Tag Archives: In N Out

Tips from the In N Out trenches: Soccer moms should not drive Escalades

Standard

Okay, so here’s the thing. I really want to blog tonight but I’m too lazy to put in the effort for one of the really good blog posts I’ve got milling around in my head (they involve pictures, some cleverly placed jokes, and a little bit of research). So instead, I’m going to retell a story some of you may have heard before. It happened a few years ago, when I was working at my favorite place ever, In N Out.

I worked a total of 6 years with the Golden Arrow and worked at 3 different stores. The most interesting store I worked at was in Costa Mesa, on 19th street. That story had some seriously crazy customers. It is located on the border of Costa Mesa and Newport Beach, which means you get the unstable transients from Costa Mesa and the psychotic rich people from Newport Beach. This story is about one of the psychotic rich people.

So, okay, this white woman pulls up in a pearl white Escalade. Seriously, soccer moms in Escalades look ridiculous. Anyways, as she is pulling up to my window there was a loud popping noise. She freaks out. ” Did you hear that? What was that? My car better not be ruined, its brand new. Is my car ruined? What was that?”

I had no idea what the popping noise was. But I knew there was nothing in the lane that could have ruined her car, so I told her it was a ketchup packet (those things are actually pretty loud when you  run over them). She didn’t believe me.

“There is no way that was just a ketchup packet, that was so loud. I think it was something big. Is there something on the front of the car?”

I leaned out the window…waaaayyy out the window…and looked at the front of her car.

“Ma’am I don’t see anything. I’m sure your car is fine. Here is your food”

Well this lady would not SHUT UP about her stupid car. So finally, I used a little tactic I like to call “overreacting to an overreaction.” Often, if a customer is over reacting, you can make a riduculous offer to do something outrageous to resolve the problem. Usually, the offer itself is enough to calm them down. They don’t want you to have to go to such extremes, they realize they are over reacting, and they walk off. My overreaction was to offer to go outside and do a full check of that woman’s car for her. She accepted without hesitation.

What. The. Heck.

So I go outside and check the front of her car, the side and under her car. Then she tells me to stand at the front of her car while she backs up, that way I could see the full rotation of the tire and make sure nothing was in the tires. There was nothing. No damage, no scratches, no ketchup packet. Her gangster Escalade was perfectly fine.

“Well that noise was so loud I don’t believe that it didn’t damage my car. I’m going to have my husband look at it when I get home and if he finds something, I’m calling customer service and demanding that In N Out pays for the damage.”

And all I could thing was “Good grief, someone married this woman? That poor poor man.” Every time I tell this story I say a prayer for that guy.

The End of the In N Out Era

Standard

in n out

Friday was a momentous day for me. I signed the papers to officially quit working at In N Out. Granted, I hadn’t actually worked a shift there in about 6 months, but I had been putting off making it official. Signing those papers marked the end of an era. Well, hopefully it marked the end of an era. I thought I had ended that era in 2007 but I found myself right back in the In N Out universe a year later. But this time, I really think I’m done. My reign at the golden arrow is over.

In order for you to truly understand what In N Out means to me, I’m going to have to give you a little background story. I started working at In N Out my senior year of high school. It was my first official job and I was incredibly excited…and nervous! Everything was so loud, fast paced and crazy, but I loved it. I stayed at that first store for a year and half and met some incredible people there. One of those people, one of my bosses actually, would actually become my husband some day. Scandalous, right?

 I stayed at that store through my freshman year of college. In a time when I was transitioning from high school to college, changing friends, growing up and finding out who I was, In N Out was one of the constant things in my life that I knew I could count on. Plus, working for In N Out taught me how to be a great employee. My parents taught me to work hard, show up on time, follow the rules and be a leader in the workplace. In N Out reinforced that good work ethic by rewarding me for it. Learning the importance of hard work and a positive attitude has benefited me in all my subsequent jobs. I really don’t think I would be as successful as I am today without having worked at In N Out.

When I moved on campus my sophomore year of college, I kept working for the company but transferred to a different store. This store seriously had the most insane customers ever. It was located right on the border of Costa Mesa and Newport Beach. For those of you who have never lived in the OC, you need to know that Costa Mesa is a lower socio-economic city with a rather large homeless population and quirky culture. Newport Beach is an up-tight city where the richer than rich drive around in ridiculously expensive cars and think about themselves all day.

