Work Distractions

One Day at a Gas Station Dunkin’

9am- I’m awakened by Juicy J’s soothing voice as he croons “GET UP BITCH, GET UP BITCH, GET UP BITCH, GET UP!” Ahh, another beautiful day. I stumble into the shower and stare at the spout for the next 15 minutes, trying to balance my need to stay warm with my need to eat breakfast.

10am- I finish my shower, only to find out that those “15” minutes were more like 25, leaving me with only an hour and a half to eat breakfast and watch COPS. I shovel down my breakfast, ( 3 slices of buttered toast, half an apple, and a glass of OJ, if you were wondering) and began to watch COPS.

11am- 35 blissful minutes of eating and watching dumb people get arrested. At 11:35, I begin my trek to work.

12pm- I step into my Dunkin’ to find that everyone in my tiny farm town wants to get a sandwich. The person who opened has been here since 4am, so they’re not really in the mood to help, and they quickly exit the building. After dealing with the crowd, who somehow forget their manners after waiting all of 3 minutes to order, I tackle the 20 minutes of work I have to do that day. Coffee count: 1 cup

1pm- Downtime. At this point, I’ve pretty much done all I need to do. I sit back, crank some music, and wait for either customers to come in, or a good idea to pop into my head. Coffee count: 3 cups.

2pm- I wander about the store, looking for things to do, and clean up after the animal that decided to leave a pizza box (and 2 slices of pizza) on top of the toilet, with sauce and cheese splattered all over the floor. Great. Coffee count: Still 3 cups

3pm- A large group of landscapers come in, spending 15 minutes deciding what they want to get asking me if we sell burgers and beer. After ordering 4 different drinks, 5 sandwiches, and enough hash browns to feed a small horse, they leave. No tip. Coffee count: 3 cups, working on 4.

4pm- On Twitter now, I’ve been obsessed with reading all of the thirsty dudes who comment thirsty dude things on famous women’s posts. God Bless the lowly social media manager who has to read all these. A geriatric gentleman comes up to the counter and orders his coffee, small black decaf. After confirming 4 times that his coffee was indeed decaf, the gentleman takes a sip. “That’s not decaf, MAKE IT AGAIN!” So much for the Greatest Generation. After making his coffee again, the exact same way, he takes a sip, looks satisfied, and walks out. A 8 year old kid comes over and asks for a blueberry coolatta, which doesn’t exist, but the kid is super polite, so I do my best to accommodate. After combining blue raspberry and bluberry coffee into a coolatta, I hand the kid his beverage. He takes a sip, gives a huge smile and puts a 5 in my tip jar. I’m sure his parents are wondering where that 5 went. Thanks, kid. Coffee count: 4 cups.

5pm- This is usually when the characters start to come out. The first one I get is a 6’5, wildly tattood man who smells strongly of weed and cheap cigars. He orders his coffee in Spanish, a language I don’t speak. After informing him of my ignorance, he repeats his order, only louder. This does not help. After pointing to every item on the menu, I decipher his order, and send him on his way. Coffee count: 5 cups.

6pm- By this point in my shift, my customer service energy is all but depleted, and my interactions with customers begin to sour. After shooing off some freeloaders who want to try every flavor of coffee without buying any, I start to prepare my store for closing. After counting the donuts, preparing the cold brew for tomorrow (and screaming into the walk-in for a moment), one of my regulars steps in. He’s all of 5’2, grey hair pulled back into floor-length dreadlocks, and he is my favorite part of my day. After regaling me with stories from the 1950’s, he orders his coffee, medium dark roast with blueberry and raspberry flavoring. He sits quietly for a time, sipping his coffee in silence, before exclaiming, as he always does, “This is the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had!” Before he leaves, he beckons me closer and slips me a 24oz craft beer: his usual tip. Coffee count: 5 cups.

7pm- This is game time, I’ve got 45 minutes to do something that usually takes 2 people an hour. I heat myself up a croissant, which must send the Bat Signal out to everyone in a 5 mile radius, because by the time I take my first warm, delicious bite, my store is filled with people. One person, a short Chinese woman who has no grasp on the English language, and takes me on a veritable Wheel of Fortune round to figure out her order. After completing the bonus round, I return to my croissant, which has become hard and cold. Shit. At 7:55, after locking the doors to the store, I begin to count my drawer and do my deposits. Suddenly, I hear a women’s voice pierce the air. What the fuck? How did she get in? I go up to the counter and ask her what she needs, and she starts off on a rant about how the last time she was here, 5 years ago, the store closed at 9. After directing her to the sign with the store hours on it, she veers away and starts going off about how I’m lazy and incompetent, and how she’s gonna have me fired. Oooookay lady, you do that, I’m going home. Coffee count: 6 cups.

