that caused me to be less than patient a time or two. Not sure if they were Fridays, though. Not since I’ve retired though, woohoo. I’ve caught myself before and explained, “it’s not you, it’s just my day.” It can be a trickle affect in a person’s day. I remember an old saying no longer used, ” Man kicks wife, wife kicks child, child kicks dog, dog chases cat, cat gets bird” (it does aptly illustrate cause an effect) or the new saying, which is nicer. “a series of unfortunate events” , but that’s pretty much what happens on a Friday, I guess.

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  4. Laughing out loud at David’s retort. Now that’s the kind of delightful cynicism I enjoy. I didn’t know about Friday People, but I believe it. Good on David for putting up with them.

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  5. I am always courteous to wait staff anywhere. I go to Starbucks daily and appreciate the baristas remembering my and my drink. I tip but their excellent service isn’t a result of my tipping. They are like that with all regulars. We all had grunt jobs once and appreciated kindness.

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  6. I thought Fridays would be a day when customers would be happy to come and have a good time.
    Some people teach us how to be and a lot of them teach us how not to be.
    I will think of David and add an extra smile the next time.

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  7. I love that photo! Folks are tired and irritable by Friday, but shouldn’t take it out on servers and other workers. My daughter worked for an inexpensive retailer in high school and would come home with awful stories about people being rude and demanding. I told her it was a good experience in learning how to deal with all kinds. xo

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    1. Having to deal with all kinds of people is good experience. Thanks for reminding me. I was so blessed to work for an accounting firm that specialized in audits for not-for-profit organizations. Most of our clients were in the business of helping people, and they were super to work with.

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  8. That’s a great picture and David looked more like Nathaniel in those days, probably because he was towering over him. I worked at the diner five years and there were days that even your nicest customers had off days and were whiny or petulant. The funny thing was that they always ordered the same thing, regardless of the fact that we had a pretty extensive menu as diner food went, i.e. you could have breakfast or a hamburger deluxe any time of the day (we were open 24 hours a day). But people had the same meal, drink, every day anyway. They thought you were great to remember their meal (it was easy as David will tell you) … in fact, I’d be at Southland Mall for years after I finished working there and I’d see a former customer and I recall that I’d wave “hi” and say their name and just for kicks I’d add: “a cheeseburger with, no pickle, crispy fries, and a coke no ice” … I always got a smile out of doing that. 🙂

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      1. It was fun Anne – it was a good job for me as I came out of my shell; I was shy before. All my customers and co-workers except one young waitress and a young boy who did the odd jobs were from the South. All kind and nice people. (I probably still could rattle off some people’s orders … five years of working there.)

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  9. Lovely photo, Anne. Maybe it is the start of the weekend and people are, I don’t know, antsy? But I always try to be nice to servers – it is not an easy job, especially dealing with all the customers! On days when I am not so patient, I will always think of David and remember your advice.

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  10. I do NOT understand rude people, especially in fast-food restaurants where the workers earn peanuts! But it should not happen in ANY restaurant. The workers don’t have easy jobs, that’s for sure. Sigh. Maybe it’s a good preparation for ‘life’?!

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    1. I suspect everyone should have one entry-level job behind them. My first high school job was playing the organ for a tiny church. In college I was a camp counselor for two summers. Neither of those were anything like working a fast-food job. I’ll just get my experience secondhand through David.

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  11. Why do people expect expert service like you would get in a nice restaurant at a fast food chain. Be kind, you are getting what you are paying for, and these people are doing the best they can under the constraints proposed by management for a small wage. I like to tip at fast food and even at the drive through. The smiles come out and it makes there day./

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