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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Saturday, July 01, 2006

A Seinfeld Moment

Remember that episode of Seinfeld where Jerry can't figure out why his new girlfriend won't take a bite of his pie from the diner, and then she takes him to eat at her own father's restaurant? At one point Jerry runs to the can. As he's washing up, the girlfriend's dad, Poppy, flushes, comes out of a stall, smooths his hair, tells Jerry that he's about to prepare the happy couple the best meal of their lives, and walks out of the can sans soap and water and directly back to the kitchen. So the tables were turned. When the meal finally came out, the girlfriend couldn't figure out why Jerry wouldn't eat the food. She insisted he eat. And all he could do is stare wide-eyed and shake his head, no.

So the wife and I were in Whole Foods on Biscayne Blvd. this morning gathering last minute stuff for a barbecue later today and we decided to split the list to save time.

She went for whatever, and I waited at the meat counter. Two people were ahead of me, but there was only one person working the counter.

But it was all good; I didn't mind waiting. The next person is served, now there was just one ahead of me.

Then from the back room, out walked a woman enthusiastically scooping out each nostril with a tissue. I'm not mad. That's what you do when your honker's clogged. But she was one of the butcher folks. Nose blowing/mining is not fascinating to me in and of itself, but I watched her curiously to see what would come next.

Suddenly, I'm terrified, 'cause she does not wash her hands after the nasal excavation. Nor does she put on gloves. Instead she turns to face the counter and says "Who's next?"

I decide at that point I am a vegetarian and I pray silently, "Please Lord, I know you don't owe me one, but don't let this woman handle my meat."

What's worse, is the woman ahead of me, who was oblivious to everything, had decided that she was, well, undecided. So she told me to go ahead of her.

All I could do was shake my head wide-eyed like Jerry and hope for a diversion. My rescuer came in the form of another meat handler who came from a different direction and asked if I'd been helped. Before he could finish the sentence I was telling him in rapid-fire fashion what I wanted, before he changed his mind and nosy-fingers came to take my order.

Tsk, tsk. Not washing one's hands and handling other people's food after that kind of hand-to-nose action - actually any kind of hand-to-nose action - is definitely bad Burnettiquette.


  • Sheesh, when I'm cooking I wash my hands between each type of food. not that I'm anal retentive or anything.

    By Anonymous og, at 11:51 AM  

  • Don't even get me started after the cleaning of the spa today.
    Bleach all around!

    The Frothmistress

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:36 PM  

  • "Please Lord, I know you don't owe me one, but don't let this woman handle my meat."

    Bet you don't say that very often!

    By Anonymous tony, at 5:16 PM  

  • Hey champ, you should have taken one for the team and let Miss Sticky Fingers get your order. The way you left it, somebody else got be the recipient of her magic touch. Being a crusader has its advantages, one of which would allow you to be the jerk at the store who complains loudly about someone who doesn't wash their hands and then demanding satisfaction (in the form of free gift certificates or something). You missed a golden and gooey opportunity to flex your righteous spirit. Good manners and cleanliness go hand in hand with fastidious enforcement.

    Embrace your inner Ann Landers, JB. Know it. Live it. Love it.

    By Anonymous Big Daddy, at 7:57 PM  

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