Human Privilege is not using white privilege as an excuse to not do something like get an education, hold a job, be a positive member of society. No one but you stops you from achieving these goals.
You’re the only person responsible for your life, stop making excuses and blaming other people for your own shortcomings.
At the urging of my lovely boyfriend, I have decided to write about my experience while working at Hot Dog on a Stick (HDOS from here on out, because it’s too fucking complicated to type out repeatedly. Plus, I’m lazy.) last summer. I’m not going to sugarcoat or exaggerate, nor am I going to change any names. They didn’t have me sign any confidentiality agreement, so fuck them anyway.—x—
It’s the summer between Junior and Senior year, and I’m alookin’ for my very first job. New to the workforce and thrilled at the idea of being paid to do mundane jobs, I apply to Starbucks, Coffee Bean, Zumiez, Vans, Claire’s, Icing, Pavilions, a local animal shelter, and Hot Dog on a Stick. Nobody calls me back. Fuckin’ nobody. And, frankly I’m disheartened and pissed off. I’m a diligent worker, when I’m not depressed. I’m funny and intelligent and good with people and a team player - all that good stuff. So why won’t anybody call? I don’t fucking know.
So the end of the summer rolls around and I’m still jobless. I’ve been working on getting my driver’s license, and today’s the day for my driving test. I’m at the DMV with my mom and boyfriend, waiting in those godforsaken lines, when I get a call telling me I have an interview. Like an idiot, I think it’s for the job I really want and had an interview for earlier in the month - The Coffee Bean - so I ask if it’s the location by the grocery store. There’s only one HDOS in town so the woman on the phone talks to me like I’m a fucking idiot, telling me “No, the one up at the mall.” But I’m still confused, thinking it’s The Coffee Bean but not wanting to sound like an idiot, so I tell her I’ll see her later and thank her. Realizing there’s no CB up at the mall, and not putting it together that I applied at HDOS, I call the number she left me and hang up once she answers in her awfully cheery voice “Hot Dog on a Stick, this is Andi, how may I help you?”
I passed my driver’s test and had my interview about an hour afterward. Needless to say, I’m riding on a cloud and I exude confidence walking into the tiny location where I hope to be dipping cornbread battered hot dogs into boiling oil for minimum wage for the next year or so. I ace the interview. Pass it with flyyyyying colors and they want me to come in tomorrow for my two-hour training.
When I walk in the next day, the manager, Jessica, and assistant manager, Andi (the woman I had spoken to on the phone the day before and, ironically, someone I had a theater class with, way back in the day) greeted me with a pair of short blue shorts, a red/white/yellow/blue striped shirt and a dorky hat with my name on it. Jessica and I get started right away with filling out paperwork and Andi whips me up one of everything on the menu so I can get familiar with it all. All the while, I’m thinking: “Hey, if working here means getting free food, serving minimal people because our mall gets so few customers, and getting paid for it, I’ll do it forever.”
Jessica then starts to teach me how to make the exquisite lemonade that HDOS is known for. She quizzes me on how much citric acid (what HDOS calls “stuff” so people don’t freak out) to add to five gallons of lemonade, how to properly dispose of lemonade that hasn’t been finished, how many lemons each batch needs, etc, etc, etc. Then I get to stomp my first batch. To start, just a five gallon batch with 1oz of “stuff” to get the perfect lemony flavor. A scoop of ice, some water, the lemons, the “stuff”, then the lemons must be stomped until the flesh is peeled from the fruit and the ice is crushed, but not into too small chunks in time to my heat beat. Thump, thump. Thump, thump. Thump, thump. Very Edgar Allen Poe. [Can I just tell you how toned my arms would have been, had I kept working there? SO TONED, because stomping their lemonade to their ridiculous standards is hard.]
My first batch was perfect, if I do say so myself. And even if you don’t take my word for it, Jessica said it was perfect, too. And then they sent me home, preparing me for my first day of work the next day.
Now, when I was fifteen, I did a very stupid thing. I was dating a really destructive guy and I really wanted a tattoo - what kind of troubled fifteen year old doesn’t want a tattoo? I wanted one. I knew I was headed toward treatment, at that point, and I wanted something to keep me strong while I was away. Naturally, that had to be a tattoo. So my destructive boyfriend took me to his friend, a wannabe tattoo artist in training, and he gave me what I wanted - a circle on my left wrist. Well.. He gave me a crooked outline of a quarter. Embarrassed by it and wanting to be professional, I kept it covered during my interview and training at HDOS. They didn’t ask about tattoos at the interview, didn’t say anything about employees with tattoos or ask about my band-aid, nor did my employee handbook said nothing about tattoos so I didn’t think anything of it.
On my first day of work, Jessica had me read the manager’s handbook to get some background information on the company and understand the dress standards (clean and pressed uniform, white shoes, white socks, hair pulled back, clean and short fingernails, no jewelry except for a white watch if desired). I knew about the watch rule from my employee handbook, and had went out the night before to purchase a white watch to cover my tattoo and continue following the dress code. It was on the dress standards page that I saw a sticky note that read “DO NOT HIRE INDIVIDUALS WITH VISIBLE TATTOOS”.
My heart sank for a second, but then I realized “well, my tattoo isn’t visible. It’s covered by a watch, which is totally within the dress code. But, just to be safe, I’m gonna tell Jessica.” So I told her. And the first thing she said to me was “We have to go file your termination papers”. What the fuck, right? And I pretty much said that. I convinced her to call her supervisor to make sure I needed to be fired, and her supervisor told her to call the corporate office. The corporate office told Jessica I needed to be terminated because my tattoo broke the dress rules of the company.
All in all, I earned about $20 dollars from HDOS and wasted about 7 hours of my life for them just to fire me. Matt’s mom is sure I could file some sort of lawsuit, but what would be the point in that? I don’t want to work there anyway. Fuck that place and fuck their delicious lemonade.