The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.
Переклад цього матеріалу українською мовою з російської було автоматично здійснено сервісом Google Translate, без подальшого редагування тексту.
Bu məqalə Google Translate servisi vasitəsi ilə avtomatik olaraq rus dilindən azərbaycan dilinə tərcümə olunmuşdur. Bundan sonra mətn redaktə edilməmişdir.

As a Russian journalist working in the American McDonalds

Vladislav Moiseev, Russian journalist of the publication “RR»I received an assignment to go to America and learn corporate work while working at McDonalds. At the end of his mission, he wrote an interesting article that can not be ignored.

Bus station of a small resort town on the US East Coast. We are met by an elderly gray-haired Jim, the owner of a whole network of McDonald's, and his friend and companion, mustache, merry whale. I came here on the instructions of the "RR" to keep the work shift in the local catering and was surprised to find that in my homeland McDonald's associated with the Russian rather than the American way of life.

Meet the "parents"

Jim and Keith are a little disappointed to ask if we just got to McDonald’s by this bus. It turns out that they are waiting for the order of 200 workers, and we are not the first.

- Why do you invite so many foreign students? - we continue the conversation already in the cabin of an SUV.

“The Americans are just lazy, they absolutely don’t want to work,” Keith blurts out, as if he had prepared this answer a long time ago. Companions say that American children are used to sitting on the neck of their parents and in general all the lazy. And we are great, that came, and we can consider them for the period of our summer work as our adoptive parents. The rest of the way our new fathers joke a lot and tell us how great we will spend the summer on the ocean.

The next morning, we already disassemble the working form. Someone doesn’t have enough black pants of the required length, someone just doesn’t have enough pants, but this is not a problem: in the future, as Keith said, everything will be fine, and everyone will get pants.

A cap, two red shirts, a tie and a badge are also included in the kit of the working form. Badges are not enough at first, like pants. But this, as it turned out, is not at all scary. The name in the kitchen is of no interest to anyone: every McDonald's employee has his own working position, every person in this system turns into a part of the mechanism, a cog, which is addressed by the name of the product he produces: muffins, baggles, regular miter. If something is required of you, you will hear the name of the product and the polite "please". Or without it. There is simply no time for superfluous words at McDonald's: they make money here, and they don’t get nice.


From the form go to the content. Keith tells us about the rules of McDonald's life:

- if you touched your face or skin with a glove, go wash your hands and change gloves;

- if you touched the glove to the clothes, go to wash your hands and change the gloves;

- after every 20 minutes of work, go wash your hands and change your gloves;

- in general, if you do not touch the food (table, mop, door), go wash your hands and change gloves;

- if you sneeze, go wash your hands and change gloves;

- you need to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds (this is about two verses of the song Happy Birthday to youwhich is officially recommended to sing, so as not to be mistaken with time);

- and most importantly - always smile!



Cleanliness and food safety is what matters most. That's what, according to Keith, we have to learn. All the rest will be shown to us by managers and ordinary workers without interruption from their main occupations. However, in fact, it turns out that the rules of McDonald's are designed to violate them.

The first 20 minutes of the working day, I am in the care of a small, bent old woman, 87-year-old Marie. She has almost completely gray hair, her voice is quiet and weak, but with lively and even ironic notes. It shows how to properly arrange the ice cold roundels on the grill. With shaking hands, Marie throws one meat bowl after another on the grill, slowly and methodically, as if savoring the sound with which frozen meat is dancing on hot metal.

Immediately, the little secretly runs up to Debi from the caste of managers and speaks with a very strong, almost impassable accent that the meat should be put differently and in special disposable gloves. Marie nods condescendingly and smiles. But after 15 minutes she forgets the instructions and continues to lay out the meat in those gloves and in the order she likes.

After 10 minutes of my independent unfolding of meat, it turns out that I, too, am doing everything wrong, although I honestly try to repeat everything exactly as the Thai manager required. The fact that I am wrong, ferociously reports the eldest daughter of the owner of "McDonald's" Jim - her name is also Debi. Without further ado, wide-spreading nostrils, the boss reveals the future cutlets on the grill, focusing my attention on each.

As it turned out later, each manager has his own vision of kitchen life: someone needs to work for quality, observing the rules of his own composition, someone for the result, scoring rules. Theoretically, general and universal rules exist, but all of them have been “not worried” for a long time. The fact that someone has to do something in accordance with a clear regulation is reminded only by faded sandwich packaging instructions, which were outdated 10 years ago.

