• Fri, Sep 17 2010

Allie Brosh Presents: My First Day At Work

As a shy and socially awkward fourteen-year-old who had never been employed before, I applied to be a bus-girl at a local restaurant and, to my surprise, they actually hired me.  I was really nervous, so I showed up 45 minutes early to my very first day of work. Just in case.

Immediately upon entering the establishment, I was yelled at by a very angry lady who looked like a gypsy and smelled like gin-sweat and cheap cigarettes.
Terrified, bewildered and desperate to make the scary lady happy, I went looking for the kitchen.  I found some plates, a tray of lettuce and some croutons.  I tried to arrange those items into a salad.  I didn’t really know how to make the kind of salads the restaurant made, but apparently I was supposed to know and I didn’t want to look like I was incompetent, so I just tried to improvise.
After making the best salad I possibly could, I brought it out to the gypsy lady.
The gypsy lady stared at me in disgust for a few moments and then ordered me to go chop some tomatoes for sandwiches.  I scurried off to the kitchen to try to figure out how to do that in a way that wouldn’t make her any angrier at me.
It turned out that I was pretty okay at chopping tomatoes, so the lady asked me to chop up some cucumbers.  And then some parsley.  And then bread.  A few hours passed in which I was continuously ordered back to the kitchen to chop something or prepare something or pour something.  Sometimes I would do a good job and the lady wouldn’t yell, but other times she looked at me like I was the most incompetent worm-person ever to slither across the face of the earth.  Then she would slowly erupt into a banshee-like scream and stare into my soul like she was trying to explode it with her eyes.
I felt like crying.  I had no idea that jobs were this hard.  I didn’t know that I was supposed to know how to do everything on the first day.  Was there something I was supposed to read before beginning work? Was I missing some vital employee instinct? How did other people do this?  What if I got fired?  I felt like an abysmal failure.  I couldn’t even put bread on a plate right.  How was I going to survive in life if I couldn’t even put bread on a plate correctly?  My future was dead to me.
At some point during the day, I was back in the kitchen chopping tomatoes (I was good at tomatoes!) and I was interrupted by a man who I would later learn was the restaurant manager.
For a moment, I felt absolutely sure that I was going to be fired on the spot.  I couldn’t do a single thing right.  If I tried to please one person, I ended up pissing off a different person.  THERE WAS NO POSSIBLE WAY TO WIN.
But then…
..then the pieces started to fall into place.
And indeed there was a mistake.  Apparently a new prep cook had been scheduled to start work the same day as me.  He didn’t show up for his shift, so when I walked through the door 45 minutes early, the gypsy lady assumed that I was the prep cook who was coming in late.
The misunderstanding was cleared up and I began training for my duties as a bus-girl.
The gypsy lady did not apologize.

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  • thesparrow

    Nice.
    Was this the same place with the old man and the glass of milk?

    • Amanda

      I would also like to know this!

    • Lisa

      I don’t think it’s the same place. She mentioned that she was waitressing and in college for the guy with the milk. :)

    • Duncan

      I can confirm it is the same place. She worked there off and on throughout high school and some college.

  • Kate!

    Oh my god, poor kid! That lady is awful!

    And yeah, same query as thesparrow!

  • nolalola27

    Poor Allie. This is why you should just publish your posts in a book, and that will be your real job! And you’ll never have to not be a prep cook again!

  • redfiretruck

    The illustrations have me laughing so hard my eyes are watering! They are marvelous!

  • Ellen

    Service jobs. Aren’t you glad to be a semi-famous blogger now, instead?

  • ashmoth

    reminds of my one and only night as a cashier at a 24-hour Krispy Kreme. Included a one-armed cook, his crack-whore girlfriend who slapped him around, a bearded lesbian whose girlfriend called every 15 minutes, and a very creepy mother-and-son team who mixed the dough. Plus all the drunk people who showed up for ‘hot dougnuts now’ at 2:15 AM. total nightmare.

  • Emily

    I never thought an MS paint panel could make me tear up, but then I saw scared, 14-year old Allie trying to make a salad.

    You’re a genius.

    http://www.thestuckduck.blogspot.com

  • Srash

    I love the guy’s spray paint stubble.

  • Nick D.

    “The gypsy lady did not apologize.”

    This pretty much sums up life.

  • ladybluestar

    I loved the drawings and that would be horrific to just be thrown into a position like that. At least you survived! And are making money telling about it! Take that, banshee-woman.

  • Iseedumbpeople

    Love your work! gracias!

  • AbsolutGillian

    That makes me think of my first job from which I did actually get fired…on the sly. I worked in a grocery store bakery and I showed up to every shift on time. Then one week I told my supervisor that I need several specific dates off which I gave her a list of over a month in advance of the dates in question. I had gotten a part in Damn Yankees at my high school. The next day I came in for my shift only to discover that I no longer had a shift that day, or any other day.
    Yes. I was fired for promptly requesting days off as far as possible in advance of those days. Luckily I felt like it merited righteous indignation, and that at least feels better than feeling like a miserable failure.

  • Sean

    Logic wins again! (though, as usual, a little on the late side)

  • Ms. B.

    Hate that gypsy lady.

  • Cheryl Smith

    Oh, how this could be used in HR training!!

    kudos for another great post.

  • Yuoaman

    Oh god, you poor thing. D:

  • Elizabeth Kaylene

    That reminds me of when I started my first job, and they just threw me on register expecting me to know what to do. I don’t think there is a single retail or public service job that isn’t scary as shit on the first day!

