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johnsmith45678

Worst Crap Jobs You've Done?

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Just curious - what are some of the crappiest, nastiest, most demeaning jobs/tasks/situations you've experienced working in restaurants?

Some of mine, off the top of my head:

- Digging through big trash cans full of trash to fish out silverware thrown out by customers at a banquet.

- Working for 12 hours in a refrigerator truck making 1500 baked Alaskas.

- Chipping up kitchen tile after closing at 10 after working an evening shift just so the owners could save money. (Actually I snuck out after half-an-hour since I had tests the next day - heard they were there until 2 AM :P.)

- My entire short (three months) employment as dishwasher at a a low-end restaurant chain very early in my cooking career. Sole dishwasher during the shift, never-ending crushing amounts of dishes, cleaning all the floors/mats for the vast expanse of kitchen after closing late at night.

That's about all that sticks out in my mind, none of which is really bad. I have various other experiences like working in 110-120F kitchens during the summer, 18 hour days, painful burns, etc. etc. etc. I'm sure there are far worse stories out there ;).

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Just curious - what are some of the crappiest, nastiest, most demeaning jobs/tasks/situations you've experienced working in restaurants?

I have worked FOH and BOH in various positions, dishwasher, short order cook, buffet line, busser, and waitress. Defintely the crappiest, nastiest, most demeaning part was dealing with customers as a waitress (mostly drunk as I worked late night shift). I'd much rather take the burns, cuts and scrapes (had plenty of scars for many years) than deal with drunk bastards at 2:00 a.m. that want you to sit on their lap (and actually drag you down onto it) or want to put the tip "directly into your pocket" wink wink. Blech.

Edit for clarity.


Edited by Darcie B (log)

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working at dairy queen and being told after 2 days that I was reallllllllyy gooood ... the first person in 2 months that could get the twirly thing at the end of the ice cream right.

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Don't know if this qualifies, but.

When I was 8 years old my first paid job was plucking chickens for a chinese restaurant.

It was piece work. I got 5 cents a chicken (mind you, this was a long time ago).

I couldn't understand why he insisted that every pin feather was plucked.

I've always thought that it was the hardest job 've ever had. Haven't worked in a restaurant since.

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During a heatwave, I walked into my 2-10 pm job at Friendly's as a busboy/dishwasher and found out that the two 6a-2p busboys never showed up and that my shiftmate had just quit. So I spent 12 hours in 100F heat bussing, washing dishes, and scraping food while being yelled at by the waitstaff.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Removing fish remains from a very large, compactor type dumpster the day after thousands of pounds of fish remains were thrown into it after processing them for filets. This was neccessitated by the fact that even the strongest garbage truck in the fleet couldn't get the thing off of the ground. It was the grossest thing that I have ever done. We had to pitchfork out fish goo until we had lightened the load enough to get the thing off of the ground and THEN reload it with the stuff that we had removed for round two. It was really bad. Really Bad.


Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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This wasn't in a restaurant, but cleaning out plugs in the manure lines in the hog confinement building always got to me.


I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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I have worked FOH and BOH in various positions, dishwasher, short order cook, buffet line, busser, and waitress. Defintely the crappiest, nastiest, most demeaning part was dealing with customers as a waitress (mostly drunk as I worked late night shift). I'd much rather take the burns, cuts and scrapes (had plenty of scars for many years) than deal with drunk bastards at 2:00 a.m. that want you to sit on your lap (and actually drag you down onto it) or want to put the tip "directly into your pocket" wink wink. Blech.'

Heh, yeah, I've always thought that being wait staff (hostess too) would be one of the most demeaning and boring (though usually much more lucrative) jobs in restaurants. Which is why I've never been a waiter. But I was a busboy for a summer at a country club, and it was pretty demeaning - you take abuse from wait staff, customers, cooks, and it's incredibly boring and monotonous.

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That's about all that sticks out in my mind, none of which is really bad. I have various other experiences like working in 110-120F kitchens during the summer, 18 hour days, painful burns, etc. etc. etc. I'm sure there are far worse stories out there ;).

OH, I thought is was normal. Probably my worst job was busting the dried up concrete out of the back of concrete trucks at night with a hand held air hammer.


It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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I haven't worked in food service in quite a number of years, but I had some serious crap happen at each job I did have.

My first job ever outside of a paper route, when I was 14, I worked as the dish pig at a local diner. We did have a hose and dishwasher, but one day the dishwasher broke down and all of the dishes had to be washed by hand. We're talking thousands of plates on an 8 hour shift here. The owner filled the triple sinks with water, emptied an entire 5 gallons of bleach into the first one and told me to dig in. I spent the entire shift up to my elbows in bleach water without any gloves. The next morning there was so much blood plasma leaking out and crusting onto my skin I actually had to take the bedsheet into the bathroom to soak the damn thing off my hand.

