Working for an actual sociopath
"A few years ago I got a job at a small local coffee chain. I started out really cautious of this place because there were always -- ALWAYS -- ads posted on Craigslist for it, and that kind of high turnover is never a good sign. But I needed money.
"Every morning the owner would drive to every location (there were five at the time, all within two miles of each other) to berate the opening staff. It was never about anything in particular; he'd just come in and find some imaginary fault: the pastries were crooked, or the drip had been started too early, or the floor was dirty. (Even if it was the job of the closer the night before, the opener was the one who got reamed out.) He'd spend a good five minutes calling any of his staff in the vicinity every degrading name he could think of, then leave to do it again at the next location.
"So one evening before close, he discovered that the food-catcher drain under the dishwashing sink hadn't been cleaned in... I think ever. The manager was working at the time, so he told her to do it and she was like, 'Yeah sure whatever,' and then promptly didn't.
"I opened the next morning, with no idea that this exchange had happened. Before we'd even opened for business, owner stormed in, went right to the sink drain, and shouted at me, 'YOU LAZY FU*KING BI*CH! I TOLD YOU TO DO IT!'
"I was just like, 'I… you told me what?'
"And he shouted some more, and called me a lot more names, and eventually through it all I got the story of what had happened. I tried to explain that this was the first I'd heard of it, that I hadn't even worked the day before, but he kept insisting that I was just a lazy bi*ch, and he'd told me to do it yesterday, and I had to clean it 'right fu*king NOW.'
"I was like, 'OK, sure,' and glanced around for a pair of gloves. He took this as stalling and shouted, 'FU*KING NOW MEANS RIGHT THE FU*K NOW, IDIOT! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?'
"So I explained that I needed gloves, and he shouted at me to use my bare hands.
"Now… I feel I should take a moment to explain to you how bad the gunk in this drain smelled. I cannot do that, however, because words cannot describe a smell that foul. It was literal years of buildup of grease and rot, and if I'd reached to the bottom it would have gone nearly up to my elbow. It was the kind of smell that I just knew, instinctively, would stay on my skin for days if I touched it.
“As rationally as I could, I said to him,'‘I would be happy to clean the drain now that you've brought it to my attention, but in 10 minutes I have to start serving your customers food and I can't do it smelling like that. I'll stay a little late and clean it after my shift is over, OK?'
"NOT. OK. He lost it. He yelled about how I was just trying to get out of it again, and about how lazy and good-for-nothing I was. I stayed firm and insisted I would clean it at the end of my shift, but I flatly refused to handle food after handling that.
"He threw a coffee mug at my head.
"He aimed a heavy, thick-walled ceramic mug at my head with enough force that when I dodged it, it shattered on the cabinet behind me. Then he called me a bit*h once again for good measure and left.
"An hour later, that manager who had dropped the ball came in early to relieve me of my shift with a half-hearted apology and instructions never to come back." -- Parker Berelli
Do you have a restaurant, home-cooking, or any other food-adjacent story you’d like to see appear in Off the Menu (on ANY subject, not just this one)? Please email WilyUbertrout@gmail.com with "Off the Menu" in the subject line (or you can find me on Twitter @EyePatchGuy). Submissions are always welcome! Also, we are now requesting submissions for holiday-themed stories, so if you have any stories pertaining to Thanksgiving and Christmas, please send them in!