Ma'am I do not have to tell you that the frosty
looks you’re getting from the rest of the customers
say more about them than about you—
they were promised the world when they were children
then found out it was made with iceberg lettuce
and want to send it back, but there’s no table service.
When we talk about abundance—which we
don’t do in a Wendy’s, it’s against our code of conduct—
maybe it’s not about trying to get a salad that has more than two tomatoes
(there will always be two tomatoes, this is a Wendy’s),
but instead knowing that inside the tomatoes are seeds that can be planted
and noticing that carrot shavings look like bright confetti.
The fries have grown steadily crispier in the past few years—
management says there’s nothing we can do to stop it from happening
but I sometimes wonder if I could turn back the timer
on the fryer and respool all the receipts, just to see.
Did you want your receipt, by the way? Is there someone I should call
or send it to, to give them proof that you were here?
I stopped being the one to flip the burgers months ago,
not because I didn’t like flipping burgers but because I didn’t like being talked about.
I thought I was supposed to feel different now, but manning the drive-thru
has just burdened me with other people’s secrets.
I have secrets of my own, including this one:
Filling out that feedback survey won’t change anything.
There are still good surprises in this place though, aren’t there?
Wendy’s uses 100% real beef and that didn’t turn out to be a lie
and sour cream tastes so much better than its name would indicate
(it’s the best part of getting the chili in my opinion),
and everyone who’s tried to get us to stop eating soft serve
when we need to feel happy for a minute has been unsuccessful.
Maybe we just need a return to free exchange of knowledge
rather than making everything into a side hustle or a think piece
and then we could understand each other and stop feeling so tired all the time.
I’m willing to try (when I get off at midnight) if you are.
If I teach you how to wear this apron,
will you teach me how to lie on the floor motionless?