I'll be the first to say that working at a frozen yogurt store in the heat of the summer had its perks. The AC was always pumping, the free samples were never-ending, and the family-friendly music playlist blasted all my favorite 2000s pop hits. That being said, working in food service, even in the relatively relaxed atmosphere of a frozen yogurt shop, inevitably comes with frustrations.

1. "Does this have dairy in it?"

Considering the store was plastered with cow pictures, you'd be surprised how often I was asked this question. Yes, yogurt is made from milk. While dairy-free yogurt is on the rise, I didn't appreciate the dirty looks customers gave me when I told them our yogurt wasn't lactose-free. I don't make the yogurt, sir, I just sell it!

2. Everything is sticky.

I mean everything. By the end of a shift, there was yogurt in my hair, on my clothes, melted over the counter, and dripping from the trash cans. The worst was when customers spilled sticky, yogurt-covered toppings on the ground. Smushed under customers' feet, those sprinkles and mini chocolate chips would adhere to the ground like super glue. Scrubbing them off the tile with a mop once the store had closed was not my definition of an ideal Friday night.

3. I have to cut up how many strawberries?

sweet, berry, strawberry, Fresh, farmer's market
Caroline Ingalls

The tantalizing topping bar is the best part about frozen yogurt shops, but once I was the one restocking it, looking at it filled me with nothing but dread. On any given day, I'd chop up crates of pineapples, peel and slice dozens of kiwis and mangoes, then wash and dry pints of blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. The grand finale was a colander of strawberries that weighed at least 12 pounds. I haven't been able to look at strawberries in the same way since. 

4. Some customers find out that frozen yogurt isn't actually healthy...

Frozen yogurt may be lower in fat and calories than ice cream, but that doesn't mean it's good for you. I had to laugh when a customer boasted that our yogurt was healthy because it was high in protein, when it actually rounded down to zero grams per serving. When our regulars (read: frozen yogurt addicts) found out they'd been inhaling corn-syrup-sweetened yogurt like it was detox juice, it could get ugly. 

5. Can you get carpal tunnel from swirling frozen yogurt?

After a few weeks on the job and a lot of sloppy, failed attempts, I finally got my smooth and speedy swirling technique down. (The secret: angle the cup and revolve your wrist in an exaggerated motion, so that the yogurt lands in a neat ring along the cup's border.) Even though swirling may look effortless, it doesn't come without pain. By the end of an eight-hour shift, my wrist was definitely feeling stiff. 

As far as minimum-wage jobs go, working at a frozen yogurt store is pretty laid back. But that doesn't mean it comes without its fair share of struggles. So next time you squeeze into the fro-yo store a few minutes before it closes, take pity on the teenager taking your order. Consider leaving a tip!