As I’ve mentioned, the local Taco Bell is now staying open until 3 a.m., and I occasionally hit them up for a cuppa two tree crunchy/hard tacos on my way home from work. Those things are always fantastic in the middle of the night. They’re approximately a million times better in the dark, than in bright sunlight, for some reason.
There’s only one thing that concerns me about my late-night Mexican adventures: it appears the entire restaurant is being run by two seventeen year old boys. Their badass-on-a-budget cars are parked outside, and there’s no sign of an adult anywhere. And that concerns me, ’cause teenage boys need supervision. Ya know?
Visions of them spitting in my food, or beating-off into the ground beef, always pop into my head. I don’t want those visions there, God knows it’s true, but I can’t help it. I’ve heard too many horror stories.
Across the street, at McDonald’s, there’s always an adult authority figure on-hand, making sure no snickering boys swipe that thin, middle Big Mac bun through their butt cracks like an ATM card. But at Taco Bell… it’s just two dudes from the high school. And that’s unnerving.
Years ago, when I was working at a shitty grocery store called Fas-Chek, they experimented with locking me and another guy in the store overnight, so we could get some work done while nobody was around.
You see… there were large displays at the front end of the store, which featured whatever happened to be on sale that week. And every Saturday night the displays had to be dismantled, and replaced with the next week’s crap. It was a huge production, which required hours to complete. And it also caused chaos in the store, while the “rebuild” was underway.
So, somebody got the idea that they could have me and another guy, named Vincent, do it overnight while the store was closed. We’d come in at 11:00, when the place was shutting down, do the rebuild during the middle o’ the night, and avoid all the insanity while customers were there.
And it was just like those two guys running the Taco Bell without supervision… Vincent and I were probably 19 or 20, with the approximate maturity of, I don’t know, 12 year olds? And they were going to let us run free in a grocery store all night? Yeah, it was a tactical error.
After we arrived we busted-ass and did the entire rebuild in less than two hours. Both of us were covered in sweat, and were working like maniacs. We got the project completed, with just the two of us, in record time. It usually took four guys an entire shift to accomplish what we did in a hundred minutes.
Then we were free… in a big ol’ grocery store, all alone. Heh.
We started by visiting the walk-in beer cooler, needless to say. We chose a 12-pack of something, and reminded each other that we’d have to dispose of the evidence. Empty bottles or cardboard couldn’t be left strewn around, all willy-nilly. We’d have to keep our shit in check.
We walked around the darkened store, drinking beer, trying to get ideas on how we could creatively kill six hours. And Vincent said he was hungry. “The whole place is our pantry,” I told him, while doing a theatrical, sweeping motion with my left hand.
And we ended up cooking two thick steaks, right out of the meat case, on a stove in the deli. They were New York strips, I think, and huge. Vincent was in charge of the cooking duties, and whenever he said he needed a seasoning or whatever, I’d just walk over to aisle four and grab it off the shelf.
While the steaks were cooking, we grabbed some stuff from the produce department, and made a freaking salad. I think we talked about baked potatoes too, but decided they would take too long. I can’t remember exactly what our 3 am feast consisted of, but it was outrageous. We had the steaks, and all sorts of side items. And lotsa beer from the walk-in. It was a hell of a meal.
The only problem? When the day shift people started arriving, around 5 am, the store smelled like a goddamn Bonanza steakhouse. We realized this around 4:30, and started freaking out. Vincent got the idea to go around and pour drain opener in all the floor drains. The stench of it, he said, would mask the restaurant smell. Heh, it was drunken logic.
Some poofter cashier, who always wore his tie tucked between the buttons of his shirt for some reason, arrived first. And I know he ratted us out to the praying mantis-like store manager. “I think they were smashed, and the place smelled like chemicals and a cookout.” The prick.
Nothing was ever said to us about our deli feast, but the locking-two-dumbasses-in-the-store-alone experiment was abandoned after one week. On the next Saturday we were back to doing the rebuild during the evening, while the store was open. I suppose I should be happy they didn’t have us arrested? Right?
Do you have any stories about being left in charge of something semi-important at an early age? Did it descend into chaos? Or were you more mature than me and Vincent? Not a high bar to cross… Please tell us about it in the comments section below.
And I hate to open this Pandora’s Box of grossness, but if you have any stories about people tampering with fast food, we’ll need to hear those, as well.
I’ll be back tomorrow, my friends. In the meantime, please remember that I’m taking orders again for signed copies of Crossroads Road. I’m going to make a post office run on Thursday, so order away. Here’s your link:
Have a great day!
