It is no mystery that there is a cloud of negativity that hangs over the fast-food industry. Growing up in the United States, kids are told that working for a fast-food company is beneath them, that if you work for a fast-food company, it means you were probably a high school dropout and that you have no future.
I am sure you have heard people tell you, “Go to college and get a degree, that way you do not have to flip burgers the rest of your life.” You may have also had someone tell you, “Why would you want to work there? You are better than that.” Or my personal favorite, “You need to get a real job.”
The real question is, why do people look down on those who work for a fast-food company? Sadly, I do not know the answer. What I do know is that this type of foolish rhetoric needs to stop.
A person who works at a fast-food restaurant is not a failure, but society has shamed them into thinking they are. I am sure many people must hide the fact that they work at a fast-food restaurant. They do not want to face scrutiny or verbal abuse from their friends or family. They already get enough of that every day from the "Karens" who pull through yelling at them for an order that they did not get wrong.
Let us use an example of a company that everyone loves to hate on: McDonald's. When most people see the golden arches, they see a dead-end food joint that serves low-quality food.
You want to know what I see in the golden arches? I see gold, as in piles of cash. McDonald's is a billion-dollar empire that has created hundreds of thousands of jobs for people all over the world. It has given everyone from high school teenagers, to single parents, to happily employed middle-class individuals an opportunity to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families. Many college students work at fast-food restaurants because it is convenient for them and works with their schedule.
The people who shame McDonald's workers and treat them as failures are ignorant, and they should be ashamed of themselves.
“But wait,” Karen says, “I thought that only uneducated people work for McDonald's.”
Sounds like the only people who are uneducated are the fools who do not have their facts straight about an entire industry they know nothing about.
While we are on this subject, people who eat fast food are not bad people either. Someone who eats fast food is not stupid, uneducated or desperate.
You know what they are? Hungry. Yes, sometimes it's that simple. Many students in college do not always have the time to go to the store, buy groceries and spend 30 minutes making food. Sometimes that one dollar burrito from Taco Bell is their only option.
I can say personally that this was sometimes my only option. Growing up, my family did not always have a lot of money. When we did my parents would take us to either McDonald's or Taco Bell. As a kid I was excited, because I knew I would not get to eat this again for a while. I am thankful for my parents providing for me any way they could.
I am not ashamed of my past, or of the fast-food places I have eaten at. I like McDonald's burgers, Taco Bell crunch-wraps and Burger King whoppers. I also like and thank the people who work hard and provide me with my food.
Now that I an adult, I have gained a lot of respect for fast-food workers. Whenever I pull into a drive through, I make sure I am as polite and friendly as possible. I know that they probably had a rough day, so I want to do whatever I can to make their day easier. I encourage all of you to do the same.
One last thing. As you know, the beloved fast-food chain In-N-Out spreads across the southwest. The starting salary for a manager of a store is anywhere from $160,000 to $220,000.
For that kind of money, I would happily flip burgers the rest of my life.
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Sean (he/him) is a business administration major from California. He enjoys playing video games and watching Disney+ in his free time.