Today was my first day working at Subway.
Well, I say working. It’s a summer job.
Well, I say job. I was on a trial day.
Well, I say day. It was two hours.
In complete honesty I did two hour’s work roughly approximate to what I would be doing were I employed by the almighty, all-benevolent Subway franchise.
I’ve come upon that unhappy point in every person’s life where they realise money is both desirable and fleeting. My lifestyle is hardly lavish and in actuality I tend to be far too concerned with the idea of spending money to be much of a spendthrift. However being at university generates additional costs that I must meet and make good on. Hence employment.
I don’t have any particular soft spot for Subway. They are the only “fast food” place I would willingly step foot in but I wouldn’t call myself a fan nor an addict. I’m happy to report, though, that seeing the workings behind the shopfront has not damaged my willingness to eat their food.
The thing I found strangest about standing on the wrong side of that ranked-up plethora of meats and salads was how I was actually less stressed than when I’m the customer. When I go into a shop that requires input from me beyond “I’ll have this” I tend to freak out. I suddenly need to make decisions and I’m immediately made aware of the queue behind me and the bored, impatient look hiding behind the friendly eyes of the guy making my food and that’s exactly when I forget what I wanted or how to talk to people in a declarative, clear, non-mumbly intelligible manner.
“Hello, sir! What would you like?”
“The what, sorry?”
I have no idea why but this only happens in customer situations. Even though I’m well aware of the consumer mentality of our society which demands our shop people be malleable and eternally agreeable in order to appease us I still live in constant dread of somehow being an incompetent customer and wasting everyone’s time. When I stand in queues for the local corner shop I spend a good part of the queue recounting my loose change over and over again to make sure I definately have enough money. I’m well aware that if I didn’t have the correct change (despite counting five times and praying the queue would slow down so I could recount a sixth) the person would say “I need such-and-such more,” and I’d look a tad silly. However there’s no way you can remind me of this in the queue leading up the checkout. No. I’m adamant that the ferocious monster on the other side of the counter will glance snidely at my proffered pennies and snort in a booming, daemonic tone “Wretched mortal! Thou hast coinage too little! Thou’st offended me!” and then they’d backhand me and I’d go to jail.
Subway’s even worse. I have to chose the bread and the meat and whether I’d like it toasted or not or with cheese or not or half or a footlong and then “What salad would you like?” Ack! They must have every vegetable on the planet here! Which ones do I pick to ensure the subway artist won’t bite off my head? It’s like the letters-on-the-floor puzzle of Indiana Jones and the Last Cruasade. If I pick gerkin the sneeze-guard will grow teeth and eat me and I’ll be turned into slices of bacon for the next unwitting customer.
So it was my relief when suddenly the decision is put into the other guy’s hands. All I have to do is correctly and quickly relay his decisions and pick the right sauce. I was slow, true, and I didn’t know where anything was and I tended to be too scant in my application of lettuce but it didn’t matter because I didn’t have to worry about which things to pick! It was bliss. Now I know why Subway people always look so happy when you enter their building. “Thank God!” they think, “I hadn’t the foggiest what I was doing. Now this customer will tell me exactly what to do!“
I get a phonecall (or don’t) in a few weeks. This appears to be the only job in my hometown and if I don’t get it I have no idea what I’ll do for money for the summer. Seriously. I signed up for a job-searching site which contained a cookie which occasionally filled adspace on the internet with job postings from said site. Northampton (my hometown) had one job – a door to door salesman in the town ten miles away from my house. The ad is meant to rotate between all the possible jobs in your area. Thusly it sadly and pitifully spun around on the spot showing the same miserable excuse for employment over and over again like the one wrinkly apple left in the fruitbowl because it’s still edible but not desirable enough to have been eaten yet. Northampton – the wrinkly apple of English job prospects.
Also there’s an absolutely wonderful BBC documentary called After Life all about the sciences of decay and mould and decomposition and it’s wonderfully interesting and yes I’m aware being fascinated by rotting things is a little creepy. But rotting things are fascinating – it’s why I follow Piers Morgan’s career. Ho!