Now playing in the bunker
Read Crossroads Road on your Kindle!
The Other Greg says
I hope that is Chapter 1 of the next novel.
I noticed when looking over my signed copy, that it was noted as the “first” (heh) novel of Jeff Kay. Shirley, that means there will be a second one?
The Other Greg says
I worked for K-mart in high school, and got to do an over nighter myself. We didn’t sell steak or beer at our store, but you can bet your ass I had my share of Dinty-Moore micro-meals. Just because I could. My guts have never been the same.
I can’t eat Taco Bell. I had a bad experience in Virginia driving home on the Chesapeake bridge…
That makes me think of the Beavis and Butthead episode where they put worms in the deep fryer at the fast food place where they worked.
In the days before video cameras, anything was possible.
I worked in a restaurant once where people would cook up big meals as soon as the owner left for the day.
Bill in WV says
They cooked french flies and a dead mouse.
I’m glad I’m early in the commenting phase because I’d rather not read the disgusting fast-food/restaurant horror stories. I mean, I’m gonna be eating somewhere in about an hour for lunch!
On a side note, I wanted to update everyone on the job front. I didn’t take the job. But, it went very well & supposedly the HR head @ the place I went to will be keeping her eye out to find something more in my price range. She also told me to use her as a contact, and if I find something before she does, to let her know & she’ll pull strings if need be. So, that’s a plus. The pay cut was just too large & with ‘da boyfriend currently unemployed (he’s trying, but money is slowing down for him) I figured it’s too risky to take such a chance. I just bought a house not too long ago, ya know?
But thank you all for the best wishes. I really appreciated it & felt great knowing I had such a support group! 🙂
Always trust that gut feeling….just like “mom”…it always knows best!
lori in cbus says
Yep, bikerchick is right on.. the gut always knows…
No, I was never left in charge of anyting. It likely would have gone bad in a Tom Cruise in “Taps” kind of way. I worked best as a minion. Or perhaps lackey.
I have nothing to contribute to food grossness. But when I worked in a meat departmetn in a small grocery store we had a guy bring in a cooked steak that he said “didn’t taste right”. We tried the hell out it. Tasted fine.
I have my signed copy, but I’m holding off reading it. My wife is due soon, and I plan on having it with me, and probably reading it aloud to my new son. I want his first experience with literature to be good.
Congrats to you & the wife!!
Chuck in Belpre says
What she said. Is it gonna be a little Jorge or Jorge-etta?
Thanks to you both, and it’s a boy.
Congrats. Glad for the addition to your family!!
Bill in WV says
I too worked at the store Jeff worked in, a year or two before he did, and I witnessed some pretty bizarre stuff. This was back in the day when anti-tamper devices were nowhere to be found in packaging. One guy, pissed after getting chewed out by the owner, emptied out one of those plastic lemons and refilled it with dirty mop water and placed it back. He also opened a bottle of Heinz ketchup and jammed a tampon down into the thing and put it back on the shelf. I can just picture the horror at some poor bastard’s dinner table when they went to pour ketchup over their fries and a soppy tampon dumped out onto the plate. Fuggin gross.
If one or more of the pepperonis on the pizza say “Nike” don’t eat it. They aren’t “designer” pepperonis, no matter what the store manager will try to tell you.
My favorite fast food incident story from my pizza daze is this gem:
One afternoon a customer called the store to complain that our food had gone bad; seems he was in the midst of a nasty bout of food poisoning and had just finished a large section of one of our pizza pies. When the manager asked what he had on the pizza, the guy responded, “bacon and sausage.” The manager burst out laughing and said (no joke) “Don’t be ridiculous, there’s no bacon or sausage in our bacon and sausage! What did you have for breakfast?”
Best I can do is getting locked in overnight at Sears. I was a stockboy and fell asleep in a BIG box of towels on the top rack of shelves about 20ft up. I, alas, was lacking beer bravado, and stayed up there all night in fear of the motion sensors setting off the alarm
When can we officially start complaining that our signed copy of your book hasn’t arrived yet? I’ll bet that bastard of a postman is a slow reader.
I worked for a asbestoes removing company (WTF?) right out of High School. We started on a VA hospital and were supposed to remove the asbestoes roofing at night, the roofers came in the next morning. We got paid what I thought was an outrageous amount per hour at the time ($28/hr) and we’d hump it for about 3 hours and fuck off the rest of the time.
We’d get off at 7:00 in the morning and go to buy beer. Of course we’d always get the stink eye and I got tired of it. So after the first week or so we started bringing our beer in coolers and just drank for several hours while we were supposed to be working. This other idiot kid, Charlie, overdid it one night and went down the ladder to leave, he said. We drank up and left later.