  • Werner

    I would have walked up to that lady, holding the chopping knife in a non-threatening yet intimidating manner, and told her to *bleeping* apologies.

  • Risa

    “The gypsy lady did not apologize.”

    This made me laugh so hard I almost cried, because it reminded me so much of my manager at Target, when I worked there in high school. She would never admit that she was wrong. Ever. For any reason.

    http://isthsmydestny.blogspot.com

  • Brenna

    Oh jeez, the facial expression in the last panel is PRICELESS.

  • Gini

    heartbreaking! Ohhhh, poor Allie!!

  • Laura

    In college, I got a job at a local hickory farms (do they still exist?). She asked me my school schedule, and made a note of the days I would need to be off for classes. I had to go to a 4 hour orientation on how to sell sausage. Then she called me to come in on a day I had classes. I told her, and she started yelling at me, that she had written I was off on that day. I told her she had written “off” for days I needed off. She yelled more. I hung up. Thus, I broke all records – 4 hours before I quit. And, I never got paid for those 4 hours. Still ticked off – 30+ years later.

  • tastincel

    This is the reason I never got a job as a teenager. I was terrified that something similar would happen to me :(

  • connie

    Why are small time employers so hateful to poor kids at their first jobs? My first job was at KMart, in the sporting goods dept. Had a boss who looked like a giant albino bunny rabbit and he was a mean son of a Bit**. Ha ha, we will show them and rise above it.

  • Carissa

    That makes me want to cry for you. I hate it when people assume things like that, are bitches, and then don’t apologize. >:(

    And I’m also wondering: same restaurant as the old guy and the milk?

  • getcha

    holy hell thats insane … and sounds eerily like my 3 day stint at Burger King, which sucked so bad that I contemplated drinking the mop water

  • Carrie

    Christ, sounds like my first day as a vet assistant except instead of making the salad “wrong” I was told I didn’t wipe a cat’s ass correctly…

  • Angie

    Ugh. I think this even tops my first day of work, and mine was pretty memorable too. I hot hired as a waitress at an A&W restaurant. Some kid puked all over the back of the toilet and on the floor of the bathroom. Being new, I got nominated to go clean it up.

    But at least nobody screamed at me. That day.

  • Reggie

    HAHAHAHA omg I really would’ve cried. I remember working the counter at a dry cleaners and a scary corrections officer lady started cussing me out because the military creases on her shirt were not equally dollar length.

  • Amber

    As I read this, I felt the strong desire to hunt down gypsie lady and kick her straight in the junk. Pent- up emotional rage, here we go!

  • Mandy

    What a biatch! Gypsy lady, not you. Obviously.

  • Jamie

    you’re drawings always make me feel the emotion you are trying to convey.

    :]
    cupcakeszombiesrockets.blogspot.com

  • Heather

    That bitch!

  • sam

    “For a moment, I felt absolutely sure that I was going to be fired on the spot. I couldn’t do a single thing right. If I tried to please one person, I ended up pissing off a different person. THERE WAS NO POSSIBLE WAY TO WIN.”

    I was hired to be a prep cook without any experience whatsoever. I was hired *because* I would be a blank slate since they’d had so much trouble with cooking grads (“Well this isn’t how *WE* did this at so-and-so institute!”).

    And it was exactly what you wrote, over and over again, day in and day out. After months of it I was out of there. I picked everything up well enough, but any time I made a mistake, or (much, much more often) did things the way Person A said to do it when Person B thought it should be done another way, I was treated as if I were intentionally trying to shaft the restaurant.

    • Jessica

      I feel your pain! I haven’t been to one kitchen where I haven’t had too many bosses. So the way I figured it (unless the chef told me to cook it my way, or I didn’t get instructions) I go with the highest ranking persons opinion on how to cook or plate something up. That way, no complaints.

  • Adriana

    “SEMI-FAMOUS” hahahaha
    Gosh, you’re just full of awesomeness

  • Jennifer

    That gypsy lady was a dirty whore! I cannot believe she did not apologize!

  • Caitlyn

    So much like my first day at Subway… I got put out making sandwiches during the lunch rush before I’d even been shown around. I didn’t even know what the cheeses were called or which one was roast chicken and which one was chicken fillet. People were eating some really interesting sandwiches that day… and I later got yelled at for ruining something I didn’t know I was meant to do!

    • Mr_Misery

      man .. some first days can go very bad ..

  • Kevin

    This is awesome. And terrible, of course, with the trauma and all. But still. It’s exactly the kind of thing that would happen to me too. And the people never ever apologize. I can’t imagine being that kind of person.

  • justine

    Allie, you are a genius. That is all.

  • Kai

    Aww bless your heart!

  • arallyn

    I would have cried. Every first day of work I’ve had has been so tense that I probably would have had a nervous breakdown there!

    Unrelated to my work, my guy showed up to his first (real) job an hour and a half late the first day because he took the bus and ended up walking the wrong direction from the bus stop. He ended up being the best (read: ass-kissingest) employee there!

  • Helen

    What’s a bus-girl?

    • Jessica

      A bus girl is one who clears tables and takes the dishes to the dishwasher and possibly resets the table. It depends on where you work.

