Four years too many

Kristine Gill

I’ve reached a limit. I’ve worked at

Subway for almost four years and it has taken me an entire summer to realize it, but it has finally dawned on me that I can no longer work there.

For one, I’m too old. I’m only 20, but college kids should probably be getting better jobs at this stage. They should probably be using their brains at those jobs to ponder more than the shelf life of imitation crabmeat or the amount of bread needed for any given Saturday’s worth of customers. I’ve always felt that only young high school kids, the ones who don’t necessarily need the money as much as the experience and responsibility, should work at a minimum wage job like Subway. I shouldn’t hog the income. I should let the next generation of sandwich artists take my place and fulfill their destinies.

I’ve always felt that young, first-time, impressionable teens make the best fast food employees. They’re energetic, eager to please and above all, absolutely terrified of authority – at least the ones I’ve met. The scariest thing in the world for a 16-year-old girl on her first day on the job is getting fired for missing a stem while picking through the banana pepper bin or wrapping a sub badly. But for a seasoned, toasted, grilled, microwaved, frozen and thawed employee like myself, who has been around the dining room a few times, missing a stem in the banana peppers is no big deal. It becomes a symbolic gesture of defiance in the face of Subway authority.

I also think I should be making more money. I’ve done the math, and assuming I worked every hour possible at Subway for an entire summer, it still wouldn’t compare to a good-paying internship or a steady landscaping job. Basically, anywhere else would pay more than Subway – prostituting, word-processing, babysitting, sweatshops, anything.

But the biggest problem for me has been maintaining sanity. I work with some of the strangest, most frustrating and puzzling people on the planet, and I’m putting that nicely. I firmly believe that everyone who has been hired at my Subway has flown in on a rocket ship from a distant solar system, lived underground with others of their kind for centuries and finally conspired to all apply at Subway at various intervals for the rest of eternity to ensure that no human sandwich artist can maintain his or her own sanity. I’m not sure what the ultimate purpose of this operation is, but I know for a fact it exists. Anyone with information is encouraged to come forth.

And so it is with a not-so-heavy heart and slightly heavier pockets that I must quit Subway for my mental well-being. I can only take so much criticism from my manager, so many finicky requests from picky customers, so many hours of slicing tomatoes, before my brain turns to mayo. And a mayo brain wouldn’t be such a problem if I planned on working at Subway for the rest of eternity. It might actually be necessary to have a mayo brain if one intended to make subs for such a length of time. I, however, have chosen to work elsewhere – anywhere elsewhere – until I manage an early retirement and spend the rest of my life counting my subless blessings. I need my brain to be in peak condition, and that won’t happen if I continue with this self-damaging behavior.

There are too many untold stories about my place of work to fit into this column. I feel I haven’t done the place or the employees justice. But it’s time to move on. It’s especially time to move on when the new girl is asking whether to slice rotten tomatoes and the computer register has crashed for the tenth time in one evening. Goodbye, Subway. Get someone else to toast your buns.

Kristine Gill is a junior newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Summer Kent Stater. Contact her if you hate your minimum wage job at [email protected].