The next morning the roofers found Charlie passed out in the flower bed with piss stains on his pants and puke on his shirt. Needless to say, this ended our awesome drinking on the job escapades.
I’m still mad at Charlie over the whole thing. Sometimes we’d do day jobs and there was this one where there was a great BBQ place nearby. We’d always get the normal ribs or pork or beef or whatever for lunch. But not fucking Charlie. He ate the same thing every day. Pig ear sandwich. Aint that some shit?
I did a 3 year stint at McDonalds and can think of numerous gross food stories. And yes, this also falls under “dumbasses in a store overnight” when we would have to close the place and *I* was the “adult figure” at the tender age of 18 and the closing manager.
I had a bandaid fall off somewhere on a tray of Big Macs. And I once dumped about 1/2 dozen quarter pounders on the floor, scooped hem up, reassembled them and sent them off. The 1/4 pounders took the longest to cook and the front counter was waiting for them. Also, if you were a friend or family, you got the royal treatment. We would take the small fry bag, place it on the tray and cover the entire tray with french fries. We would ring up 1 Big Mac and cram 9 in your bag. anything ordered small became Super Sized.
Yesterday was my 49th birthday. I had a wee bit too much wine last night and am paying for it.
Happy Birthday, madz! My 48th is coming up in July. yippee.
Bill in WV says
Happy Birthday! I hit the big 48 next week.
Happy Birthday! You should really switch up to hard liquor. Hard to get a hangover on good bourbon.
I bought Beloved a bottle of Scotch which he opened this past weekend. I thought I’d be “sophisticated” and try some ( I don’t drink scotch or gin). It smelled smokey. Like I should be gnawing a rack of rib smokey. I took one taste and said FORGET IT. I’ll stick to vodka and bourbon in the hard likker department.
Did I mention I was dancing, too? With the bum knee?
Thanks everyone for the birthday wishs. I really DID have a glorious day.
Scotch tastes like ass unless you put an ice cube in it and wait about two minutes. Then it becomes what you crave. Well, one of the things anyway.
Big 4-0h on Tuesday!
HBMFs to all!!
Happy Birthday! Maybe switch to Vodka, the preferred drink of us drunks. Just a little pinch ‘tween the cheek and gums.
WB in OH says
or a splash on your tampon…
Happy birthday madz!
49 come December. I will not be drinking. I know better by now.
COOL! so many of us have birfdays so close together and that we’re all pretty much in the same age bracket.
I save the vodka for Saturday morning.
Bill in WV says
All of the early 60’s mothers must have been gasoline huffers.
Happy Birthday madz! Hope it was a good one!!
Happy Birthday Madz!! My B-Day is in June (32) but I don’t think I’ll be doing anything. Might stock up on extra 2 Buck Chuck from Trader Joe’s (a $2 wine here in the Californias) but other than that, stayin’ at home!
We have 2 Buck Chuck here on the east coast, but it’s four bucks. Kinda defeats the purpose.
Happy Birfday, Madz!
[ Dang, it’s a young crowd here… grumble, these kids today, grumble… hell off my lawn… ]
lori in cbus says
Habby Pirfday everybody! my 42nd will be july 3rd… (holy shit)
Lee Harvey Ramone says
I, too, had a birthday this year! I think I have another one coming up next year. I’ll have to check on that.
At this time
Happy Birthday, Madz! I’m right behind you – I’ll be 49 June 8th.
I’m not even THINKING about getting drunk – two day hangovers kill me (and that’s pretty much what they all are now…)
Hope you’re feeling better!
Chuck in Belpre says
I’ll be 59 in October…hard for me to grasp at times. But, emotionally I am but a sprout so I have that going for me.
My husband just turned 63. (Yeah, he got hisself a young’un).
I worked at a Burger King for 4 years in high school and by the time I reached senior year I had actually been given responsibility for opening the store on occasion and had gotten it down to a pretty slick operation. This of course led to over confidence. Which of course led to me and my best friend/coworker deciding to stay up drinking the night before and just go into work drunk at 4:30am. We decided to get a little “nap” from 4-4:30 which didn’t work out very well. My dad stormed down stairs at 5am after we got a call from the 3rd person that was actually on-time and couldn’t get in. We got dressed while running out the door and did about 80 mph to the store, did all the work like crazy and actually had the place ready to open on time. Then the next 30-45 mins go by and no customers – wtf? Yup, we had forgotten to turn on the lights. Needless to say management wasn’t happy – and that management happened to be my mother who was the store manager. Good times!