    • sue

      Bus-girl/boy cleans off tables after customers leave so that they are ready for the next customer :0)

  • Mr_Misery

    That was a very bad misunderstanding !!

    poor Allie ^^”

    your story broke my heart but your drawing made it a bit lighter ..

    I have the same question thesparrow asked about the place :

    Is it the same place ?

    and I hate that lady .. she had an excuse to be mad .. but she had no excuse not to apologize !

  • Julia

    I would like you to know that I had a really crappy day, and was sobbing when I saw Allie wrote a new blog. So I clicked on it, because it was sure to cheer me up faster than the second dose of my anti-depressant. When I got to the line, “My future was dead to me.” I laughed for the first time in a while. Thanks!!

    • Ryann

      Allie is a great anti-depressant!

  • Super Tracie

    Isn’t there always that one bully gypsy lady at every job??!! The one that is especially pissed off and hateful when she encounters someone that is actually cheerful….she’s gonna take you down!! I’m an amazing magnet for these horrible souls. I just left a job where Jabba the Hut ruled and I was that little creature chained to it’s side.

  • Colleen

    Thank you thank you thank you, for making me see that other people have horrendous first job stories and at the same time…pee my pants with laughter.
    I love you sooo much!
    this made my week

  • namowal

    Reminds me of my first job (at a burger joint). The boss was always yelling. We had a bucket labeled “orange juice only” to keep people from using it for mopping. The assistant manager asked me to use it to bring ice to the drink machine. Mr. Boss caught me and had a meltdown. Couldn’t I READ?! Couldn’t I FOLLOW DIRECTIONS!? My feeble attempts to explain that I was, in fact following directions were interrupted by “WHAT’s it say on the bucket!?”

  • Leapy

    Awwww…. I want to give that 14-year-old a hug. What a witch the gypsy lady was!

  • Tristan Lefranc

    Hey allie,
    have you ever watch “dead like me”?
    The pilot and later on in different episod, is about a 16 years old who start work like this too… but in an office. you should watch it, it s really great!

  • robbie bob

    I read this story and it completely made my day. I have applied for a bus girl job also. So everytime I think of that job I will always think of this story! Thanks for making me laugh

  • Lindsay

    Your first day sounds terrible, Allie! Reminds me of my second ever job, at this cafe inside a science museum. It was terrible! I had two bosses, one in the kitchen and one in the concession. One shift, the kitchen boss had me making pizzas and hosting a birthday party and somehow I was also supposed to be making popcorn for the IMAX concession, or so said my concession manager. Then they realized they had each scheduled me to work in their section all day when clearly that was a job for two people. That kind of incompetence ran rampant; and I’m pretty sure the kitchen boss liked his girlfriends young. Like *very* young. Like *statutory rape* young. Needless to say, I didn’t stick around very long. :S

  • Leslie

    Fuck the gypsy lady! Kick her in her gypsy nuts!!!

  • merbrat

    Poor 14-year-old you! The pitiful expressions!

    Helen: Bus-people are the ones who clear the table when the customers leave.
    No food prep involved.

  • ehm2wafu

    LOL! what a relief..

  • Jeremy

    OMG I had no idea you posted here too! Why have I been wasting my time not knoooooooooowing thiiiiiiiiiiis?

  • Aprille

    Can I pelase, please be your brain?

  • Amelia

    I’d have cried. Large tears and jagged sobs.

  • Amanda@Longroadset

    Allie- I can safely say my first job wasn’t as traumatic, but my mom was my boss. Hope you’re not too scarred from the experience.

  • Jenny Spaghetti

    What kind of freakin’ moron thinks a 14-year-old girl even *MIGHT* be the new prep cook?!?

  • Jessica B

    I’m a waitress and one time we were SWAMPED and I had to rush to make a side salad. Another SERVER saw me toss 7 croutons onto the salad and was like ZOMG WTF ARE YOU DOING?! YOU’RE ONLY SUPPOSED TO HAVE 5 CROUTONS!!! DON’T YOU CARE ABOUT FOOD COSTS?!

    um… nope!

  • LMAO

    Ha, I just showed this to my husband, who is a chef, and he’s laughing so hard I think it may require an emergency room visit.

  • Brandi

    Alllie, I am so sorry you had to deal with this! How terrible! I love your drawings though, they are so expressive!

  • Jessica

    That wasn’t cool that the gypsy lady thought a 14 year old person could be a prep-cook. You jumped 2 pay grades that day!

  • Synesthesia

    Awww, I ‘m sorry. Jobs are so frustrating. I want to get independently wealthy and read, write, listen to music and do pointless things all day long.

  • Christhegeek

    Oh my gosh, Allie. This is so much like first day of work, you don’t even know. I was a grocery cashier and the power had gone out during my training and the training people had been like, “Welp, we’ll just let them know you only had ten minutes of training and they will teach you on the job!” :):):) :D

    Yeah. Instead I had my own gypsy screamy lady that made me feel like the worm thats so tiny, he eats the other worms’ poo. On the second day they, in their infinite wisdom, decided I should man the single express lane on a Saturday for five hours. I don’t know how I left that day with hair and fingernails, but it was a close one.

    I never did entirely catch up because NO ONE EVER TRAINED ME so I learned things completely incorrectly from the get go and thus quit after four months in tears.

    Yaaaay first job!

  • Rob

    boat

  • Amy

    But who the hell was the gypsy lady?

    • Jeannie

      You are so fortunate to not know who the gypsy lady is. You were born under the right star my friend.

