I had two people say that to me today, "I'm going to have you fired." Go ahead, be my guest. I'm wearing a green velvet costume; it doesn't get any worse than this.
— David Sedaris, SantaLand Diaries
Sometimes, working as a Burger Fool
just isn't embarrassing enough. Sometimes, the humiliation ante must be upped— that's where this trope comes in. Where most part-time jobs are content with just making their employees wear a polo shirt and a nametag, this one adds some sort of embarrassing accessory: A stupid hat, a stupid shirt, or a really bad colour scheme. Some places take it further, making their employees wear a whole Goofy Suit
full of embarrassment. But whatever the case, the outfit makes the workers stand out, and makes the character wish they were dead.
Often in the form of a (not) Nice Hat
at a restaurant, mainly a costume elsewhere. If the job is as a Mascot
at an Amusement Park
or Suck E. Cheese's
, this will be a Goofy Suit
. Can overlap with No OSHA Compliance
if the job involves cooking and the costume limits visibility, ability to grasp objects or has a tail. If this isn't a dead trope in real life, its certainly dying as the mockery of this trope has led to such establishments not being taken seriously (the polo and khakis look a lot more professional.)
Compare Go-Go Enslavement
, which also has a character being forced to wear something embarrassing - but this time it's for Fanservice
rather than for humor.
Interestingly, one way to determine if your work clothes are tax-deductible is "if you'd be embarrassed to go to the bar in them
Anime and Manga
- In Skip Beat!, the "Love Me" section of the LME talent agency is designed to let budding talents learn to love, but most of the time, they just end up doing menial tasks like cleaning an assistant work. The most infamous part of the section, however, is that members are forced to wear neon pink jumpsuits. At one point, Kyouko and Kanae even weaponize this by wearing their uniforms to an audition so that they stand out.
- Archie Comics has done it: Jughead once had a job as a flower delivery man, and had to dress up in a yellow shirt, cape, and metal helmet with wings (think Hermes). His friends were amused; he was not.
- In Ultimate Spider-Man, Peter works at a fast-food where he has to wear a frog hat. Bobby (Iceman) later joins him behind the counter when Aunt May forbids them from using their powers in public.
- She's All That: The falafel restaurant where Laney works forces her to wear this sad, limp falafel on her head.
- Office Space, the ultimate example for the employees of Chotchkies. Not only is the uniform a theme-restaurant-style suspender-and-striped-vest abomination, but you are required to cover it with obnoxious buttons called "flair." There's a minimum amount of flair each employee is required to wear, but the manager tries to browbeat employees to wear more of it.
- In Max Keeble's Big Move, Max's dad, an advertiser, is forced to wear embarrassing costumes to secure clients. Embarrassing like a giant chicken.
- In Better Off Dead, Lane had to wear a uniform that included a chef's hat with pig's ears with a matching nose.
- In West Bank Story both the employees of Hummus Hut and Kosher King wear hats displaying the food they sell, and well...see for yourself. Also, Kosher King has a mascot, a man dressed as a giant menorah.
- In Fast Times at Ridgemont High, after getting fired from Carl's Jr. for swearing at a customer, Brad takes a job down at a "Captain Kidd's Fish and Chips," where he has to wear a full pirate outfit with tricorner hat and even (his boss reminds him as leaves to make a delivery) a plastic sword.
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has the Burger Shot uniform, which includes a gigantic hamburger hat, and the Clucking Bell, a full-body chicken suit (the latter employee coming off as more disgruntled.)
- Goth Boy suffers this in My Sims Agents, manning the Turkey on a Fork kiosk at the beach.
- You can get one of these for a Side Quest in Bully. While many will mock you for the outfit, it's hard to tell from the general derision that's put on Jimmy.
- When working at Megagamers, Piro from MegaTokyo has to wear the most ridiculous cosplay outfits, depending on Erika's mood.
- An important plot point in Homestuck, where agent Jack Noir is not only stuck doing paperwork he hates, but is also continually forced to wear ludicrous costumes in accordance with the Black Queen's royal garb. Eventually, after the costumes became even more ridiculous, he snaps, and then proceeds to kill his boss, steal her power source and eventually become a god-like Omnicidal Maniac Hero Killer.
- In this strip of Loserz, Jodie has to wear a chicken costume.
- Schlock Mercenary: you don't know the meaning of bad uniform until you're forced to wear a wig, a mustache, and buck teeth while serving authentic Hong-Kong-Tex-Mex.
- In this strip of Girls with Slingshots, Thea gets a job as an arena hot dog vendor and has to wear a hot dog-shaped hat. No wonder she doesn't want to tell her roommate Hazel what she now does for a living.
- Swell Job by DovSherman on DeviantArt.
- In the Strong Bad Email "part-time job", Strong Bad is forced to wear a Tragic Clown-Dog outfit as part of his "very part-time" job at Bubs' Concession Stand.
- Do you have those 1-800-GOT-JUNK? people in your city? Chances are, you've seen them advertise by having employees dress up in blue jumpsuits and clown wigs and dance around busy intersections.
- At tax time, you often see people standing out on street corners, waving to cars, dressed as Lady Liberty or Uncle Sam. A Maple Leaf, if you're in Canada.
- Guys dressed in a roach costume, extra arms and all, advertising a pest control service.
- Southwestern U.S. has a chain called El Pollo Loco, a chicken joint whose advertisements are distributed by grown men in full-body yellow-feathered chicken costumes. Fun trivia: El Pollo Loco was Brad Pitt's first "acting" gig.
- At least one pizza restaurant here in the Twin Cities had one employee dress up as Luigi and hold a sign for the restaurant. However since the girl doing it is a cosplayer she absolutely loved the job. The rest of her co-workers thought that doing it was this trope.
- Any time a Halloween costume store opens up, chances are there'll be someone in one kind of costume or another dancing around with a sign out front.
- Many "WE BUY GOLD!" places do this. One local place has someone waving a sign on a street corner wearing a gold leaf top hat, face paint, and suit.
- Some Subway branches make employees stand on the street, dressed as sandwiches, holding a sign that points out the direction of the nearest shop. Even if there are three within a square mile.
- Hot Dog On A Stick may have the worst genuine uniform, as opposed to publicity costume, ever. Better (or worse) yet, it was apparently voted on by the staff themselves. Just how terrible were the OTHER options?!