On a good note we never saw too much grossness on the food front. Sure some things were dropped on the floor but I never saw anyone intentionally foul up some food. So you have that going for you, which is nice.
I haven’t received my book either. And I am practically in Jeff’s backyard…Pittsburgh. Our mailman is a complete and utter asshole. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he d-bagged me and kept the book. Someone was probably parked in front of our mailbox at the time of delivery. If it means he has to actually get out of his truck then we don’t get our mail. If he has a package that won’t fit into the mailbox then he will just toss it as far as he can up the driveway…..from sitting in his truck.
Pittsburgh being described as Jeff’s backyard. Yep…that’s where Black Lips Houlihan goes to take a dump, LOL! I do absolutely love Pittsburgh, but man, whomever designed their streets shoulda been convicted at the Nuremburg War Trials.
…but on Pitt’s bright side, they have some amazing doctors. Jonas Salk…all the way up to this awesome woman at UPMC who has operated on my youngest secret twice!
CC- re: Pittsburgh roads. You ain’t whistling dixie. The roads here are a major cluster fuck. And it’s just getting worse. I feel sorry for any poor bastard not from around the area trying to navigate around town. And i agree…whoever designed this shit should have been gassed.
Every time I go to Pittsburgh I end up in the ‘hood. EVERY. FREAKING. TIME.
Bill in WV says
Oakland, it’s what it’s “cracked” up to be.
I’m convinced MC Escher had something to do with the design of Pittsburgh streets. There’s no way I’m ever going to learn it. Navigating inside UPMC is impossible too. You need to leave a trail of breadcrumbs from your car. The last time I was down there some poor lost bastard was leaned up against a wall by some elevators, clutching at his chest and bellowing, “It’s like a corn maze in here!” I wonder if he ever made it out?
Wanna whip your hand through your hair? Follow a Pittsburgh “Detour” sign. You will either 1) be detoured 20 miles out of your way to end up one mile from your actual destination because a bridge is closed or under construction. You can actually SEE your destination but have to follow a 12 mile detour to get to it. 2) Follow a detour to no where. You follow one sign and never see another…unless you happen to pick up one that’s meant for a whole other detour route.
There are four seasons in Pittsburgh: Winter, Potholes, Rain, Construction
Chuck in Belpre says
The only time I was in the Burg I came out of the tubes and across the bridge into downtown. On the way out I went through some tubes and ended up going to Cleveland. It doesn’t seem to be easy to get out of the city in the right direction. Of course, I am from WV so that might explain some things. 🙁
Yeah..I’m not going to complain about “no novel” just yet, but GDAMNITSOMUCH…Just once, it would be nice to open the mailbox & be glad I did..just once.
When I was sixteen, I worked in a family style restaurant w/ a bunch of other teenagers & 1 adult supervisor. We had just made up a big batch of chicken salad when someone broke a glass on the prep table & pieces went all over the place, including into the chicken salad. The “supervisor” said, “just pick it out”, which we did, but later that night I plastered my mouth & chin with ketchup and ran into the kitchen saying, “that chicken salad is too crunchy”. I thought it was funny.
That’s freaking HILARIOUS! Love it.
T. Farty McAppleass says
No book down here in Alabama either. I was beginning to think maybe I’d done something wrong.
I had some friends that worked at a KFC at weird hours. I dropped them off at work, directly after drinking all night, and they invited me in to witness the madness.
Let me tell you, I’d rather see a “The Golden Girls” episode where they got their Social Security checks cut off and had to turn to porn to support themselves. Wasn’t pretty, especially with a belly full of warm beer.
No book here in Alaska yet either. Although I do work with a guy from Alabama at both my “real job” and my volunteer job. I’m beginning to think that Crossroads Road” is a Berny Madoff sized conspiracy!
…Actually, I dread the day when I get the book. I soooo want to read it, but the holiness of having Jeff actually signing it weirds me out. It’s like when my ex-wife’s son used to send me letters via mail…I would always, always keep them closed, then open them up when no one was around.
Jeff, I am going to totally enjoy the book, if for nothing more than its “Jeffness.” Thanks for being you for 40-some years, and for the WVSR for what, 10, 15 years? This was one of my “must visit” sites ever since I got online at my current job.
I worked at a MickeyD’s in highschool just to earn money for summer vaca. I was dating one of the burger flippers at the time. On one of my breaks, I asked him to make me a Quarter Pounder with extra cheese and extra pickles (I can hear Jeff’s jaw retracting now). When I unwrapped my QP, there was a stack of cheese and a half a jar of pickles piled on so high I couldn’t even bite into it. But I found a way. Yum.