Now imagine working in a store where you saw customers from both sides of that spectrum every day. I had to kick homeless people out of bathrooms, dodge food that crazy people threw at me, and listen to countless spoiled brats curse at me because I gave them the wrong kind of soda. But it was still a lot of fun. At that store, I learned that you just can’t let people get to you. You got it brush it all off with a laugh. Instead of viewing those interactions as offenses, I viewed them as hilarious and ridiculous stories I could later tell my friends and family. I didn’t let them get me down, instead I found a way for those crazy customers to bring me laughter.

I left that store in 2007, the same year I graduated college. I didn’t think I would go back, but a year later I found myself in need of some extra money so I started working one shift a week at the store by my parents’ house. When I got laid off from the YMCA, my In N Out store manager was incredibly supportive and gave me some more hours. Without that, Joe and I would have had to postpone our wedding. I am incredibly grateful to that manager and the ways he supported, and continues to support, Joe and me professionally.

I started working full time at my current job in September. I didn’t officially quit In N Out though because, well to be honest, I was scared. I had already quit once and had to come back. In all my other professional experience I had never worked for a company that treated me as well as In N Out did. And although my new adult career seemed to be going well, I still felt like I needed a safety net. But six months later, the safety net has come down. Things are going great at my current job, but if for some reason I lost it I have enough confidence in my professional skills that I’m sure I could find another job in the field. I’ll never again have to ask “would you like fries with that?”

I love my current job. I love that I am actually working in a field that my degree prepared me for. I am so happy to be growing up and to have an actual career instead of something that just pays the bills.  But I’m not gonna lie, I miss In N Out. I miss going to Denny’s after a closing shift, I miss all the drama and inbreeding, I miss the company picnics. I miss seeing the smile on a weary travelers face as they take a break from their 10 hour road trip to enjoy a double-double. I’m sad that I’ll never again make an out of state customer super excited by serving them their first In N Out cheeseburger. Granted, Joe still works for the company so I get to stay connected that way, but it’s not the same. No matter where I go in life or what I become, I will always remember every moment spent at the Golden Arrow and be thankful for the things it taught me.

The Real California Gurls

Standard

I love southern California and parts of northern California, but not central California…if you’re from California you understand. I have lived in Southern California my whole life and while I sometimes threaten to leave, usually when I’m sitting in traffic or listening to a Governator speech, I honestly don’t think I would be as happy anywhere else. Along with my love for California is my love for songs about California. My recent favorite is Katy Perry’s “California Gurls.” It’s fun and upbeat and perfect for summer. However, it is incredibly unrealistic and as a native California girl I feel obligated to enlighten the world. Let’s break it down

Snoop Dogg]
Greetings loved ones
Lets take a journey

[Katy Perry]
I know a place
Where the grass is really greener
Katy, honey, that’s artificial grass. Real grass needs regular rain to grow and in only rains once every 5 years in California. We call it El Nino, Or in this year’s case, we call it July.

Warm, wet and wild
There must be something in the water
ya its called pollution. We’re actually not to proud of that so if you could keep it on the DL that would be great
Sippin’ gin and juice
Laying underneath the palm trees
The boys
Break their necks
Try’na to creep a little sneak peek
(at us)
She’s right here, we are pretty darn attractive. My 18 year old cousin from Washington visited us a few months ago and the first thing out of his mouth, before we even left the airport, was “dang the women here are sooo fine!”

You could travel the world
But nothing comes close
to the golden coast
Once you party with us
You’ll be falling in love
More like falling in lust, but whateves
Oooooh Oh Oooooh

California girls
Technically this should say “southern California girls” not just “California girls.” Remember my opening statement? There is a huge difference in the regions

We’re unforgettable
Daisy Dukes
Bikinis on top
Sun-kissed skin
I’ve lived in CA my whole life and my skin is far from sun kissed. Unless you count freckles, in which case it looks like the sun has kissed me once for every earthquake we have.
So hot
will melt your popsicle
And you’re chocolate bars, and anything adhesive in your car, and your flesh, and metal…seriously it gets REALLY hot here
Oooooh Oh Oooooh

California girls
We’re undeniable
Fine, fresh, fierce
We got it on lock
West coast represent
Now put your hands up
Oooooh Oh Oooooh

Sex on a beach
We get sand in our stilettos
Okay it is a very small, very annoying part of the population that wears stilettos to the beach. Real CA girls know it’s all about the Rainbow Sandals
We freak
In my jeep
Hey, we spend 50% of our day stuck in gridlock traffic. What else are we gonna do in our jeeps?

