My first ever job was at our local Spinner’s Pizza, a now-defunct chain of Dallas-area takeout pizzerias whose most-advertised special was the “Twin Spin.” I can remember their selling mantra (“Two medium pizzas with two toppings for $12.99!”) almost as well as the phone number for the Dallas Times Herald Classifieds.
I applied for the job because my friend Jeff worked there. He was famous for being the first in town to own a CD player car stereo, a cutting-edge innovation at the time along with penicillin and fire.
Also, a few weeks earlier, my father had given me two gifts. The first was my first car, a used 1985 GMC Jimmy 2WD. He neglected to mention that the other gift would be the beginnings of a lifetime with debt, as I had taken my truck off-roading and accidentally blown the flywheel — his immortal words of “I’m sure as hell not going to fix the damn thing!” was enough to encourage my job-hunt. Spinner’s accepted immediately, and unlike my dad they didn’t bother me constantly to shave my mullet.
Like Maggie Simpson and the neighborhood baby with one eyebrow, everyone should have an arch-enemy. My first was Chuck, the owner of the Southlake franchise where I worked. He was famous for constantly telling customers, “Hey, man! I appreciate it!” A stout, balding man with a bushy moustache and an airhead for a wife, that fucker had it in for me from day one. It wasn’t because of anything I did; the dude just didn’t like the cut of my gib.
Chuck often employed his wife Janet to help out — what she failed to bring to the table in intelligence and common-sense was more than made up to him by her big boobs and ability to work without being on the payroll. And although I might be busy taking an order from a customer, Chuck would make me switch jobs with his spouse so that I might better exercise leadership and initiative via scrubbing of the mop buckets. I was saved from ultimate termination only by the stubbornness of the store manager Chris, who kept me around for the sole reason that I was the only one with whom he could talk about his man-crush Dale Earnhardt Sr.
Another of my fellow “pizza artists” was John, a terribly egocentric dude who had a strong stutter, a chip on his shoulder the size of Plymouth Rock, and the unfortunate circumstance to have his ex-girlfriend Stacey as a coworker. Stacey was a delivery driver. He was openly obnoxious about her in front of our coworkers.
While she was out making a run, John was entertaining us with jokes at her expense. Along one of the walls was a giant laminated map detailing our delivery area within Southlake and Grapevine. John’s greatest moment was when he took a dry-erase marker and scrawled across the map in thick letters, “Stacey is a fucking whore.” After the chuckles from his audience died down, John went to work cleaning off his graffiti — but the letters would not come off. It was at this point where he discovered that his writing device was in fact a permanent marker. John was soon scrubbing furiously with a brillo pad, trying to clear his words before Stacey returned. The whole time, he was stuttering violently with each stroke, “Fa-Fa-Fa-Fuck-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fuck!”
We had three telephones setup along the front counter, each with glowing buttons that indicated which line was active or on-hold. One night, when all was quiet and the only sound was that of a mouse dropping its feces on our frozen pizza dough, all three phones suddenly lit up simultaneously. Chuck barked at me to get them placed on hold immediately, and I rushed over to the phone bank. Picking up the first line, I opened with the standard greeting:
“Spinner’s Pizza. Can you hold, please?”
“Thank you, sir”
I clicked the hold button. Its light went from solid to blinking, indicating that the “on-hold” action was successful. Then I answered the next line.
“Spinner’s Pizza. Can you hold, please?”
At this point, I froze as if my body just failed its saving throw against feeblemind. The customer had deviated from standard operating procedure — they were supposed to have said yes! Damn them!
The third phone was still ringing, and Chuck was yelling at me to get them answered now. I gathered myself and asked the customer, “Excuse me?”
“How long are you going to put me on hold?!”
I thought for a second. “Let’s find out,” I said.
Click went the hold button. Off went the flashing light.
3 thoughts on “Adventures in Food Service”
Inquiring minds HAVE to know: Did Stacey ever find out who wrote that stuff about her?
Depends. She could have known she was a whore based on the faint residue of writing still left on the map. Or when she was eventually dating John and then sleeping with someone else behind his back. Either way…yeah…
Great answer to the guy who didn’t want to hold. That made me laugh out loud. That and the permanent marker. Serves him right, the big jerk.