8pm- I speed away from Dunkin’ like I’m Jesse Pinkman at the end of Breaking Bad. In 20 hours, I’ll be back to do it all over again.

5 Reasons Why I Think Mad Men Was The Best Show Ever Made

5. It Revolutionized Television

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When Mad Men came out in 2007, there was nothing like it out there, and no one expected AMC to be the one to run it. Prior to Mad Men, AMC was best known for running old movies and TV shows, so the idea to run a TV show set in the 60’s doesn’t seem too left-field for them. The success of Mad Men lead to AMC green lighting terrific shows like Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, (Seasons 1-3) which lead to more A-List actors doing TV. Mad Men was a cultural event. Every week, millions of people would tune in to see these characters go through the 60’s. If you were old enough to remember that time, you’d talk about the old days. If you weren’t, you’d get a chance to visualize it for an hour. This show connected people, it was the first real water-cooler show of the 2000’s.

4. There is Limitless Re-watchability

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I’ve watched Mad Men all the way through at least a dozen times, and I still pick up tiny new details each time I watch it. From the facial expressions from characters in the background and foreshadowed plot elements hidden in throwaway remarks, to how Don dresses over the decade, Mad Men rewarded re- watchers. The story itself is complex enough that you might understand certain events better after a re-watch, things you missed before become clearer, and foreshadowing is more obvious when you know what it leads up to.

3. It’s A Dazzling Period Piece

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From the leisure suits, to the classic cars, to the way they talked to each other, Mad Men serves as a time capsule of the 60’s-70’s. It’s supposed to be shocking the way they treat women and minorities, it’s supposed to be shocking when the Draper family leaves their picnic trash on the side of the highway. That’s how you know we’ve grown as a society. We need that, now more than ever. Our society has changed so much since 1960, that we need a reminder of why we needed to change, why that behavior isn’t acceptable anymore. On the other hand, how cool it is to see historical events effect characters we’ve grown to care about? That’s the thing about Mad Men, you go along for this ride with these characters, and see their morals and values shaken as time goes on, and by the time the show is over, the characters you’ve spent so much time with are completely changed for the better Except Harry Crane, fuck him.

2. Perfect Usage of Music

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One of my favorite moments in the entire show is when Don and Peggy dance to “My Way” after figuring out the strategy for Burger Chef. This is a crucial moment for Don and Peggy, and one of the few wholesome moments on the show. The moment comes after seasons of Don mistreating Peggy, not acknowledging her accomplishments or her personal growth, only to have the roles reversed, with Peggy on top. I love how the Don/Peggy dynamic is capped off by Don finally treating Peggy as an equal after all the hard work and sacrifice it took to get there. Music is used sparingly on Mad Men, and that was makes these moments so special, as shown by the usually strait-laced Pete Campbell smoking a joint and checking out girls in the creative lounge as Janis Joplin’s “Piece of my Heart” plays. Another cool thing about the music of Mad Men is that all of the episodes end in period-accurate songs, not just the popular ones everyone knows either, there are some obscure 50’s hits in there too, which helps paint a nostalgic picture of the 1950’s.

1. The Character Growth

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This is it. This is the key factor that made Mad Men must-see TV. As you follow Don Draper over the course of his life, you see subtle, as well as not-so-subtle, aspects of his character grow and decay. The prime example is his alcohol abuse. Don Draper, like many of the employees at SCDP, has the liver of a stereotypical Irish bartender. His drinking starts off slow, but steady, and as the seasons, and the stresses of life go on, you see Don pouring more and more whiskey down his throat, to the point where he breaks down and cries at a Hershey pitch meeting, effectively ruining his career. Don isn’t the only character who blossoms though, the women of Mad Men are more interesting then the men most times. Let’s look at Peggy and Joan, they both have a similar goal: to be taken seriously. Joan struggles with being looked at as a piece of meat, and not as a capable, intelligent woman, and is frustrated when men ignore that. Peggy has the same issues, but is treated differently after she displays talent and drive. Both of these women are treated as second-class citizens in an era that is rapidly changing and growing. There were 7 seasons of Mad Men, so you get to follow these characters through so many important events, and see why they do the things they do, and that was refreshing to see. I really hope they have a reunion someday and give us another look into the lives of the employees of SCDP, as well as all the secondary characters, just to see where they went and what they did with their lives after the finale. That’s how good this show is. Watch it.

