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I Wanna Happy Meal!
When Your Job Sucks #1
I was working with Biff on his ice cream truck, which would be my home for 12 hours twice a week after I got off work, helped Brant with his snack route, and began working with Biff when both vendors stopped at the same small independent market. Tuesday and Friday, when he put in his big orders, were usually the days I worked. As we got to a location Biff would often slip away to the pay phone to call in his bets to his bookie, or to the front end to chat with a cashier.
At this particular private supermarket, where the ice cream section was right up front by the registers, there was not much point in the latter. On my first day on the job with him he scanned the front end for potable babes and saw…old women.
“Good God, Jimmy, would you look at this wasteland? This is a travesty. This is what you get with independents. The wife of the owner makes sure there’s no hot babes to distract the old man—dude this is awful! Now Mars, they have their act together. A bunch of Italian guys run that outfit. Just wait. Half the front end is hot, and the chain of command is structured by looks: good looking register babe, really good looking front end supervisor, and smoking hot office manager.”
Biff, all of 22 years, would go on and on at every stop, and while driving between stops, as to the quality of the women out and about, or at the next stop. He was proud to have wrecked his truck three times looking at babes. But on this first stop at Big G’s Market his musings as to the quality of customer service that results from sexist hiring practices were soon quieted by a ruckus not ten feet away at Register #3.
A nice looking lady in her mid twenties was shopping for her family, with her four-year-old boy standing in the cart and a wedding band on her finger. The boy was holding onto the cart top and demanding, “Mommy I wanna happy meal!”
She kept shushing him, with some embarrassment, as the customers to right and left, and the one behind, considered her disobedient child with raised eyebrows or smiles, depending on their nature.
Biff was paying extra attention to this customer as she was the only attractive woman in the store. He was winking at me and nodding, which was his way of saying, “I’d ask her out if she wasn’t married and had a kid.”
Finally Mommy had had enough and patted the little beastie on the butt with her fingers and hissed, “We are not getting another happy meal today!”
Then the little brat pulled the pin on the nuclear family grenade and said, “Mommy, if I don’t get a happy meal I’m gonna tell Daddy about you kissing Uncle Joe’s peepee in the basement!”
Silence descended on the front end of Big G’s Food Market like an invisible curtain. The kid, noticing with an elated raising of both eyebrows what an effect his declaration had had, what power he had just wielded, grinned and, straining onto tippy toe, began to repeat himself, only to have his mother cover his mouth and cup the back of his head and gasp, “We will get a happy meal!”
The woman was mortified as the customers and employees stared. Finally her cashier began ringing again and the other register lanes resumed scanning and bagging, though with customers glancing sidelong at the blushing woman. She might have been horrified, and the customers and staff shocked, but the boy and Biff were elated. Biff turned to me and whispered, “Oh Mommy is a little freak—Biff-Biff’s got the radar out!”
As the woman left with her smiling son rocking joyously along in the cart next to the grocery bags, and Biff strained on tip toe to get a parting glance at her silhouette [she was wearing a white sleeveless blouse and lime green shorts, and seemed athletic, but petite], I said, “Do you think the kid is going to work that for a large milkshake?”
Biff blurted, “Shit that kid’s face is going to be on a milk carton if he doesn’t watch out!”
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