Don’t Look Now

I used to work in McDonalds. Years ago, at Uni. Before I did, in my head it was a perfect, shiny, burger chapel. The edges of everything shone with modern perfection.

Largely because I’d only ever spend twenty minutes in there, and wouldn’t be looking properly.

After working there for a week or so, the edges dulled, the cracks appeared.

Loose, stained ceiling tiles. Chipped seating. Hand-bodged additions and adjustments to things and systems that didn’t work properly.

Nowadays, every so often when I let my guard down, and start looking in other places, I can see the same things.

It just happened in Starbucks, when I was buying a tea.

The hand-scrawled designations of the stopwatches. The creases in the elevated menus where time-pressured staff have to force ill-fitting replacements into rickety, worn holders.



The perfectionism of chain shops and their systems has never suited the idea that people have to fit in somewhere, that staff will invariably leave dents on the world.

Florence Welch, who I may well never quote on here again, said something interesting a while back (which I think I found on Ben’s piece here):

“The human aspect of objects is always the most interesting… the mistakes, the cracks”

Modern shops, restaurants and cafes are particularly unforgiving to that notion.