Fighting the Power, One Frozen Yogurt at a Time

One summer while still in college, I worked at a frozen yogurt shop. At the end of the night, we emptied the yogurt machines and were allowed to take home any frozen yogurt that was left over from the day. My roommate loved that we had large Styrofoam cups of various flavors of frozen yogurt in the freezer at all times. Even though I served it all day long, I kind of loved it too.

It was a small yogurt shop owned by a local Chapel Hill resident. There were only three or four of us that worked in the shop, and usually only one or two people at a time. In addition to emptying the yogurt machines at the end of the night, there was also the usual cleaning: putting away the candy toppings, wiping down counters, putting chairs on tables, and mopping the floors. The clean up process usually took about half an hour to forty-five minutes, at which time we put a cassette tape on (it was a long time ago) and listened to music.

One evening while we were cleaning up, we were playing music (I believe it was Duran Duran, or perhaps The Rolling Stones) and the owner came in. He walked through the door, stopped for a moment, stormed to the back room, and turned off the music, shouting, “Who is playing this devil music? If there is music to be played in here, it will be God-fearing Christian music, do you understand?”

I thought about this for a moment. To me, this seemed a little fanatical. Not only the declaration that only God-fearing Christian music should be played, but the anger with which he proclaimed it. I stood, in my shorts and apron, leaning against my mop handle, contemplating what had just happened. He snapped at me, “Get to work!”

I blinked, brought back to reality from my thoughts, and slowly returned the mop to the utility closet and took off my apron. He watched me. I folded my apron and put it on the counter. “Thank you, but I don’t think this is where I want to work anymore.” That was my small step towards fighting the power and taking a stand against the man.

For the rest of the summer, my Jewish roommate and I lazed by the pool, enjoying the stockpile of frozen yogurt from our freezer.