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  #101  
Old 05-03-2012, 11:55 AM
Ellen Cherry Ellen Cherry is offline
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If anyone has one bad thing to say about Jimmy John's, I'm going to cry. Hard. For like an hour.

My only food horror story involves food at the state fair — but that was on purpose.
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  #102  
Old 05-03-2012, 12:48 PM
Corcaigh Corcaigh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Bodoni View Post
I've always suspected that about grocery store garlic bread. It always looks great, but it never tastes like much of anything.
Those bread sticks go stale after a day, so reheating them, then re-using them turns them into lumps of sawdust



Quote:
Originally Posted by gwendee View Post
I am all for reducing waste. If you don't want repurposed foods stay away from meat loaf, meatballs, and many soups.
Sadly, this wasn't about reducing waste, it was about making as much money as possible.

(and I don't eat meatloaf, meatballs, or soup!!)



Quote:
Originally Posted by kath94 View Post
At the first place I worked we didn't have a popcorn popper. We ordered "prepop" which arrived in giant bags which were stored upstairs from the auditoriums, then placed in our heater behind the candy counter for serving. I overheard one of the ushers, whose job it was to bring down the bags of prepop, speaking with the manager by telephone. They were discussing the presence of rats, rat excrement in the popcorn bags, and the usher asked how to handle the bags that had holes in them but no evidence of rat poop. <barfy smiley>
OMG I used to work in a cinema with that same problem! They've now got a proper popcorn machine
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  #103  
Old 05-03-2012, 12:51 PM
Soylent Juicy Soylent Juicy is offline
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Originally Posted by Ellen Cherry View Post
If anyone has one bad thing to say about Jimmy John's, I'm going to cry. Hard. For like an hour.
I'll do the same if it's about the Hard Rock Cafe.
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  #104  
Old 05-03-2012, 01:03 PM
Attack from the 3rd dimension Attack from the 3rd dimension is offline
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Originally Posted by Soylent Juicy View Post
I'll do the same if it's about the Hard Rock Cafe.
I'd hoped someone with the handle Soylent Juicy would have a more substantial contribution to the thread.
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  #105  
Old 05-03-2012, 02:18 PM
Mister Rik Mister Rik is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KneadToKnow View Post
What she had seen was the grill cook take a push broom and use it to clean the grill, and then set the push broom aside where he'd taken it from to begin with: resting bristles down on the floor next to the grill.
I'm utterly baffled. I've been a pro cook for nearly 29 years, and I can't think of any conceivable reason to use a broom to clean a grill.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blindboyard View Post
"I should add, by the way, that the Auberge was not the ordinary cheap eating-house frequented by students and workmen. We did not provide an adequate meal at less than twenty-five francs, and we were picturesque and artistic, which sent up our social standing. There were the indecent pictures in the bar, and the Norman decorations—sham beams on the walls, electric lights done up as candlesticks, ‘peasant’ pottery, even a mounting-block at the door—and the patron and the head waiter were Russian officers, and many of the customers titled Russian refugees. In short, we were decidedly chic.

"Nevertheless, the conditions behind the kitchen door were suitable for a pigsty. For this is what our service arrangements were like.

"The kitchen measured fifteen feet long by eight broad, and half this space was taken up by the stoves and tables. All the pots had to be kept on shelves out of reach, and there was only room for one dustbin. This dustbin used to be crammed full by midday, and the floor was normally an inch deep in a compost of trampled food.

<snip>
While exaggerated, this just verifies my experienced observation that restaurant owners always have money to remodel the dining room, but "just can't afford" to fix/upgrade the kitchen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gwendee View Post
This at least doesn't completely gross me out. I've always imagined that garlic bread exists because some thrifty home cook wanted to serve bread but only had day old and needed to spruce it up.

