Right now, the "web…blah…log" is not being updated regularly, but feel free to peruse the archive, and check out our carefully selected highlights from Season One, Season Two, and Season Three.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

a look back with cheese

So here we are, with the final post in this series celebrating my 20-year anniversary of my summer at Burger King.
There’s a certain symmetry happening this week, whether by fate or by happenstance. I am currently hunkering down in anticipation of Hurricane Irene, but I rode out my very first hurricane (1991’s Bob) at Burger King. I can still remember driving to work and seeing those ominous gray-green skies, thinking how insane it was for me to be heading to a place where, if the power lines went down, I would be surrounded largely by uncooked meat. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

employee of the month

So here we are, and we’re winding down this summer arc about my stint at Burger King 20 years ago.
It was no secret to my managers that I was going back to college in the fall. But as my days at BK dwindled, my manager George made a comment that I carry with me to this very day: 
It’s a shame you’re going back to college, Step... you could have gone all the way.
George called me “Step.” Not “Steph.” “Step.” It’s okay. Time has ripped my memory in such a way that I’m not sure whether George’s name was actually George or whether I’m remembering the wrong name but just now deciding it’s easier to refer to him as George and leave it at that. So “Step” is no big deal.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

party with cheese

So here we are with, you guessed it, the aftermath of my previous post, “clown with cheese.”
On Saturday afternoon, August 24, 1991, a mere three days after my three hours of somewhat useless clown training, I was slated to host my first Burger King birthday party. I was a bit terrified, not because I didn’t know what to expect, but rather because I knew exactly what to expect.
Most of my pre-college employment was spent working with kids, either as a babysitter or a day camp counselor... and for a brief spell in middle school, I also worked for Kiddie Catering, the brainchild of my friend’s Martha-before-there-was-Martha mom, whom we’ll call “Ms. M.” This was a very small one-van operation, wherein Ms. M shopped out birthday party entertainment in the form of an eager college student and her willing young assistant (me) that would come to your home and provide supervised games, a sundae bar, and a mini-show from a costumed character who danced and “talked” to a pre-recorded track. Guess who was inside the costumed character?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

clown with cheese

So here we are, to talk of a red-letter day that occurred two decades ago during my adventures at Burger King.
But before I get to that, I need to address yet another example of the New York Times following in my footsteps. It happened this past spring, after I tried to be all funny and satirical about proms in “omp!” and created (or so I thought) the concept of the Adult Prom... and then lo and behold, exactly 15 days later the Times ran a feature story on actual Adult Proms being held in the Midwest. And it happened yet again on July 31, not even a month after I admitted to still using paper calendars in “old tymes not forgotten,” when I came across a feature about some people refusing to ride the wave of digital planners and calendar software. 
Well, let’s see the Grey Lady do a story about fast-food clown training. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

ka-ching with cheese

So here we are, back after a longer-than-planned hiatus, to get back to that magical Burger King summer of 1991. 
The day I was bumped up to the cash register was monumental, but at the time, I didn’t think it was such a big deal. After all, I had an concurrent evening job at Kerr Drugs and had already run registers for several weeks. Of course, those were ancient registers with no bar code scanner or credit card pad... every price and product code had to be entered by hand, and every credit card transaction required the use of the old-fashioned “chunk-chunk” slider device that imprinted the card number onto carbon receipts. But I’d mastered them, and surely the Burger King registers would be a breeze by comparison. Hell, we didn’t even accept credit cards at the BK. That alone had to make for smooth sailing.
But consider, if you will, the frustrated tinkerings of a bright young engineer charged with designing a fast-food cash register. He’s got to make tiny little buttons for each menu item. He’s got to include buttons that say small, medium, and large. Buttons that are pink and blue. He has a master’s degree. He is not happy.