10 Horrifying Confessions of Fast Food Workers

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Many of us often joke about restaurant employees spitting in our food, or giving us a product that’ll lead to projectile vomiting and extended bathroom breaks, but we tend not to think too much about it most of the time because it can be rather worrying. However, it is important sometimes to know what may be done to your food, and how the industry is dealing with the current issues they face from disgruntled employees, and a culture of speed that makes following proper health procedures difficult. If your New Year’s resolution is to drop a few pounds, maybe this list will help you avoid ordering that next Big Mac.

10. Starbucks Barista Admits to Giving Regular When People Ordered Decaf

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Many people rely on their coffee to get them going in the morning, and always make a trip to the coffee shop to start their day. Sometimes these people are rude, and the baristas who work at the store decide to find some petty way to get back at this person who made their life more difficult. While it’s rare for someone to spit in a drink or perform unhygienic forms of tampering, there are many less obvious things a barista can do. Many baristas have admitted to giving decaf to people who are rude to them, and it’s pretty much impossible to tell if they did. For many addicts there’s a certain placebo affect involved and it’s not like there’s a noticeable difference in taste, especially in a giant espresso drink full of milk and sugared syrups.

Now, as mean as this is, it’s not going to cause anyone any health problems and at worst someone might not be quite as alert. While this is absolutely not something someone should do, there is a barista who has admitted to worse, saying he has given caffeine to people who asked for decaf. This can have very serious health implications, as some people have very valid health reasons for being unable to drink caffeine. While the barista claimed that he made sure they didn’t look visibly pregnant or anything, most health issues caused by caffeine are not something you can so easily spot.

9. Many Fast Food Workers Admit to Coming Into Work Sick

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There are stringent rules in place in order to ensure that no food service worker is handling the stuff you are going to eat while they’re sick. There are laws that mandate that if an employer or employee thinks they are sick, they’re to be sent home rather than continue working in a food service environment. Unfortunately however, oftentimes things don’t work out how they are supposed to in practice. Food service is incredibly high paced with quick turnover of employees, lots of call outs and often very tight scheduling. This means one person leaving can absolutely ruin a shift, and there is often a lot of pressure on employees to forget the rules and come to work if humanly possible at all, even if you are somewhat sick.

There is also the personal pressure in terms of wages – fast food workers do not get paid sick leave for days like that, and already tend to get less than full time unless they are management, and rely on hourly pay. For a food service worker living paycheck to paycheck, calling in sick can be a life ruining disaster. In a survey reported by Fox News about the food service industry, a majority of fast food workers have admitted that all or most of the time, they have found a way to go into work when sick. Clearly something in the industry needs to change – employees should not feel the need to come to work sick, and never, ever should.

8. Burger King Employee Posts Video of Himself Taking a Bath at Work

Lots of people do stupid things while bored at work, but one Burger King employee a few years back went way too far, losing himself his job, and probably making it difficult to find more jobs in the future. The employee in question gave himself the nickname “Mr. Unstable” and posted a video of himself on YouTube, doing something extremely disturbing in the store he worked in. In the video, the Burger King employee appears to be naked, and is covered in soap bubbles sitting in the store’s giant utility sink in the back. This sink is the one where they was all their dishes, which then go on to contain all the foods you eat at your favorite store.

Naturally, the employee was fired quickly by the company, which obviously doesn’t condone people using their back sinks as an impromptu shower and then putting it online for viral hits and attention. Several other employees lost their jobs for their parts filming the incident – and not putting a stop to it as well –  and the health department was sent out to make sure the store was in proper compliance. Apart from the antics of Mr. Unstable, the store checked out just fine.

7. Fast Food Employee Admits Lots of Drug Dealing Going On

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A McDonald’s employee who wanted to remain anonymous, for obvious reasons – no company wants an unofficial spokesman talking to the news – had some very interesting things to say about his store. He claimed to have worked at one of the top 500 McDonald’s restaurants in the entire country, and actually had many positive things to say about his experience. In fact, this particular employee can make us all feel good, saying that he is certain no unhygienic tampering of food ever happened at his store. While it certainly does happen at some places, it shows that there are always some restaurant locations that will do their very best to put their foot down and make sure that kind of thing never happens.