Snoop doggy dog on the stereo

You could travel the world
But nothing comes close
to the golden coast
Even things that have tried to copy us…like Disney theme parks in different countries; In N Out in Arizona and Nevada and now, gasp, Utah; or Bollywood…none of these copy cats are as awesome as us. sorry
Once you party with us
You’ll be falling in love
Oooooh Oh Oooooh

[Snoop Dogg]
Tone Tan
Fit and ready
Turn it up cause its gettin’ heavy
Wild wild west coast
These are the girls I love the most
I’m pretty sure it’s the pot you love the most, Snoop
I mean the ones
I mean like shes the one
Kiss her
Touch her
Squeeze her buns
Hey now, we’re teases not sluts. Ya we let it all hang out but you can only look. Plus all our daddies are lawyers so if you touch we’ll sue you

The girls a freak
She drives a jeep
The men on the beach
I’m okay
I wont play
I love the bay
Just like I love LA
Do you also love the earthquakes because those haven’t been mentioned once in this song and they are a pretty pivotal part of our culture
Venice beach
and Palm Springs
Summer time is everything

Come on boys
Hanging out
All that a-s
hanging out
Bikinis, tankinis, martinis
No weenies
Just to get
in between
Okay that was an insult to California. What was that snoop? Seriously, cut back on the pot
Katy my lady
(yeah)
You looking here baby
(uh huh)
Im all up on you
Cause you representing California
well not really, but it’s still a fun song!
(ohhh yeahh)

The Burger Connoisseurs Sing Praises

Standard

The husband and I tried a new burger joint last night called The Counter. Before I begin my review let me preface it by saying we are burger connoisseurs. My husband has worked for In N Out for 9 years and he could go on and on about meat quality and taste. Plus he is a very good cook who specializes in burgers and steaks. Consequently, a burger joint has to be pretty amazing in order to really impress us. The Counter is amazing.

When I walked into the restaurant I got the same vibe as I do from Urban Outfitters. It’s very modern and hip, but also laid back. It looks like a posh warehouse with aluminum chairs, metal pipes on the ceiling, cool blue walls, minimalist art and a really cool window that looks like a garage door. It has a very versatile environment- I would feel just as comfortable taking my young nieces and nephews there as I would grabbing drinks with friends. It is a sit down restaurant, which surprised my husband and I, but it turns out waiters are pretty necessary for the operation.

The premise of The Counter is that customers get to build their own burgers. When we were seated the waitress handed us a menu and checklist. On the checklist we got to mark the items we wanted on the burger. First we picked the meat, then the cheese, four toppings, sauce and the bun. I picked a 1/3 lbs turkey burger with herb goat cheese, cucumbers, sprouts, roasted peppers and pepperoncinis  with a basil pesto sauce. Joe ordered a 2/3lb beef burger with blue cheese, roasted red peppers, grilled onions, jalapeños and pickles.  He ordered BBQ sauce as well but didn’t like it. Luckily, they always put the sauce on the side so that one bad decision didn’t ruin the burger.

Both of us agreed that the burgers were fantastic. The meat was juicy but not greasy. All of the ingredients were fresh and the blue cheese was one of the best we have ever tasted. I was amazed at the variety of ingredients they had. One of the toppings was dried cranberries. I have never thought about putting cranberries on a burger but with the right sauce I think it could work. Their website has the whole menu so you can see for yourself all the exciting combinations that can be made.

Of course, they offer more than just burgers. Hubby and I shared some sweet potato fries and onion strings, both were delightful. The onion strings especially were very flavorful. So many times onion rings or strings just taste like fried batter but these had some delicious spices that gave them an extra zing. They also served various desserts including milkshakes and malts. A full bar rounded out the menu.

The service was just as good as the food. I asked for syrup for my sweet potato fries and although they didn’t have any, a waiter brought out a side of honey. I loved that although he couldn’t give me exactly what I wanted he took the time to find the next best thing. Our waitress was very polite but always seemed rushed. She would often start walking away before she had finished her last sentence. The place was busy, and I would rather have a rushed waitress than a lazy one, but I do wish she had slowed down and made a little bit of small talk.

One last thing, I highly recommend this place to vegetarians and vegans. They have a vegan patty that is made in house and with all the different sauces and toppings they offer, I’m sure you can create the most interesting, delicious vegan burger you’ve ever had.

The franchised chain has 23 locations nationwide, but only one in Orange County. It’s located in the Woddbury Town Center in Irvine. The address is 6416 Irvine Boulevard. Visit the website for hours and other locations.  Then go there this weekend and treat yourself to the second best burger around (we will always claim that In N Out is the best…but we are very biased)