Thursday, April 20, 2006

Hey, careful, man, there's a beverage here!

Germs -- I've recently pondered the idea of germs. People are quite conscious of such at times, but not so much at other times.

Some can be obsessive about hand washing and hand sanitizing agent, of course, but I find it interesting how often efforts are made to fight the germ horde that are half-hearted.

Some examples I've noticed follow.

At a buffet sneeze guards are in place and you must take a clean plate each time, but what about the handle on the pizza spatula or the serving spoon? For example, you may have washed your hands after using the restroom, but how do you know the guy in front of you did? His paws are all over the serving instruments and then your hands touch them which then touch your food, etc. It's interesting that at a restaurant you will still see a server hand the diner an unwrapped straw, obviously getting germs thereupon. Or what about where they grab your drink to reload it and then hand it back to you? Their germs are now on the outside of your cup. What's more, you likely have those germs intermingled with the other chap who got his germs all over his cup, which the server grabbed before yours. Yet, the most heinous offenders of all of buffet-dom are the unsupervised kids who have been pawing everything in sight and then grab a piece of pizza with his/her paws, holding the adjoining piece with the other paw, which will remain in the pan. Not so good, particularly from a germ perspective.

I really hate it when they grab my cup up high, near where I'm going to drink. I don't use the straw, so I'm already taking my life into my hand by putting my mouth on a cup of questionable cleanliness. I've even seen a server hand back a person's glass by holding it in such a way that a finger was actually inside the glass. I kid you not.

What about restrooms? There's so much germ action, but at least people know to wash their paws. However, what about using your clean hands to pull open the AIDS-infested door to exit? What's up with that? Doors should always be pushed to leave or you can at least use a paper towel to open the door and then throw it in a nearby trash can. I can assure you not everybody washes their paws, even though the sign demands employees do so. Of course, the worst is the hot air hand dryer which necessitates me wiping my hands on my jeans to dry them.

Restrooms aren't the only germ factories. What about the fast food kids' play area? I've watched as kids go back and forth from eating to playing and back again. They'll grab a French fry and then head back up the slide where some kid's been trampling in his less than sterile bare feet. Noses run and fries get left by the wayside. For my money, there's no better place to go for kid germs.

Sometimes there's a symbolic anti-germ gesture that really isn't as effective as one thinks. For example, people like to use a cup to scoop out ice for their drinks rather than using one's hands. I noticed this recently while on a plane. The drink lady would scoop up a few cubes with her cup to put in the flyer's cup. She would then grab the less than sanitary soda can, open it, and serve it with a napkin. Where did ice cup go, you ask? It's back in the ice bag ... contaminating the ice with germs from her hands that she would never think of using to touch ice. So, now she will grab the ice cup, with germ infested hands and repeat the process. Of course, during this time she also takes some guy's fast food trash from him. My point is that the ice cup is contaminated and it contaminates the ice as it keep be replaced there.

A few nights ago I'm at a fast food joint. I washed my paws with hot, soapy water. I dried them with a paper towel and used said paper towel to pull open the door. Then I touched my credit card and gave it to the guy. He got his paws all over it, after having touched the keypad. He handed the contaminated card and a cup he touched to me. I touched that cup and got some good, quality H2O to drink. I was brought a tray of varying cleanliness. I touched my triple meat, triple cheese burger with paws that had been contaminated by credit card, receipt, cup, and tray.

So, how clean are the hands that stack the cups?
How clean are the hands that stack the trays?
How clean are the hands that put the napkins in the whammie?
How clean is the bucket that puts the ice in the top of the beverage dispenser?
How clean is the ... you get the idea, right?

Like I said, some folks are keenly aware of germs and try to fight them. In fact, one can benefit from the miracle of the Internet in the war on germs. I guess that's admirable, especially where kids are involved. But, by way of contrast, I saw the opposite going on outside my window this past Good Friday. It was bulk item pick up in Murphy, so we were able to put all kinds of cag at the curb.

So, the guy has to get out and not just roll the can to the back of the truck to get loaded, but has to handle the garbage. The guy doing the dirty work got out of the truck with no gloves, but sucking on a lollipop, taking it in and out from time to time in the process. I say dirty work, because some of this was a bunch of cag that had defrosted and subsequently rotted in my defunct freezer about a week before. You know, rotting meat, unfrozen pizzas, unfrozen ice cream, etc. Despite the smell, he had not a care in the world about germs.

For some reason, I found that refreshing.


At 14 July, 2006 19:37, Blogger James said...

Well, I've got a topper for you....

Today at work I'm in the boy's room taking care of business, right, and can't help but *hear* a gentleman behind door #1. You really don't want to be in there at a time like that, but, when you gotta go you gotta go! So, gentleman behind door #1 emerges from the cave and walks STRAIGHT PAST THE SINK AND ON OUT THE DOOR! No soap. No water. No nothin'! AFTER BEING IN THE CAVE! I nearly hurled. When I was finished with my business I washed my paws with twice as much soap and water as usual because I was so disgusted.

You know AID was on the door!

Right now I'm headed to Wal-Mart to buy a filter mask and rubber gloves.............

At 26 September, 2006 15:35, Blogger GUNNY said...


You can get the AID from someone slooging your ice!

Dirty ice can make you sick ... Are food-handlers taking the same precautions with ice?


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