However, he did admit as well that many of his fellow employees have sold marijuana to customers in the parking lot in order to make some extra bucks, and that they have actually given free or extra food to people who come in high. In fact, they call people who come to the place to get high in the parking lot after eating “ents” and actually don’t mind them at all because they mind their own business and just look like they are eating. He points out that many customers who come in high are paranoid about getting caught, but the employees would never report them for that alone, and are at worst amused by the customers’ intoxicated confusion.

6. Wendy’s Employee Admits to Smoking Blunt While Working

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A couple years ago a customer went to a Wendy’s location for one of their famous square shaped hamburgers. At first, her order went off without a hitch. However, it wasn’t until she had paid, got home and started eating that she realized something was seriously amiss. She was chewing through her sandwich, and noticed the taste was obviously not right, nor was the consistency. After inspecting it carefully, she realized there was a half-finished blunt in her sandwich. She immediately got the store and the police involved, and the store location was quickly investigated.

The employee on sandwiches who had made her food almost instantly admitted to having the blunt and smoking while working. In her confusion from being high, she accidentally misplaced her blunt inside the customer’s sandwich. The employee in question was not only fired, but was also arrested for the incident. In the meantime, the customer had symptoms of food poisoning and actually ended up in the hospital. While we don’t know if the customer actually got seriously ill from the blunt or not, we do know the franchisee readily agreed to pay any necessary medical expenses for the customer. Frankly, this is the kind of behavior you’d expect from Jack in the Box, not Wendy’s.

5. Drug Abuse is Shockingly Common in Food Service

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A study back in July of 2007 found that among all profession categories, the largest percentage of employees who abuse illegal drugs actually worked in the food service industry. This can seem counter intuitive, as many people might expect that it would be something more like long haul truckers or perhaps medical personnel who have to stay alert for incredibly long hours at a time. However, the fact of the matter is that food service is an incredibly fast paced and stressful profession that can easily burn people out, so they turn to drugs to get through the day – just ask celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, who has talked and written extensively about this phenomenon.

To make matters worse, many restaurants and bars that serve alcohol have relaxed policies in terms of when their employees are allowed to drink on shift. This can create a culture where many of the employees are at least partially intoxicated during their shifts, which leads to more stupid mistakes, and all kinds of potential liability issues. Some restaurants see what this is doing to their business, and are trying to take steps to prevent rampant drug abuse, but it’s an uphill battle. In a world with that kind of fast paced pressure, people will take whatever they can to cope.

4. A Shocking Number of Fast Food Workers Have Knowingly Stolen

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Many people suspect that fast food and other food service employees are taking food or other things when they get the chance. Of course, we all know there are some honest people who would never consider such a thing, but there are always those who are desperate enough, or just enjoy the thrill of the game. And while we know from popular culture that theft happens, and that oftentimes employees will give free stuff to people they like – a different kind of theft, but theft all the same – many people don’t realize just how much this kind of behavior actually goes down in these establishments. A random survey conducted from hundreds of random fast food chains from two different major companies – kept unnamed – concluded that an absolutely shocking number of employees admitted to stealing from their employer.

Well over half of employees surveyed admitted to taking money, or to taking food or other items without paying for them. Stealing company time was also incredibly common, especially those in managerial positions with salary, who could abuse the system very easily that way. Even employees who didn’t steal were often surveyed as admitting taking part by watching and not saying anything when someone else was stealing. Probably the most common theft item by far is simply employees eating food without paying for it, a form of theft that can still cost the company countless amounts of money over the years.

3. A Former McDonald’s Manager Shares Some Choice Secrets

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While it is impossible to verify, as the manager remained anonymous, a former longtime McDonald’s manager shared some choice secrets online about what he experienced over the years. While some employees will tell you they don’t see food tampering at their stores, this particular manager says he saw all kinds of horrible things. He’s seen people spit on food when they were angry, but he’s also seen them stomp on it and do all kinds of other horrible things. If someone asks them to make sure they make them a fresh burger, he says that sometimes the employees will get angry with the request, and will instead dunk a dry old burger in grease to make it seem fresh.