My third job ever I worked on the beltline in the kitchen of a palliative care hospital. That part was okay, but part of my job was to clean up afer service and it was always left to me to clean the dried crusted food off the blade of the electric meat slicer, which the cooking staff just left there. I used to get week kneed and nauseous whenever I had to try and scrub at that blade, and my hands were always shaking so terribly it's a wonder I never sliced my hand off.

I was raised to be grateful to have a job and never to question authority, so it never occured to me to complain or even that bosses were doing anything wrong. There's no way these days I'd ever take that kind of shit.

That same hospital used to be a full service hospital that was later converted, so the new kitchen we worked in was built in the basement right next to the old morgue. All of the equipment was still in there (shiny and clean; I'm pretty sure they didn't do autopsies there anymore) but every time you walked past to go to the kitchen fridges you could plainly see the wall fridges in the morgue. I never dared open them, but was always aware of and freaked out by them.

Edited to add: And I've had a lot of customer services jobs through the years, (including being a server) but the absolute WORST food related customer service job is working the checkout at a supermarket. Those people were truly the most EVIL.


Edited by Sugarella (log)

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Beyond working in a 120 degree kitchen when the air conditioning went out, beyond cutting myself fiercely and working throught, burns, etc, was working as a hostess. WORST. JOB. EVER. You're yelled at by the customers, you're yelled at by the waitstaff, you're yelled at by the managers. Nothing, and I repeat NOTHING you do is ever right or ever good enough. I delt with customers who would touch me inappropriately, try to grab my arm as I took another party to their seat, ENDLESSLY bitch about where they were seated, and endlessly bitch about wait times as if I controlled how long other patrons took at the tables. The waitstaff would bitch if they didn't think you were sitting their section fast enough, and they would bitch if you sat it too fast. They would bitch if you sat too many people of one race (that shocked me the most) in their section, then bitch if you skipped them for the same reason. The managers would complain if too many booths were full but not enough tables, as if I could just force the customers to sit where the managers want them. They would complain that the wait times were too long, as if I controlled how many people came into the restuarant.

Ugh. I wouldn't do that job again even if it paid 100k a year. No. Freaking. Way. I would much rather be sweating my ass off in a kitchen any day.


-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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wow. about the only thing i can think to bitch about is pretty ungross sidework. like topping up ketchup bottles and cleaning the dark corners of freezers.

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I can't decide if it was the time a dumpster full of spoiled beans became infested with maggots and I had to clean it out after the garbage men came or if it was the time the tofu factory next door clogged our sewer drain and our basement filled with 3 inches of tofu water which then had to be drained and mopped.

I'm gonna say the dumpster, as at least the tofu drain water was relatively clean and not stinky. Well, only stinky in a tofu kind of way, which isn't really that bad in the grand scheme of revolting smells.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Has to have been the time when the manager asked me to clean out the grease trap after we were ticketed by the city because it had been overflowing into the sewer. We were open 2 years and didn't know we had one or that it needed to be cleaned out on a weekly basis. Oh yeah, since I was the only one who "knew" how to do it, it became my job once a week. Ugly enough but that first time was the worst smell I've ever encountered.


That's the thing about opposum inerds, they's just as tasty the next day.

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Removing fish remains from a very large, compactor type dumpster the day after thousands of pounds of fish remains were thrown into it after processing them for filets. This was neccessitated by the fact that even the strongest garbage truck in the fleet couldn't get the thing off of the ground. It was the grossest thing that I have ever done. We had to pitchfork out fish goo until we had lightened the load enough to get the thing off of the ground and THEN reload it with the stuff that we had removed for round two. It was really bad. Really Bad.

i don't know how you eat fish after an event like that.

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I learned when I was a sixteen year-old dishwasher that they can, "ask you to do it", "demand that you do it', or fire you, " if you don't do it" - but you don't have to do it.

With that being said, the worst job that I accepted was to dish//prep/cook/clean/, all at the same time. I needed the money, and after that first paycheck... whoosh, I was gone.

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Removing fish remains from a very large, compactor type dumpster the day after thousands of pounds of fish remains were thrown into it after processing them for filets. This was neccessitated by the fact that even the strongest garbage truck in the fleet couldn't get the thing off of the ground. It was the grossest thing that I have ever done. We had to pitchfork out fish goo until we had lightened the load enough to get the thing off of the ground and THEN reload it with the stuff that we had removed for round two. It was really bad. Really Bad.

i don't know how you eat fish after an event like that.

Cooked fish? Not so bad.

Sushi? Not for a long, long while.


Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Not too horrible but flouring 200 pieces of liver and the kitchen was out of gloves..it took forever to get the smell of liver off my hands. Yuck. Looks I got on the bus ...priceless.

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Working as a short order cook in a 24 hour dive. Once about 2.00am the lone waitress was in the walk-in with her boyfriend while her husband walked into the kitchen and asked me where his wife was. :blink: Thought we all were going to die.