I am all for reducing waste. If you don't want repurposed foods stay away from meat loaf, meatballs, and many soups.
Yup, there are a surprising number of "traditional" foods that have their origins in reusing leftovers or ingredients that have gone stale. I think the majority of restaurants these days, at least in the USA, make these things with fresh ingredients, though. At least the places I've worked at have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thevmax View Post
HOWEVER...it's not right for the customer to pay a premium price for EverClear when they have ordered Grey Goose! If you have tasted premium liquor and, god forbid, rail hootch, you know the difference. I can easily tell Seagrams Crown Royal from rail brand, and I am willing to pay the difference.
Also, filling liquor bottles at a bar with something other than their original contents is quite illegal here in Washington state, and I'd imagine in most other states as well. I suspect it's related to another liquor law that forbids substituting a non-alcoholic drink when the customer has requested an alcoholic drink (presumably in a situation where the customer is too drunk to notice, and you don't want to serve him any more booze, but you want to keep taking his money). Both practices are basically "fraud".
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  #106  
Old 05-03-2012, 03:04 PM
kayaker kayaker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Rik View Post
I'm utterly baffled. I've been a pro cook for nearly 29 years, and I can't think of any conceivable reason to use a broom to clean a grill.
typically grills are cleaned hot. And a broom would just be a shitty tool.
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  #107  
Old 05-03-2012, 03:05 PM
Mister Rik Mister Rik is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
typically grills are cleaned hot. And a broom would just be a shitty tool.
Exactly.
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  #108  
Old 05-03-2012, 04:09 PM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
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Quote:
Yup, there are a surprising number of "traditional" foods that have their origins in reusing leftovers or ingredients that have gone stale. I think the majority of restaurants these days, at least in the USA, make these things with fresh ingredients, though. At least the places I've worked at have.
Oh, I ring the changes on leftovers in my own kitchen. However, I KNOW how many days old that chicken broth is...and how old I'm going to let it get before it goes down the drain. I believe that most restaurants and stores are responsible and take care to only offer healthy foods. However, it just takes ONE irresponsible employee or manager to really mess things up.

My very first retail job was working in the restaurant in Montgomery Wards, both as cashier and as busgirl. When I bussed the tables, I was firmly informed that I should save the intact butter pats...because the manager would set them out again if they looked OK. Yes, this was a violation of the health code. She didn't care. I was also supposed to put all the meat scraps from diners' plates into a bucket. I was told that this was for the manager's dogs. However, I noticed that the cafeteria served up a LOT of meatloaf, chili, stew, and other dishes that could be made from anonymous meats. I also noticed that none of the cooks ate those dishes.

When I worked in a convenience store, we sold a lot of canned drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. And it was pretty common for the workers to use the pallets of canned drinks as stepstools. The pallets didn't have a covering on them, we just used to step right on top of the cans, right where people drank from the cans. Urk. I always drank fountain drinks from that place. This store also had a deli in it, and we roasted chickens and ribs on a daily basis...when we needed to. If we weren't selling many chickens, we just didn't roast them for a day or two or three or four. Or a week. We kept them in the back cooler, and put ice on them. And no matter how long they sat in that back cooler, we'd never throw them out.
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  #109  
Old 05-03-2012, 05:23 PM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AClockworkMelon View Post
....Cockroaches in the ice machine above soda fountains. This happened more than once. One person who worked there has basically had ice ruined for him and never, ever gets ice from soda fountains anywhere, anymore...
No drinks (with ice in them, at least) from fountains. Check.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Bodoni View Post
... it was pretty common for the workers to use the pallets of canned drinks as stepstools. The pallets didn't have a covering on them, we just used to step right on top of the cans, right where people drank from the cans. Urk. I always drank fountain drinks from that place. . .
No drinks from cans, always from fountains. Check.

... wait.
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  #110  
Old 05-03-2012, 05:37 PM
Spoke Spoke is offline
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I once saw a server pouring unfinished glasses of tea right back into the refill pitcher. She wasn't even particularly discrete about it.
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  #111  
Old 05-03-2012, 06:16 PM
crookedteeth crookedteeth is offline
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I guess I've always worked in clean restaurants. Either that, or I'm oblivious. The worst thing I've ever seen was a waitress (with a bad attitude and short fuse) spit in someone's refill. In her defense, the woman was a complete bitch that complained about everything - even if there wasn't anything to complain about - and always tipped whatever change was in her pocket. This usually meant no tip, and at the most $0.75. I still could never do that, even to the worst tables I have.

