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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dirty Dirty Falafel

Latex gloves are only as clean as the last thing they touched. We all know that, right? Isn't the point of wearing them so that you don't contaminate food with filthy dirty fingers that touched something nasty? Why do so many people not get that? Sometimes I think people put them on their hands and assume that they have some magical power that keeps them clean all day. Not. True.

I went to eat at a falafel place last week which I do every week because I am a creature of habit and the falafel is good. Not as good as it is cheap, but cheap trumps good for me when I only have a twenty minute break to inhale some food before the rest of the shift starts. I watched the guy in front of me order his falafel and noticed that they kid making it had on latex gloves. "Oh, good," I thought. "Hygienic." As he progressed down the line he used his gloved hand to toss in lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers. After the falafel was done he walked over to the cash register and rang it up, still using the gloves. The man paid for his lunch and handed the cashier/falafel maker a twenty dollar bill into his latex hand. Change was then made and handed back to the customer all the while using the same glove. Then it was my turn. "Can I please get a falafel on a whole wheat pita with red pepper hummus?" He walked over to the bread warmer to retrieve my pita and I waited to see when he was going to change gloves since those had just handled that dirty nasty ass germy thing called currency. But nope. He picked up my pita with the same gloves on. I imagined what was happening: a piece of bacteria that was on that glove jumped onto my bread. That bacteria came from a nickle, that came from the man, who found it on the street after a homeless lady dropped it out of her paper cup. As that nickel sat on Sixth Avenue, a Yorkshire terrier walked by and peed on it right after a bike messenger ran over it with his tire; the same tire that had just gone thorough a puddle of oily water in front of the Best Buy. I would be practically eating that nickel now. Homeless lady, dog peed, oily water nickel. I looked at the falafel maker ready to explain how useless latex gloves are if they aren't changed. And then I looked down at the yummy looking hummus piled high into my fresh whole wheat pita. The crispy lettuce, tangy hot sauce and creamy tahini sauce was making goo goo eyes at me and I forgot all about the germs. Transfixed, I handed him my five dollars and thirty-three cents. Mouth watering, I unwrapped the falafel and went in for the first bite. Delicious.

Germs? Maybe. But I survived. Next time I will tell him he needs to change his gloves. That is unless I am caught in the falafel spell again where I throw cleanliness and hygiene out the window.


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21 comments:

Kalei's Best Friend said...

if I saw that done I would of asked for my money back- am I right that u paid before getting the food?.,..a friend of mine did the same where she saw her salad being made and then when it was given to her, a dead fly was in it.. she got up and told them she was not paying for it...that place u went to should be reported to the health dept..

Just Plain Tired said...

I'd have had to have been pretty hungry to eat it myself. Like 3rd world type hungry actually.

Sharlene T. said...

The law says you need gloves BUT the law doesn't pay for the gloves, the restaurant owner does... the gloves aren't cheap when used by x number of people every day... restaurant owner probable told employees to change in the morning and afternoon but NOT after every service... Should have had a cashier not involved with food, but that costs money, too... You, however, let your tummy take over your reason. Reporting them would have gotten the owner's attention... Please do not put your fellow humans health in jeopardy by not learning how to control yourself... Like a good play, this will take rehearsals until you have it right... Thank you, very much...

Ange said...

I always ask the people to change their gloves before preparing my food. Does it make them hate me, yes, but I always make sure to tip them for being kind enough to do it anyway.

The Empress said...

One of my friends experienced something similar at a grocery store deli counter. He asked the the person behind the counter to please change his gloves and was greeted with a big eff-you and a string of other obscenities. Being the outspoken and take no prisoners person my friend is, what followed wasn't too pretty. Hopefully the asshat behind the counter ended up getting fired for inappropriate behavior toward a customer not to mention the health violation. ...Being a germophobe I would definitely ask the person to change their gloves!

http://rantersbox.blogspot.com

Mary A. said...

Germ schmerm. Falafel by it's very nature is germ free. People sell it out of road side stands next to camels in Rhiad for cryin out loud.

If it was sushi, OK. Sushi must be completely sterile. But falafel? Nah.

Can I have a bite?

www.giftoffat.com

Bouncin' Barb said...

I have done what you did and went ahead with the food. Now howeverr, I would definitely say something to them. Way more newer germs and gross organisms out there.

ChiTown Girl said...

You just wrote about one of my BIGGEST pet peeves! What the hell is the point of the damn gloves if you're still going to touch every damn thing!! I'd rather you just used you bare, but freshly washed, hands!!

Rev. Barky said...

Damn, lucky you didn't get a cocaine overdose - I hear there is a 1/2 lb of smack on every $20 bill!

Good point - he could easily wipe his ass with them on and never think twice about it.

Jodi said...

I was at taco bell once and noticed the employees were not wearing gloves and mentioned it to the man behind me. He said: "I own a chain of fast food restaurants and gloves aren't any more cleaner than your own hands." He was right but I was still grossed out.

Vanessa said...

Yeah, best not to think too much when food is involved. Just think of the immunity you're building up and enjoy.

Jeff said...

What does not kill you, makes you stronger!

wilovebooks said...

Yeahk I think some people just wear the gloves to keep their hands clean.

Bagel Fairy said...

Part of the problem is that people don't realize how dirty money is. This bitch reamed one of my co-workers because she scratched the corner of her eye with the corner of her pinky prior to handing the lady an empty coffee cup, which she was holding from the bottom. The lady freaked out that my co-worker had touched her face, lecturing her about being more considerate and told her to go wash her hands. When my co-worker returned to the register to hand the woman her new coffee cup, she paid with a $20 bill - which I'm pretty sure was far less clean than the girl's face.

falafelplease said...

Yup, gloves in food service are basically a joke. I work in a grocery store and in the deli they have a game, kind of like in Waiting. Except instead of eyes they use fingers and instead of dicks they use assholes. All gloved of course. So good news- their skin will never touch your food, bad news- the liklihood of contracting ecoli from your roast beef is extremely high. Its just the palm sweat, once you take them off they're impossible to get back on.

jnana said...

Falafel is Arab :S Why is there an Israeli flag on the picture?
Anyway, who cares lol? You should come here to the Middle East and see how hygienic everything is. That would make you appreciate your place more. But we live anyway...

haruka said...

These days sanitizer is used in lieu of gloves in many places (at least it was in our KFC when I worked there.)

Adventure Spot said...

The way I see it is that we need germs so that our body knows which ones it needs to produce anti-bodies to fight off infection/sickness. Some germs are good for our bodies, but I completely understand how you feel. Now if there is like poo or something dead in there well then I would totally ask for my money back! I mean if I made it a weekly thing to go somewhere and they served me the same way each time. Just ask them every now and then to change gloves that's all ;)

S.T. said...

I generally feel that germs are everywhere and it is pretty unavoidable that disgusting ones will be on your food. But still, making food with the same gloves after handling money? Nooo sir.

watergirl said...

As a gal with numerous food allergies, including wheat/gluten, any kind of pepper (green, jalepeno and table pepper), I always ask them to change their gloves. At first, a few were irritable about it but now, they pretty much know me and it's no big deal. They're changing gloves while saying hi. :)

It's amazing. A simple, "I apologize for the bother but due to food allergies and previous customers' orders, would you be so kind as to please change your gloves?" works wonders.

:huggles:
~watergirl~

Dustin said...

Cleanly washed bare hands are better than latex gloves any day because, as evidenced in your post, people just forget to change them. And it's a force of habit in the industry to wash your hands all the time.

But as for me... meh, who cares about a few germs. I haven't died from hand prepared food or double dipping yet. People need to relax.