That’s Not My Job

August 16, 2010 by cloften  
Filed under Family and Parenting

I was planning on blogging this morning.  I had a few ideas in mind.  I was going to possibly talk about how hard moving is on kids and the importance of Dad stepping in to engage (still probably will) and was possibly going to talk about my neurotic issue of how often better isn’t good enough, a rambly post about impatience and trust (may not make the cut this week).  Then I strolled in to a local fast food restaurant for some tea and some free wi-fi.  It was not my usual local hangout and will not come here again. (No plug ins, spotty internet)  However, even if it had been computer friendly, I would still be out.  Why? (Let the rant begin)

I am standing at the counter waiting to order.  There are 9, yes I said 9, people behind the counter that I can see.  That doesn’t count the people behind that are cooking (?) the food and the one dude that is also behind the counter but is going on break.  One person was “supposed to be” on the register, but she was bagging an order with a scowl that said, “I hate my job and may beat everyone to a bloody pulp with a sleeve of cups.”  I am not sure what the two people at the station where they bag the orders were doing.  One person seemed to be in charge of holding a sleeve a cups (protecting herself from the register girl, to be sure).  One person was in charge, seemingly, of making sure the smoothie machine didn’t move.  There were two managers who were in charge of keeping certain tiles on the floor from moving.  One person was in charge of telling funny stories near the drive-thru.  Of course, we also had a floater.  Is that 9?

I noticed all of that, because I had time.  Plenty of time.  Some of the workers (?) made the mistake of making eye contact with me, but they held strong and never left their positions.  Others knew better and stayed locked in on their position.  As many of you know, I did a year and a half at a Chick-Fil-A in Colorado.  This never would have flied if you were on my crew.  There was only one thing that I truly cared about and that was making the customers cranky.  We had positions, but you did whatever you had to do to serve the customer.  If someone was waiting at the counter, wanted a refill, whatever, you helped the customer, quickly and with a smile.  You never got to say “that’s not my job.”  We did whatever it took to make it work and serve customers.

This kind of attitude should follow us wherever we go, whatever we do.  You are not too good, too special to do even the smallest of tasks.  God has called each of us to be servants.  There is no task beneath us.  If you see a piece of trash where you work, live, worship, wherever, pick it up.  If someone needs help, help them.  We don’t graduate or promote from roles of serving others.  In fact as we get promoted, all the more reason to be servants and do whatever it takes.

Mark 10:44-45
and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Did I mention that when she finally did come to the register that she glared at me and said nothing?   But that’s a rant for another day.


17 Responses to “That’s Not My Job”
  1. Dean Libby says:

    I did an 18-month stint at McD’s in high school and I knew from the first day that an attitude like this would never fly at my store.

    When I worked at a grocery store after that, I would have been hung by my toenails for glaring at a customer.

    Now that I’m a pastor of a church, it amazes me how many folks (good, Christian folks) don’t have the time to put a serving towel over their arm and DO what Christ calls us to do.

    Ok, off my soapbox now.

    Blessings Charlie!

  2. Faye says:

    Then you have a fellow like the young man at McDonald’s last night. In walked this ragtag, sweaty and tired group of students and adults from an evening of serving some homeless folks in a parking lot in Knoxville. Despite the fact that the *other* cashier had left on a break and he was now charged with taking care of everyone, he did so with a smile and an attitude of service.

    The manager? She was cooking burgers in place of the cook who was taking his break. This was a beehive of activity — producing at the rate needed to keep customers happy.

  3. Melynn Glusman says:

    I hate when someone comes to the register and says nothing (or the hostess stand, or whatever). YOU are supposed to speak to ME first, something along the lines of what do I want or how can you help me.

  4. Kim Blanchette says:

    My most recent fast food experience was Friday night at Chic Fil A. After my order was taken, and the person helping me was away from the counter waiting on my order, no less than four people in about a minute and a half asked me if I had been helped. Each time I said, “Yes, thank you,” and every one of them replied, “It’s my pleasure.” I always get the feeling that they really mean it when they say it. Not only that, but they come around and offer to refill my beverage when I’m hanging out there working. Why would you ever go to any other place for fast food?!

  5. cloften says:

    @Kim I know. My bad. I was trying to mix it up. Never again.

