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Sat May 25, 2019, 03:23 AM

What was it like working at McDonalds in New Zealand in the 90's


"What we need is a really great day, to make the most
of every moment"

That was the theme song to the ad's McDonald's use
to run in the 1990's in New Zealand.

The truth was, there weren't many great days at all
at a particular store in New Zealand.

Names have been changed for legal reason's, but every
incident that is listed happened, it's kinda an injustice,
to the people that worked there, to call what happened there
incidents, it was more of a daily routine that sent the workers
into a robotic type state.

The city I worked in had two Franchise owners at the time, I
unfortunately worked in the store so bad t that the other owner
would flat out refuse to have anything to do with the store I was in.

McDonald's isn't a living entity, it doesn't have arms and legs
it was allowed to do what it did, because of the social hierarchy
of it's set up.

At the top You had a Horrific senior manager that would keep
the crew in line, the next level managers, those guys are like
the cool kids, they're allowed to get away with more, they
always put forward the names of friends for promotion, and
if any serious complaint had to be made, they would think
smiley sweetly at you will solve the problem, it's those
level managers that kept this store running the way it
did, because nothing was done about the Horrific senior

One of the most repugnant people I have ever meet in
my life was Ryan Laddock, he was a senior Manager at
McDonalds in the 90's in NZ , his treatment of
workers wasn't just stereotypical of a Fast food restaurant
manager, he was cruel almost like a sociopath, completely
narcissistic and our franchise owner loved him.

He was able to get away for years with what he did,
because the next level managers did absolutely nothing
when complaints were bought to their attention.

I worked at McDonald's from Late 1990 to Late 1995, where
I finally had enough.

I had enough because I was pulled aside by guess who,
Ryan Laddox, during one shift, Ryan had spotted a sprinkle
of lettuce on the dress table, he called me aside and even though
it's been 23 years I remember it word for word, he said

"You're the worst fuckin worker here, if it was up to me you
wouldnt work in my fuckin store anymore, well it's Bradley's
store but you know what I fuckin mean, clean this up, and see
me before you go"

Now I wasn't going to go into an explanation, that I hadn't
created this mess, so I cleaned it up, his actions afterwards
was the worst moment of my working life, after I had cleaned
it up, I went to the office where he and another manager
were sitting drinking coffee on their break, I had gotten
the door half open and he screamed "Just fuckin go" but
it was, what happened that split second afterwards, that
made me feel sick to my stomach, almost instantaneously,
he and Miranda, the other manager, turned their backs
and started to have a conversation like I was invisible, and
that is how this one particular McDonald's treated their workers.

A girl who's boyfriend was killed in a car crash, she took time
off for the funeral, when she came back, Ryan Laddock asked
her to stay where she was, I thought Ryan was off to the office
to give her a sympathy card from people at this store, he came
back with the store hand book that every crew is given, and started
to tell her that bereavement leave is only given out when
the beavered party is a spouse/parent/sibling and not a boyfriend.

Ryan would daily have crew members literally running out the
store crying for the way he treated them, he would look at you,
like you were something on the bottom of his shoe. He would
go out of his way to make life as unpleasant as possible, nothing
to do with running a tight ship, but just to be unpleasant for the
sake of it, this was a daily thing with him.

He wouldn't give out breaks, he would scold crew members right in
front of other crew members, he would complain that nobody
was doing their job right, there was never a shift where you
could relax with him.

One day a female worker came storming back into work, Ryan
had left a message on her PARENTS answer phone saying,
Janice's work is not up to standard and she needed to come
in, her job depended on it, she came back in and let Ryan
have it verbally, the next day Ryan was complaining to the
Franchise owner that the crew don't show respect and how
embarrassing this was for him, the Franchise owner told him,
"You have no need to be embarrassed, she embarrassed herself"

Another young crew member came in on her day off, with her
friends, she had just started work there, saw Ryan, said "Hi,
Ryan hows things?" in front of her friends Ryan told her
"Don't come in on your day off again, I don't like little girls
giggling at me"

Again this is just a few incidents that I remember, every crew
member there would have their story to tell.

I found after I had left Maccas, that Ryan got transferred to another store,
because a crew member had punched him in the face.

He was rewarded though, the franchise owner decided he would
be the manager that he gives an all expensive paid trip to see
the Warriors, flights/hotels/tickets, I guess he had to reward his
little general.

I have never spoken to Ryan since I left, I take it Leopards don't
chance their spots, and I have only listed a few things this guy
did, but take those incidents, and thinking about them happening
every day six days a week for half a decade, and you can probably
understand where I am coming from.

