Taking inspiration from Cassie Westrate’s humorous job chronicles, here is a far-from-complete account of memorable experiences that have happened to me in the last eight years at work.

August 2012
My first shift. Spilled a glass of Sprite and dropped a basket of onion rings within the first 30 minutes. Surprisingly, they let me stay. 

March 2013
There was a time when the caller ID on my dad’s old phone was “John Butts” (still not sure why). One night he called work to get ahold of me, and my manager answered the phone, looking terrified. It turns out that John Butts was the name of his old boss who had been dead for years.

June 2013
Got stuck inside the walk-in freezer for a full three minutes before someone finally decided to investigate the muffled pounding noise.

January 2014
Mom drove me to work in a blizzard. I discovered that we were closed and no one had remembered to call me. I wish I could say it was the last time that happened. 

October 2014
Dressed up as a cat for Halloween. Creepy dishwasher meowed at me for two weeks afterward.

February 2015
During a crazy dinner rush, my manager called me into the kitchen. I’m not sure what I expected him to say, but “Do you watch The Walking Dead?” was certainly not up there on any list. 

October 2015
On Halloween, an old lady asked if my kids were trick-or-treating. I guess I was glad that someone didn’t think I looked 14 for a change. 

April 2016
One day, two other coworkers and I decided to sneak out and cover our manager’s car in Silly String for no reason. He knew it was us, and he got revenge by telling us that the health department was coming soon and a mess in the parking lot would get us in trouble. The next day I wandered around outside, looking for any incriminating pink specks and swearing up and down that I’d never touch a can of Silly String again. 

July 2017
A customer asked me to take his salad back because it had croutons on it and he was on a diet. Needless to say, I was very confused when I brought out his fried chicken dinner with an extra piece of chicken and side of fries.

September 2018
Guy from corporate: “We’ve worked so hard on getting this new computer system ready—every last detail!”
Me: “On the dinner menu screen it says ‘shirmp’ dinner.”
Guy from corporate: …

January 2019
My manager: *singing “Sweet Caroline” back in the bakery*
Me: *sneaks up behind him and yells “BUM BUM BUMMMM” at the appropriate time*
Considering the fact that he almost dropped a pan of apple dumplings, perhaps it was not an appropriate time. 

November 2019
A lady asked if she could use coupons on her to-go order. She pulled out a sheet of Arby’s coupons. I don’t work at Arby’s. 

June 2020
I decided to make a fort out of some empty boxes. My favorite manager took it down. Debated if he was still my favorite. 

August 2020
When my manager handed me a roll of stickers we didn’t need and said “Here, have fun,” I’m sure he never imagined he would go home and discover three of them stuck to the back of his shirt. 

October 2020
Guy from corporate: “I didn’t realize that you’ve worked here for such a long time. Have you ever thought about being a manager?”
Me: “No, I don’t think that’s for me.”
Guy from corporate: “Are you sure? We could work something out.”
Me, wondering how to nicely explain that I don’t want to be stuck here forever: “Yeah. I’m sure.”

Author’s notes: 1) Throughout this piece, the term “my manager” refers to different people over the years. 2) Some dates are approximate. 



  1. Tom Eggebeen

    What fun … thanks for sharing.

    • Kayleigh Fongers

      Thank you!

  2. Courtney Zonnefeld

    Kayleigh, this is a hilarious piece of writing and a great tribute to one of my favorite vintage post calvin classics. So many incredible details. You’ve captured service work (and its absurdity) so well!

    • Kayleigh Fongers

      Thank you, Courtney! Glad you liked it!

  3. Paul Spyksma

    I graduated from Calvin in 1979 with an English degree, spent that summer in Europe, and returned to find that the job I thought I was going to get had evaporated. So I started waiting tables at the Hungry Lion, which was a nice restaurant at the time on 28th St. a little west of the East Beltline. It was lots of fun, and more money than I was accustomed to living on. More importantly, I learned a lot about sales and customer interaction, lessons I put to use in a successful career in media sales. Everybody should spend some small part of life waiting tables. It saves you from being a crummy tipper.

    • Kayleigh Fongers

      Thanks for sharing that, Paul. I agree—so many life lessons, and I think everyone needs some restaurant experience!

  4. Kyric Koning

    Oh goodness. The flashbacks! Lol. The “do you want to be a manager” line really gets me. So many times it’s just not worth it. For a whole host of reasons.

    A fun little piece and nice change of pace.

    • Kayleigh Fongers

      Yes, exactly! If I wanted to work at a restaurant for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t have gotten a degree in writing. Lol.

  5. Katie Van Kooten

    It took me a minute to realize that by “dishwasher” you probably meant a person and not that the dishwashing machine was somehow meowing at you…
    Loved the piece!

    • Kayleigh Fongers

      Haha! Yeah, I wish I had reworded that part, as you’re not the first person to have pointed that out. Glad it made sense after a minute. Lol!

  6. Cassie Westrate

    This had me laughing out loud – especially the John Butts and Arby’s coupon stories. Also sorry to hear you got trapped in the giant freezer. Been there. Terrifying. Glad you escaped.

    • Kayleigh Fongers

      Thanks, Cassie!
      It sure is terrifying. We need a support group.


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