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



fast-food

"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

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.