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What would you do?

jhopp217 Feb 12, 2009 06:15 PM

I was at the Supermarket the other day and this woman was sneezing. No biggie, except she wasn't covering her mouth and nose and was standing right by the salad bar. I mean she was right there scooping out food when she had a sneezing fit. Now an employee of the store looked at her and then at me. I made a face and walked away. My thought was that the employee would tell whoever needed to know.

After I left I felt funny. I never get food from the salad bar, but if I did would I have reacted diferently?

What would others have done?

  1. The Ranger Feb 19, 2009 09:40 AM

    "Even a 5-yo knows to cover her mouth. What's your excuse?" And then I would've stood there.

    It drives me nuts that so many don't use the sense gahd gave them to reduce idiot-induced moments like you were forced to witness.

    1. Bill Hunt Feb 16, 2009 07:21 PM

      I would opt for something besides salad.


      1. jfood Feb 16, 2009 11:12 AM

        Here is jfood's logic:

        - They installed a piece of plastic to come between the sneezer and the food
        - They called it a sneeze guard
        - Blech
        - Customer sneezes and covers mouth with hand
        - Customer use utensils to take food
        - Blech

        Jfoods do not do salad bars in grocers or restaurants at all.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jfood
          OOliver Feb 16, 2009 03:23 PM

          Here's what I have done in the past, when I have witnessed something similar...

          I called the state (RI) health department as soon as I got home, and logged a complaint with them.

          I didn't bother with the 'store manager' because that will go nowhere. Obviously, if the employee didn't know what to do (or opted to do nothing), that is a direct reflection on management within the store .

          I filed a complaint with the state health dept. who was very interested in what happened. They took my info, and sure enough - within two weeks they emailed me a copy of the 'surprise inspection' they did on the whole supermarket, which was cited for numerous errors.

          The HD did inform the store manager that they received a complaint from a customer (they didn't identify me) ; the date of the complaint; the nature of the complaint (person sneezing into the salad bar, unidentified employee witnessing this and walking away).

        2. d
          Diane in Bexley Feb 16, 2009 10:04 AM

          This is probably off topic but it reminds me of an incident that happened about 10-12 years ago. We lived in Deerfield, IL which is where the Chicago Bulls HQ is and they practice there. I worked from home and would go out at lunchtime to meet friends or run errands. Quite a few of the Bulls frequented Old Country Buffet, your basic one price home cooking chain where they could load up. They had sneeze guards over the items. Sure enough, I was there with a friends when one of the BBplayers was reaching for some food, bent down, sneezed very loudly and being 6'5", almost knocked himself out banging his head on the sneeze guard. It wasn't easy for myself and my friend, 2 short women to pick this poor schlameil off the floor. He was hurt and kinda mad when he offered an autograph and we demurred. Oh Well!

          1. yayadave Feb 14, 2009 09:43 AM

            For those people who are questioning the employee's lack of action, do you realize that in this era of ENTITLEMENT for all, if the "lowly" employee had scolded the offending customer, he would have probably gotten into a big-time argument. And If the customer had reported the employee to the manager, who do you think the manager would be backing?

            There's a whole new area for discussion re: Would the manager have replaced the food on the salad bar had jhopp called his attention to this situation.

            1. janetms383 Feb 13, 2009 01:29 PM

              I'm a big mouth. I would have said OMG you're sneezing on the salad. I worked at a Hallmark where we had candy bins. All the time, people would stick their bare hands in the bins to get candy. And, I had to say... USE THE SCOOPS. One woman said to me once.. well, I just took a shower before I came here ?? What?? I still don't want skanky hands in the candy bins

              1. PeterL Feb 13, 2009 12:54 PM

                Don't salad bars have these glass shields? Not that it's any consolation, but at least there is some protection.

                1. monavano Feb 13, 2009 09:33 AM

                  It's unbelievable what some people do. How on earth could you not think that SNEEZING ON THE SALAD BAR is OK? I mean, your either totally ignorant and apethetic, or you were dropped on your head and ate too many paint chips as a child.
                  I would have said something if the employee did not. Something along the lines of "that's disgusting-cover your mouth!
                  Then, I would have talked to a manager about replacing the food, and about the employee witnessing the incident and doing absolutely NOTHING.

                  1. Axalady Feb 13, 2009 08:57 AM

                    Don't think for one moment that the food behind the deli counter is any cleaner than on the salad bar. While I was waiting for lunch meat to be sliced at a local small upscale grocery store a few years ago one of the employees walking through (behind the counter) opened the case put his hand into one of the salads, grabbed a handful, stuffed it in his mouth, closed the case and kept on walking. The guy slicing the lunch meat looked at him shook his head, then looked at me. I'm sorry I never said anything at the time. It was obvious by the swiftness of his moves it certainly wasn't his first time doing it.

                    In a hospital where I used to work there was a make-it-yourself sandwich bar in the cafeteria. The bread was left in the bags for everyone to reach into and grab their slices. GROSS! Imagine all those health care workers reaching in up to their elbows for a piece of bread. Needless to say I NEVER made myself a sandwich for lunch. I couldn't believe the Health Department allowed it.

