Clean it Up – The Sequel

February 25, 2009 by admncc

Welcome to the award winning blog of The Constant Complainer.

I can’t tell you how many e-mails I received after publishing “Clean it Up” last month.  That post addressed a horrible experience (involving cleanliness) I had at a Wendy’s.  A number of readers e-mailed me to share similar experiences at restaurants – many of which were truly amazing

Do you know what the funny thing is?  I could write a complaint about food cleanliness every single day.  That’s the truth.  I can’t help but be detail oriented.  I am way too observant for my own good.  OCD I guess.  Basically – I don’t miss much, and that’s normally bad news for certain restaurants and other establishments where food is involved.

I could be way off, but I don’t think I’m being too demanding here.  You’ll have to be the judge I guess.

Below are some recent situations where I’ve had to confront either the employee or the manager and ask them to make my food over again, because I wasn’t going to eat the first batch they prepared:

  • Employee takes my money and then goes back and starts making my sandwich without washing her hands and without putting on gloves.
  • Employee pushes the trash can contents down while making my sandwich and then continues touching my food without washing her hands or changing her gloves.
  • Employee sneezes into his hands while making my sandwich and then continues to prepare my food without washing his hands or changing his gloves.
  • Employee is visibly smoking outside the restaurant. She walks into the restaurant, goes immediately behind the counter and then scoops up the chicken nuggets for my daughter with her bare hands.
  • Employee happens to be in the bathroom at the same time I am. He leaves the stall, leaves the restroom and I observe him go right back behind the counter and start making food without washing his hands.
  • Employee picking an open wound on her hand and then places the food on my tray.
  • Lunch meat just laying out on a non-preparation table at the grocery store.
  • Bartenders who take my money, prepare my drink, put the open straw in my cup and then place the lime in my beer, all without washing their hands.
  • BTW, don’t even get me stared about the gyro stand downtown!

I could literally go on and on.  And those are all recent examples!  Most of them involve hand washing and wearing food preparation gloves.  But that’s the whole point, isn’t it?

My rationale is this – I pick up enough germs everywhere else that I don’t need any more than necessary.  LOL.  Isn’t washing your hands the number one way to prevent illness?  Yes, it is!  But my concern actually goes deeper than that.  I worry about food poisoning too.

Therefore, my options are to go through the drive-thru and not think about it, watch the food preparation area and ignore any problems or use the corrective action theory when problems do arise – admit a problem occurred, fix it and move on.

Don’t get me wrong – I couldn’t be happier when things run smoothly during a visit.  But isn’t that funny, too.  I’m sitting here hoping my next visit will be a good one.  Some restaurants just don’t get it.  They are understaffed and the employees aren’t trained.  And the issues keep happening.

In closing, writing this made me remember a story from my youth.  A co-worker at a restaurant I was working at accidentally put cooking oil (for a vat) into the milkshake machine, as she thought it was shake mix.  Talk about a liquid laxative!  Sir, the guy who drank that and got sick, whoever you were, to this day, I still feel sorry for you…

All Posts / Business / Family/Lifestyle / General Moaning / Medicine Clean Restaurants / Customer Service / Dirty Dining / Food Cleanliness / Restaurants / Service Expectations / Service with a Smile /


  1. Thanks for visiting my blog!

    I can’t bear to think too closely about food preparation by other people or I’d probably starve. I am very picky about salad bars and will usually avoid buffets like the plague. I have seen some of the same issues you listed and it is very sad. You wonder if they are that sloppy at home (yes, probably, would be my guess).

  2. Jane says:

    I think a lot of people take the “out of site – out of mind” approach with this kind of stuff. What they don’t see, can’t hurt them. But you are right. It needs to be clean.

  3. NeoConDon says:

    Avoid the wing buffet…!!! While it may be a good value when it’s all you can eat, it is a disgusting situation. Imagine eating a bunch of delisious juciy wings, you lick your fingers and then head back up to the buffet and grab the tongs…then eat more wings…imagine how many people have licked their fingers, touched the tongs, and then you eat your food. Yuck.

  4. Jen says:

    Restaurant cleanliness is one of my peeves that I could go on and on about. I’m big on speaking up if it’s going in my mouth! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  5. Krystal says:

    Dude – you just said what i think like every time I go to a fast food place!!!

  6. Kelly says:

    I am right there with you man! This stuff is important! I am a total germ freak, in fact there’s not much skin left on my hands. I went to a work thing and this woman was lecturing me about how washing your hands was not that big of a deal because germs were good for us. HUH???? No. Have you heard of Hep A or Hep D? I will surely pass thank you very much!!!

  7. Great!! I’m just on my way out to dinner and made the mistake of reading all your comments before leaving. What was I thinking 🙂

  8. Sugar says:

    When I read, “Employee picking an open wound on her hand and then places the food on my tray,” I actually threw up a little in my mouth. GROSS!

  9. SuzyS says:

    Good points. Will think twice at restaurants and will be watching.

