Hannah Chesmore
Born and raised in Independence, Iowa, Hannah Chesmore was a high school student when she wrote this story in 1994. Hannah is now married with two children and works at the Iowa Department of Human Services.. Her story was first published by Free River Press in Independence, Iowa and was reprinted in An American Mosaic: Prose and Poetry by Everyday Folk, published by Oxford University Press.

I have worked at Dairy Queen for one year and four months. I plan to work here throughout my high school career. When I applied at Dairy Queen, many of my casual acquaintances worked there. Since being hired, most of these acquaintances have become close friends.

When I lived in a small town, Rowley, just outside of Independence, going to Dair.y Queen was a rare treat. Often my mom, my Aunt Paula and I would put on our pajamas and drive to Dairy Queen for a treat. I always got the same thing, a cherry dip cone. It always amazed me. Why didn’t the Dairy Queen fall into the dip? Now I know, from experience, that occasionally the Dairy Queen does fall into the dip.

Like all jobs, working at the Dairy Queen does get overbearing, but I don’t complain too much. There’s rarely a dull moment. Crying babies, cranky, worn-out mothers, picky ladies, people hard of hearing, kids who can’t make up their minds, the list goes on and on.

Thee’s one man who comes through the DFQ drive-through quite often. For a while he always ordered a small vanilla shake. Just recently he changed his order to a small root beer.

“H. W Welcome to Dairy Queen. May I help you?” I asked very routinely.

“Just a minute!” The man replied quickly.

“Gop ahead and order whenever you’re ready.”

Then I waited for what seemed an eternity.

“Are you still there?” The man asked very rudely.

“Yes,, are you ready to order?” I asked very pleasantly and politely.

“I want a small beer,” he ordered.

“That was a small root beer? Will that be all?”

Thee was no answer.

“Thank you, please proceed to the window.”

It never fails. He always has to be the smart guy. He has to make it tough on all of us. A small beer, we all thought that was pretty funny. When he approaches the window, nobody wants to collect the money from him. He’ll either complain about how much it costs or he’ll make a pass at us. Hardly a turn on. Several times he has asked girls to marry him. However, I don’t believe that anyone has ever accepted him. Sometimes I think minimum wage is good for a person my age, but on days like this a raise would be greatly appreciated.

It was the Fourth of July. The fireworks, which take place at the mental health institute, had just gotten over. We had been swamped all night. However, after the fireworks it is always twice as busy. I was on drive-through with a friend of mine. The cars were backed up al the way through the DQ parking lot. We were mixing shakes and blizzards like mad. We always tried to be polite to the customers, but sometimes we slipped; they were usually understanding, usually!

One man came through and ordered two kid cones. He wanted us to give hm cups to put his cones in. We politely explained to him that we weren’t allowed to give out cups. He told us that was crazy, and that if we would just give him the cups the he wouldn’t tell. Like it would matter to us if he told anyone or not. We once again politely explained to him that we weren’t allowed to do that. Then he started to get huffy and rude. Finally my friend went and got the man his cups. There were cars backed up, and we didn’t have time to argue with him. She wasn’t real pleasant when she gave him the cups. Big mistake! He threw a fit! He cussed and cussed at her. “You smart little *^* who the hell do you think you are?”

He wanted to know her namer. He kept rambling on and on. We just shut the window and let him yell. My friend cried. We all felt really sorry for her. She didn’t do anything wrng. Like I said before, minimum wage just isn’t enough.