The Stigma of Fast Food Work

When a young father starts working nights in the fast-food industry while his wife finishes school, he recieves stigmatic reactions and wonders why someone should be shamed for trying to make an honest living.

| April 2016

  • "To him, I look like another wasted life, another victim. He thinks I got my girlfriend pregnant, that I never graduated from high school, that I can’t do any better than flip burgers at two in the morning. He feels sorry for my kids." - Joey Franklin
    Photo by fotolia/Christopher Howey
  • Modern manhood in confusing and complicated, but Joey Franklin, a thirty-something father of three, is determined to make the best of it. In “My Wife Wants You to Know I’m Happily Married,” he offers a frank, self-deprecating meditations on everything from male-pattern baldness and the balm of the blues harmonica to Grand Theft Auto and the staying power of first kisses.
    Cover courtesy Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska

With honesty and wit, Joey Franklin explores what it takes to raise three boys, succeed in a relationship, and survive as a modern man. My Wife Wants You To Know I'm Happily Married (University of Nebraska Press, 2015) is an uplifting rumination on learning from the past and living for the present, a hopeful take on being a man without being a menace to society. In this excerpt he discusses the stigma placed on the employees of the fast food industry, which he encounters while working at Wendy's.

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Working at Wendy's



It’s a quarter to nine in the evening, and I’m standing in front of the counter at Wendy’s. The restaurant smells of french fries and mop water. In my right hand I hold my résumé. I don’t know whether I need a résumé to apply for the Wendy’s night shift, but I bring it anyway. It anchors me as I drift toward the sixteen-year-old kid behind the counter and ask to speak to his manager.



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