The screaming at crew, the looking at crew like you had
committed a heinous crime, complaints after complaints
that he made about crew to the Franchise owner. The cutting down
of shifts, the split shifts he would give out, 7am-9am and 6pm to

But it wasn't just Ryan that made McDonalds the place it was.

Flash Back to my very first shift in 1990, Knee deep in dives,
my shift had finished, I wanted to finish my task before I clocked
out, I did, I found a manager and all Miranda said was "Go faster
next time"

It didn't take me long to get to know the score of the place, there was
a consistency about the place, that you figured out quickly, no matter
how long you had been working on a shift, don't ever ask for a break,
breaks were this magical mystical like creature that never appeared,
well if you were a manager or a crew member who were friends of
a manager then you would be fine.

I was there for five years and not only wouldn't there had been one week
where I got all the breaks I was legally entitled to, it was every shift, that you
would miss out on your half or 15 min break, some shifts there would be
no break at all. You would be on your feet for nine hours, yet a crew member
who was friendly with a manager and had been working for just two hours
would be sent on a break by a manager, that crew member of course would have
their name put forward to become a crew trainer and then shift assistant then
manager, while the workers who did the work, stayed crew and got treated like BS.

Then there was the manager's book, and if something went wrong,well
guess who got the blame, the easy targets, the people who had no
support or wouldn't be listen to, or sometimes Managers would just
make things up.

Take a horrible awful manager, Jenny Brown, I remember looking to
see what station I was on, and I notice my named, Jenny had written,
that "Ricky had dropped some buns and didn't list them as waste"

I told her I didn't do this, to which she replied "Yeah I know, I just
wrote that in, so it seems like I'm doing my job right"

Jenny Brown also had a habit of talking down to you like you
were a mentally challenged five year ago. On one particular
busy shift, she asked me to sweep the floor, but ask me by
saying "Now you take this end of the broom and make sure
this end is on the ground and I want to sweep the mess off
of the floor, is that okay?, are you able to do that dear?" all
the while, she was smirking, feeling clever about herself.

There was one guy called Douglas, who people nicknamed
Doogie, because he bore a striking resemblance to Doogie Howser.
Jenny Brown would let it slide, but only if certain people called
him that, the rest of the crew were yelled at and told his name
is Douglas and don't call him Doogie.

Jenny Brown's worse moment came when she was charged
with running the breakfast shift, she decided to put five
people on front counter, three on drive thru, but only
one person in the kitchen, that person being myself, so
of course when orders came thru and I got behind, it's
no exaggeration to say Jenny went Ballistic, and I mean
Ballistic, she was basically holding herself back from
Physically assaulting myself. The fact that there were
eight workers up the front and one at the back didnt seem
to register, by hey a Manager versus a crew member, guess
who got the blame.

This was almost a daily tactic that several managers used,
it was all about keeping the majority of crew under control,
while blaming those crew when things go wrong, but putting
forward the names of crew for promotion whom they had
a prior friendship with.

Some of the more uglier moments were

A 15 year old crew member who was groped at a work function
by a 24 year old Manager, she was told by a handful of managers,
the 24 year old "Is a really nice guy" She was then talked about
during several shifts, how she flirted with him and wanted it, and
it wasn't the managers fault.

I myself got a serious burn while working on the grill, the
procedure was run it under cold water for ten minutes,
apply burn cream. Nigel Allan called me after 20 seconds
and told me "To get back in the kitchen, its too busy"

I also got stung by a bee, I told the shift manager Nigel Allan
who shrugged his shoulders and told me "the sting will fall out"
was then told by Nigel to get some boxes of fries from the freezer
and take it to the Kitchen, the boxes were 20Kg each, myself being
small in stature, managed to carry two at a time, Nigel went
crazy and screamed at me that "Hey Man, I can carry four"

I guess when you are six foot 2, you're able to carry four boxes
not so much, when you're my size.

Nigel Allan also had the peculiar habit of physically assaulting
people but making it out to be an accident. He would turn around
real quickly and elbow you in the head, and then ask you
to speak up, because he couldn't hear you. You could be kneeling
on the ground and he walk past you and ahem accidentally knee
you in the head, but have the excuse that he didn't see you
down there.

Nigel Allan thought that the crew who were working on his
shift was incompetent, lazy, didn't know what they were doing
and worse of all needed to be spoken to like they were
four years old.

I had never meet someone with such a narcissistic ego,
not just of his intellect, but his sporting prowess, if
some NBA came on the TV in the crew room, Niven
would shake his head and tell people they're overrated
and his vertical leap was better, he was also according
to him the same size of an NFL lineman.

He told one chap, who had a brother who was a 400
meter runner who made the world track and field
champs, that his brother's time wasn't that fast because
he had been timed by his Martial arts coach and he
could run two seconds faster, of course he was
backed up by Sam Grave who was I guess you
could say his partner in crime.

