Sunday, January 20, 2008

Behind the scenes

This story about Dairy Queen workers in St. John's getting up to some shenanigans is generating quite a bit of comment, much of it of outrage, some of it dipping into moral outrage. You know, "what's wrong with kids these days?" blah blah blah.

First of all, let's make one thing clear, even if I was back in St. John's, I think I would be giving this place a pass for awhile. Which is a pity because I've stopped at that Diary Queen quite a few times, seeing as how it's near where Cathy's parents live. I don't normally go for the hot food, just the ice cream. When I need a burger fix, I go to Burger King or Wendy's.

Still, this Dairy Queen broke the prime rule of fast food places - never make it public what happens behind the scenes.

Look, none of us are idiots. I imagine a good few of us have worked in the food industry over the years. While I was fortunate enough to have never worked at MacDonald's or company, I did wait tables at several restaurants (all of which went bankrupt, but that's another story), including a Pizza Hut. I saw things that I'm sure the customers wouldn't have appreciated. I engaged in activities I bet the owner and customers wouldn't have liked (the worst being taking a particularly hated manager on his last day, dragging him into the dish room, hosing him down and then emptying a bag of flour on him. What can I say? He was a prick and so were we).

But we kept all of this out of the public eye. Whenever you go to a restaurant, especially a fast food place where most of the employees are young, you engage in a willing suspension of disbelief about the food. You know the food is bad for you by any standards. You're probably getting your weekly fat intake when you have a double Whopper. Not to mention how the food was treated before it got to your hands. It could have been reheated. The people who handled it might have forgot to wash their hands. They might have been use the paddy as a puck before you walked into the place.

Some part of your brain knows this, but you chose to not to acknowledge this possibility, because you're hungry and this is what you're craving.

The schmucks at Dairy Queen shagged around. I don't doubt it happens at every fast food place in St. John's a daily basis. Boring work, for crap pay doesn't always inspire the best behaviour in employees. Where they got stupider was putting the video up on Youtube. How people still haven't figured out that most of the odder video up there can come back and bite you on your mooned ass one day is beyond me. But they haven't and this is what you get. Something that happens every day becomes a story. Why? Because there's video. And video always helps to make a bland story that much better.

The hit this Dairy Queen is going to take is substantial. I imagine most of the staff is going to be fired. Because of the bad publicity, it might even close. And that Dairy Queen has been there a long time. I think it's the oldest in town. And it probably deserves it, because it broke the covenant between fast food and consumer.

But never doubt that it happens all the time, and probably worse, in St. John's.

Bon appetite....

Last Five
1. Mother (live) - Tori Amos
2. Neighbourhood #3 (power out) - The Arcade Fire
3. The dope - The Dandy Warhols
4. Another pearl - Badly Drawn Boy
5. Highway patrolman (live) - Bruce Springsteen*


Anonymous said...

So it's okay as long as no one sees it happening? Real grown up perspective from a thirty-eight year old don't ya think? Cooool!

Anonymous said...

I don't know Craig, we use to frequent a place where worse happenings were occurring on a regular basis. I guess I was expecting something more radical in the story, mooning? Snowball fights? That's pretty weak if this is what gets the homeland riled up, I'm even more glad I'm a world away. Happy Belated Birthday as well


towniebastard said...

Yeah, it is pretty weak. I used to hear horror stories about some of the KFC's in town, to the point where I stopped eating at them for a couple of years.

This is a story because of video and Facebook. If not for that, it's a non-story.

Peter L. Whittle said...

The danger of the moment and how foolish people act on camera. Craig is right this sort of stuff probably happens all the time.

Goofing around to relieve stress or boredom is not uncommon. I would like to think that the basic rules of sanitation like washing your hands, wearing gloves while preparing stuff is all adhered to.

If I had a dime for each time to have seen plumbers crack from employees at fast food outlets over the years I would be rich. Pants are to big or just not big enough.

The truth of the matter is that it was caught on video, it happened in St. John's and January is a slow news month (most of the time)

This is probably the tip of the iceberg for the type of things that are getting caught on digital cameras and phones in the city these days.

I posted my take on it on blog