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Distinguished Scribe
Posts: 730
Registered: ‎01-26-2008
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Re: Jonni Waffle

rkubie wrote:

What do you make of the staff being largely African American (aside from the white new wave cousins), and the patrons being mostly white vacationers?



I think the fact that the staff is largely African American happened quite naturally.  It seems to me that the jobs came by word-of-mouth friends suggesting the work to each other and the practice was putting a good word in to the boss as NP did for Benji. Friends do that for each other and it makes the work so much more fun when you're there with a friend. 


The kids also picked the more popular establishments, as they had "outgrown" their old haunts where they used to hang out for pizza and games, so chose not to work in those places. Rather, they chose the newer, more popular establishments.  Smart kids!


"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. " --John Burroughs
Posts: 95
Registered: ‎09-15-2008
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Re: Jonni Waffle

I think that the fact that the workers are African American while the customers are mostly white has a lot to do with the affluence of the white people that tend to vacation in the Hamptons.  While the African American vacationers are upper middle class, they may not have as much extra money to give their kids a lot of spending money.  The white vacationers in the Hamptons are generally super-rich and their kids probably don't need to work.

Benji wants to fit in at his first job and can't truly be "himself".  Since it's his first job, he is trying very hard and wants to act older. 

Posts: 7
Registered: ‎02-01-2009
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Re: Jonni Waffle

Sailorreader, you described my feelings about the open ice cream case incident perfectly: unsettled.  I had thought of Benji as not only a good worker but a good character: he cared and worried about his brother, he was against stealing... then he did this little act of sabotage and it kind of threw me off.  As a former ice cream shop worker myself, the thought of a whole cooler full of melted ice cream still makes me sick.  I wasn't sure how to feel about Benji anymore.


If I had to guess his motive, it was probably Benji's way of getting back at Martine for the head-patting incident, as someone else has suggested, although he never seemed that upset about it.  Does anyone else have any thoughts on this?

Distinguished Correspondent
Posts: 127
Registered: ‎02-09-2009
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Re: Jonni Waffle



I have to agree that I didn't get that Benji was all that upset about the head patting thing. While I do see why NP was offened by it, I didn't get the feeling the Benji was. Maybe this is because Benji seems to be more of a "white boy in a black boy's body" (Sorry that's the only way I can think to word it) He lives in a white society, all his school friends are white, and short of a few stories of racial incidents at school I don't really see where Benji gets offended very easily.


I was just as shocked that Benji would sabatoage the ice cream cooler, but if what NP was saying resonated with Benji and he decided to take a passive action about his feelings than I guess it would make sense. I totaly didn't see Benji doing something like that and an still a little perplexed as to the true motives behind it. 

Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.

Eleanor Roosevelt
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎11-28-2008
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Re: Jonni Waffle

Jonni Waffle...brings back vivid memories of my first jobs in the restaurant business growing up...mine was "Chicken-go-go." 


I did not think anything unusual of the staff being largely African American at Jonni Waffle, considering the environment of the story.  Most individuals that are vacationing/spending summers in the Hamptons would never have to work.  Most youth are not expected to fend for themselves throughout the summer, which seems to be the situation for Benji and his friends.  It makes sense that since they are young and basically unskilled, they would work in this type of establishment.


A first job teaches you many things.  Of utmost and what commonly goes undiscussed is the ability to deal with people.  Customer service is the most difficult position to hold especially as a kid that wants to be doing something else.  We do not recognize the valuable lessons we learn at these types of jobs until we are much older and in the workplace full-time. 



Posts: 357
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Jonni Waffle

I also can't understand why Benjii left the ice cream cases open. It seemed totally out of character for him. I would love an explaination of this. I really liked Benjii before this incident but after my feelings toward him changed. Yvonne
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎12-20-2008
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Re: Jonni Waffle

I thought it was clear that Benji left the freezer door open as a way to get back at Martine for patting his head. He and his friends were in a disagreement over Martine's race, and assuming he was white, Benji felt he was being ridiculed by his boss. I found this chapter disturbing just for this reason. It made me uncomfortable seeing the misconceptions and racial sterotypes that were prevalent and it also made me aware that perhaps I had misread situations in my own life or not clearly understood people's feelings.
New User
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎02-20-2009
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Re: Jonni Waffle

I really could not make sense of why Benji went back into Jonni Waffles just to leave the freezer doors open. There was just no explanation for it. As some else said it was very uncharateristic of him. The same with the Coke incident.