Sixteen year-old Dapto hoodlum Brett Waterton has slowly customised his standard McDonald’s uniform to reflect American hip-hop culture. Working within the constraints of the strict employee code of conduct, Waterton has nevertheless added what he describes as “flava” to the staff garb.
While his workmates choose to wear the durable, stain resistant pants in a size comfortable for them, Waterton instead selects a pair two sizes too big. Before starting a 6.00am shift, he puts the oversized pants on – backwards. “I thought that someone might say ‘hey – you can’t do that. We don’t want any trouble here.’ But no-one seems to have noticed yet, or if that have, they haven’t said anything.”
Waterton has also carefully shaped the brim of his combination cap/hairnet into a “Brooklyn curl”, and is sure to wear it slightly askew. His clip-on tie, seemingly innocuous to customers, in fact sports his personal graffiti tag, “glock”, on the back.
Presented with a choice between wearing a green or blue short-sleeved shirt, Waterton is careful always to choose blue, to show his allegiance to LA street gang the Crips. “I’m from the east side of Dapto, and the Crips are from Compton on the East Side of LA, so if I was in America I’d be in the Crips.”
When asked if he was concerned that Waterton was using his McDonald’s uniform to advertise his criminal intent, Dapto McDonald’s Chief Manager Sharwan Chanderpaul said that he had not noticed any such abuse of the dress code, and added that Waterton was a model employee.
But that doesn’t mean hustling is easy. The high-school dropout once spent a shift on the anniversary of Tupac’s death with one trouser-leg rolled up out of respect, pulling it down only when asked to by the duty manager. “I wasn’t sure if i should smoke his ass or just roll down my pant leg. He was lucky the chip buzzer went off. Those chips might have saved his life.”
Waterton plans to work at the family restaurant until he pays off a big-bore muffler for his 1992 Toyota Camry. He will then spend his time driving the car round the carpark of his former workplace.