At the restaurant I work at now, all of the food is cooked fresh daily, no frozen foods. Most of our customers are regulars, so no need to mess with anyone's food. It's the first restaurant that I've worked in where I've never seen a cockroach. Cockroaches are in almost every restaurant, but I've never seen one here. Doesn't mean they aren't there, just haven't seen them. It's clean, the servers are always friendly, and I'd recommend it to anyone. This may have something to do with the fact that it's the first restaurant that I've worked in that wasn't a chain restaurant. Or it could be a coincidence.
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  #112  
Old 05-03-2012, 06:20 PM
Attack from the 3rd dimension Attack from the 3rd dimension is offline
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Having read this thread, could you PM me with the name and location of what is apparently the only non-disgusting restaurant in the world?
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  #113  
Old 05-04-2012, 07:15 AM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
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Would it be safe to say that your average fast food joint would be cleaner than most restaurant kitchens?
The only really clean kitchen I have ever seen was at the Pier 4 Restaurant (Boston). The kitchen is all stainless steel-walls as well. At th end of the day, they cleaned everything with steam and a high pressure hose.
But the food is pretty mediocre.
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  #114  
Old 05-04-2012, 01:29 PM
Dendarii Dame Dendarii Dame is offline
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While at a Hardees, I was waiting for my order at the counter when something (I don't know what) on fire fell on the floor, and continued burning. Not giving off a little smoke, it was burning. And none of the workers paid any attention, including the person who'd dropped it!
Me: "Isn't that on fire?"
Them: (Shrugs.)
Me: "Shouldn't you put out that fire?"
One of Them: "Ah, it'll be okay."
Me: "It's on FIRE!" (And the fire was growing.)
(Note that my fiance was in the bathroom at the time. I was about to go running over and pound on the door.)
One of Them: (Very reluctantly puts out the fire.)

This was many years ago.

Last edited by Dendarii Dame; 05-04-2012 at 01:29 PM..
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  #115  
Old 05-04-2012, 01:56 PM
GargoyleWB GargoyleWB is offline
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As a teen, I worked the back room of a bakery. The only time they ever cleaned the oil in the donut fryer was when it became so black and sediment-ridden that the fryer would choke on it and puke it all over the bakery floor.

It was my job to clean it, which took the good part of all night since it hardens up pretty good on a concrete floor and takes the degreaser a while to really work. The manager also had me poor all of the waste down the storm drain out back, since he was too cheap to pay for any chemical waste storage or removal.
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  #116  
Old 05-04-2012, 01:57 PM
KneadToKnow KneadToKnow is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
typically grills are cleaned hot. And a broom would just be a shitty tool.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Rik View Post
Exactly.
I can only tell you what we saw.
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  #117  
Old 05-04-2012, 02:16 PM
Kimballkid Kimballkid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purplehorseshoe View Post
No drinks (with ice in them, at least) from fountains. Check.



No drinks from cans, always from fountains. Check.

... wait.
Don't even ask about the syrup/water lines in the fountain machine.
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  #118  
Old 05-04-2012, 02:34 PM
kath94 kath94 is offline
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Lynn Bodoni's mention of Montgomery Wards reminded me of my very first paying job, seasonal help at the Monkey Wards candy counter. Remember when department stores had those? My dad used to buy warm cashews with his pocket change at Sears. The poor guy behind the counter had to measure out 37 cents or whatever of nuts.

Anyway, popping popcorn on a Saturday afternoon guaranteed that the counter would be swarmed. (Even today, the smell of freshly popped popcorn reminds me of Sears. ) This was probably standard practice, but at MW any stale, leftover popcorn became caramel corn the next day. Or the next.

...and back to the movie theater, I remember the ushers trying to clean out the fountain soda tubes. "Hydro engineering" they called it, forcing water backward through them. Sometimes the fuzzy, green "snake" that emerged was a foot long!
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  #119  
Old 05-04-2012, 02:36 PM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kath94 View Post
Lynn Bodoni's mention of Montgomery Wards reminded me of my very first paying job, seasonal help at the Monkey Wards candy counter. Remember when department stores had those? My dad used to buy warm cashews with his pocket change at Sears. The poor guy behind the counter had to measure out 37 cents or whatever of nuts.

Anyway, popping popcorn on a Saturday afternoon guaranteed that the counter would be swarmed. (Even today, the smell of freshly popped popcorn reminds me of Sears. ) This was probably standard practice, but at MW any stale, leftover popcorn became caramel corn the next day. Or the next.

...and back to the movie theater, I remember the ushers trying to clean out the fountain soda tubes. "Hydro engineering" they called it, forcing water backward through them. Sometimes the fuzzy, green "snake" that emerged was a foot long!
Interesting..draft beer line NEED regular flushing and cleaning (or else the beer spoils). How come soda lines are not subject to the same maintainance procedures?
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  #120  
Old 05-04-2012, 02:58 PM
Drunky Smurf Drunky Smurf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dendarii Dame View Post
While at a Hardees, I was waiting for my order at the counter when something (I don't know what) on fire fell on the floor, and continued burning. Not giving off a little smoke, it was burning. And none of the workers paid any attention, including the person who'd dropped it!
Me: "Isn't that on fire?"
Them: (Shrugs.)
Me: "Shouldn't you put out that fire?"
One of Them: "Ah, it'll be okay."
Me: "It's on FIRE!" (And the fire was growing.)
(Note that my fiance was in the bathroom at the time. I was about to go running over and pound on the door.)
One of Them: (Very reluctantly puts out the fire.)

