By Carla Buckley – 2nd February 2013
Why is it that some food handlers just don’t take public health seriously?
Within the past year in Redditch – Worcestershire, I have been served pungent chicken, suffered filthy encrusted cutlery, been served food with licked fingers and been generally served with contempt. Contempt, yes. You are doing a job of which you are paid to do. It is your job to serve me food that I pay for, not happy doing that, then find another job. How do these people get the jobs? I realise some customers aren’t nice either but you can’t take that out on the ones who wish to cause you no distress. Take us all as we come, don’t pre-judge us.
We will start with the bad chicken incident. Chinese takeaway. It’s me and Nigel, sat in excited to be tucking in to our favorite sweet and sour chicken and chicken curry. Emptying the containers onto our plates Nigel starts eating his. He starts with the curry; I begin with the sweet and sour. Mmmm, it’s one of the tastiest I’ve ever had so I tell him. He reply’s, my chicken tastes a bit odd. After eating a few chunks of sweet and sour chicken, I tell him it’s really good and there’s nothing wrong with it. Until that is, I take a bite of the curry and my face screws, images of overflowing pungent drains come to mind. I have never had a taste so foul in my mouth. Quickly I run to the sink, spit it all out and rinse my mouth. Then I stop for a moment, realising Nigel trusted me when I said the chicken was good. He had forced himself to eat most of it. Guilty is how I felt. We immediately called the takeaway to be told there was nothing wrong with the chicken; I disagreed profusely, once a chunk was cut the stenchy aroma wafted out right up the nostrils. This foulness was undoubtedly coming from the evil chicken. What did we get offered? Another curry. Do we want another curry when we already fear we are walking time bombs for food poisoning? Like hell we do. We want an apology. Do we get one, no, just a large dose of denial. To this Chinese takeaway – you are pants and your customer care sucks! If you ever read this (which you won’t) then you’ll know who you are. And despite what you said – You know your chicken was off!
Eugh! Encrusted cutlery. You go to expensive places and cheap places. What is the number one put off for me? Cutlery that comes with its own starter. What could it be? A nice bit of dried egg, something that resembles dried porridge or a bit of solidified green between the prongs. This is not good enough. Do I want someone else’s chewed cud saliva, packed then dried food, sloshing around my mouth? This question doesn’t need an answer. Does anyone? What is so hard about washing up? I do it three times a day at home and my cutlery doesn’t have lumps of evil attached to it so why can’t professionals get it right? As far as I am concerned, there is no excuse. If I have to ask for a clean fork, a clean glass or even a clean plate, then you should be embarrassed. But you never are. Encrustment also covers lipstick. Pubs you have a lot to answer for. Your cleaning comes up worse. One in three glasses I get served with in a pub has to be exchanged. Once again, wash up properly. And don’t blame your equipment. It just doesn’t ‘wash’ with me. You have eyes, you can see the cutlery when you place it in a drawer and you can see the glasses when you place them on a shelf/rack. Is it laziness/stupidity? I don’t know. I have however learnt and decided. From now on I take my own cutlery, maybe you will brand me a clean freak or maybe you will see it as the gesture it is meant to be. If I get my own cutlery out it means yours is filty. Am I embaressed? Yes, for you!
Lastly, fingers. We all know what humans do with fingers. They go to the loo with us, they put the rubbish out with us, and we cover them in our viruses and bacteria. All these tiny particles just want to live and reproduce and find a nice comfy home (our poor bodies) in which to do that. We as customers trust that you wash your hands; we trust that you tie your hair up and we trust that you stay away from work when you’ve been ill – We literally trust you with our lives. Wow, what a big responsibility you have. Then we have a little bakery, part of a chain that has been around for a long time and we have the most foulest of incidents. BAKING MOST FOUL. Walking into the shop, I spy a sickly looking woman. Sniveling, red nose, watery sticky eyes. By this time I am a bit dubious as she is surrounded by bread that is unwrapped. One sneeze (and we all know how far droplets are projected by just one sneeze) is all it would have taken. But I’m standing there in the shop; maybe I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt. I ordered 4 loose crusty cobs and what followed stunned me. I wanted to say something straight away but I was rendered speechless. With licked fingers she opened a paper bag, then (GET THIS!) she picked up the cobs with the gammy licked fingers and placed them in the bag. Needless to say I changed my mind. Did she look bothered? No. Didn’t even know what she’d done wrong. Disgusting, does this need training? To me it is common sense. You get number one slot. You win the prize. You take the biscuit. You are tops. Do you know it? No. What’s worse there was someone else who was working there, watching you as you committed the act, who did not say a thing. You are the disease spreaders, vermin. I’ll say no more.
All these incidents took place in Redditch over the past few months. I must add however that some of the places I go do serve clean cutlery and wash their hands. They are not all bad. But be aware, be vigilant. Don’t be afraid to say “I’ve changed my mind”. After all, it’s your health, your body and your life. Don’t let them jeopardise it with their negligence. Be aware – Be very aware.
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!