  • Jamie

    Helen, a bus person is usually the person in the restaurant that pours water and clears tables while the servers/waiters take orders and bring food.

    Allie, I remember being a scared 14 year old starting my first job and I definitely would have left in tears, haha, I can’t believe you stayed and kept trying to please the scary lady, that’s tenacity!

  • Dave in Austin

    OMG….I laughed…I cried…I’ve worked for that Scary Lady. Really, there is such at thing as a “bread plate”? BTW…what does a bus-girl do? The illustrations and writing congeal like vodka and olive juice. Thanks for allowing me to escape….

  • Laeona

    OH!! That was so me on my first day, I was so terrified, except a few days later I ended up bawling my eyes out because I couldn’t work a typewriter! Ohhhh what a horrible thing for a 14 year old to have to go through!!! Love your work <3

  • Dudette

    Oh my god, this is exactly like the one restaurant job I ever had. Except every day was as bad as the first. Even though I was a “waitress”, I was still expected to prepare/chop food, bus tables, and do the boss’s laundry (yes, laundry), somehow all at the same time. Oh, and wait tables while I was at it. With next to no training. And with an identical shrieking gypsy lady for a boss screaming at the staff constantly.

  • Lauren E

    My first job was completely like this also. And so was my second. Both places I was expected to know how to do everything without an ounce of training. The worst being on one of two handmade/hanserved+cashier at fenway park. The line for each stand went halfway AROUND the stadium(we were supposed to work in teams of two, apparently my co-worker decided he could go home paid 2min into our shift). On a good note, one guy tipped me $50 because he felt bad for me. On a bad note, my non-existant co-worker came back 2min before shift end and stole that tip.
    Im forever ruined when walking into a new job.

  • glitrbug

    Too bad you didn’t demand prep-cook pay and to keep the job since you were absolutely trainable & had good instincts. Gawd I hate people who yell at underlings.

  • kippon

    i showed up to my Grocery Store Bagger interview in a JC Penny Juniors SUIT and low heels at the age of 15. there were 5 other kids there. in casual wear. i yelled at my mom for making me wear the Little Miss Executive Collection when she picked me up out front an hour later.

  • EllieWhite

    Reminds me of my first job. I was never trained for anything, and I ended up cutting my finger on one of those spinny meat slicers.

    I lasted a month. Then they went out of business.

  • Dawn

    omg this was just wonderful! the study break I needed!! lol but is it just me or does your hair look like a shark fin through this whole post…I think your trying to tell us something….YOU ARE A SHARK!!!

  • Susan Willey

    welcome to the beginning of my 20 year restaurant career….. urgh. I am now 40 and would like to answer phones for someone or fold stuff or any damn thing else… There is always the one yelling lady…. always…. even if you are the manager she is insufferable.

  • Lance

    My first job was when I was 16 and worked at a Krogers store as a service clerk. I learned very quickly that most of society, at least where I live, try not to work and love to be demeaning to those who enjoy their meager $5.55 an hour. I’m glad I didn’t have a angry gypsy lady though. :)

  • Pandorash

    Typical of people with so little self-worth they have to go on a power-trip abusing younger/lower-level staff! …I liked the bit about the gypsy lady trying to explode you with her eyes! LMFAO!!!!!!

  • Alia K

    Thank you, thank you Allie! I had the WORST day at work today… one of the nurses who works in a different (but related) unit than me complained to my boss about me! Normally I would take responsibility but this crazy gypsy-nurse-woman COMPLETELY lied to my boss to make me look guilty!

    Anyway, I have been in a terrible mood until I saw your post today. Thanks for the reminder that EVERYONE has bad days at work, and THANKS for making me laugh about it! I love your blog as much as I love velociraptors!

  • Joanne

    I just can’t believe that you did such a good job as a prep cook — way to swim!

  • Lindsey

    Wow…everything I read of yours has at least something of me in there somewhere. Even though I’m a college sophomore and have had two previous jobs, the job I’m in now can sometimes be a nightmare. I went to work at this preschool/neighborhood center place last week, and it was like I had to know everything from the first day. D: I had no experience in childcare (I’m just work study, yay), but all I was given was a brief tour and then -bam- I was pushed into the room of 2 year olds. :)

    Since then I’ve discovered that there are forms to sign, information to read, training to complete, and other things that make my job less scary than that first day. Keep up the good work, you get me through some tough days!!

    • Jeannie

      Seriously? Two year olds. . . you are lucky to be alive and I’m not even kidding a little bit.

  • Laura

    I started my first job at 12. I was told to lie if anyone asked my age and say I was 14. I worked 40 hours a week too. The worst day of my job was when my friend was mad at me and walked off and I had to stay and deep fry corn dogs.

    • Bella

      Where do you live? In the United States to have to be 18 to operate a fryer. You can also only legally work 18 hours a week (3 hours per day) if you are under 16… doesn’t make much sense that they would have you lie and say you were an age that STILL wasn’t legal for you to be doing the things you claim… sounds like a case of tall tales…

  • Alex

    I know exactly how you feel. I was actually in the exact same situation on my very first day in the employed world, Except my first day happened to be working at a state fair. We had a backlog of about 50 orders during lunch, and I was just supposed to be a runner, going between stands, finding out what they were low on, and getting it from the storeroom. Instead I got wrangled as a fry cook, then a prep cook, then both, then a grill master. Note that I didn’t have my food handler’s permit yet, and generally didn’t know anything about cooking. I hated that job so much, and like you, I wondered if this chaos was really what work was.