This was many years ago.
What, you never heard of floor-broiled? It's a lot like flame-broiled but lower.
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  #121  
Old 05-04-2012, 04:00 PM
Dingbang Dingbang is offline
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I used to volunteer in the diet kitchen of a world-renowned zoo, where we made all the food for feeding the animals. I specialized in the carnivores, so I was weighing horse meat, measuring mealworms, counting out dead mice, etc.

We were held to very high standards for hygiene and cleanliness, even as volunteers. God forbid you kill an endangered exotic animal because you were slack in cleaning up the horse blood or, *shudder*, not thoroughly washing the seedless grapes.

The head dietitian and the more experienced staff often joked about how our kitchen was far cleaner, and the food much more trustworthy, than any meal coming from even a five-star restaurant in town, much less a fast food place.

We always thought about that when we went across the street to the local burger bar for lunch.
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  #122  
Old 05-04-2012, 04:58 PM
Attack from the 3rd dimension Attack from the 3rd dimension is offline
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Hm. I guess it's pointless to request that you PM me the address of the zoo as the only other place I should ever go for lunch.
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  #123  
Old 05-11-2012, 09:00 AM
SCSimmons SCSimmons is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John DiFool View Post
Based on the stories in this thread, allow me to guess...

I Can't Get No Satisfaction?
Paint it Black?
Before They Make Me Run?
Brown Sugar?
Down in the Hole?
Let It Bleed? Too Much Blood?
Look What the Cat Dragged In?
Short and Curlies?
The Spider and the Fly?
"You Can't Always Get What You Want" was my first thought.

That would actually be pretty awesome. Someone tries to request a special order, and the waiter points to the top of the menu ...
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  #124  
Old 07-28-2012, 01:31 AM
Mustache-Emperor Mustache-Emperor is offline
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Initial context: When I was younger and my family used to go out to different fast food places we never, ever set foot in a KFC. It was only years later that I learned why.
Turns out that in the 70s or 80s my dad worked at KFC as one of his first jobs. At the particular establishment he was employed at, the grease from the fryolator had to be disposed at the end of every day-still boiling, still in a huge open bucket-type container. There was quite a walk from the counter where the fryolator was to the dumpster out back, during which the unfortunate employee whose turn it was to take out the grease had to carry an incredibly heavy container of incredibly boiling fat. Well, one day a girl who he described as young and somewhat ditsy was carrying the grease out when she leaned back the very slightest amount, and the inevitable happened and grease spilled everywhere, including all over her. Second and third degree burns, clothes fused to her skin, the works. Shortly after this my father found himself unable to consume, be near, or look at Kentucky fried chicken (the product), left KFC and became an EMT. Always thought that was an interesting transition.
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  #125  
Old 07-28-2012, 03:14 AM
drastic_quench drastic_quench is offline
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That story was original, but also extra crispy.
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  #126  
Old 07-28-2012, 04:00 PM
rsat3acr rsat3acr is offline
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At the pizza placed I worked at in college the owner scraped the meat toppings off the uneaten pizza that diners left, used it in the lasagna. None of the employees would do it even though we were told to.
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  #127  
Old 07-28-2012, 07:46 PM
Mister Rik Mister Rik is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsat3acr View Post
At the pizza placed I worked at in college the owner scraped the meat toppings off the uneaten pizza that diners left, used it in the lasagna. None of the employees would do it even though we were told to.
Had a similar problem with a manager at Arby's, back in 1984 or '85, though it didn't involve "used" food. What it boiled down to was that this manager was absolutely obsessed with food cost. So the roast beef slicer had this scrap cup below the spinning blade that would catch all the little flecks of roast beef that came off the blade as it was spinning. The actual slices of roast beef landed on a platter below the blade, but the scrap cup would catch, well, the scraps.

These scraps, as they accumulated, took the form of a rather unpalatable meat paste. But as far as this manager was concerned, it was food going to waste and she started insisting that we make use of it by adding a little bit of it to each roast beef sandwich.

This ended up with a group of high-school-aged employees flat-out refusing to obey a direct order from the manager. One of them made a sandwich out of the crap and offered it to the manager. "Here, you eat it." She didn't want it.

