For a couple months one summer, I worked at a McDonald’s to save up money for school. Or to pay back my parents for the semester — I don’t remember which exactly. I got a good, long look at what people living and working at the poverty line were like, because you don’t work at McDonald’s if you’re well-off. I mean, I guess I did, ’cause I was lazy. But you know what I mean, right?

Maybe it was just Southern California that made every single thing at the restaurant more dramatic. When someone was late, it was a big deal. When someone forgot to clock in or clock out, or showed up early for their shift. Every single error was logged on the little order computers. We were timed, as well. We had to have a name tag, and if we didn’t they charged us money for a new one.

The first shirt and hat were free, and whenever we changed uniform styles, we were given a new one for free. Was it weird that in the two months I was there, the uniform changed? I have several McDonald’s shirts and a couple hats. I remember that I came in just as they were phasing out the Super Size which was “certainly not” because of a certain documentary that had just been released.

I remember picking up all the essential skills to take orders within the first day or two — it was a lot easier than the person training me said it would be. I was good enough at it that I could quickly change someone’s order when they changed their mind (though I got marked down for making corrections). A couple times, I was taking orders from both drive-through windows at the same time. Craziness.

Now, I’ve been through several classes about recognizing and reporting harassment, and I remember watching several of our managers acting out, like, textbook harassment. I even called one of them on it, and he tried to blow it off. The other guy, I remember he tampered with my schedule to make me late the day the region manager was in town. All in all, not fun.