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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Have it your way is just advertising

Only in Miami.

I just saw a fast food commercial that reminded me of an "incident" Friday afternoon.

A colleague and I wanted to eat something cheap and unhealthy. So we walked a couple blocks from The Miami Herald building to a Burger King.

The line at the counter was typical - a bunch of construction workers, a couple of stragglers like us, and a couple of homeless trying to bargain for a free or discounted meal.

A construction worker in front of us placed his order then moved over to wait for his food.

As he waited, a grill worker walked to her post. Not sure where she was coming from, maybe the bathroom, maybe she was just starting her shift. Who knows?

At any rate, the manager loudly berated her, demanded to know if she'd washed her hands first, didn't wait for an answer and ordered her to go wash her hands. She slinked away.

Kudos to the manager, right? I'm not so sure.

See, the entire time he was verbally clobbering the cook, the manager stood there subconsciously rubbing his face - I mean the kind of rubbing you do when you're seriously stressed out or when you're obsessive compulsive. I mean he was rubbing his face the way you rub a piece of meat you're trying to season. A few scratches behind the ear and on the eyebrow and his lecture was done. He promptly turned around, looked at the order screen and reached into the fry holder to scoop out an order.

That's when the construction worker, whom shall henceforth be known as CW, sprang into action.

CW: Yo, homie!
Mgr: Yes, may I help you?
CW: Yes, you may. You can wash your hands!
Mgr: Pardon me?
CW: You heard me. Don't worry about her hands. The only dirty hands I see in the food are yours!
Mgr: What is wrong with you?
CW: You think I'm playin' with you homie? Wash yo' hands! You just stood here rubbin' your face and pickin' your skin!
Mgr: No, I didn't!

Interjection from me: He did. I saw it too.

CW: I watched you. You are lyin'. Wash your hands or get away from the food. I'll come back there and serve it myself!
Mgr: You are stupid! Is that all the education you have?
CW: (shakes his head and mutters "I'm 'bout to whup somebody's a$$, then more loudly) I got enough education to know to wash my hands after I pick my face, before I touch food.

CW, to his credit, bit his tongue from this point on. Mgr, wisely walked away 'cause CW was 3X his size.

I didn't say a word. I worked at CrackRonald's in high school. I know what can happen to food when you piss someone off.

And "Have it your way?" I confirmed on Friday that it really is just a slogan and not a business practice.


  • Been there, seen that.

    I would not say anything where a guy might taint my food, but I have on a dozen occasions gotten the managers name, and written a detailed letter explaining just exactly the type of behavior you describe, and mailed it to the corporation in question.

    By Anonymous og, at 11:08 AM  

  • See, this is why I always eat at Wendy's. That kind of stuff would NEVER happen at Wendy's. In the end, the manager was wrong wrong wrong. Not the way to get your name on that little brass plate they hang in the restaurant.

    By Blogger The Sarcasticynic, at 12:17 PM  

  • He pulled out the "how much education you have" card?

    Soooo not classy. But good for CW that he had enough class to let it go.

    Some people's children...

    By Blogger QofD, at 12:39 PM  

  • This is the BK on Biscayne and NE 17th or so, right? That's a classy joint. The restrooms are kept locked, as I recall, and an employee has to buzz you in.

    By Blogger NicFitKid, at 2:29 PM  

  • This is why I don't eat at fast food establishments. EVER! Trust me when I say, I love a double with cheese from Wendy's, but I've heard too many stories like this. Not gonna happen. Nope.

    By Anonymous tony, at 3:12 PM  

  • That's the one Nicfitkid.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 3:43 PM  

  • We have a Burger King on site where I work and there are people of a particular ethnicity (I won't say which) who tend to take the "You can have it your way" slogan a bit too seriously.

    I mean, it's a classier form of Wack Arnold's. That's it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:28 PM  

  • See, Matt, that's just teasing.

    Fine, we don't need to know what ethnicity (please don't say what it is). But you have to say what's being done to the food there.

    What if any of us ever visit your town? We want to be sure not to eat at that particular Wack Arnold's.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 5:57 PM  

  • Yikes! Better watch out for that "special sauce."

    By Blogger The Dummy, at 8:38 PM  

  • Hehe fast food franchise really reflect the owner or his manager's attitude. That's why sometimes it's better to go a little further to get a unhealthy but clean burger :).

    I worked at Chick Fil A for a while and my manager cared as much as for health code rules than terrorists do for the geneva convetion...

    My trick is always to order something special such as no pickle or no mustard or whatever to make sure they don't serve something that's been sitting there for hours. I also say I'm allergic to it to make sure ;p

    By Anonymous Damon Z, at 12:15 AM  

  • That is about the only thing that worries me about fast food.
    Forget cholestoral, forget that it will make you obese and give you a heart attack.
    I just don't trust the tards that cook that shit.
    And yes i worked in McDonalds when i was a teen, so i know of what i speak ;P

    By Blogger Steph, at 4:44 AM  

  • Okay - that is disgusting! I've definitely watched people absentmindedly pick at their faces/noses before handling food, or handle money while wearing the same gloves they use to make food. But pissing off the person who is going to bring you something you're going to eat is a truly risky adventure.

    I don't eat fast food mainly because it makes my head hurt, which sucks when I just want a damned cheeseburger with rehydrated onions and one yucky little pickle.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:00 AM  

  • my girl Muhsinah used to work at burger king in high school and when we went anywhere she'd go all bitchy and be like "yeah make my burger with no onions, extra tomatoes, extra pickles and light sauce. I want a patty fresh from the grill. then i want fries fresh from the fryer." i was like are you nuts?!

    she was like yes... after working at places like that, yes she was. lol

    this is why i purrell my tongue. JK! lol

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:43 PM  

  •'re in Miami and going to the booger king?? What about a good Cuban sandwich?? mmm...I miss those!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:16 PM  

  • I know, Claudia. I couldn't help it. I wanted to some artery clogging material for $5 or less.

    Downtown Miami's making a comeback. But there still aren't a ton of places w/in walking distance of my building.

    I guess it wouldn't kill me to drive a little outside the zone.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 5:42 PM  

  • James...I grew up in day I'll write about my first excursion to Miami on the adventure that could have gone terribly wrong!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:12 PM  

  • If you want to hit someplace within walking distance of the Herald building, try Manhattan Cafe on NE 14th street, 1/2 block west of Biscayne and north (across the street) of the PAC. Everything's fresh and tasty, but you'll spend more than $5.

    If you want to drive for a bit, try Adelita's on the southwest corner of NE 2nd Ave and 29th street for Cuban sandwiches, coladas, and other standard Miami latin grub. The Friday lunch specials are pretty good.

    By Blogger NicFitKid, at 7:42 PM  

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