  • ricki

    oh ally! this made me sad. and laugh…just cause ive worked for a gypsy lady like that before..but not so scary as her! way to hang in there..and hey,,,your tops at chopping tomatoes…which is hard! for me at least..but hey I eat cereal most nights for supper.

  • Patsy

    You should have been promoted immediately and gotten a prep cook’s salary. Way to go!

  • Melvis

    That’s so unjust! I’m not touchy-feely but I have an overwhelming urge to give you a hug, then go and have a stern word with your gypsy lady, then give you another hug. I’m sure you’re over it now, though.

    I, on the other hand, might need some time…

  • browngrl

    you are too too funny

  • Stretch

    New jobs are so stressful! But clearly you’re just so awesome you can do jobs that aren’t even yours! <3

  • Jeannie

    Oye vey. anyone who has worked in food service/restaurants has similar stories to this sad, mean tale – AND we all worked for that same gypsy lady at some point. She gets around.

  • Linda

    Don’t ya just hate it when you work your ass off and no one seems to notice anything except when you do something wrong. I’ve worked at many jobs like that. But what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, at least I think I’m not dead yet. Lemme check and I’ll get back to you on that.

  • Christine

    that is like my job every day. Except that that IS my job and I do it to the best of my ability but it seems like the head cook changes the rules every day so it’s like my first day every day… I’ve been there 3 years.

  • Mandy

    Gah! that made me scared for you what an awful sack of organs that woman was!
    she should have at least apologized or something D:
    I feel like that every time i start a new job sometimes you totally remind me of myself!

  • Rebeccagrace

    Oh Allie, how difficult that must have been! I’ve got to say that I so admire you for stepping up and doing a job that wasn’t even yours. Wow, I totally probably would have ran home crying.

  • MattyFailure

    Well, I can only say that gypsy lady’s actions could be considered fair if they were truly, truly, TRULY busy.

    That being said, I have been a screaming gypsy (wo)man before when the place was full and I had truly incompetent (not saying you are) help. I even think in my head how much I want their soul to explode and everything, I hope that’s what my eyes look like at that point! :D

    I’m sorry that was your first day on the job though (even if it made me laugh)

  • JBlitzzz

    Marry me. Please?

  • Amber

    I love you Allie! I’d say not in the creepy stalker way, but I’ve totally considered stalking you. I just don’t have the required attention span for stalking! This made my week….thank you!

  • GreenJellybean

    good story – and i love your cranky face at the end when the mistake is suddenly known.

  • Aimee

    Omg Allie, you are too funny. If I ever come to Idaho, I’m buying you some boxed wine, m’kay?

  • Martin Brown

    Death to the Gypsy woman! Cut that bitch!

  • cycopathicrunna

    You should be making greeting cards. I would be the person on the floor in the grocery store laying in a pool of piss because I was laughing so hard. Keep up the good work.

  • Jay

    What a nasty lady! It’s illegal for under 16s to work in a kitchen in the UK. I wonder if it’s the same in the US. In which case she would have been breaking the law and your parents could have sued that bitch :D

  • Glendz

    I’m loving almost everything you write. I can totally relate with my first ever job though it was on a different industry. I just say yes to almost everything with the fear of getting fired. Or, just to impress. haha

  • Julie W

    I just went through this last month! I was temping at a pastry factory and within the first 10 minutes, the line was moving so fast that I had major flashbacks to I Love Lucy. In the first hour, the b***h next to me started throwing my product AT ME telling me to redo them while still trying to wrap my pastries at a breakneck speed.

    Being the kind of person that hates arrogance I said as loudly as possible over the machinery, “You do realize I’ve been here for one hour right? I’m brand new at this job!”

    Everyone stared open-mouthed at me and it was hilarious because, of course, I was the jerk in this situation :)

  • Julie W

    This post is a good reminder for those who have never had the joy of working in a restaurant. Making tips on top of your hourly wage is our hazard pay!

  • JenG

    You were 14? you poor baby. What a bitch that woman was. you should tell us the restaurant so we can go kill her dead.

  • JustLieStill

    Allie this was terrific. I think your drawings were particular adorable on this one. I felt your pain. I remember being 14, something like this would have happened to me. I would have been to naive and scared to speak up.

    Keep writing – you are so much fun!!

  • Alison

    How did you do this without crying? I’m pretty sure I cried on my first day of my first job, and nothing even when wrong.

  • Jerry

    So how was the prep cook supposed to know what plates were used to put bread on if it was their first day?

  • Bunkywise

    I’m beginning to mentally add cartoons to anything interesting happening in my life. Of course, they are Allie cartoons since I am not creative enough to develop my own style. SIGH.

  • cubby

    too awesome… reminds me a lot of my first job :/

  • Ashness

    Oh, dear! My first job, not counting an abundance of babysitting horrors, was at the local Shoney’s, a cesspit of despair. I was the hostess/cashier, which meat I hat to wear my own Sunday best, with no uniform, apron, anything. I spent most of my time busing the tables all the girls left behind so the girls could go smoke every 15 min. or so, just so I could seat people.
    And I was sexually harassed on a daily basis by the cook. He was a foul-smelling man roughly the size and shape of an India rubber ball.
    Good times.
    You bring it all back, my dear, and your illustrations are priceless!