Yes, we had a remarkably professional crew, mostly trained by the previous manager (like, we had standards). This meat paste incident became one more thing on the long list of stuff that eventually got that manager fired.
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  #128  
Old 07-28-2012, 07:58 PM
MadTheSwine MadTheSwine is offline
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I didn't read the thread all the way through,but the most common offense I noticed is the lack of hand washing after sneezing,coughing,handling poultry etc.

Pouring unused coffee or tea that was sent out in a pitcher back into the urn.( I quit one of my jobs over this)

Changing the "use by" dates on the opened items in the fridges.

One of my(penny pinching) bosses wanted us to fill a sink with water and add a touch of bleach and soak leftover cooked cauliflower in it hoping it would regain its whiteness,I told him,word for word " Don't be a fucking idiot".Luckily he took that advice to heart and changed his mind.
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  #129  
Old 07-29-2012, 11:56 AM
Shawn1767 Shawn1767 is offline
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I used to work at a Baskin Robbins in the food court at the Lake Forest Plaza in New Orleans East in the late 80s. The owners were cheapskates and cut corners everywhere they could. The manager always followed their orders and one rule we minimum-wage schlubs had was "if it was open (meaning no longer factory sealed), it was contaminated in some way." So, if we made free stuff for ourselves, it would have to be when we opened something fresh from the factory. Some of the things I witnessed: the dipping cabinets (where the opened containers of ice cream are kept for customers to look at) had fluorescent lights above the ice cream. A coworker attempted to replace one and it shattered all over the ice cream. The owner instructed us to just scoop off the top layers of the affected ice creams and serve the rest. I think at the end of summer, the flavor of the month used to be Rainbow Sherbet. Well, at the end of summer, I would go back to college and then go back to work there the next summer. When I got back one year and the time came to put out Rainbow Sherbet again, I checked the side of the container (because that's where the date of manufacture is stamped) and, sure enough, it was the same tub from the previous year. Also, in keeping with the cheap nature of my bosses: the hot fudge comes in these large cans from Baskin Robbins that say in big letters: DO NOT DILUTE, SERVE AS IS. Well, my bosses would instruct the manager to dilute the hot fudge 1:1 with water. So for every can of hot fudge, she'd mix in one can full of water. When the minimum-wagers would do it and no manager was around, we'd just pour the can straight into the warmer with no dilution. We also had these bins with toppings for the sundaes and banana splits. Things like walnuts in syrup and marshmallow creme. Well, some of those, like the marshmallow creme wouldn't move at all because no one asked for it. And it would develop a green sheen on the surface. When that happened, the owners and manager would just stir it up. One time, we ran out of "official" Baskin Robbins whipped cream for the sundaes. The owner told the manager to go to the mall drugstore and get the cheapest, generic Cool-Whip knock off she could find. I felt so lame serving people their sundaes and topping it off with this glob of crap. So, this was a mall food court and the store where I worked faced the inside ice skating rink and when the store was closed, you could pull down a solid metal barrier so that you couldn't see the inside of the store. One day, I was given the duty to open the store which meant getting there about an hour before opening and setting everything up. What they failed to tell me about this particular morning was that the exterminator had been there just before I showed up. And he had sprayed the inside of the walls. I was greeted when I walked in by hundreds of roaches streaming out of every crack in the store, climbing up the walls and then dying. It was raining dead cockroaches. They were falling everywhere: on me, the food bins, everything. Every surface had dead cockroaches on it. Some even managed to get in between the sides of the dipping cabinet windows that the workers lift up to scoop the ice cream and were dying on the ice cream. I called the manager and owner asking for instruction. They wanted me to open on time not realizing the gravity of the situation. If I opened on time, everyone would see a nightmare. I did my best to scoop up every last roach. People who worked in the mall got a discount on our fountain drinks and would buy their lunch elsewhere but get their drinks from us. Well, the store was still nowhere ready when lunchtime rolled around and people were banging on the metal barrier to get their cheap soda. I kept thinking "bang away you idiots, there is no way you want to see what's going on in here right now." I opened two hours late that day.

After I stopped working there, the mall owners decided to revamp the mall and told all the businesses that they'd have to remodel or move out. Fortunately, my bosses were too cheap to go for remodeling and did not reopen the store after the mall was revamped. And now, the entire mall is gone post-Katrina.

Last edited by Shawn1767; 07-29-2012 at 11:57 AM..
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  #130  
Old 07-29-2012, 12:34 PM
johnpost johnpost is offline
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Baskin Robbins has Rocky Roach ice cream.
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