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Frustration Plus Anxiety Is Adding Fire To The Fryer

, , , , , , | Working | November 28, 2017

(I work at a fast food restaurant. I typically work weekends and one or two school nights a week. One night, I am working with a manager who is notorious for being difficult to work with. The manager will have good days in which he is very understanding and relaxed, even during rushes, but other days, he will scream at all the workers throughout the shift. I have generalized anxiety disorder, and on the good days, he is very understanding. When the manager is in a bad mood on a day my anxiety is already strong, it always makes for a rough shift because the yelling often makes it worse. Due to being a minor and under curfew, I cannot work past 10:00 pm on school nights, but this manager never honors this. I usually work the register because the restaurant believes I have good customer service skills, and I am most comfortable in that position. However, on this night, I am on the fry station, which is a station that I do not like working, and I tend to struggle with.)

Manager: “Gang! We have ten more guests coming up front. Keep moving! [My Name], drop more nuggets and fries!”

Me: “Yes, sir.”

(A few minutes pass and we run out of fries. I immediately drop more. I am waiting on fries when the nugget timer beeps. I go over to get the nuggets while the fries are cooking.)

Manager: “[My Name]! Where the h*** are the fries? I need two mediums!”

Me: “They’re cooking. They should be out in about 30 seconds.”

Manager: “Well, I don’t have 30 seconds, sweetie. You need to be on top of this more.”

Me: *starting to feel overwhelmed, and feeling my anxiety kick in* “Sorry.”

Manager: “Don’t f***** apologize! Just do your job! Your fry timer is beeping, and I need more nuggets down because somebody ordered two large packs. Quit standing around and do your job!”

(By this time the general manager comes out of the office from taking a phone call, and I breathe a sigh of relief because she is very understanding with my anxiety. She then takes orders in the drive-through. Meanwhile, the manager keeps shouting at the kitchen staff and me for the next ten minutes. I am very close to crying at this point.)

Manager: *to me in a disgusted tone* “What is that?”

Me: “Sorry. Did I do something wrong?”

Manager: “Yes! You did! Do I really have to tell you?”

(I am completely baffled, as I have plenty of food out and cooking to keep up with the rush, and I am caught up on all my orders.)

Me: “What did I do?”

Manager: “Why the f*** do you have so many spicy nuggets available. I want to see 12 maximum; otherwise we waste food.”

(Just then, we get an order for two six-piece spicy nuggets in the drive-thru. I have only eleven available. I alert my general manager, and she tells me not to stress about it.)

Manager: “Are you kidding me, [My Name]? Drop more nuggets and fries right now! I don’t know what you are doing right now, but if you think you are doing your job, you are not doing a good job. If [District Manager] were here right now, I would try and have you fired because you are not doing your job!”

Me: *almost in tears* “Yes, sir.”

Manager: “Tell me: what is it I have to do in order to get you to work? You are holding everybody up because you do not have the necessary food available when we need it! Why can’t you do your job?”

(At this point, the general manager has had a break in cars and hears the manager screaming at me.)

General Manager: “[Coworker], take orders for me, please. I’m going to help the fry station.”

Manager: “[My Name], how many times do I have to yell at you before you will do your job?”

Me: *in tears* “[Manager], please. I have anxiety—”

Manager:I know! Why are you using your anxiety as an excuse?”

General Manager: “[Manager], I’ll handle this.”

Manager: “No way! We are so far behind, and [My Name] is not doing her job and keeps crying about me yelling at her!”

General Manager: “Then don’t yell at her! [My Name] is one of our best workers, and the way you have been yelling at our employees is intense enough to make them cry, whether or not they have anxiety.” *to me* “Are you okay?”

(Before I can answer, the manager screams.)

Manager: “This is ridiculous! Are you allowing [My Name] to have a temper tantrum?”

General Manager: “No. She has anxiety, and is probably feeling a little overwhelmed.”

Manager: “Well, if she has anxiety, then why did she take the job? I think she should be fired right now!”

General Manager: “Options for people her age are very limited, and many of them need money to pay for schooling. Now, [Manager], please, go take a break. I’ve got this rush under control.”

Manager: “Fine! But, [My Name], stop your f****** crying. You deserve getting yelled at for being lazy and not doing your job!”

Me: *extremely close to walking out due to frustration, still crying* “Yes, sir.”

General Manager: *as soon as the manager leaves* “Hey, sweetie, can you get me two medium fries, please?”

(I have enough for one, but I need more and the baskets I dropped still have another minute to go.)

Me: “Fries will be up in a minute. I’m sorry.”

General Manager: “Oh, honey, it’s okay. I know that it has been very busy, and you are doing the best that you can. Are you okay?”

Me: “I’m just very overwhelmed, and my anxiety is bad right now.”

General Manager: “Then go take a breather. I’ll prepare your usual meal. You’re doing great.”

Me: “Thanks so much!”

(After a ten-minute breather and meal break, I begin to feel a little better. I return to the fry station and the rush has died down. However, my manager returns.)

Manager: “[My Name]! Where were you?”

Me: “[General Manager] sent me on break.”

Manager: “I’ve had enough of your attitude! I am about to report you to [District Manager], and I will make sure he fires you in a heartbeat. Now, go take the front register. You are closing the dining room tonight, because you obviously can’t do the fry station.”

(If I were to close the front, I would have to stay until 11:00 pm, which would violate curfew. I try to explain this to my manager, but he is stubborn.)

Manager: “Don’t you sass me, hon! Are you trying to get fired? Because I will call

[District Manager] right now!”

General Manager: “Actually, [Manager], I have the authority to fire employees, including you. I could fire [My Name], but there is no reason because she is a great worker.”

Manager: “No, she isn’t! She was falling behind on the fry station!”

General Manager: “Because she needs more practice on the fry station, but your yelling does not help. I heard you yelling profanities at her, and that is never okay. Yelling at people, particularly those who get stressed easily, will often make them frustrated. Now [Regular Customer who is good friends with the district manager] came in during that rush and witnessed your behavior towards [My Name] and all the employees. He told me he would contact [District Manager] tonight. Furthermore, I will also report your behavior to him tonight.”

(The general manager’s shift ended before mine did, but on her way out, she gave me a hug and told me to hang in there. She, along with the regular customer, reported my manager’s behavior to the district manager. A couple weeks later, my manager was fired because he started cursing out the district manager.)

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