The manager has also claimed that he once had another manager threaten to fire him because he didn’t want to use old lettuce that had gone brown. Of course, he kept his job despite putting his foot down, but other employees might not have had the guts to say no. He also claims that if people ask for special order fries, an employee would often find a way to mess them up, generally by undercooking them if they couldn’t think of anything more clever. In terms of all the evil things he’s seen people do to food, he simply asks us to “use our imagination”, which is quite a horrifying thought.

2. Norovirus Spreads Mostly Because of Relaxed Food Safety Standards From Workers

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Norovirus is a virus that can cause all kinds of lovely symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, and other stomach issues – which are also the pain symptoms people tend to report when they say they got “food poisoning”. In a study last year, perhaps unsurprisingly to some, the Center for Disease Control found that the majority of norovirus outbreaks were due to food service workers who were not following proper hygienic practices and procedures. An alarming number of the cases they traced led back to employees who did not wear gloves on their hands at all. In response to these issues over the years, the federal standards, as well as those at a state level, have been targeted towards ensuring food service workers are staying home while sick, and wearing gloves properly while working.

Unfortunately, sometimes gloves are not enough. If gloves are not changed out often, and proper practices are not followed while wearing them, they aren’t really helping. The McDonald’s manager in the above entry admits to seeing employees go to the restroom, take out trash, and do all kinds of other things while they were wearing their food service gloves, making them less than useless. Another employee from a sushi restaurant explains that he dislikes the glove standards, because it makes it harder for him to properly feel the rice as he is crafting the food and creating a work of art.

1. Workers Admit Sexual Harassment is Rampant in Restaurant Industry

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When many of us think of fast food workers and sex, we think of rather young employees who decide to go take a quick “break” with another coworker in the walk in. However, the truth is that while sexually natured comments and other issues are common at food service workplaces, it is rarely a truly reciprocal or fair relationship. Many employees who work in the industry say that sexual innuendo and other inappropriate comments are pretty much normal, and that they really don’t expect much to be done about it. For some employees, playing along and joking back is about the only real defense that they feel they can use. Perhaps this is because, according to a recent survey done of food service workers and their relationship with the issue of sexual harassment, the comments are often coming from those in a position of authority.

According to the survey, well over half of men in the industry and roughly two thirds of the women have faced sexual harassment not just from their coworkers, but from members of the actual management team. While employees face even more harassment from their normal coworkers, and often a sizeable amount from customers as well, the manager harassment is by far the worst. Some employees report it being a weekly ordeal, and with their tormentor being in a position of power over them, it can lead to terrible situations.

Still not convinced to take a break from fast food?

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5 Comments

  1. The picture from #3 is from a Burger King, not a McDonalds, in suburban Cleveland,Ohio. I know because we made jokes about the Shoe Lettuce Kid at work. Unless this happened at McDonalds AND Burger King…

  2. I worked fast food in high school and college (and briefly thereafter), and I can confirm just about everything in this list.

    The worst was probably a manager I had at a local McDonald’s whose hobbies included dealing drugs through the drive-thru, inviting female coworkers downstairs to watch adult movies on the VCR we had for training videos, and screaming unbelievable blasphemies at Christians who worked for him – in front of the public. Not surprisingly, a few years later, I saw him working on a prison road cleanup gang.

    On the more positive side of employee abuse, my favorite incident was at a Taco Bell I worked at in a small town that had a highly diverse population. One of our shift managers (“Don”) was gay, but not really flamboyant about it. Just a regular guy. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough for the local Klan members who, one day, stopped off at our drive thru and demanded a 10-pack of hardshell tacos before berating him over the loudspeaker in the vilest possible terms. Our store manager – a sweet-natured, gentle lady, responded with their price and escorted a crying Don to the office. She then took over from him, took their money, and kicked me off the line, where she proceeded to make 10 of the most beautiful, perfect tacos you’ve ever seen. She weighed and wrapped each one carefully and put them in the box. Then, she proceeded to smash every last one into dust with her fists. She closed the box, handed them their order, and told them to have a nice day.

    For some reason, they never returned.

  3. People shouldn’t tamper with de-caffeinated coffee orders , just to mess with the customer. It could have dire consequences. I have a heart arrhythmia and can’t have caffeine. There are many people out there sensitive to caffeine as well. Please don’t kill me.

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