Hey. Ass. I love you

The Russian language has been very popular among the McDuck employees. Almost everyone knew some Russian word and constantly repeated it in conversation with me. Ta Debi, who is the main manager, was very fond of suddenly shouting the word “quickly,” Chelsea’s trainer-manager came up in her spare time and, as if reciting Mayakovsky, listed all the Russian words she knew: “cheese”, “pymidor”, “onion”, “ okay, i love you And manager Khamik, who came from Armenia, generally spoke perfectly in Russian, only occasionally confusing such trifles as gender, number and case.

Almost all the numerous Bulgarians, the American Eddie, married to a Belarusian, and everyone else understood and spoke a little Russian. Russians come here for 10 years and sometimes make up half of the kitchen team. During this time, a special Russian spirit settled here. Only here the vocabulary of the McDuck workers would hardly have pleased Ozhegov: the unconditional hit on all non-Russians is the word “ass”, followed by “hello”, “turtle”, “fast”, “yes” and a couple of strong expressions.

Typical day

In our McDonald's, there were 3 work shifts: the opening (opening), daily (middle-shift) and closing (closing). I got into the first.

4.30 Long-drawn auto-signal outside the window means that you have already arrived. By this time, you need to get dressed and put yourself in order, do not forget the cap, tie and a duty rubber smile, which is also an element of ammunition.

4.30 – 5.00 The road usually takes half an hour. Debi arrives - Jim's daughter and my boss. In a loud voice, she wishes everyone good morning. Sometimes in Russian. Sleepy workers start and fall back into their SUV seats. But they don’t manage to sleep: Déby constantly sings along with her favorite pop hits this summer, streaming from the car radio. She especially likes to sing about abandoned women with an unhappy fate, who, although very sad, do not give up. Debi 42 of the year, and sometimes it seems that McDonald’s for her is not just a job, but the meaning of life ... It seems she is alone.

5.00 – 6.00 McDuck's workers gradually enliven the restaurant. During this hour, you need to turn on all the machines, clean them and adjust, bring all the semi-finished products to the freezers, prepare all the morning dishes, recalculate the salads and yoghurt left over in the evening, update the stickers with the expiration date, make new salads, sweep the parking lot and remake another thousand affairs At first glance, this is simply unrealistic, but the months of hard training are not in vain.

Фото: Depositphotos

Usually in the morning there is a little secretly Debi. She is a robot, that's for sure. All her movements are adjusted to the millimeter: often she doesn’t even look when she prepares another dish. The only thing left for her is a vulgar humor and fear. She is very afraid to make a mistake, which sees the head of Debi.

The rest of the mistakes a little Asian manager is not afraid. Her main life principle is not to shine when you do your work in bad faith, and to depict great zeal when there are bosses nearby. She angrily hisses when she sees that after the next task, someone has stopped to rest, and shows a large Deby on the head looming in the distance. Little Asian constantly whispers spell:

- Debi sees that you are standing, - she does not give you working hours, no working hours - no money, no money - no honey (no money - no honey).

This is her philosophy, developed over 10 years of service at McDonald's.

At first, reverence and fear of secretly in front of the authorities were incomprehensible to me. But then I learned that she, like dozens of other workers, has been living in the USA for a long time, that is, she is in the position of a typical guest worker: when the well-being of your family, whether in Uzbekistan or Thailand, depends on the brigadier’s mercy, you will or will not respect him and even love him.

6.00 – 8.00 The first rare visitors appear. The period when all the work is redone, and not so many customers, is called slow (English "silent, sluggish"). In this period of time, you need to intensely depict the activity, because in the kitchen of the whole 3-4 person, and the big Debi sees everything perfectly. Even if there is nothing to do, it is better to take a rag and wipe the already clean kitchen table, sweep or wash the floor, check whether everything is in place. And so in a circle, more and more. If you are idle on the spot, next week you work 2 days, for which you will receive exactly as much as you need to give the same apartment to Jim and Keith: they contain hostels and recommend living in one of them. At first, “adoptive parents” are difficult to refuse, and then you get used to it.

8.00 – 14.00 Feet Busy (English "lively") - this is the time when the cash desks have huge queues, managers shout at their subordinates, they all spit on the rules and there is, as Copeland put it, a "release of emotional ketchup", when feelings and opinions, driven by a person inside, suddenly break out. At this time, the nerves of all are strained to the limit, and the speed of the kitchen team causes hysterical laughter.

14.00 Morning shift is taken home under the same songs about the unfortunate female lobe. Usually at this time, leaning back in the backseat, the secretly Debi closes his eyes and breathes deeply: for her every working day is a little victory in the long war for survival.

