Excuse me while I rant a little!

I just got back from a neighbourhood sandwich shop, where I was totally disgusted and grossed out!

But allow me to explain. I enjoy the same lunch every work day – a Tuna and Cheese sandwich, soup and that wonderfully stimulating beverage that I have somehow become addicted to, Red Bull.

The weekend lunch, of course, will be the subject of a different write up but I can tell you now that due to the time of day it is consumed it is not only not called lunch (it’s brunch), but it also consists of a marvellous collection of secret ingredients I have refined over the years, intended to neutralise an excess build up of lactic acid in my body caused, in no small part, by my incessant consumption of certain beverages containing alcohol the evening before. But I digress.

Anyway, I was coming back from a meeting a few tube stops away from my office, and decided to try a new sandwich shop since it was on my way.

As I enter the thin, narrow shop a female customer is just leaving with her purchase, and the guy behind the glass counter acknowledges my presence by walking towards me away from the cash register in the rear.

“Hey how ‘ya doing?” I inquire genuinely. Americans are good like that.

“Are you being served?” he asks, knowing full well I just walked in the damn door. But that’s ok; he’s just being polite.

“Uhh, ummm” I mumble, looking at the specials. I always go through this little ritual, even at the place where I usually get my lunch, otherwise folks here in London automatically think you’re a stereotypical fast talking, rude and pushy New Yorker.

“Yeah, how about…” placing my usual order. I glance approvingly at the plastic gloves he’s wearing over his hands. I approve of hygiene. And this is why :

Do you have any idea what a fucking filthy place the world is? Billions – NO TRILLIONS – of nasty little bacteria, these critters are crawling all the time all over EVERYTHING. And especially on the human body. The exterior of the human body is the pits when it comes to clean.

So I like it when the Sandwich Master (and I apologise in advance for my ignorance here; a Wine Steward in a nice restaurant is called The Sommelier, and the nice French girl at my nearby coffee bar is a trained Barrista, but isn’t there a snooty name for the person making your sandwich??) wears plastic gloves.

That way I’ve got peace of mind. I don’t have to worry to myself what he’s been doing with those filthy hands, or where those filthy hands have been, or – this is worst of all – if he’s what I call a YELLOW HAND.

And consistent with my goal of this writeup maintaining a PG-13 rating, I won’t spell out what that means, but please be advised that it involves :

  1. Men’s rooms
  2. Men engaging in natural biological activity in men’s rooms
  3. Men who leave men’s rooms without washing their hands
  4. (and there are a lot of them around).

But we don’t have a problem. Cause he’s wearing these wonderful plastic gloves.

He makes and wraps my sandwich, ladles out some soup (Tomato Peppercorn), and gets a can of Red Bull out of the fridge. ALL WITH THOSE GLOVES ON.

Now I’m worried. Like do those gloves EVER come off? He rings up my order – “Six pounds, thirty pence please”, and extends his GLOVED hand for payment.

Money is really really filthy, but even though it’s going from me to him I’m beginning to suspect we’ve got a problem. He returns my change (thirteen pounds and seventy pence), and I take my time putting the cash away so I can watch him with the next customer.


In case you have not been paying attention, allow me to recap: Different customer, different order, same gloves. God I’m going to be sick!

Now that you’ve read through all my neurotic bug fearing rant, you’re entitled to ask what all the fuss is about, and that’s a fair enough question.

But its best answered with another question - By wearing these damn gloves, who is protecting whom from what? In food service, I always thought the gloves - like those on a surgeons hands - should protect the customer from contamination on the workers body.

Boy why does it look to me like it’s the other way around here?

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