Hamburger Holocaust

Posted: July 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

Woah.  I need a stiff drink.

Just got home from a pre-construction meeting at a chain restaurant.  Won’t say the name, but it rhymes with “Shmed Probster”.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  This is not the type of job I typically do, or want to do.  It is relatively nominal work from my end, and barely required (the mechanical contractors involved surely have a licensed Engineer on staff who could act as Supervising Professional).  It amounts to mechanical work on a duct for a new Type I hood, which has higher requirements than the existing Type II hood.  Oh, I gave the Project Manager the hard sell:  “Well, you could probably save money by having one of the mechanical teams handle it.  I know the architectural codes, but this mainly falls in realm of the mechanical codes.  I’ll probably have mileage and trip charges….” you know, I nearly burglarized the guy.  But he got my recommendation from a former employee of mine who now concentrates solely on residential work, and he said that I was ‘very highly recommended’, so I felt an obligation….Besides, as Geddy Lee once said, ‘hey, ten bucks is ten bucks, eh?’

So, tonight we visited the site, 10 PM no less.  Sheesh.

You see, when I was in high school, I worked several food service jobs.  Fast food, sit-down, fine dining….the one common thread is that wherever you go to eat, you REALLY do not want to see the kitchen.  The best run places have smoke and grease stains ground into the walls and ceilings.  Evening cleaning involved trying to scrub the grease off the floor using boiling water and caustic chemicals.  After closing, I would come home exhausted with a stench of sweat and curdled grease.  My hair never got clean, and my face never cleared up.

When I went to college, I had a Work-Study grant, so I went to the cafeteria, but they were staffed up.  Going to the financial aid office, they went me to the campus library, where I ended up working for the sweetest little old lady named Polly in the Periodicals and Interlibrary Loan department.  Biggest stroke of luck I ever had in college…

And walking into this kitchen, while the crew were trying to do the evening clean, with buckets of water slopped over the greasy floors….brought back those long ago days with a vengeance.

It was weird, and I was glad when I could leave.

  1. Mikey Hemlok says:

    When I was just a kid, all my friends in school worked in fast-food restaurants, mostly A&W and McD’s. I KNEW I didn’t wanna do that – I really wanted to be an outlaw, but I was still an apprentice – so I ended up working in lumber yards instead of food service. I’m pretty sure it was a good choice, but you started working in lumber being a human forklift, and carrying heavy shit for a living was pretty hard…

  2. Big Bad Bald Bastard says:

    Evening cleaning involved trying to scrub the grease off the floor using boiling water and caustic chemicals.

    While in high school, I worked in a local deli, and we’d clean up grease spills by dumping salt on the grease, sweeping up the grease-soaked salt, and mopping regularly. Of course, we didn’t have so many grease spills, frying cutlets maybe twice a week.

    It goes to show you that working for mom-and-pop places is exponentially better than working for corporate behemoths.

  3. Related:

    I once had to fix a point-of-sale system’s network and ticket printing stuff both in the front and kitchen of a pub. That’s the only time I’ve ever been behind-the-scenes in a commercial kitchen, and I’m really glad about that.

    Not related:

    Since your Costello post’s comments are closed, I’m gonna drop this here: Went and saw Blondie and Garbage on “The Rage and Rapture” tour last week. Debbie Harry is 72 years old, and surprised me. Garbage was amazing, which didn’t surprise me.

    John Doe and Exene opened, doing a bunch of X songs in acoustic duo mode. They were super great.

    And it was outside and there was much beer. ‘Twas a good night.

Go ahead, tell me how I fucked up this time.

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