  6. Matt says:

    oh charlie charlie charlie charlie…. God has not called the workers of the business you visited to be servants. He has called YOU to be a servant. If Jesus had walked into that business and there were a bunch of worthless Samaritans working there, would He have ranted on His blog and said “I’m NEVER going back there! Those people wouldn’t even serve me right! AND they are SAMARITANS!” I think not. Your attitude is wrong. The wrong attitude of the workers was your chance to show compassion from a place of love and empathy for people in a bad situation. You blew it on this rant.

  7. Terri says:

    Sorry, but I agree with Matt. One of my least favorite businesses to frequent is Walmart (I like to call it Hellmart). I used to have a bad attitude before I even went into the store because I have had such bad experiences with the employees as well as the customers. But making the choice to change MY attitude and treat these people the way I would like to be treated and the way God calls us to treat others has made a difference in my experiences there. I make a point of making eye contact, saying thank you, etc. I often get smiles and “your welcome” from people who at first glance you would never expect any kind of pleasant response.

  8. cloften says:

    I accept the point that my attitude is everything. I smiled at the girl that was upset and thanked her for her service. I also never mentioned which place it was, my goal was/is not to run them out of business with the power that I have over literally no one. I picked up my trash, cleaned my area and walked out.

    However, I do reserve the right to observe life around me and use them as teachable moments, even if the life that I observe around me is a negative example. I would never intentionally throw someone or business under the bus by calling them out by name, but I don’t have a problem with using bad examples from true life, like Jesus did with the Pharisees, or in made up stories (parables) like the priests from the Good Samaritan.

    The other question that was raised here is now that I have gotten terrible service at a restaurant that was not clean and with spotty internet service, am I now obligated to go back there under the heading of ministry? Or am I free to say that was not a great environment for me to work in the mornings, I’ll go somewhere else? Thoughts…

  9. Jennifer Loftin says:

    Yo Charlie! I could totally relate to your blog ~ I feel like I am getting old or something because I keep thinking what happened? This isn’t how it use to be. :) I will share a moment that I still remember from FOUR years ago. I wanted to write an article about it and I would have called it “The Kingdom of God at Taco Bell.” I had had an awful, draining day. The people working the drive through were upbeat, joked, treated me like a human, smiled, had all the things needed to eat in the bag (napkins, hot sauce, straws), the order was right ~ it was so special. And I felt totally ministered to, like I had just been served by Jesus. Sometimes Taco Bell service is better than (insert big ministry name here) service. I am not saying that to hate on ministries. I am just saying sometimes we need Jesus just as much at Taco Bell as at church. Everybody wherever we work/are is playing an integral part in the kingdom of God. @Charlie again: The question on whether to go there again, that is when we have to be led by the spirit. Sometimes the answer is “yes” but not in a legalistic way…in a walking with Jesus sort of way.

  10. rg says:

    Well said, Matt. Far too many “saved” have long forgotten what it is like to be lost. In so doing, we hook up with the other church guys who either “pass on by” or rationalize the dead or dying on our journeys (Luke 10)…how do we get to a place where we see hurting people as disruptions, obstacles or impediments to our spiritual pace or religious destination!? Wow. Giving that some thought will lend credence to my unbelieving friend’s cynicism and lack of trust where religious people are concerned.

    I am reminded of some stuff Jesus said that is recorded in Matthew 23..there are even some specific comments about treatment “in the marketplace” (NIV). Pretty sobering and convicting stuff for receptive believers.

    Back to Luke 10…as someone who has found himself left for dead on the side of the road more than once, I am thankful for the Samaritans. Their logic is, at times, more compassionate and practical than many a church-goer’s willingness or initiative or response. To me, it’s pretty scary to consider that apathy seems to be a real issue the “saved” will struggle with…hmmm.

    As for the scenerio Charlie narrated…I’ve been in the shoes of each person he mentioned in his story. Seems to me, in that scene, only one person had an answer that would address the silent roar of nonverbal questions. If Thoreau – “MOST (emphasis mine) lead lives of silent desperation” – was even halfway right, then shouldn’t disciples be accustomed to engaging people in despair?

    May we never be too caught up in ourselves that we are deaf, dumb or numb to the cries of others. Sorry, Charlie.

