Friday, July 20, 2012

Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce…

As an experienced restaurant worker, I am well aware that things sometimes happen behind the scenes that might put the diner off his feed.

Most of the places where I worked were pretty darned clean, but even in those restaurants, the wait staff were known to pick off plates waiting under the heat lamps. As for the restaurants that were not next to godliness, well…

Since these experiences were more than 40 years ago, I’ll assume that acts have been cleaned up.  So I won’t name names here. But I did spend a college summer in a rat-ridden Boston tourist trap where the cooks sometimes included deep-fried cockroaches in the Fisherman’s Platter. Where the dish boys occasionally found dead rats clogging the drains, and then used the same paw that dragged the dead rat out went into the 5 gallon tub of ice cream to grab a mitt full of rum raisin. Where the salad maker worked with a lit cigar – with a dangling ash – hanging out of his mouth as he put together the shrimp cocktails.

At another place where I waitressed, the scrod was baked in the morning, then sat on steam tables all day. (One time I warned an evening diner against ordering the scrod. Rather than thanking me, he reported me to management.) This was, of course, not a case of employees subverting food, but, rather, it was a case of management subverting food.

But in the old days, those who were subverting the food weren’t taking pictures or making films of themselves doing so. And there was, of course, no Internet to post on, anyway.

So now we have fast-food knuckleheads spitting in coffee and farting on the pizza. And showing off online. Since, of course, nothing really exists until it’s on the ‘net for everyone to see.

The latest lunk-head to go this route posted a picture of himself stomping on a couple of containers of lettuce at Burger King.  He did so on something called 4chan, which I wasn’t familiar with but which apparently started out as an anime/manga oriented site. It has expanded over the years to include stuff like, well, lettuce stomping. (Source: Huffington Post.)

Because the lettuce stomper posted anonymously, and because 4chan is considered “a lawless, unruly place”, he considered it a safe place to depict his little act-out, which is labeled:

"This is the lettuce you eat at Burger King."

Now, as food abuse goes, stepping on lettuce doesn’t quite rise to the level of spitting in coffee or farting on the pizza. Still…we really don’t know where those shoes have been.

And some 4chan users:

…were appalled by the image and decided to take action. They grabbed the GPS data included in the picture in an effort to pinpoint where the photograph had been taken.

They then alerted the Mayfield Heights, Ohio, Burger King.

The upshot is that this dude – described as a long-time employee – is on his way to becoming an ex-long-time employee.

Now, if you’re in high school and heading off to college, and putting fast food work behind you, getting fired from Burger King may be kind of a fun thing to have happen to you. Or if you’re about to leave for, say, a long sojourn hitch-hiking around Europe. My roommate and I tandem-quit Durgin-Park – not, by the way, the filthy place described above; sure, the waitresses did tend to nibble off the plates on occasion, but the restaurant itself was clean – just as we were about to be fired. A few weeks later, we landed in England. Durgin was in the rear-view mirror. And we had a great story.

But if  you actually need the job, it seems to me that putting yourself online undermining your employer in this way – however anonymous you think you are – is also undermining your employment.

Was it worth it?

No comments: