photo courtesy // Edriel Fimbres

By: Owen Mccloskey, Copy Editor.

If you’re reading this article, it’s more than likely that you are a college student — and if you’re a college student, you’ve probably had some experience in a dead-end job.

The bills piling up for loans, gas, food, car insurance and your cell phone plan can’t always be covered by your parents’ wallets, and you’d do anything to get that sweet, sweet paper.

I interviewed students at Bergen Community College in an attempt to get their horror stories from their time at minimum-wage jobs — and it wasn’t difficult at all. It seems that nearly every person I spoke to had a rude customer, an incompetent manager, or simply a really, really bad day. The common denominator in all minimum-wage jobs is that they’re absolutely terrible.

Writing this story struck a chord in my heart because I — like many others before me — worked at a variety of soul-sucking jobs during my tenure as an employee.

I worked at Stop and Shop, tossing expired fish into the wastebasket in an ill-fitting white coat reminiscent of an evil scientist’s. I wore three sweatshirts and sweated through them all while loading heavy crates on to shelves in a freezer the size of my room.

I worked as a server at a Mexican chain restaurant called On the Border, where I repeatedly burned myself on hot plates and a tortilla press that I swore was possessed by some malignant spirit (seriously, that thing burned me all the time).

I’ve gotten cursed out by angry customers whose food arrived too late, unbeknownst to me. I’ve dropped enormous trays full of food on the floor, and afterwards, staring in existential disbelief that I had to tell the irritable cooks to remake the order.

I was a food runner at Dave and Buster’s, and my short tenure there were some of the worst days of my life. Imagine dodging kids who are hopped up on candy that they won from the prize room while sloughing enormous trays full of greasy food.

I’ve had to babysit the children of parents who were too drunk to notice that their kid was halfway out the door of the restaurant.

I’ve had a ton of horror stories myself, but I wanted to hear more experiences from ex-employees.

I caught up with Eden McDermott near the financial aid office, a first-day student at Bergen whom, although reluctant initially, therapeutically poured out some of the worst job experiences I had ever heard. I had hit the jackpot.

Eden told me about his tenure at Brookstone, a retail chain in the Westfield Garden State Plaza. While poor Eden helped customers, restocked the store and dealt with the mundane droll of Brookstone, his manager sat back on her phone and refused to train employees on protocol.

“Her thing was,” Eden recalled, “‘you should know this already.’”

Eden then went on to explain how a dumpster carrying Brookstone trash was knocked over by a garbage truck operator, spilling mounds of trash onto the floor around it. In typical managerial fashion, Eden’s superior blamed the incident on him. It was only after Eden went to mall security — who had CCTV footage of the incident — that he was vindicated.

However, Eden and two other employees still had to clean up the mess. I mean, come on! Three people are not enough to clean an entire dumpster’s worth of trash.

I walked into the student lounge and noticed three students chatting, one with Dunkin’ Donuts in hand. After asking Jessica Verga, Rahid Chouehdh and Rifat Hussein what minimum-wage jobs they’ve worked at, they divulged that they were all employees at the Ringwood Dunkin’ Donuts.

Jessica was, fortunately, very talkative about her Dunkin’ experiences, and she dealt with one of the worst customers I’ve ever heard of. Jessica was working at the drive-thru of her store when a customer walked up to the drive-thru window.

He was in a rush, and Jessica said the best way to deal with customers is to “Kill ‘em with kindness,” so she obliged and asked the man what he needed, assuming it was a quick order.

“Two dozen donuts and a Box of Joe,” Jessica told me, which is probably the largest order I’ve personally ever heard of at a Dunkin’ Donuts.

Frantically, Jessica called out the order, right when another customer further down the line started to pick a fight with the first customer.

The man was being held back by a friend while chastising Jessica saying, “You shouldn’t let people do this!”

Apparently, customers blame employees when another customer is acting up.

Zachary Arada was the next student I spoke with, and his experience at Lucky Brand was short and sweet.

“I folded jeans for twelve hours a day,” Zachary recounted.

I asked him what the worst part of the job was, and Zachary replied, “Monotony.” This is a common theme with minimum-wage jobs, as the constant mundaneness of the jobs are usually what takes the greatest toll on employees.

Finally, I spoke with Brandon Almanzar, a former employee at a New York City McDonald’s. Almanzar told me about a family of seven who took a long time on an order, and after all the food was made, the family canceled the order.

“I just remember looking at them like… you just wasted this order,” Brandon said.

Regardless of whether or not you’ve worked at a minimum-wage job, you can hopefully sympathize with the employees of these jobs and understand the struggle of working at a minimum-wage job.

Remember to treat minimum-wage employees nicely, because his or her day has probably been a complete drag.