  • Angie

    I had a similar incident at the first restaurant job regarding chicken salad. lol

    I just found your blog and started reading your post…so far my favorite is “The Party”. (Haven’t read them all yet).
    You very talented. Take care….

  • Angie

    I had a similar incident at my first restaurant job regarding chicken salad. lol

    I just found your blog and started reading your post…so far my favorite is “The Party”. (Haven’t read them all yet).
    You’re very talented. Take care….

  • Joanna

    hehehe… If there is one thing I have sworn NEVER to do during my working career, that is work in the Food & Beverage industry. Your story pretty much sums up why! Thanks for the post, it’s as enjoyable as always!

  • arzt4empfaenger

    Why the freaking fuck did that mongrel lady mot apologize?!

  • arzt4empfaenger

    Why the freaking fuck did that mongrel lady mot apologize?!

  • Ilan Levine

    Great. Now there is something else I will have to read when I should be grading. VERY funny suff!

  • Alison

    This story makes me not want to get a job… ever. Thank god for being a lazy teenager!

  • Blaine

    Having worked in fast food for nearly four years, I can totally relate to this story. Except the GM at our place didn’t look like a Gypsy, she looked quite manly (had what I called a “Diet Mullet”) and acted like a robot (No emotion, I thought she might have been a Terminator sent from the future to kill me).

  • alexandra

    i love your blog so much!!

  • cori

    Man, that’s why I never wanted a real job.
    She didn’t apologize??? WTF?

  • Melissa

    She is absolutely terrifying!

    That has to be my worst fear when starting a new job — what if I’m expected to know everything already and I get yelled at for being bad at it?

  • Stephanie

    My first job was at McDonald’s. The first minute of my first day the manager on duty just put me in front of a cash register. I’d never even eaten at McDonald’s before. I didn’t know what the food was, what a combo was, anything. Just like you, I was terrified to ask, so afraid I missed the big training manual or something. At the end of my shift the manager said “I didn’t know it was your first day. You did OK.” I wonder how much easier things would have been if she had known what was going on and I had actually received some training.

  • Dan

    Wow! I can totally relate! I was a 13 year old boy hired to clean a pizzeria every weekday for 5 bucks a day… First day I cleaned a fridge and the hairy smelly boss said YOU’RE DOING A HIT JOB!

  • van3ssag

    This is absolutely amazing! We’ve all been there- and these cartoons literally had me crying laughing. I remember those days all too well…

  • lvoyster

    What amazes and impresses me is how you manage to pack so much emotion into those crude little drawings.

  • Miranda

    My job was exactly like that. After they stopped yelling at me (a bus boy) for not preparing side salads right, I was chastised for my incompetence at not wheeling a bus cart around to clear off tables. The cart wouldn’t even fit between them, but somehow my boss expected me to sprinkle it with magic unicorn-dust and make it work.
    Terrible job. I quit after three months.

  • kassie

    Allie, you almost made me cry!
    I’ve had jobs like this where nothing you do is right, not for lack of trying. :(
    I’m glad you now have a much cooler job as a blogger/columnist/spaz extraordinaire – you make me laugh out loud (literally, no internet lolz here) with every new post!

  • Carol

    That’s exactly like my job. Only I’ve been working there for 3 years, and I know how to do everything, and the evil meanie manager still ends up yelling at me for my “screw ups.”

  • whitney

    poor allie. i’ve never had an experience so bad but the fear of something like this happening is a pit in my stomach every time i start a new job. you really make me laugh. i love the new party blog too.
    Much love

  • Simone

    A perfect comedy of errors. I love how you tend to have the young Allie in a pink dress, and a little scruff of blond hair. Gin sweat should be coined. You’re brilliant.

  • Stacy

    I absolutely LOVE it!!! You’ve done justice to the many horrors that occur on the first day of work!

  • stephaniejane

    I must have had a job working for that same lady. When she grabbed the knife from my hands, elbowed me aside, and did the chopping herself, I went outside and had a panic attack, called my mom, and never went back.

    • Abby

      Ha! I did the same thing when my personal gypsy lady shoved me aside at the register because I’d messed an order up. Except for I waited until my shift was over and started sobbing immediately once getting into the car.

  • Hildy

    Wow you poor thing.. I hope that gypsy lady slips on a tomato slice and gets hers for doing this to you.

  • Bella

    lol…
    you really had an awesome life or its just the way of telling ?

  • Allan

    The emotional communication of the pictures is very powerful! Brava!

  • Kirby

    I never want to try to get another job now for as long as I live.

  • D

    um…. but it didn’t occur to you at any point that a bus-girl should have been waiting tables instead of chopping vegetables? or even to ask what goes in the salad?

    • Alexi

      D: she was 14 and it was her first job!
      I remember being expected to make salads at my first job as a waitress…they even told me what was supposed to be in it and I still managed to do it wrong…

    • Jeffrey

      You’ve never worked in a restaurant before!

  • dc

    genius.

  • Vanessa

    What I really want to know is how did the gypsy lady think a fourteen year old was a short order cook?! But on the bright side, it could only improve from then on. They’d have to work pretty hard to give you a worst day than that!

    • Steve

      Well, she was short, and tried to take orders. That’s two out of three.

  • Mr. Chawn

    Between this and the story about trying to climb out of the car while sedated so you could to to the party, I haven’t laughed this hard in a while. Love it!