  11. cloften says:

    I love hearing your hearts for people. I love that you guys see different angles of the story. The fact that you guys look at this through the eyes of what hurt would lead people to have a bad attitude at work is great. What if anything should I have done differently? I think it is also good for us to ask ourselves when are we the people behind the counter. When do I view my job, or role as a spouse/parent/in church as I only do what I HAVE to do? “Washing clothes is my wife’s job.” “I’m not picking up after him.” Pastors are notorious for this, thus Jesus use of Priests in the Good Samaritan story. “I’m to busy being a pastor to help someone carry something, hold a baby, pick up the trash.” You guys are great!

  12. Peter Freund says:

    In response to what Matt and RG have said, I suppose one could take these two statements as contradictory in some way:

    1. “It was not my usual local hangout and will not come here again.”


    2. “You are not too good, too special to do even the smallest of tasks. God has called each of us to be servants.”

    However, such is the nature of communication that there are many possible interpretations. First of all, Charlie was commenting as a ‘fly on the wall’ about the lack of manners and working environment of the place. Second, by choosing not to go to the same restaurant, this doesn’t necessarily indicate an attitude of superiority or a situation of missed opportunity (to be a servant) in the future. If a service is poor, then why continue to use that service? Some people go out to eat for the meal. Others go out to eat just to be waited upon (i..e for the service). Still others go out to eat for the experience of both. For myself, it’s all about the food. So, unless the waiter starts yelling at me, I’m good if the food is good. But, for others, the serving of the food and the food itself are all wrapped up together. If so, then maybe Charlie is just saying that the restaurant isn’t really doing it’s job. If it isn’t, then all things being equal, why not go somewhere else that is doing its job?

    I think the only real (or the most important) question is whether a person would be ‘willing’ to continue to go to a place like that and serve them or perhaps be an example to them, to help change things. Clearly, I cannot imagine that Charlie would NOT be. In fact, he seems to indicate this above. Almost any situation could present itself as an opportunity to tough it out and be a good model for others. But, even the Bible tells us not to throw our pearls to swine. So, we have to choose our “battles” (in the good sense of the word, if there is one).

  13. Heidi M says:

    What we have here, commenters, is a classic case of taking partial ideas out of context, and thus creating a whole new and unintended conclusion.

    First. Consider the source. We know Charlie. He wants to be more like Christ and he loves people including those who are yet to become believers in Christ, those hurting, and everyone God brings.

    Second. This story has a point. Did you miss the point because you were so busy being irritated by something about the story that was NOT the point?

    Third. This same real life example could also be used to wonder about the the lives of those who are hurting. But, today, Charlie used it to drive a different point.

    Fourth. What should Charlie have done differently? Should he hop behind the counter and give them a hug? How about show them how to do their job? How about sit them each down for a little heart to heart? Seriously. I think being pleasant and courteous to these folks was exactly what he should have done! Again, back to point one: We know Charlie. If one of these folks made eye contact and had a bit of openness, Charlie would have engaged the person and possibly had a pastoring moment. There was no spiritual moment to be had!

    And, this little comment comes from a gal whose heart beats fast, prayers lifted up, and feet move for the poor and hurting people in our world.

  14. rg says:

    Well Peter and Heidi, I guess you know Charlie better than I do. Don’t have that t-shirt yet. The point is..I don’t know Charlie – but I do have a lot of experience with nearly getting run over by the guy or gal in the car with the fish symbol.

  15. Matt says:

    Peter, for the record, pearls to swine is a reference of Jesus’ about Him having mercy on those outside of the nation of Israel, so…..unless you are a Jew, you are a pig Peter.

    Heidi, for the record, I love that little comment. Oh, and by the way, this little response comes from a guy who is depraved, beaten down, sinful, and lost without Jesus.

    My whole point in my original comment was not to instruct Charlie on dining rituals or manners in a public forum. I was trying to suggest that we lose focus of the BIG PICTURE! We get caught up in our little world of the “Christ-Life” and we have no eyes for the hurt in the everyday people we are in contact with. When we find ourselves angry with people who have no clue what God is about, I think we need to check ourselves if we claim to be Christ followers.

  16. Matt says:

    Sorry for the last comment. I was hoping to delete it, but no such luck here. It was biting and rude. I do apologize. I told you I was depraved. Sorry again. :(

  17. cloften says:

    Well, I went back. Check it out here:

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