But it wasn't the absurd statements that he made
that were terrible, it was his treatment of people
who really couldn't fight back.

One particular incident, Robin was in the kitchen, Nigel
screamed at him to hurry up with the Chicken burger,
Robin ran, but slipped and fell hard on the tile floor,
Nigel just grab the burger out of his hand, and told
him to get up, no "Are you hurt?" health and safety
wasn't the top priority for workers at this Maccas.

Then there was Sam Grave, he was quite the pretty boy,
we are talking boy band pretty, we are talking Ansol
Egort pretty, like all pretty boy's this guy had a free
ride, almost straight away he was made into a manager
after just a few months, his name put forward by
several female managers, and he became a shift manager
where he would take zero action on the cruelty by his
best buddy Nigel or not even report the hostility that
Ryan had towards certain workers.

Because of this guy's looks, the workers who wanted to
be part of "The Friends Crowd" seem to agree with anything
he had to say and it ended up that workers that didn't play that
game ended up being brutalized if you weren't in awe of Sam's
every action.

Take Robin Stanley, he was a computer nerd in 1993, he
loved his Star Trex and comic books, and was merciless
bullied by all, he was never invited anywhere, was made
to work his ass off while managers and shift managers
stood around drinking coffee, and he was fired for not
being an octopus, he was busy stacking some eggs and
was told to clean a grill, said "I will just finish stacking the eggs"
and was fired on the spot for disobeying a manager's order.
A couple of weeks before this, we were all in the crew
room, Sam Grave was talking about how he was going
to get wasted and had just bought some good shit.

As usual with Sam, the majority of people in the crew room
seemed to be in awe, then the conversation turned to the
Internet or the world wide web as it was then known, Robin who
hardly spoke at all, face lit up, and started to speak (That was
his mistake) and started to tell people, that the Internet was not
a fad, wasn't just something for computer geeks, and in ten years
time, we would be doing everything on the internet, watching
TV show and Movies, listening to music, doing our shopping
and that the Internet would change life's.

Well Robin who was extremely shy and hadn't really spoken
in a large group situation, was about to be put in his place
in the most horrible of ways by Sam.

Sam who had controlled every situation, was in fits of laughter,
he turned to each person in the room, "Is it going to change
your life" "is it going to change your life?" then he looked
at Robin, shook his head and said "Not going to change my

Sam couldn't let Robin have one moment in four years of working
for him.

I popped up and said "I actually read that in a decade we will be watching
movies on a computer, that sounds quite cool"

If looks could kill, how dare I disagree with Sam.So I guess as
I was leaving the crew room he felt the need to say, "Take out
the rubbish on your way out" I procedure to do as he said, then
he smiled and said 'Hang on, let me just finished this" As he slowly
finished his fries, then added the packet to the rubbish, all the while
other managers laughed with pure enjoyment.

If we ever got a 15 minute break, we had a electronic time clock in the kitchen
that will count down, how long we are, well Sam thought it would
be a great laugh, if for several crew members he will keep pressing
the button to show we only two minutes left on our break when we
had only been away from five or so minutes.

Sam also thought it would be a great laugh to send out the crew
to do compacting, that's where crew would take out all the rubbish
bags in a huge metal cage with wheels to the compacting machine,
a job that would take a good 20 minutes, of course Sam thought it
would be a laugh to make the crew do this if there was a sudden
downpour of rain, there was a beeper on the outside door where
crew had to enter, well you would be left standing in the rain,
while managers would be having a laugh, unless of course it
was one of their mates who would be let in straight away.

Sam ran many shifts as manager, where numerous complaints
would be made about Ryan, and Sam did nothing, not because
he was friends with Ryan, he just couldn't be bothered going out
his way for anyone, he wasn't the most selfless of people.

So you had a system there, Ryan would treat people like shit,
Sam and Nigel, too very good looking guys would turn the
other way, and get away with it, because a handful of workers
wanted to be part of that group, males wanted to have a beer
with them females wanted to get with them, and 90% of the
workers suffered for it.

Ryan would oversee the shift, Sam and Nigel who were
shift managers would do nothing about Ryan even if
complaints after complaints were made to them, and
a there was around three female managers who also
did nothing because they didn't want Sam and Nigel
to get into trouble, and they didn't want to get kick
out of their little social group.

Then there the times people would just be jerks for the sake
of it. Crew members watching the world cup of cricket,
Miranda turning the tv over, not because she wanted to
watch another program, they just didn't like cricket.

So the petty stuff stayed in ya mind.