  • David

    Now I have the mental image of a tiny 14 year old with a comically oversized butcher knife, frantically slicing every tomato in the building to win acceptance.

    • Cat

      …..win all the acceptances

  • Mrs K

    Pizza Palace was my first job too!

  • M/C

    Oh I am still so traumatised by my first job at 13 which sounds quite similar with gypsy like people shouting at me, and my complete incompetence at ever little task…… way to young to work – child labour!

    I did cry though, so sounds like you held it together a much better than I did! x

  • Angie

    Allie, your illustrations always make me nearly die laughing. I LOVE the manager guy’s razor stubble, and the look of realization in the last illustration – too perfect. You are awesome!

  • Staz

    Allie, did you ever get revenge against the gypsy lady?

  • Itchy Fro

    Happy face quickly turns to sad then back to happy! Very emotional story.

  • Jeen

    I love the way you’ve drawn yourself with little “baby” hair. Like young Marge in The Simpsons only has a short li’l bouffant. Cyoot!

  • Tomas

    Awesome lol. im new to these entries but they are awesome! kudos!

  • Amy

    omg I feel so bad for little!Allie. I just want to pet her little tomato-chopping head!

  • Christy

    Oh my god, I had a job that started out a lot like that! Kudos for turning such a horrible experience into something so funny.

  • Kali Shey

    I am a faithful reader of your blog, and while I tried to enjoy this one, it was seriously hampered by the gratuitous (and incorrect) use of the word ‘gypsy’. You see, Gypsies are a real race people (the Romani people), not a lifestyle or a Halloween costume. As a Romani American, it’s offensive. I’m sure you meant no disrespect, but it would be nice if you could change the word to a less offensive, less ethnically-charged one. If she was a scary lady, why not just say that?

    • George Sanderson

      lol, serious? Change the word gypsy because it is too offensive? There are too many races/ethnicities/belief systems/hipster trends for me to even keep track of anymore. You will always offend someone.

    • bud11

      Maybe YOU will always offend someone, but for normal people, it’s pretty easy not to be racist. Btw, Nazis killed hundreds of thousands of gypsies (no shit–true story). Those crazy hipsters!

    • Jessica

      “If she was a scary lady, why not just say that?”

      Because that’s not nearly as vivid or funny.

      I understand your frustration. I am a Hawaiian descendant myself and I often cringe and shudder at way the word “Hawaiian” is thrown about on the most commercialized, touristy junk imaginable. It does nothing but fuel the romanticized misconceptions of a respectable ancient culture.

      But I’d like to point out a few things: 1) Language is fluid. It’s alive, and it changes constantly to fit society’s needs and trends. The word “gypsy” (lowercase) is used here to illustrate a concept, quite effectively, because a lot of people associate certain characteristics with it (passionate, strong, mysterious, exotic, etc. to name a few). Indeed, much of the modern use of the word doesn’t have anything to do with real Gypsies at all, except in origin. The current use of the word is distanced by evolution. By using this word, Allie was able to communicate all of these ideas without spelling it out in a lengthy paragraph. Just saying the lady was “scary” doesn’t have nearly the same impact.
      Ex: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Gypsy

      2) The way you structured your sentence (“You see, Gypsies are a real race…) it sounds like you think she doesn’t know. She might not, but Allie is a pretty smart girl. She might. And maybe she used it anyway for similar reasons to those above.

      3) This is a comedic piece of writing. Comedians satirize lots of things, and sometimes it’s offensive. I’ve learned to accept that, whether it’s making fun of me as a Hawaiian, Caucasian, Asian, American, woman, Millenial, or any number of labels. Like George Sanderson mentioned, it’s nearly impossible to speak without offending someone somewhere.

      So, in the interest of creative language use and comedy, I stand behind Allie’s use of the word “gypsy.” Thank you for your comment, as I’m sure it will enlighten at least a few people who don’t know about Gypsies, but your job is to enlighten and comment, not edit her content.

    • bud11

      Yup, language is fluid, and the same word can mean different things to different people. Think about how an actual Romani feels when hearing this story. Exotic, different, other, not part of the white author’s group. Probably feels like she was lumped in with that mean boss too. It wasn’t supposed to be about race, but the author made it about race by using that term in that way. She should be smart enough to know better. It was very marginalizing towards a group that has already had more than their share of marginalization. There is a difference between offending someone with the content of what you’re saying and offending someone because you’re not respecting their personhood. It’s very easy to respect everyone’s personhood when you write. In fact, it’s part of your job when writing, so I hope you’ll do that in the future.

    • Fvd

      Not to mention she said she “looked like” a gypsy: the stereotypical perception of a gypsy. She was trying to paint a picture in the reader’s mind.

    • terri

      Exactly Fvd. that’s the point: she was pandering to a stereotype. Are you saying that you’re defending stereotypes?

    • dz

      I know this is soooo old, but I just stumbled across it and wanted to say you have every right to be offended, Kali.

      @George- ethnicities are not the same as hipster trends, you ass. And it’s not that hard to write or speak without being racist, unless you’re an idiot.

      @Jessica- you don’t get to tell someone else that they are wrong to be offended. Even if you are a minority as well. Your argument is EXACTLY the same as: “It’s fine to call people faggot because I don’t literally mean they’re gay, I just mean they’re being… faggoty! It doesn’t mean gay at all!” Except it does.

      Way to rationalize racism. You suck as an ally. You need to read this: http://derailingfordummies.com/ You are enabling racism. I guess it makes you feel better, though?

