Friday, July 26, 2013

How to lose your job in a fast food outlet

I logged enough time in the restaurant biz to have witnessed plenty of messin’ with the food, in ways that were sometimes deliberate and sometimes inadvertent.

One place was particularly notable for egregious food handling – across the boards – was Ye Olde Boston Tourist Trap, the Union Oyster House. This was forty years back, and I’m guessing (hoping) that such behaviors are no longer part of their modus operandi.

For one thing, Union was not just a tourist trap, it was a rat trap.

Screaming when a rat ran over your feet was a firing offense, but mostly the rats weren’t in evidence when there were customers moving around. But during the pre-close clean-up, rats raced out of their holes with such alacrity that you’d have thought the Pied Piper of Hamelin was piping them aboard.

Tossing soup spoons at their holes generally kept the rats at bay long enough to get our final clean-up done, but after dark these bad boys (and girls) pretty much had the run of the place. As we could often see the next day when we opened the house.

One day, there was a clogged sink in the kitchen. A dish-boy known as “The Animal” reached into the drain to see what was holding things up. Out came a drowned rat, held in the same hand, that a few minute later, was used by The Animal to dip into a five-gallon tice cream container and scoop out a mitt-ful of maple walnut ice cream. After that, the only ice cream any of us would eat was from a freshly opened container.

Other Union Oyster House “best practices” included frying up cockroaches with the Fisherman’s Platter and the salad guy who dusted his creations with cigar ash.

I was in the kitchen one lunch when a (completely stoned) older waitress dropped a platter of steamed Cherrystone clams on the floor. At this point, it pretty much goes without saying that the floor was filthy. Anyway, most of the Cherrystones popped out of their shells. In the spirit of waitress solidarity, we all helped Marilyn K stuff those clam back in their shells. Ready to serve!Yum.

But, with the exception of the fried cockroaches, I don’t think any of these practices were done with malice aforethought.

Anyway, I’m never all that surprised to read about food service workers who spit in the coffee and other gross and indecent acts.

Yet even I will confess to experiencing a feeling of at least modest  shock and disgust when I read about:

A Subway "sandwich artist" admitted today to putting his penis on the store's sandwich bread and posting the photo on Instagram. (Source: Huffington Post)

He was joined by a colleague in this funfest.

Their Twitter and Instagram pages are festooned with photos of their exploits In several photos, Subway's signature bread is shaped into penises.

One of the men, Cameron Boggs, admitted on Instagram that "today at work I froze my pee" in a water bottle.

Boggs posted -- and later deleted -- the most incriminating photo, which depicts a man rubbing his genitalia on foot-long bread...

In an exclusive interview with HuffPost Weird News, Ian Jett copped to defiling the footlong, but denied doing the dirty deed at work.

"I would never do that at work -- it was at home," he said. "This isn't something I'd ever do at Subway. It was totally a joke."

Not surprisingly, the comic-duo of Boggs and Jett were fired, and Subway released a statement:

This isolated incident is not representative of SUBWAY Sandwich Artists™. These actions are not tolerated and the franchisee took immediate action to terminate the two employees involved.

No longer Sandwich Artists™, Boggs and Jett can, I suppose, now rebrand themselves as performance artists (not ™’d, as far as I know). Which may be the only job they can find for the next little while, at least until they build up enough positives to drop their foodish hijinks to page two or three in a Google search.

In any case, they’ve joined the ranks of other recent food violators. Like the owner of a New Jersey pizzeria who was “reportedly caught on security footage” jerking off in the kitchen. And the Taco Bell worker who – Ay, Chihuahua! – posted a picture of himself – Ay, Chihuahua! – “licking a stack of taco shells”.

Makes fry-o-lating a handful of cockroaches look like good, clean food fun.

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