Fuck Being Famous

I don’t understand it, why would anyone want to be famous? I can’t think of anything worse than being an A-Lister. I’m a private person, so the idea of having people who like my work come up to me and invade my privacy and take a picture kinda bugs the shit out of me. Imagine you’re Jay-Z: you work 120 hours a week, you’re constantly busy, and the few hours a week that you get to just relax and hang out with your beautiful family, some asshole is going to come up and tell you how dope Reasonable Doubt was and ask for a picture. No, thank you. Fuck off.

On the other hand, maybe it evens out. Being that visible probably makes you a goldmine for advertising, your personal brand can make you more money than almost any other venture. Additionally, people want to suffocate you with praise and gifts, you’re allowed into places other people could only dream of, and you can even get away with murder. (Shouts out to OJ) In addition to all of those perks, you get to use your co-sign to elevate the people you care about. So it can’t all be bad, or else no one would want to be famous.

Overall, I don’t think I’m equipped to be famous, I’m kind of an asshole, if you can’t tell, I wouldn’t want to be drunk one night and be a dick to someone, only to find a video of it up on TMZ for God and my mother to see. I don’t think we let celebrities fail enough. They’re people too, kinda. If Tom Cruise is having a bad day because someone broke into his house and asked him to sign their Top Gun DVDs, I couldn’t judge him for freaking out and backhanding a pedestrian. The amount of therapy and drug abuse needed to maintain that lifestyle isn’t attractive to me. What’s all the money and access in the world worth if you can’t enjoy it?

Why My Life Would Suck Without Music

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Every morning at 8:30 I awake to the gentle, soothing sounds of “GET UP BITCH, GET UP BITCH, GET UP BITCH GET UP!” Juicy J has a knack for getting me out of bed. After jamming out with Mr.J for a minute, I get up, get dressed, and put on something more relaxing, (I’ve been leaning towards Mac Miller’s Swimming lately). Then I get into my car and push play on my “Driving” playlist, belting out lines from “99 Problems” while stuck in traffic. After properly hyping myself up for work, I start to veer off in different directions while I try and make 8 hours of Dunkin Donuts tolerable. After finishing my shift in Hell, I like to put on something happy to offset all the stupidity that I usually have to deal with working retail. Music is a constant part of my life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Life’s better with a soundtrack, in my opinion. Most of my memories are hazy and faint, but certain songs crystallize these fragments and make them feel more significant. My life is divided into genres of music. I first started listening to Dad Rock (Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Pink Floyd, The Who, etc) in middle school, because that’s what my parents listened to, and I had nothing to compare it to. As I grew up, I started to branch out and explore other genres. Ironically, I got into rap with Cypress Hill, before I started smoking weed. I don’t think many people can say the same. Cypress Hill introduced me to a whole different sound: that dark, ominous production style that DJ Muggs birthed. Cypress Hill introduced me to a bunch of old-school rappers that I probably wouldn’tve had access to before; Snoop Dogg, Eminem, The Alchemist, Dr.Dre, Kottonmouth Kings (yikes) These were my staples up until college. These were the people I listened to and took advice from, as stupid as that is.

The songs I used to listen to on repeat don’t hit me the same: they have a hint of nostalgia to them. Every time I listen to “Hits from the Bong” I flash back to those worry-free days, smoking a dime bag out of a bong I made out of a liter bottle, a pen, and a trumpet mouthpiece, thinking I was on top of the world. Now, I look for music that blows my mind. For example, the first time I heard “Space Song” by Beach House, I was blown away, I’d never heard anything like it and I had to have more. It took me by surprise that something that awesome had been waiting for me, within my reach. I usually hate change and trying new things, but I’ll listen to pretty much anything once. I don’t understand it, but it’s exposed me to so many different artists that I would’ve shrugged off otherwise.

Whenever I’m feeling shitty, or unhappy, or tired, or angry, anything really, music can Image result for mac millerchange that, and that’s incredible to me. If work’s got me down and miserable, I put on Malibu by Anderson .Paak, and 15 minutes later, I’m belting out the words to “Heart Don’t Stand a Chance” with a smile on my face. That is something precious, there aren’t many things that effect my mood anymore. I can put on Jay-Z and feel like I can take on the world. I put on Mac Miller and close myself off to that world. Music is also something I use to relate to people: I’m not a big “people” person, I’m quiet and grumpy, and don’t like meeting new people. That all changes if I find out you like the same music as I do, I’ll probably like you a whole lot more and be nicer to you than if you kept it to yourself. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t put on my headphones and escape for a while. I’m sure I probably would’ve snapped long ago.

My Love-Letter to Advertising

Like it or not, advertising is essential to our society. Without it, our lives would be very different. Without all of the money advertising brings in, we would have to drastically change how we do business. Facebook: runs on advertising. Snapchat: also runs on advertising. Anything online that’s free: advertising. It isn’t always a bad thing. PR moves, like Morgan Stanley donating to charities every quarter, are a form of advertising that helps people, even though Morgan Stanley gets a nice tax deduction from it.

When I was 10 years old, I saw a countdown of the best Super Bowl ads of all time. The first one that I saw was the Mean Joe Green Pepsi spot. Immediatly I felt like I was that kid, and that did something to me. The older I got, the more marketing started to interest me, and now here we are. I love advertising because 1) I like a decent amount of the design and creativity that goes into the good ones 2) I’m fascinated by the ones that work and 3) It’s what I’ve wanted to do for a living for years. Clever ads, the ones that make you think, the ones that make you feel something, those are the ones that make advertising worth while for me. Any asshole who got an A in English can write a shitty ad, but to make something truly great, you have to leave your head, and get into the mind of the customer. I always thought that was so cool: to learn about how other people live and the things that would make their lives better so I can make them things they want to watch, so they can buy things that could help. Now that’s an idealistic way of thinking, I know, but I want to make that a reality.

I’ve always considered myself a decent writer, but the more I write, the more I look back on the work I’ve done and think “What the fuck is this? What was the strategy here? Why would the target demo even look at this?” Maybe that’s growth, maybe it’s just looking at my work with a fresh set of eyes, maybe I do suck. I’m sure I’ll look at all of the articles and scripts I’ve written, the print ads I’ve made, and even some of the display ads, and think they’re all terrible. The point here is this: advertising, if done right, has the potential to help people, to make them feel differently, even if for a second or two. That’s powerful to me. That’s why I love advertising. That’s why I’ve always wanted to be a copywriter.

I’ve always had this fantasy of what my life in advertising would be like; working long hours on projects that challenge me creatively, working with other like-minded people my age who like to work hard and play harder, having to suck it up and deal with clients who are stuck in their ways in order to make things that stick out. I’d stumble into work at 9, pour myself a cup of coffee that I don’t have to pay for, and spend the next 4 or 5 hours writing, then going to meetings to brainstorm potential ideas for campaigns. I’ve never worked in advertising, but thinking about what it would be like is a lot more appealing than my shitty minimum wage job slinging coffee and bad food (which really could be done by a vending machine and an oven)

I’m not trying to convince anyone that advertising is an ethical, morally-conscious profession. I’m just trying to show people another way of thinking, one that might open their minds a little. I’m also hoping that if any Creative Directors see this blog, they’ll think of me next time there’s a copywriting position open.

Why Golf is the Most Underrated Sport

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What do you think of when you think of golf? Old white people talking business? Douchey frat guys blasting Dave Matthews and shotgunning Natty Lights? Here’s how I see golf; you’re outside on what’s usually a beautiful day, you’re getting a little bit of excercise (but not enough to get super sweaty and gross), you’re hanging out with your friends, talking shit when they slice one into the woods. Doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Now add a cooler filled with beer and some reefer, and you’ve got yourself a hell of a day. Then there’s the sport itself.

Golf, to me, is an escape. Whenever I’m feeling depressed and empty and can barely get out of bed, I force myself up and go to the driving range. For however long it takes, I get a couple buckets of balls, put my headphones in, take a few hits of my dab pen, and empty my mind for a little while. This is one of my favorite things in the world, and one of the few times I’m genuinely happy.

Golf is more about strategy and patience than people think. You need to know where you want to shoot, where you can go from there, which club to use to get the shot you need, and what possible ways the shot can go wrong. This all requires patience and foresight that many people don’t have. Golf is a great way to get to know people, you see how they handle setbacks, you see if they can contain anger, you see how they think, you see their adversity to risk, and you also see how they handle their drink. I totally get why executives play golf with each other. I like playing with new people, (to a point, golf also lets you know if someone’s an asshole), but there’s nothing like playing with your friends and not keeping score.

So the next time you hear people talking about golf being boring, ask them if they’ve ever played before. The answer is usually “No”

“But I’m not some richy-rich asshole, I can’t afford to golf” You might be surprised. There are things called “executive courses” that are condensed versions of full courses, meant to be played in under an hour. “But I can’t afford clubs/balls/tees!” Wrong again. I’ve maybe spent 3 dollars on tees in my 15 year golf career, you can just pick them up off the course, same with golf balls. Clubs are where the problem lies. I got my current clubs for Christmas when I was 15, and I’ve been using them ever since, so if you treat your clubs with love, they’ll keep up for years. You can get a cheap set of used clubs for around 75 dollars at a thrift shop. If you don’t have thrift shops around you, wait til winter, prices go down, people start selling them, equipment goes on sale, you can get everything you need.