  10. Deb says:

    Ewwww. My father The Terrorist worked in HVAC, several of his jobs in restaurants. Cockroaches in toasters, rodent droppings on counters, etc. Many of them were so-called ‘upscale’ places. They can still drop your McNuggets on the floor and step on it then wipe their nose with your steak regardless of the prices. Wanna hear stories of hospital staff grossness? Didn’t think so!

  11. Sandi says:

    The problem is teenagers working at those places do not care. They just want to get their paycheck. I have witnessed discussions about teens intentionally spitting in people’s food who make them mad or don’t tip them enough. Return visits they’ll do something. I seriously freak out knowing people like that exist. It’s a matter of someone’s health and no laughing matter. I found a huge hair in a gyro once. I still shiver from that thought. On a funny and less germy note, the oil reminded me of when I myself was a teen I worked at a fast food restaurant. My manager forgot to close the drain to the fry cooker before she dumped in a huge fresh batch of it. (she was draining old and putting in new) Anyway oil, tons of oil poured EVERYWHERE. Imagine trying to work in THAT kitchen. It was slippery. Our shoes were slippery. It was never quite the same after that.

  12. I spent most of my high school years working in restaurants, first as a bus boy, then waiter, cook, prep cook, at the register, you name it. Young kids, incompetent managers, a general lack of investment in what they are doing.

    The best way to avoid these problems, unfortunately, is by eating out less.

  13. NoCroutons says:

    I put myself through college by working nights at a large Golf resort in Florida. I will never eat a crouton. They left these big stainless steel bowls of croutons out on the counters at night. We turned on the lights to come in and clean the kitchen, hundreds of cockroaches would go scurrying out of these bowls.

  14. Sugar says:

    But, you can’t say that about all teenagers. Some of them really do try to follow the rules.

    Others don’t realize that this may be their co-workers full time job, only source of income, etc. They could give a crap less of the product that goes out or how it’s prepared.

  15. dani says:

    I went to a buffet one night with the kids, trying to avoid cooking. We stood in line ,paid and grabbed our plates. Standing in front of me was his really dirty sweaty guy. He bent over to get food and sweat dripped in the food.
    Needless to say I left, and never ate out again…

  16. Extreme John says:

    I had food poisoning once in my life, that was 4 years ago. I have been living with a shattered disc in my back ever since. My new thing is to turn away and not bother looking when I eat fast food so I dont have to see the no gloves, filthy smoking hands, etc… I would snap constantly. Great post and I share your views 100%

  17. William Gatherer says:

    You would be amazed the amount of $$$ you could save just by picking your own scabs… or sneezing into your own arm. Even save some green on soap if you didn’t wash your hands.

    These things along with boycotting eating out are probably not going to happen. That is the way we are. But I agree there are things that need to be addressed.

    Zig, those who do not adhere to the food prep regulations.. are they also too liberal? Just curious

  18. c.princess says:

    My feelings are the same as ReformingGeek. No one would eat out if they thought too closely about it.

  19. Zig says:

    William, They may be Liberals. Why don’t you ask them, at your next meeting of idiots of the world… Why would someone save money by picking their own scabs or sneezing into their own arm? I didn’t realize there was market for such things, is there??? I didn’t think so, idiot! If you are trying to be funny or witty, try again! THis post is about dirty dining. It has nothing to do with politics, idiot! Move on!

    Extreme John, What is the connection between food poisoning and a shattered disc in your back? I couldn’t recognize the POINT of your post. Was there one? Do you have an original complaint or are you just another ditto-head, idiot!

  20. CC, you know I totally dig your blog, but after the first two paragraphs I couldn’t read anymore. I eat out all the time and like my state of denial. 🙂

  21. Samf says:

    We all seem to want 99 cent cheeseburgers, but like many things, the price you pay isn’t just at the the cash register. You want to pay some 16 year-old-kid $6/hr, your going to get $6/hr worth of quality.

    Yes they should wash their hands, but really, your shocked?

    Want good quality, relatively safe food? Cook it your self! 🙂

  22. NeoConDon says:

    Wow Zig. I’m glad I don’t live in your world of hate.

  23. NCD has a GREAT point about the wing buffet. I actually feel sick after reading his comment because it is so true. I am in complete agreement with this post and I think that anyone who visits will have some disgusting story to share. I’ll keep mine to myself as I already seriously feel nauseous, but I will say that I have had food poisoning several times (all from Chinese food), I had a 27 foot parasite from eating ONE bite of a bad hamburger and I nearly died from E-coli which later turned into ulcers from H.Pylori. As you might imagine I am scared to eat.

  24. “Want good quality, relatively safe food? Cook it your self!” AGREED! Samf 🙂

  25. Sarah5 says:

    Another gross thought…just think about where people’s hands have been before they touch the menus at a restaurant. Then you touch the menu and then you touch your food. Thank God for hand sanitizer, I don’t leave home without it!

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