Clamor: Your DIY Guide to Everyday Revolution.

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Hello, My Name Is "I Hate You" and I'll Be Your Server
Harry Seitz

I’ve worked in several restaurants throughout my life, and there are two things that have always remained consistent:

  1. The customer is always an asshole.
  2. If the customers knew how the food was handled, they would never eat in any restaurant ever again.

One thing that patrons have to understand about waiters is that we don’t like you. We couldn’t care less about you. I’ll laugh at your stupid jokes and smile like a dipshit, but once you’ve left your tip it doesn’t matter to me whether you live or die. And yes, it does bother me when your autistic brats run me around like a fool fetching little cups and highchairs for them. Some parents have no shame. I’ve seen children drinking from ketchup bottles, slobbering all over them while their parents, fully aware of this, do absolutely nothing. Apparently they go out to eat to show the entire world what lazy unhygienic slobs they are.

The most amazing thing to me is that these people still have the gall to be absolute pricks to their servers. Somehow they haven’t made the connection that we have unsupervised access to whatever hulking plate of garbage that they’re about to consume. The food is filthy enough by accident, or by highly illegal cost-cutting restaurant policies. Tainting the food intentionally just makes me feel better. It might make it a little bit more dirty and unhealthy than it already was but it’s really done for sentimental reasons. Watching some rude behemoth shovel fettuccini that’s been laced with your spit and urine into his gaping hole can be very satisfying.

The last restaurant I worked in had a policy of doling out free cottage cheese as an appetizer. No matter how long the cottage cheese sat out in the dining room being sneezed on and fiddled with, if there were no visible cracker bits in it, back into the bucket it went. That should clue you in right there. People who care about their food do not store it in massive plastic buckets that they never clean forever. That bucket never left the cooler. In the four months I worked at this place, nobody touched it except to dump more cottage into it or to scoop out an appetizer.

The chains are no better. I worked at a prominent taco chain just as this particular location was opening. In the beginning, the managers pretended to care. After the first week, they realized that the situation was hopeless. It’s frustrating working at any restaurant because you clean all this shit time and time again, several times a day, and it is never clean. It just keeps getting worse and worse. So eventually you do the only reasonable thing there is to do: you give up. Maybe if someone is watching me like a hawk and demanding that I clean this disaster, I’ll pretend to work on it. Otherwise, the thing can do whatever the hell it wants to with itself. It obviously wants to turn itself into garbage, so who I am to argue with it?

The obvious advantage of working in a fast food place is that the cows are left to fend for themselves for the most part. They tote their little trays, they have unrestricted access to the bins that hold an infinite amount of highly questionable condiments and to the soda machines. They make a mess of themselves, as almost all patrons do, but it isn’t any worse than anyplace else. The obvious disadvantages are that you don’t earn shit and that you still get a steady influx of psychotic primadonnas. Your way my ass, where the hell do you think you are, the Ritz-Carlton? Look around you for fuck’s sake! Gorge on your 50-cent tacos like everybody else and shut up. If something tastes funny, dump more hot sauce on it. I make minimum wage. I am not here to make you happy. I am here to help you kill yourself by eating this poison.

One event that surprised me, maybe because I was still young, just beginning in the food services industry, was a burdened female voice placing the following drive through order:

Lady: I’ll take 10 meximelts, four steak burritos, a fish fry ...
Me: Ma’am, we don’t have those here. You’re thinking of McDonalds, across the street.
Lady: Scratch that then, make it two bean burritos instead, and a fribble.
Me: Ma’am, you’re thinking of Wendy’s, right down the road.
Lady: Ok, make it a super-sized DIET Mountain Dew.

The line people building this twisted experiment in food gone horribly wrong busted out laughing. This lady just ordered 1000% of the FDA’s daily recommended allowance of lard and she thinks that a diet Mountain Dew of all things is going to save her? And the order of a single beverage foreshadowed a dark side to this meal. It was indeed for just one person.

As the battered old van pulled up to the pickup window, I saw that this lady was indeed a beast, a real monster. The deuce was an ancient memory to her. The interior of the van was littered with fast food wrappers, an empty KFC bucket, and several massive empty paper cups. It looked like I was handing her a week’s worth of groceries. That’s another warning sign people, if you spend over $20 on yourself at a fast food restaurant in 1992, you are doing something horribly wrong and unnatural to yourself. I used to wonder what would happen to a person if they ate nothing but fast food and now I know. First they explode, then they die.

Right before I quit, I was pissed off at one of the managers, so while he was watching me work the line, I reached barehanded into a huge vat of meat and crammed a fistful into my face, making sure to allow most of it to fall out of my mouth and back into the vat. The manager said nothing. He knew that we all ate out of the vats like that all the time; it was garbage, but hell, it was free. That was the day that any illusions of even pretending to handle the food properly evaporated permanently. Think about that the next time you bite into your chalupa.

This is really only the tip of the iceberg. I’ve walked in on dishwashers hiding in the cooler, eating ice cream out of a bucket with their filthy scumbag dishwasher’s hands. I’ve seen pizza dropped face first on wet muddy tile floors only to be scooped up, paper toweled off, popped into the microwave for five seconds (to supposedly kill any insects or germs), and loaded into a box, “good as new.” I’ve heard managers instruct dishwashers to fluff up the salad with their ruined hands to make it more appealing to the customers. Personally, food that hasn’t been mauled by a dishwasher’s perpetually filthy and waterlogged hands appeals to me a hell of a lot more than a fluffy salad.

There is a new trend, it started in the major cities and now it’s spreading. Restaurants are bringing the prep areas out from behind closed doors, so the patrons can watch as their food is prepared hygienically. They see some bit of meat dropped on the ground, and they see some poor bastard scoop it up and throw it out. Still, you have to be very skeptical. From the slaughter yard to the meat wagon to your plate, how many people have dealt with your food? How many times has it been dropped, pissed on, sneezed on, shat on (I am not exaggerating) before it got to your plate? How many insects have been mashed into it? How many rodents got sucked into the meat grinder with it? Traveling in some third world shithole my father saw a load of mashed coconuts slowly rotting on a dock. It was due to be exported to the USA. Alongside the mashed coconuts were several water buffalos, and as buffalos or animals tend to, they felt free to take several liberties with the coconuts. They pissed on them, shat on them, ate them. All the while some poor Asian slave is shoveling the coconuts into the hold of some creaking wooden boat. He is completely indifferent. He makes almost enough to afford one value meal a year. Why the hell should he care? It’s probably the only thing that keeps him going, the thought of all the American slobs gorging themselves on violated coconuts. He imagines that someday he’ll kill them all, and then he won’t have to shovel mashed coconuts into a boat ever again.

If you want a decent meal, this is my advice. Buy a gun and a knife. Start a garden. You’d be better off eating your average diseased neighborhood squirrel. You couldn’t be doing any worse.

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