No, I Don’t Want Fries with That

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I’ve been reading Prioleau Alexander’s You Want Fries With That? and it’s been entertaining. I have about 50 pages before I reach the end, but so far it’s been a nice window into the world of minimum wage. Alexander writes about his experience quitting his white collar job in advertising for anything else. He tries being a pizza delivery guy, construction worker, ice cream man, and a few others.

Ironically, I stumbled upon this book while I was an intern at an ad agency and looking for public opinions on big-box stores (which were clients at that time). I didn’t want to work in advertising, but I felt like I had to with my background. However, this book really caught my eye, because this guy was doing the opposite of what most people want- leaving his high paying, salaried, full time job for a minimum wage, hourly position.

There’s a section where Alexander details his experience applying to big-box stores and how ridiculously dumb the entire process is.

No longer do we talk to people. We talk to a computer, take a 40-minute aptitude test, and then wait for the computer to email us about our results. This is supposed to create efficiency but it creates a whole crap load of problems because computers aren’t people, and.. computers ARE NOT PEOPLE.

The questions they ask you are only as good as the person who wrote them, but computers can’t clarify or explain. So if there’s a mistake, the mistake will continue to exist and continue to judge new applicants with those flaws until it’s fixed.

Here’s an example of a ridiculous Agree or Disagree question he gives:

My friends don’t refuse to not say that I’m not easily swayed to do the wrong thing when the right thing is not an option. Agree or Disagree?

Or how about this one.

Alphabetize the following:
12345abc
1234bca
a123bc4
a1b2c3d

WTF?! I literally laughed out loud when I read these, because these questions are so dumb yet so accurate at describing the whole process. I’ve applied to so many jobs (white collar and minimum wage) where I spent over an hour on the entire application process only to find out that I’m neither hired nor rejected. The Application Status page never updates and it continues to say “Under Review.” Where the eff did my application go and did anyone even read it?!

Also, may I remind you that all of the jobs Alexander mentions in his book are for a mere $6.25/hr.

In the ice cream shop section, he mentions “5,000 pinks.” A colleague warns Alexander that when he reaches 5,000 pinks, he will snap. “Pinks” refer to the little pink spoons they give customers for a free taste. I guess the most torturous part about working in an ice cream shop is giving people free samples, because they never even order them for purchase.

It probably goes something like this: Can I have a sample of Lavender? How about Chocolate Chip Chunk? Can I try the Peppermint? Actually, I’ll just have a scoop of Coffee.

He states that a respectable customer would ask for 1 or 2 free samples and then pick 1 to purchase. Why do people ask for 10,000 different free samples, then order a flavor they didn’t even try?

Unfortunately, I am guilty of this act and I want to explain why I do this. I have go-to flavors that never disappoint me. However, sometimes I want to get out of that bubble and try different ones. But most of the time, those aren’t as good so I resort back to my staple. I just want to apologize to every ice cream man/woman out there. I didn’t know I made you hate me and hate life.

I don’t know how the book ends yet, but I have a feeling he’ll end up going back to the corporate world or find something completely different. Maybe freelance?

But the best quote in the entire book so far is when he writes, “No wonder the poor are so pissed off- they’re smarter than you and me, and they still get tortured trying to get a job that won’t pay the bills.”

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