    • Romana

      Because “gypsy” sounds funnier to people who don’t take offense to completely unimportant and hardly related word use.

    • bud11

      If you doubt how poor the choice of ‘gypsy’ was, just trade the word ‘dyke’ for it in the story and the comments below. It’s incredibly fucked up and makes the author and the commenters sound extremely ignorant.

    • bud11

      Aaaaaa! It bothered me so much to see that she had use that word in that way in the story and it’s abusing my soul to see it repeated over and over in the comments in horrific ways: “Fuck the gypsy lady” “Death to the gypsy lady” “Someone should cut that gypsy woman with a knife” “What a witch the gypsy lady was.”

      Romani people (or as you commenters call them, “gypsies”) have faced centuries of marginalization and persecution and Europe. The nadir was probably when the Nazis killed between 220k and 1.5m of them, but the persecution continues by governments to this day.

      I know it’s not intentional, but this kind of language is HORRIFYING when you are familiar with the history of Romani in Europe in which they are literally raped and killed. This woman in the story was mean–it has nothing to do with her race, but by using that word to describe her, in comments such as this it is ALL ABOUT HER RACE. Most of you, I hope, would not speak that way about a black person or latino person or Jewish person, so I hope you will realize that you should not speak that way about a Romani person (or someone perceived to be such.) Please, please, please think about the words you are using and don’t repeat such language like a brainless parrot.

  • Charles

    Well, I live in Australia and we don’t have gypsies here. Therefore, I have no attachment whatsoever to the cultural history of gypsies.

    Ergo, I wholeheartedly support Allie’s use of the word GYPSIES and have decided to use it myself to torture others.

    Excellent story!

  • Annabelle

    Haha! This is soooo great! Nice beard work by the way!

  • charlotte

    “The gypsy lady did not apologize.”

    They never do….

  • Tara

    This brings back all my memories of the hospitality industry. Grad school…how I love you!!!

  • Bear

    You are amazing, and I’m totally impressed by your coping skills. There aren’t many 14 year olds who could take over the job of a trained prep chef with no warning and no experience. If you had worked for me, I would have given you a promotion, and let the person who didn’t show up for work be the bus-girl! You are awesome!!!!!!

  • chainsawllama

    “I didn’t know that I was supposed to know how to do everything on the first day. Was there something I was supposed to read before beginning work? Was I missing some vital employee instinct? How did other people do this? What if I got fired? I felt like an abysmal failure.”

    Thank you, yet again, for exactly describing how I feel when I start something new with no instruction!

  • Dionne

    Sounds like when I got a job at Denny’s. The manager was an evil fat woman with bleach blonde hair and enough makeup every day to last a more moderate person a week or two. She yelled about everything. On my second day my trainer was fired for smoking pot in the kitchen, and they figured I was trained enough and told me to take a section and start taking orders. Um… good luck?

    • Cindy

      Oooh, sounds familiar (minus the pot-smoking trainer). My training there consisted of 15 minutes of “here, read this menu” and then all of a sudden I had a section of 10 tables (middle of the night drunk crowd) and managers/cooks yelling at me for not writing the correct abbreviations for the orders. I walked back to the break room, took off my apron, and walked out the back door…setting off the fire alarm. I ran over to my car and hid behind it until the alarm stopped and then drove away, never to return. Good ol’ Denny’s!

  • milieu

    Something very similar happened to me. I was referred by the Employment Division at somewhere, like “Chuck’s Restaurant”, for a high level job like dish scraper. It went a little oddly. The guy kept asking about cooking, and my experience, and I kept saying none in different and positive ways. Finally, he said something about cook, and I corrected him, saying “Oh no, I’m here for the dishwasher’s job.”

    He frowned. “What dishwasher’s job?”

    “The one you posted at the Employment Division, dummy.” I left off the dummy part, and proudly handed him my reference.

    He looked at it. “This is for Sam’s Restaurant, not Chuck’s. They’re right next door.”

    Yup. I had seen the sign for the place, pulled in and parked in their common lot, but then walked into the wrong one, never noticing any of their signs or address or anything.

  • J3nny

    Ali,
    You are too funny. Your great lil stories save my life Mon-Fri 8a-6p, and also keep me from getting up from my desk and choking someone. Cannot thank you enough!!!

  • Cathal

    Count on Americans and Australians to be the most racist fuckers out there. Why do I always read the comments section.

    • Cat

      I always read people saying this, but even though both countries have a lot of racists, they also have a larger mix of races than probably all other countries, apart from maybe some European places [who also have probably just as many racists] ;
      …. whereas other countries, from where those immigrants come, have almost or totally ZERO mix of races, and those places have immigration policies that keep other races out completely.

      Therefore, there cannot be racial tension within those countries,
      because there are no other races to cause tension.

      I’m sorry ; but nations that allow and, for the most part, happily tolerate lots of other races into their countries cannot be “the most racist fuckers out there” just because of bad / dumb comments on the internet, and some bad eggs within them.

  • Gutiesc

    I have been laughing for two straight days. Please make it stop.

  • Caleb

    ALLIE! You’ve been hiding your work on other sites without publishing them to your blog? Why I oughtta….
    Okay. Forgiven. See? Wasn’t that fast?

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  • kate

    revenge is sweet…….it will come >:)

  • a sad one

    i love your stories. i dont know why but they make me sad althoue you write them in a funny way…