Crew members who had been there, for years never got
promoted, But Jay Mannering and Nick, guys who
were friends with Sam and Nigel got promoted two
weeks after starting at work and became part of the
friends crowd.

Were they good managers, well no, they weren't
exactly Rhode Scholars, despite being in their
20's they didn't seem to have a middle school IQ.

So you had Sam and Nigel as shift managers,
Jay and Nick as Managers all given power
over nearly 100 crew members, they would
pinpoint who should be promoted always as
a benefit to them, putting names forward
of females that they wanted to hook up with
and putting forward the names of males they
know would go good with their group.

For a long time I was pissed off with Ryan
and Sam and Nigel, but as I got older the blame
really had to be put with others, for allowing
this to happen. Yes we had other managers that
were assholes, but they had no motive, they were
just assholes and would never change.

Sure there managers that would glare at crew
and put their fellow managers on a pedestal,
hell I remember one manager who virtually
had to be held back, all because Paul couldn't
get the pickle bucket open, Teri started to
scream "HURRAY NOW" he replied that
"The lid is bent it wont open" Teri then
went on a swearing rampage at him, her
eyes were on stalks and in the end she
told him that he was pathetic,
of course, Sam came along tried to get it
open, couldn't because the Lid was bent and
Teri smiled and laugh and told him "Oh
boy you need some more muscles haha"

Similar case happened when the bun warmer
blew up because Andrew had yanked it
out too hard (That's what she said) Teri thought
it was James, and went nuts, telling him "You're
going to be had up for this, this cost 15K"

When it was explained to Teri that it was Andrew
that had done it, she just said "Oh well, these things happen
you just don't know your own strength"

There was a pattern here, that was allowed to go on
for years, managers that were made managers, started
putting forward names of crew to be managers, they
were treated okay, but they were a small percentage,
you had maybe around 12 people in my time there,
some who started at crew that become managers that
were treated right, the rest, over 100 of us that were
treated like no human should ever be treated in the work

One junior manager there, I started to have respect for,
they always seem to treat the crew right, and ran a good
shift, that changed towards the end of my time at
McDonald's, and totally went the other way with one
particular moment.

It was a strange one, they hung out with Sam and Nigel,
absolutely thought these guys were right in everything
they said.

Well Jill decided that she would check if the
crew were following procedures, so she started to watch
what I was doing on the Grill, I had noticed a piece of
Teflon had started to fall, I reached up, and Jill thought
I had totally forgotten to do a particular procedure, so she
told me what it was, but what it was, was so simple, that
you didn't even need to explain it to a child, to explain it to
an adult was severely condensing.

I had thought about going off like George Costanza,
then thought, no I will call her aside and tell her
how horrible it was to have it explained to me like that,
then I thought better off it and didn't say anything.

She then felt the need to double down a few minutes later,
and explained it to me like I was three years old.

I just nodded in agreement and said sure thing.

So this one store had some real dodgy people, like the
Manager who was stealing from the tills, but setting
up the crew, telling them there's money missing from
the tills, or getting people in for the shifts, then not
paying them and pocketing the money themselves.

Anyway when I decided to write about this, over 20 years
later, I did some research to see where the worst of the
managers had ended up.

No Karma at all, they all seem to be highly successful
people in their chosen field, I guess that is always the
way, the Narcissistic jerks who treat the little people
like crap, always end up winning.

So that is how this one particular store was like in the 90's,
like something out of a Horror story.

I have of course never walked back into this one particular
store, and I hope that in the year 2019 things are entirely
different, because if they're not, then something is
wrong with society and there will be another whole
generation of workers in that store that are going thru hell.

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Reply What was it like working at McDonalds in New Zealand in the 90's (Original post)
brettdale May 2019 OP
NBachers May 2019 #1
hunter May 2019 #2

Response to brettdale (Original post)

Sat May 25, 2019, 05:37 AM

1. This reminds me of the time I spent working at a Domino's Pizza in Kalamazoo, MI in the early '70's.

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Response to brettdale (Original post)

Sat May 25, 2019, 03:55 PM

2. I was utterly oblivious to psychological warfare in the workplace when I was young.

In middle and high school I was frequently beaten bloody. Physical assaults didn't happen at work, so all was good.

There was a supervisor at one job I drove crazy. He got so mad at me one day he slammed a computer keyboard through a window. (This was when keyboards were heavy things made of metal.) He was fired right then.

As some kind of punishment I was sent to work in the warehouse. That was okay with me. I liked physical labor. My supervisor in the warehouse bought me a six pack of Coors to celebrate. Three of us drank one beer each in the parking lot for lunch, leaving me three beers to take home. The fork lift driver was with us too, but he didn't drink.

I quit that job to go on a fishing trip with my dad, and then I went back to school.

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