Robert R

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I thought spending hours quartering chickens in a walk-in for Churches was bad...but I lust for the job after reading some of these.


Dave Valentin

Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler

"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.

"Got what backwards?" I ask.

"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.

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How about running the fry station for 8 hours at "the clown", being the only place in town with electricity after a tropical storm?

How about having to then work a full shift at a register? You know how much hustling you have to do to reach the $700 club (That's $700 in sales in one hour at one register) at McClownPlace? I did it three times that day. Too bad they didn't have a $900 club, because I was pretty close on one of them. That's in 1986 money, when you could still get a regular cheeseburger for 49 cents.

And we had freight come in that night. Our store got shipments at 3:00 am. The timing was good, because we had sold almost everything that day, but a nearly 24 hour shift on the busiest day like, ever, that ended with 3 hours in the freezer rotating boxes of hamburger patties and fish filets.... I'll make and deliver pizzas again before I deal with that.

Don't get me started on the pizza thing.

Edited to clarify


Edited by FistFullaRoux (log)

Screw it. It's a Butterball.

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Having to clean up an overflowing grease trap in the middle of the summer.

I have had lots of crap happen to me in this business but that was definitely the worst.

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As stated on EG before now, my first kitchen job as a kid was working at a Weathervane Seafood place in Maine. Well, we had 10 fryers on one end of the line, and another 6 at the other end. By the time a Friday or Saturday night was over (the only two nights that used all 16 fryers), you should have seen the color of the liquid on the floor when we squeegeed it all up. I would say the "color of the 'water'", but water wouldn't exactly be an accurate description. Sea snot from gallons of oysters, batter mixture, flour, grease, and thawed french fries all made up what we commonly referred to as "schmegma". Not nice. And after hosing one of the other line cooks down one night with our "dishwasher" (a maroon hose that had warm water spraying out of it; I don't know how we didnt' kill people there....) I ended up with a bucketfull of this schmegma underneath the seat of my first car (no locks).

Other horrible jobs I have had were stopping the employee bathroom toilet from overflowing (or tryign to stop it), cleaning the inside of the ice machine, having to snake out the soda drain (catching little gray slimy chunks that looked like a wet squirrel tail and smelled like the business end of a Mongolian Yak), polishing the copper pipe underneath the dish sink (don't piss off the chef), and having to roll a 50 gallon drum of used kitchen grease down the street becuase the dumpster truck driver kept putting it down too close to the barrel (Mental image: fat guy, whites, checks, clogs that are worn slick on the bottom, trying to roll a 50 gallon drum of smelly grease down an ice and grease laden sidewalk in Providence whilst trying not to burn the crap out of himself becuase his idiot employees just dumped grease in the said barrel. Not fun.)


Tonyy13

Owner, Big Wheel Provisions

tony_adams@mac.com

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polishing the copper pipe underneath the dish sink (don't piss off the chef),

Oh god. I had to do that in culinary school. And yes, I had pissed off the chef. Good times.


-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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I worked at Mickey D's the summer they introduced those salad-in-a-cup things and the fruit and yogurt parfaits. The nice retiree lady that made these on the opening shift for the whole day lost her husband the first day I was there, so it became my job along with frying hashbrowns and rotating freezer stock at 5 am. I didn't stop smelling like yogurt for four weeks. Plus, since I was "so effecient and such a great worker," I finished all my assigned tasks too early and was assigned to also work the registers and in the drive in. By the end of my second week I was training new people and when I asked my manager what a key was, she said, "I didn't even know that was there." I don't remember exactly what it was, but it ended up saving a lot of time on each order.

Another job that wasn't in a restaurant, but somewhat food related was part of my summer internship. I worked as a production assistant for a travel show in WI and went out one day on a shoot at a Brewery with a freelance cameraman just to get some shots of an event in their beer garden. All started out fine, I got a couple free beers, lugged around the tripod and back-up bags and reapplied my sunscreen. Then the cameraman (also somewhat enlightened by his free beers) was talking with the brewery owner about what a great shot it would be from the roof down onto the garden. Could we get up there through an attic or access door? No? No problem. Do you have a ladder? Great!

First we climbed up 7 feet to a porch overhang. Then up to the first story, about 9 feet. The finally up to the roof over the bottling plant. 12 feet. On a 10 foot ladder.

I'm already not a heights fan or particularly graceful, but you try doing that carrying a huge camera, a big duffle bag of other video accoutrement, the back up battery bag, and on 2 really good dopple bocks. Then he asked me to take down some flags attached to the building on struts that stuck out from the building about 3 feet. After telling him in no uncertain terms that I was NOT going to hang off the side of a brewery for anything, he got another shot and then we had to get down. So just imagine the above scene in reverse.

Not fun. But the beer was good.


"Life is a combination of magic and pasta." - Frederico Fellini

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