Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The secret ingredient? Ignorance

I went to bed yesterday with an empty stomach and a head full of too much information.

As a part of some traveling, I had popped into a Burger King for some quick chow for the road. It was around 9:30 p.m., and the restaurant and its three employees appeared to winding down for a 12 a.m. closing.

Most of the seats in the dining area were upside down on the table, and one staffer was applying a mop to the floor. I say "was," because as soon as I ordered my Whopper Jr., the manager who took my order summoned her to fix my burger (employee #3 was "doing fryers").

Amid some frustrated grumbling and mumbling ("I can't get anything done..."), the mopper unhanded her cleaning partner and headed to the out-of-sight food preparation area to construct a BK classic.

I waited hopefully for the sound of running water, scrubbing, and the dying screams of mop-handle and floor germs. It never came, though my Whopper Jr. emerged a couple minutes later.

Maybe I just missed hand washing sounds. Maybe she lubed up on some stiff anti-bacterial gel. Maybe she put on some gloves. It didn't matter. My blissful ignorance as to who was making my order and what they'd been doing had been irreparably shattered. I took my sandwich and left, knowing I wouldn't be eating it.

A former boss at a different fast food chain once told me that "If the bag's folded right, the food tastes better."

At the time, I thought he was crazy, but now, I'm sure he's right. Similarly, if they don't hear you not wash your hands, the food tastes better then, too.

The mopper Whopper sat uneaten in my car for the next 142 miles before being trashed (and photographed).

Given that situations like these probably occur on a daily basis at fast food joints, one might think the logical next step is to find something higher-class.

Not me. Next time, I'm just taking the drive through.

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