The door opens with a slight push of the hand, easy enough for a child to open, but not so much the wind could budge it. Sweet and savory scents waft towards the nose, with a faint background of salty grease that makes the mouth water slightly. The twang of country music from a local radio station taps in the ears. Red furnishings and white walls covered in framed posters advertising different food and drinks on the menus: Pumpkin Pie Blizzard; Chicken Strip Basket, $3.99; Premium Salad. The venue practically screams: Eat our food! And it should, considering their business is to sell their food.
The Dairy Queen out on Pacific Hwy, bordering the Trainsong neighborhood, was fairly quiet at 4:30pm. Three women work on orders behind the counter and in the kitchen with a young man. All have been working for several hours, judging by the white splattering of what was assumed to be soft serve ice cream on their clothing.
A woman, with grey-blonde hair tied back in a ponytail with two berets on either side, walks out of a dark green Mazda pickup truck and into the DQ. “Hi, how can I help you?” Asks one of the women behind the counter. The woman turns and looks at a large refrigerator filled with cakes before turning back and giving her order. She leaves with a medium sized brown bag in one hand, not big enough to fit one of the cakes from the fridge, and a soft drink in the other.
The staff chat and joke while waiting for more customers to pass through the door.
“What are you doing? What are you doing?” One woman cries while another accuses, “Why did you put whipped cream on that?”
“I didn’t know!” Says the young woman who was working on a drive-through order.
Not too long after a brown-haired young man with a red baseball hat, grey sweatshirt and blue athletic shorts, rides up to the building on his bicycle. In his hand he has a “Grand Slam” soft drink cup, which he set on the drink dispenser while he gives his order. A grey bearded man with a knit skullcap came up and stands behind the guy in the red baseball hat.
“’Cause I’m gunna leave at 3:53, not 4 o’clock. Know what I mean?” Says one of the young women behind the counter to her colleague. An affirming noise was the reply from the colleague.
An employee askes the brown-haired man if he wants his food to go and he replies, yes, but then changes his mind, “For here works.” He takes his food and sits down at a table.
A little shorthaired, brunette girl of about eight-years-old runs out from the behind the counter biting the edge of a paper cup. She stands in front of the soda machine eying her choices when her mother, one of the women employees, tells her to get water. The woman then leads the girl, with a basket of chicken nuggets and French fries in her hands, to a nearby table and leaves her alone to eat. The girl divides the nuggets out onto a napkin and proceeds to eat them.
“Mom, I don’t want the French fries,” says the little girl. “Put them in a to-go box,” replies her mom as she escorts the little girl back behind the counter.
A younger man with a white baseball hat and a black sports jacket walks in. He orders and then takes his large soft drink cup outside, fills it with something out of a personal bottle he had, and then walks back into the DQ and sits down at a table, intent on his drink. A few minutes later a young woman comes over asking, “Number one?” and leaves a basket of food in front of him.
As the clock strikes 5 p.m. one of the employees clocks out. Her shift is over.
The man leaves at 10 minutes later and a woman in a red shirt layered over a white long-sleeved shirt walks in talking into a Bluetooth earphone. When she reaches the counter she politely tells the person on the other end of the line that she is about to order food and will call them back shortly. As the woman waits for her food she leans against a nearby counter, her elbows propped on the countertop, and her hands fiddling with her keys. Every once and awhile she would take a sip from a large soft drink that she placed near her left hand. When she left, her arms were full with two brown paper bags of food and her soft drink.
A man dressed in a black shirt, black dress pants and shinned black shoes swaggers into the restaurant. He walked up to the counter and talked with the employees. Meanwhile a little boy of about five-years-old who looks like the man stumbles through the door, constantly pulls up his too big shorts. The kid walks around a bit and then leaves. The man in black left a few minutes later, empty-handed.