Two minimum wage employees

There is a combined Arby’s/ Long John Silver’s fast food restaurant on Blakeslee Boulevard outside of Lehighton, Pennsylvania, across from the Lowe’s store. Other than the managers, most fast food employees are minimum wage (or very close) workers, and such places tend to have high turnover of personnel.

Such places also frequently have seemingly uncaring personnel. But, on the Arby’s side, there is an older woman named Loretta (I think), who is absolutely excellent at her job. She provides service with a smile, remembers her customers, and is unfailingly helpful. I don’t go there very often, but she remembered me, by name, and is as cheerful a worker today as she was on her first day, over a year ago. (I met her on her first day there.)

On the Long John Silver’s side, there is a gentleman, maybe in his late 20s. I didn’t catch his name, but he has neat, short hair and wears a Van Dyke beard. He is the same as Loretta: he hops to it, greets customers with friendliness and courtesy, and is as helpful as he can be. He hasn’t been on this job as long as Loretta, but I have seen him more than once.

If I had any kind of customer service business at all, I would hire them both, as quickly as I could. They are exactly the kind of people any businessman would want, people who are dedicated to their jobs and do their jobs well, even if they aren’t being paid a great wage.


  1. There is/was a Hardee’s just outside of Ft. Meade, MD that actually had table service. You got in line to order, they gave you a number to put on your table, and they brought your order to you and asked if you needed anything else.

  2. Minimum wage service work is a curious kind of proposition. On the one hand one hears how difficult it has been (historically at least) to find “good and reliable help”, while on the other hand long term participation in a kind of employment featuring irregular and short hours low pay and little or no long term opportunity to advance one’s skills, is almost per definition a self-defeating proposition.

    Thus, it is often sold as an ideal opportunity for “entry level” workers intending to move on, those seeking “flexible” hours of employment, or increasingly it seems, retirees seeking an outside activity and some supplemental income.

    I had often wondered whether one well paid employee might be able to do the work of two poorly paid ones if he had full time work, but I suppose the “rush hour” nature of retail, especially food service, makes that an iffy scenario.

    Frankly I don’t understand how fast food workers can deal with the puling, picky, indecision of the “average” customer I see. It’s like their brains don’t start working until they literally slouch with their bellies up against the counter. Then, rolling their heads around on their shoulders and wringing their hands together they begin considering what they want; but with extra pickle and no mayonnaise, ” and can I get it with … ?”

    Bad enough trying to grill for half a dozen … if you are foolish enough to ask anyone “How’d you like your steak?”

  3. I’ve seen fast food employees run the gamut from very good to extremely bad, but, to me, it’s all about attitude. It’s not a hard job to learn, which makes it very appropriate for entry-level; it’s the attitude that the employees have as they do their jobs which will tell you whether they are promotable.

    The guy at LJS was in his late 20s-early 30s, and has a long career ahead of him, but Loretta might well be a retired lady, making some extra income while still on Social Security. She doesn’t quite look 65, but she could be.

  4. There is a combined Arby’s/ Long John Silver’s

    I envy you. I LOVE Long John Silver’s and stop at them every chance I get. Which isn’t often, since there are none near where I live. It’s not the healthiest way to eat seafood (indeed, it may be the worst), but, outside of England, no one knows how to perfectly deep dry fish filets like they do! Especially when they’re soaked in vinegar and dipped in tartar sauce.

    And their hushpuppies rock, too!

  5. I’ve seen fast food employees run the gamut from very good to extremely bad

    In my experience, it varies greatly by franchise. Some seem to take great value in good service while others seem almost indifferent. McDonald’s, for instance, is almost always consistently good, and so is Dairy Queen. But top of the heap is probably Chick-fil-A. It must be that Southern hospitalty thing.

    Closer to the bottom, in terms of being mediocre, are Burger King and Taco Bell. Also the West Coast franchises Carl’s Jr and Jack in the Box.

    But California also has In-N-Out Burger which, while technically speaking, not fast food, is also noted for friendly, cheerful service. The people who work there act as if doing so is a privilege, and so they tend to get the best employees (and also the prettiest girls. Playboy would have no problem doing a “Girls of In-N-Out Burger” issue just based on their looks alone)

  6. I will get LJS or Arby’s on Mondays, because the local Chinese take out is closed. I have to make the company bank deposit on Mondays if at all possible, and the Arby’s/LJS are right next door to the bank.

  7. Eric wrote:

    Playboy would have no problem doing a “Girls of In-N-Out Burger” issue just based on their looks alone.

    Double entendre intended, I suppose? :)

  8. Ashton Kutcher I had always thought of him as an I got it all slouch. But I was wrong. Here is the starting out as a minimum employee Ashton and what he thought of opportunity. It wasn’t given to him, he earned it:

  9. Double entendre intended, I suppose? :)

    Oh, I’m sure their company name has been drawing sniggers for decades!* But I think it is meant mainly as a reference to the fact that they are mainly a drive-thru service. If you’re ever on the West Coast, give them a try. My favorite is a Double-Double burger with no onions, and a strawberry shake. Don’t get their french fries. They suck.

    * There is a gas station/convenience store chain in Iowa called Kum & Go, which is even worse!

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