Gross gross grossI spent nine years in the deli end of the biz in Chicago. You want gross?
First place had a late shift of large rats (not to mention legions of roaches). They'd commence activity at about 10 minutes prior to closing (8 PM). Cleanup was very very quick here. Had one puppy scoot between my legs one dark night. I still get chills.
One Sunday afternoon, we had a sick (poisoned) specimen crawling around
on the shelves up front behind the crackers and mustard display. We managed to distract the couple of customers for a few minutes while we corralled it to the rear, where our psychotic porter took the garden hoe (don't ask) and bearing down with all his strength (ex-boxer with mangled paw)
on the back of the neck of the little guy for about five minutes, was able to end everybody's suffering.
Every night, we made sure to leave a 2" deep stainless half pan on the counter right by the front door so that whoever was opening was able to grab the pan and drop it on the floor in order to let the "night shift" know that they could go home and kick back.
My next position in downtown Chicago was a very busy shop that HAD NO WASHROOMS. The owners (quite blatantly) bribed the inspector with cash and product. This enabled them to stay open despite the myriad violations.
As a matter of fact, they probably would have scored less than 2 out of 100.
Mice and roaches were rampant. The mice ate through the deli cases up front, and every morning the pre-slice guy would open up the cryovac-sealed 8 lb. roast beef or the brisket or turkey or salami, trim away the area that had been gnawed upon, and slice up the rest for the day's fare. Remember the old butter pats and cardboard squares topped with waxed paper, that were lined up on end, three or four rows of 100 per box? Well, we'd come in in the morning and have to brush the mouse droppings off of them before use.
Oh, and the part about no washrooms? In the basement, two feet from the door of the five and a half-foot high walk-in storage (really) was a 12" solid brass sewer cover which was left open tilted on a 45-degree angle to allow for male urinary functions. The day's produce delivery would be stacked within eighteen inches of this sewer.
Woman had to leave the restaurant, go outside in all weather and walk to the main building entrance and go up to the third floor washroom.
They would store the egg cases (gross cartons) on the floor of the kitchen. One day, someone most have punctured the bottom edge of the lowest case with a two-wheeler, because a couple of mornings later, the rotten egg smell at 6AM was amazing, only to be topped by the discovery of the actual egg problem which was a mass of crawling white maggots. I tell ya, it's good to have a coal shovel in your restaurant. Because in addition to using it to cart out that mess, later the same morning they carried out the dead mouser (yes, they had a f---ing cat living the placeÑoh, didn't I mention the "spraying" problem?) which was found dead in the basement at 10AM, swollen to twice it's size.
That was my last day.