Below is an excerpt from my first ever blog- It's Just a Paycheck. It was a chronicle of my life while working at Panera Bread.
Day 287 of captivity.
I write to you as a servant in chains to capitalism. Each day I have to come back to this prison- put on my khaki pants, a neutral colored polo, my name tag, a beige hate, and don a smile.
The sheep wonder in because that is what they do- they flock to the easiest solution for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
"Hi! Welcome to Panera. How are you doing today?"
They walk right past me, so entangled in their own thoughts and world that they don't even have the common decency to acknowledge my existence. This place makes me question my existence.
"I'm doing well too in case you are wondering..." I murmur to myself.
Someone should have taught these people how to interact with other humans. But, I might be expecting a lot out of sheep.
A man walks up to my register.
"Hi, how are you doing today?"
"Alright, I'll have.."
I should probably let this man know that normally after asking a question of how someone is, it's common courtesy to wait for a response.
"...ahhh, hmm well actually I'm not sure what I'll have."
Well it's really good you figured that out at the register while a line is building up behind you. But ohhh no don't worry, they can wait. It's all about you.
"How's that Sierra Turkey sandwich?"
Oh so now you want me to speak?
"It's great, it's got chipotle mayo, field greens, onions, and turkey."
What I should probably tell him is that it tastes like a lunchable.
But I don't think Mother Bread would like that.
Mother Bread is always watching.
"Alright give me that."
"Good choice! And would you like bread, apple or chips with that?"
"That sounds good."
Oh I'm sorry sir, maybe you don't understand how this works. I gave you three options. You have to pick one. You can't just say yes.
"Sorry which one did you want?"
What on earth do you think bread apple is!? Have you even eaten one? Have you ever even heard of one?
"I'm sorry again, it is a slice of bread, a whole apple, or a bag of chips. I should have made that more clear."
"So I can't get apple chips?"
"ahh, fine. I'll have... Wait bread comes on the sandwich right?"
I do believe that is one of the defining features of a sandwich. It's what differentiates from a salad, a wrap, or soup.
"So why would I want bread with that? I mean..."
I don't need to know your reasoning behind what you choose sir, I just need an answer.
"...if bread comes on the sandwich I don't need it on the side too!"
"haha, yeah, that's true. Some people however do like bread."
"Well I don't. So give me chips."
"Alright, anything else for you sir?"
"Nope that's it."
"Alright that is going to be $6.52"
"Are you serious!? For a sandwich? You should really lower your prices. That's outrageous!"
You do realize that other people, much higher up than me, decide that, and that as an associate trainer, I carry little to no power in not only this story but the company as a whole.
But maybe I'm expecting too much again.
I guess I just have high expectations.
Alabama: You really love the confederate flag… and racism… and alcohol… and jean cut off vests… You’ve really got a lot to work on before you should be allowed to interact with other states.
Maine: You’re that girl Kevin Arnold from the Wonder Years meets on the beach on his family vacation. They fall in love and kiss. Then she only writes one letter. Jerk.
Utah: You’re the only state with the idea to make your basketball team about music. Not going to lie, that was an interesting choice.
California: You know who you are California? You’re Rex Grossman. Tons of potential. A lot of hype and excitement. A couple of great beautiful thrilling moments. And then lots and lots of disappointment. (Yes, I’m referring to you Fresno)
Florida: You’re America's skin tag… one of those things I’m afraid I’ll get when I’m old and nasty… normally they’re under your armpit or something… I’m afraid I’m going to end up like you.
Illinois: “Ohh! Illinoise. Yeah I’ve heard of that… Chicago’s the capital right?”
Kentucky: I'm not sure why I hate you so much.... it's probably your people, the fact that you lack anything interesting, and your looks, demeanor, and every aspect of who you are. Yeah. That's actually why.
Massachusetts: Are you actually a state? I know Boston is real, but I've never heard anyone say they're from Massachusetts.
Missouri: The only thing you have going for you is that you're not Alabama.
New Hampshire: I feel like you must breed presidents. New Hampshire, it just sounds presidential, right? Nope. Just Pierce. And he was sub-par at best. Great job on that Kansas-Nebraska Act.
North Carolina: If I had to pick a state to tar and feather. It'd be you. Also, what the cuss is a Tar Heel? It's stupid, that's what it is, and it shouldn't be your college mascot.
Oregon: We like you. We’ve kind of got a crush on your woman, and we’re jealous of your men's beards.
South Dakota: If you succeeded from the union no one would care.
Vermont: We hear Vermont is beautiful this time of year. What with all the snow and all. Our mothers love White Christmas. We love you. But let's be honest, I can't name one person who has ever been to Vermont.
Wisconsin: If so many of my friends didn’t have lake houses up in Wisconsin, I’d beat you up and shove you in a locker so you’d miss third period French.