We are going to the auditor

During the 2 months of work I was taught to do everything without thinking, without question, completely dissolving in the task. After having forgotten a tie in your car, 3 of working days is taken from 5 possible from you, you just grow together with a tie, a mop and anything else. When you want not to be shouted at you and not sent to constantly wash dishes and the floor, you begin to work quickly and smile. It is easier to become an automaton than to oppose the system and the big Déby as its main drive belt. The only consolation is that it will all end soon.

Once, the kitchen team was picked up by the Armenian manager Hamik. He said that very soon there will be some kind of test.

“We will do everything right,” he said ironically.

After you have taken 3 working days from 5 possible for a tie that was forgotten in your car, you simply grow together with a tie, a mop and anything else

Indeed, on the eve of the test, everything changes: the team is given badges with names, expired salads and yoghurts are ruthlessly thrown into the trash can strictly on a timer.

But the apogee comes when supervisor Carol comes to retrain everyone and everything. The day before the inspection, she teaches how to properly lay the meat on the grill, how to hold a spatula in her hand, how to put onion rings in a sandwich in the form of Olympic symbolism. The result: the kitchen team is ready to hang itself, the work is paralyzed, the meat clumsily laid out according to new rules is underdone, the blades fall to the floor, and the queues at the cash registers are like in our Mausoleum.

It turned out that painting the grass was not only a Russian tradition: a couple of days before the inspection, an impressive building of the shining “Potemkin village” began. We swept away the web and dispersed unauthorized assemblies of spiders in the bushes, collected cigarette butts in the parking lot 2 times more often than usual, spent hours rubbing doors and gates from dirt and bird shit and learned to wash our hands in the most correct and advanced way.

The manager Khamik was very angry during the days of the inspection, he was nervous and cursing. He loudly calmed himself and the entire Russian-speaking team, repeating: “Well, nothing, nothing, just the 3 of the day.” His face reflected the continuous struggle of hypocritical righteousness and unruly desire to break the supernovae rules, to make its own way.

I asked:

“Khamik, does Jim understand that everything that is happening now is window dressing?”

- Of course!

- And Carol?

- Yes!

- And the inspector?

- Listen, yes, everyone understands everything perfectly! Is it unclear what? Do you know what it is called? "Face", here is how!

“But what's the point then?” This is an internal check!

- Just top managers who receive a hundred thousand salary must somehow justify their existence. So every second half of the year they come up with new rules: what color should be a spoon for mushrooms and how many cutlets to take in hand. It’s like you’ve got it in Moscow: top managers say how much oil to pump, and you get big money for it, and people work in Siberia. Corruption is, - Hamik offended. And after a pause, he unexpectedly added:

- In Russia it is better. There, at least in your face everyone says and does everything, and here only behind your back are they rubbing their hands.

Khamik never lived in modern Russia, but was born in the USSR. He, unlike many of his colleagues, received political refugee status and legally works in the United States. In the car, he often listens to the Russian radio wave, scolds America and McDuck, but he values ​​his place. Almost all of his family after him has already moved to the United States.

A huge and very polite African-American turns out to be a formidable auditor who, after making a small circle around the kitchen, sits down to type something on the computer. Inspection is not so ambitious - just a formality. Everyone was waiting for a terrible snowmobile, but it turned out to be quiet, delicate and, it seems, knew the result of the test even before it began.

Spring Summer Autumn Winter. Spring again

At the end of the summer, all seasonal workers disperse, but McDonald's managers do not despair: in the fall they will be replaced by migrants from South America, in the winter by Thais, and in spring and summer the Russians and Bulgarians will return. And so in a circle. Year after year. True, some remain and settle in McDonald's. Most often in the status of illegal immigrants. No one knows exactly how people who officially do not exist are registered at work, get paid and pay (or do not pay) taxes, but they say that Mr. Jim owns this secret knowledge.

It is easy to understand the logic of McDonald's owners: for a normal American, working for $ 7 per hour is offensive. And when this work is also difficult and unpromising, it is really very difficult to find permanent staff. Save only foreigners who want to illegally stay in the United States: the restaurant owners understand that these workers will not get anywhere from them. So it turns out that many of the remaining ones become slaves of sorts: no one holds them, but they have nowhere to go, only a few manage to arrange a fake marriage or to obtain refugee status. The rest go with the flow, trying to earn money for their family or just to enjoy the American life.

I honestly work out my last day at McDuck from bell to bell. At the end of the shift, big Debi calls me into the car. A silly smile spreads across my soaked buttered face. Probably, convicts freed by parole are smiling. I come to my colleagues, shake hands, I promise to add them to my friends on Facebook. The farewell lasts just a few seconds: no one stopped the production of sandwiches, and no one has time to look after me for a long time.

I close the McDuck door for the last time and show a very indecent gesture to the ever-smiling Ronald MacDonald. But he does not take offense - he does not care about me.

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