By Daris Howard
Special to The PREVIEW
My daughter Celese was working at a fast food restaurant. As employees often do, they would play jokes on each other.
Celese had worked there for a long time and had risen to the rank of manager. One day it was her turn to manage the evening shift. As her shift was starting, the manager of the previous shift paused to give Celese some notes.
“The sign was changed earlier today,” that manager told her.
That was always important to know. When a new special was put up on the sign, there was usually about a 50 percent increase in sales of that item for a few days. The crews had to work harder to keep up with orders, especially on the foods that were discounted.
Celese went to look at the sign so she would know what her crew needed to keep ready. The sign said, “Check out our new hot chicken sandwiches. Try them today.”
As Celese took over for her shift, she warned her crew to keep the chicken sandwiches cooking so they could keep up. For the first hour or so on her shift, it was all that her crew could do to keep the chicken cooked for the sandwiches. But after about an hour, something changed.
The number of people coming in increased dramatically, and sales were soaring. But it wasn’t all chicken sandwiches. Those coming through were ordering many varieties of food. But there was another change, too. The customers were almost all boys, and they were making strange comments. They would say things like, “I love your sign,” “I love your hot chicks,” or “Hey, Baby, what’s your sign?”
The sales were through the roof, and her crew was exhausted from the constant rush of orders. But the strange things people were saying, and the fact that it was mostly boys ordering, made Celese wonder if something more than a new special was going on. And it all seemed to have something to do with the sign.
Finally, Celese went out to look at the sign and, to her dismay, she found it had been changed. Instead of what it had said, it read, “Check out our hot new chicks. See them today.”
Celese realized that her crew was all girls, and she knew that the boys who worked at the restaurant must have changed the sign. She was annoyed and determined to change it back. She called the head store manager and told him there was a problem with the sign and asked him where a ladder was. He told her where it was, and she immediately went and pulled it out of the storage shed.
She found that the removed letters were sitting at the bottom of the sign. She had just set the ladder up and was climbing it with letters in hand when the restaurant owner showed up.
He looked at what the sign said, looked at Celese holding the letters, and said, “What do you think you’re doing?”
Celese tried to explain that she was sure the boys must have changed the sign, and she was just trying to change it back. The store owner seemed less than believing, and looked at her skeptically.
The next day, when the owner did the financial audit of the previous day, he seemed even more skeptical. There were bonus points given to crews that had high sales, and Celese’s crew had higher sales than any shift had had for months.
“I appreciate you attempting to push up sales,” he said to Celese, “but there are certain techniques that probably shouldn’t be used.”
Celese tried again to convince him that she hadn’t done it, but she never was sure he ever believed her.
By Daris Howard