Alaska: If we cut you in half that means Texas would be the third largest state, and that would mean you’d be the first and second biggest disappointment for the whole "oil frontier". Why is gas so expensive when you apparently have so much?
Colorado: You’re alright in my book. I’m planning on visiting you this summer and throwing up a hammock in between some trees and slack lining or something.
Georgia: A peach on your license plate.... Really?
Indiana: I literally don’t have the time to explain why I hate you so much. But I do. I really really do.
Louisiana: You’re an ugly shaped state.
Michigan: Remember when that kid transferred from a new school in 7th grade. He told us all he was amazing at basketball. Then he sucked… well he didn’t suck… but he certainly wasn’t as good as he said he was. That's you Michigan.
Montana: You’re like Korea. And I mean the whole of the Korean peninsula. Half of you is really awesome… the other half is a group of isolated, insane, communists.
New Jersey: You don’t have the best reputation. We know it can’t all be true. But we totally believe it.
North Dakota: We aren’t sure which one of you has Mount Rushmore, but honestly, we don’t really care. It’s stupid. You can leave with your little brother.
Pennsylvania: If I ever need a wooden electric fire place I’ll totally call you up. The odds of that though are like me asking Utah for advice about what to name my sports team.
Tennessee: I feel like you’re that state that had a crush on my state growing up and you were super clingy and weird... and now we're both older and it's just like... let's not hang out.
Virginia: You’ve really done a lot with yourself in the last two hundred years… wait nope- you’re exactly the same… but come one, who doesn't love a static character in a novel. Especially when that character is a racist who grows tobacco and belittles women.
Wyoming: You’re that really attractive girl. From far away. Then you meet her and all she eats is oats and leafs, also, she doesn’t shave her legs and, she hates candy.
Arizona: It’d probably be a cool state, if people didn’t go there just to die.
Connecticut: You’re too intelligent for me. Senior year of high school you decided to take AP Physics for fun.
Hawaii: You’re like my friends little cousin. You’re super cute and small and fun to be around for a little bit but then you're just always there and it's like, come on, I didn't come over to hang out to babysit for 4 hours and not get paid for it. So I kind of just want to roll you up in a rug and leave you by the swing-set.
Iowa: Let’s just say I’m glad the Mississippi is between us.
Ohio: Drew Carey once had a TV show based in Cleveland, Ohio. I hated that show. It was always on when I got home from school. Ohio, you’ve contributed nothing good to my life or humanity in general.
Rhode Island: If Hawaii doesn't slide "Island" into their state name, I feel like it's a pretty bold move for you to do it. Feels like one of those marketing scams to get people to visit you. Not cool man. Not cool.
Texas: Arkansas had nice things to say about you. But most of the other states weren’t really as taken with you. We get it, you’re big but Alaska is bigger. Speaking of Alaska, you’re another state whose kind of let us down on the whole oil frontier.
Washington: You’re that guy in class who makes really funny jokes but only to the people sitting around you. Then someone steals your jokes and passes them off as their own. Don’t worry. We know you’re funny.
Arkansas: You’re the person who steals Washington’s jokes. You piece of crap.
Delaware: If I was forced to compare you to a superhero’s girlfriend I’d say you are most like Gwen Stacey. Smart. Attractive. Easy to talk to. Pretty much out of my league and your dad hates me and is wildly intimidating.
Idaho: I appreciate the potatoes. I really do. But even Ireland got tired of potatoes.
Kansas: You are to Illinois what Anne is to George Michael. We love you... but everyone else is like... her? What is she funny?
Maryland: Interesting choice for a college mascot. A turtle. I bet that really inspires the troops.
Mississippi: If I had to choose between keeping you a part of this country or a pan of hot brownies with ice cream... I'm fairly confident what I would pick.
Nevada: What are you doing with yourself? You’re like my neighbor down the street who started building a shed and then stopped after a week. You can’t just make two cities in your state then quit.
New York: New York, New York. You stole the name from England, and the you just doubled it up. Arguably the least creative naming process in all of history.
Minnesota: You got lost in the woods a long time ago and never really came out. We’re glad you people stay up there.
Nebraska: You have a college there. You’re called the Corn Huskers. I think you probably have pretty low self-esteem... and probably your self-esteem is right where it should be.
New Mexico: You need to get yourself some hobbies. Or friends. But maybe start with hobbies. Work on your resume a bit and then maybe Nevada will want to hang out.
Oklahoma: I’m not going to lie. We are all afraid of you. Me and the other 48 states talked. We’re afraid of you.
South Carolina: I’m not sure if in James Taylor’s mind he had gone to North or South Carolina, but if it was you. We’re ok with you.
West Virginia: You're like 98% of the periodic table. I don't know you, I don't know what you do, and I don't care.