"Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schlosser: Chapter 3, "Behind the Counter", summary/response.

1474 Words Nov 3rd, 2005 6 Pages
Behind the Counter.

In his book "Fast Food Nation", Eric Schlosser shows how the fast food industry has infiltrated every corner of American Society. He tells of the disturbing reality that is American life today; almost every aspect of American life has been franchised or chained. Beginning in California and spreading throughout the entire country, Schlosser gives the history of the fast food industry and the evils and changes that developed with it.

In Chapter three, Schlosser begins by describing the view of Colorado Springs: its peaceful, serene, spectacular outlook from Gold Camp Road. It appears to be an all-American town with its independently owned businesses and layers of houses from many different historical eras. But then it's
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"Just add hot water" is the cooking process for much of the food.

McDonald's has an operations and training manual specifying how everything should look, be used, be done, even how the employees should greet customers. The strict regimentation creates uniform products and gives the company a huge amount of power over their employees. According to Schlosser, "The management no longer depends upon the talents or skills of it workers - those things are built into the operating system and machines." With this, workers are more easily and cheaply replaced.

Schlosser begins the section stroking by telling how fast food chains have accepted hundreds of millions of dollars in government subsidies for "training" their workers when in fact they were spending huge sums on research and technology to eliminate employee training. "Attempts to end these federal subsidies have been strenuously opposed..." The use of these subsidies creates "low-paying, low-skilled, short-term jobs for the poor." These employees are by far the biggest group of low-wage workers in the U.S., being the highest proportion of workers being paid minimum wage. A vital factor of the fast food industry's business plan has been the low minimum wage. When being paid minimum wage, receiving no benefits, only working when needed, and never being able to qualify for overtime is when "stroking" comes in. "Stroking can make a worker feel that his or her contribution is sincerely

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