Danica better keep her day job

Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Talk to Danica Patrick about her experiences as a waitress and sales person, and she laughs -- hard.

Attention, holiday shoppers. Consider yourselves fortunate Danica Patrick will not be awaiting you this season at the Genius Bar or waiting on you at the post-shopping-margarita-and-breadstick binge at your local chain Italian place by the mall.

You want Danica Patrick driving race cars and strongly suggesting you patronize a certain Internet domain provider. You don't want her taking your lunch order. She more than admits it, and it makes her laugh pretty hard.

"Terrible," she said, shaking her head while pondering her brief time behind a name tag. "I am not a good person for that."

My mom said she [fired me]. I don’t ever remember that. She did say that just the other day that I was the worst employee she ever had.
Danica Patrick

She has the anecdotes to prove it, and a mother who maybe/probably fired her once before the racing thing took off.

Patrick's brief history in the service industry included a stint as a teen in the coffee shop her family owned in Roscoe, Ill. -- the scene of her alleged termination via Bev Patrick -- and a few retail jobs that won't be found on her résumé. Media guides are much more flattering.

"My mom said she [fired me]. I don't ever remember that," Patrick said. "She did say that just the other day that I was the worst employee she ever had.

"I guess I'm like my dad in the sense that I can't work for somebody else. It doesn't work out for me very well. And the times I do have to work for other people, it's more of a team effort and the things I fight for are things that are important values to me and my brand, so that essentially people are paying attention to what I stand for. So, it's not about how you like your salmon cooked or whether or not I have a box to fit that item you bought at the store."

The shoppers and diners of Roscoe were not so much concerned about Danica's brand -- as it did not yet exist -- and the results were displeasing to everyone involved.

After the coffee shop there was the waitress job. Bad.

I was a waitress. I was just really … I would argue. I know it’s hard to believe. I would argue. I think maybe they would just say, ‘I didn’t ask for it like that.’ And I was like, ‘Well, I never heard you say that.’ This is how Danica does not shine.
Danica Patrick

"I was a waitress. I was just really … I would argue. I know it's hard to believe. I would argue. I think maybe they would just say, 'I didn't ask for it like that.' And I was like, 'Well, I never heard you say that.' This is how Danica does not shine."

Then came the very-Limited-lotion-selection incident.

"Then I worked at the Limited Too. It's like the kids version of the Limited store, and I loved that store as a kid. I worked there for one Christmas and, oh, my god, they start Christmas music so early in stores like that. So I guess it started at Halloween. I remember there were a couple of things that happened.

"One time, someone asked me for a certain lotion. They had all kinds of body washes and sprays and lotions, and so I went over there to help her find it. I'm looking, and I'm like, (attentive, helpful voice) 'Was it this one?' and she goes, (stern and curt voice) 'I asked you, because I thought you would know.'

Patrick's shoulders fix in a defensive posture, her forehead furrows and she replicates her response.

"'Lady, I've worked here for three days. If I could find it, I would, but I don't know where it is.' That didn't go over good."

And then the box incident:

"And the other one, at the store, they sold garbage cans -- like little, bathroom garbage cans, small, little ones. Somebody wanted a box for it, and I said, (attentive, helpful voice again) 'I'm sorry, we don't have boxes.' And she said, (stern and curt voice … again) 'Well, if you sell it at the store, you should have a box for it.' And I said, (stern and curt voice) 'It's the only thing that size. Why would they make boxes for that one item?' and I argued with her about why they shouldn't make boxes for that one item."

In summation: Roscoe consumers, wow.

"Brutal," Patrick said, laughing. "My problem is while I kind of maybe appear like the more aggressive, mean one, I actually just overreact to what people do. Why would somebody say something to me like, 'Well, I asked you because I thought you would know?' That's mean. If I knew, I would give it to you. But I overreact. So that's my problem."

The end result and the end of her sales career?

"I didn't last very long," she said, pointing out, literally emphasizing, with her forefinger, "I didn't get fired ... but I didn't work there anymore. I think my mom would say that she's the only one who's actually fired me."

Thank you. Please drive through.

Related Content