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.