We used to make Bic Macs with the Quarter Pounder patties.
I can hear my ass growing already!
Bill in WV says
I think I have mentioned before, working at a Murphy Mart back in the late 70’s and the manager telling us stock guys to make a display swing set, left over from the summer before, disappear. The store was right next to the river, so we contemplated just throwing it, piece by piece into the river. But, there was a nice fishing area behind the store and we didn’t want to make that area snag-city. So, we proceeded to throw it, one pole at a time, into the box compactor and screwed that thing up royally. I believe I heard the machine cry a couple times during the process. Good times !
Dave Matthews says
A true story; told to me by Larry Thomas. Yes, the guy who invented Elvira. He was the cook at a burger joint is West LA when he was studying TA at UCLA. So, one of the customers had a complaint, asking,”Where’s the patty?”. Larry’s response, “Did you look under the pickle?”
My (Catholic) high school had a nativity scene out front and because people kept fucking with it, they enlisted us seniors to take overnight shifts of keeping an eye on things.
I know I was paired with at least 2 other guys (one of whom now runs an astronomical observatory in West Texas; the other washed out of the Naval Academy in spectacular fashion) and we made the chemistry lab our ‘base of operations’. One guy blasted Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon on an 8-track boombox all night and we helped ourselves to the chemicals. No – we didn’t get high. We got in to the sodium to produce chemical fires, and potassium. And I got the ‘bright’ idea to get raw phosphorus metal out to see if we could make it burn in all its brilliance like it does in military applications.
Okay – we were fucking nerds. But seriously: DANGEROUS fucking nerds.
Merry fucking Christmas 1980!!!
A university housemate did the late night shift at the local McDonalds. Whatever was unsold the McDonalds employees could take home. So, being run by a crew university students, they cooked (microwaved? fried?) up a storm 15 minutes before the store was to close and took it all home. I had no idea that McDonalds had such huge takeout sacks. The rest of the house was invariably stoned out of their trees when she staggered home with these sacks of oh-so-welcome free junk food.
No wonder I’m fat 🙁
Just got the book.
Thanks for personalizing it, Jeff.
I too worked at McDonald’s during high school, including opening and closing. I never saw an incident of food being deliberately messed with. If anything fell on the floor, it was chucked out (!). That was 35 years ago, and it still doesn’t skeeve me (maybe it should) to eat at McD’s. On the other hand a buddy of mine worked at a KFC, and he had all kinds of stories about pissing in the mashed potatoes, etc. I won’t eat there.
Hey, Jeff. I saw this article & thought you’d enjoy it. Has to do with self-publishing & e-books.
I too worked a McDonald’s while in high school. No stories from me about messing with the food, but I do remember a HUGE tray of food at 10:35 AM for my break that was leftover breakfast.
The mailman delivered my book yesterday; he doesn’t know what he’s missing!
Shiny Rod says
Did I tell you about the time they let me and two teenage girls close a Taco Bell and I was the one who ended up getting fired? No? Good, I won’t.
Oh c’mon, man – don’t leave us hangin’. Did ya’ get any at least?
Not Oprah says
No book for me yet – mine will be stuck at customs for 4 months before it ever gets here. If you had to incurr extra charges to get it here just please e-mail me.
Thankfully never worked in fast food chains, but used to work in a store where there were no aisles and everything was ordered through a catalogue and brought up to the customer from the stock room. New employees were always given fake forms without a customer name and had to announce over the P.A. ‘order for whomever ordered the personal vibrating device’ – it was in the shape of a schlong. Walkie talkies planted in microwaves where the stockguys would talk as soon as you put the box on the counter and found a hobo who had stowed away on a train coming out West from Toronto sleeping in the storage rafters. These were highlights of that teen job.
Joey Jo Jo says
I did awful shit as a 7-11 cashier. I chewed up hotdogs and spit them into the chili sauce, along wuth boogers. I rubbed hot dogs deep in my ass crack before grilling them. Spit in the cheese sauce. Hot dog rolls under the fridge? Oh well, still getting sold.
I like to think I’ve changed in twenty years.
Not Oprah says
Did you work for Apoo…
Didn’t you worry about your ass crack smelling like a weiner? Or was it considered an improvment on the previous ‘bouquet’?
Of course I meant to type ‘wiener’ and ‘improvement’:0)
Joey Jo Jo says
I was a zitfaced punk. Who was gonna smell my ass?