Golf is more than just a game, it’s a social environment. The clubhouse at your local course is a great way to network and meet like-minded people who share at least one interest. Golf has gotten me summer jobs, it’s gotten me closer to my friends and family, it’s gotten me peace of mind, and it’s gotten me a better understanding of how people think.

I hope I’ve opened your mind a little bit, because as I get older, I realize that’s what counts: experiences you wrote off because you thought you were above it, but are actually super cool. Golf is something I wrote off as “old people shit” when I was younger, but the older I get, the more I appreciate it.

The 5 Best Fast-Food Places

Fast food is a way of life in America: that’s why we’re all fat and miserable with heart disease. There are some places that do it better than others, and that’s something to be commended. Having worked at a fast food place for a while, it takes a certain type of person to get everything right, without collapsing into an empty shell of a person. This is the A-Team of American fast food.

5. Wendy’s

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The Wendy’s Twitter alone gets them top 5 status. I’d never seen such sassy clap-backs from a brand before: Wendy’s is truly iconic. The food is lacking in some areas, but excels in others. For instance, I’ve never had a bad Baconator any of the hundreds of times I’ve been to Wendy’s. Another thing that separates Wendy’s from your Burger Kings and your McDonald’s is the environment that exists in the restaurants. You’ll never see a Worldstar video taken in a Wendy’s, they shut that shit down REAL quick. Good for you, Wendy’s.

4. Domino’s

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Yea, I said it. Domino’s is a fast food place. Any place where I can get an entire day’s worth of greasy fat and calories in less than 20 minutes is a fast food spot, and 96 Parmesan bread bites definitely fits that criteria. Domino’s is the old faithful, your first fast food love. You have (hazy) memories of ordering 2 larges for 7 dollars at 2 o’clock in the morning, and half an hour later, devouring both of them in less time than it took for them to get there. Very few people I’ve talked to have eaten Domino’s sober, but that’s not the point, the point is that when you need them, they’re there with 3 orders of cheesy bread and some lava cakes. God bless you, Domino’s.

3. Starbucks

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As an employee at Dunkin Donuts for the last 6 years, I feel qualified to pass judgement on this premium caffeinated beverage establishment. I’ve had all their fancy douche bag drinks that take 15 minutes and a consent form to make, I’m not rocking with Starbucks because of them. I go to Starbucks because the quality of workers they have. Never once have I seen a Starbucks employee make someone wait in line because they wanted to take a smoke break. Never once have I seen a Starbucks employee tell a customer they were out of something because it was too annoying to make. Never have I seen a Starbucks employee yell at a customer, although I have seen a customer yell at a barista, who took it in stride with a smile on her face. Whatever Starbucks is doing to keep quality workers in what usually is a shitty minimum-wage hellscape, they need to teach other companies. I want the customer experience of Starbucks, without paying 6 dollars for a Colombian roast.

2. Popeye’s

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“Popeye’s chicken is the shiznit” Right you are, early 90s Adam Sandler, right you are. I never really liked fried chicken, my parents didn’t make it at home because it wasn’t “healthy”, so I never really had it until I was baked at a Bullmoose music shop and saw one down the street. Upon arrival, I was captivated by choices, but what should I get? The thing that stuck out on the menu was the popcorn chicken, so that was what I ordered. After a reasonable amount of time, my golden nuggets of chicken came out, and when I took my first bite, I felt something grow inside me. It wasn’t food poisoning, (“It’s a Popeye’s, not a KFC”, I thought to myself at the time) but a taste of something fresh, something I wasn’t supposed to eat, but how could something this good be so bad for you? The answer came about 2 hours later when I googled how to make those beautiful crispy poultry bombs for myself. I don’t blame you Popeye’s, you’re just selling happiness, you’re perfect just the way you are.

1. 5 Guys

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This is it: the alpha, the omega, the reason for being. 5 Guys has perfected the fast food formula to the point where people consider it an actual restaurant. Wendy’s, BK, and McDonald’s could dip their fries in liquid heroin, and they still wouldn’t match up to the golden standard that 5 Guys has set. Every time I order fries at 5 Guys, the workers pack my bag full of fries like they’re going out of business. The burgers at 5 Guys feel like gourmet burgers, but without the exorbitant price. I have a friend who used to work at one, and he says it’s without a doubt the cleanest restaurant he’s worked in, and a fast food place being cleaner than a full service restaurant is incredible. This next dose of greasy fat and cholesterol is for you, 5 Guys, you’ve earned it.