                    1. h
                      Harters Feb 13, 2009 08:05 AM

                      Fortunately, all the salad bars in our nearby supermarkets have good "sneeze shields" over them so it's not something I particularly worry about.

                      Now the bread department is another matter, but if I want crusty bread, I just got to to hope..........

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Harters
                        goodhealthgourmet Feb 13, 2009 10:07 AM

                        yeah, i was wondering why they don't have a sneeze guard on the salad bar at the OP's store. every one i've seen in the past several years does.

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                          jhopp217 Feb 13, 2009 11:09 AM

                          There was a sneeze guard but this woman was bending down and missing the guard all togteher. If she had sneezed on the plastic shield, I wouldn't have commented.

                          I didn't ask to see a manager because honestly, did i really believe that the manager was going to replace every item? no way

                          1. re: jhopp217
                            Pylon Feb 16, 2009 01:38 PM

                            Hang on. She leaned under the sneeze guard and THEN sneezed?

                            That deserves way more than a stern look. You should feel free to go ahead and knock her head first into the pudding.

                            I had an exchange with a lady at the bagel bin one morning. She was picking them up to examine them (no glove, no tissue, both of which are provided in great quantity), but then put them back and picked up different ones. I let her know I was glad I had mine out before she arrived, and that her practice of fingering the food was unhealthy, rude, and disgusting.

                            And, well, that led to a disagreement...

                            1. re: Pylon
                              LindaWhit Feb 19, 2009 09:47 AM

                              Hang on. She leaned under the sneeze guard and THEN sneezed?

                              That deserves way more than a stern look. You should feel free to go ahead and knock her head first into the pudding.
                              LOL! I agree - I would have said something - first to the woman, and THEN to the manager of the store. And if he did nothing about it, I would have called the Board of Health. That is seriously disgusting.

                        2. re: Harters
                          taos Feb 13, 2009 05:17 PM

                          Every salad bar I've seen has a sneeze shield. The problem is these only work if the sneezer is over about 5 foot 4 or so. That's more than the height of a a child or the average adult woman. I'm only 5 foot 1 and a sneeze shield on a salad bar fits over my head.

                        3. q
                          queencru Feb 13, 2009 05:13 AM

                          At that point, I think the salad bar items were already lost so telling the person to stop sneezing over the salad bar would have been worthless. If the employee was looking worthless, I would have asked to speak to a manager to explain what happened so the store could replace the salad bar.

                          I've only been to one store that had a salad bar, and it was removed. I'm wondering if this problem just creates too much waste if they have to restock after someone sneezes on it or otherwise comes in and manhandles it.

                          1. Boccone Dolce Feb 13, 2009 04:40 AM

                            I wrote about this the other day but my post was deleted (I get off topic often!) In the meat dept. this guy's nose was dripping onto all these packages of meat- he was standing there for quite a while sniffling, and when I glanced over at him I saw it all...including the splashdown. GaHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!

                            It's not quite the same as open food like a salad bar, but it was equally disgusting.

                            Don't you love it when you are in a restaurant, innocently sitting there, eating, and someone walks by and COUGH/SNEEZE/COUGH just exactly at the moment where they are sort of looming over your dish!?!? Man, why can't they turn their head AWAY- cover their mouth- something?!?! I've been known to throw my napkin over my plate when people are walking past our table-it's like I'm an airbourne snot target.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Boccone Dolce
                              DGresh Feb 13, 2009 04:50 AM

                              That always makes me think of the time we went out for a nice dinner with my young daughter (I guess about 4 or 5 at the time). We almost entirely eat at home, and had always taught her to turn away from the table when she needed to sneeze. However we had not yet had the occasion to modify that lesson on meals out, so she dutifully turned away and sneezed directly toward another table (hand over her mouth fortunately!) one of those-- "I did what you told me to do"....

                            2. alkapal Feb 13, 2009 04:25 AM

                              if the store employee just stood there like a dolt, i would've said, "would you mind doing your sneezing away from this salad bar area?" then i would complain to the store manager about the dolt employee, with a name!

                              1. t
                                taos Feb 13, 2009 03:36 AM

                                Another example of why I don't partake from salad bars. We discussed this in another thread last week and i was told that it's OK because there are germs everywhere.

                                In this situation, I would have told the store manager of the situation.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: taos
                                  mschow Feb 17, 2009 06:47 AM

                                  I am so with the others who don't do salad bars or buffets. The food becomes a petri dish of germs from too many multiple hands. I've seen people touching food, smelling it up to their noses, putting stuff back or just using their bare hands to get items off a buffet. No thank you.

                                  1. re: mschow
                                    alkapal Feb 17, 2009 07:21 AM

                                    just tell them, "oh sure, just go right ahead and put your used kleenex in there!" ;-O.

                                    1. re: mschow
                                      kchurchill5 Feb 17, 2009 07:52 AM

                                      True, that does happen ... However is ever worked in a top restaurant ... most people would be shocked to see what takes place. Even the best of the best. You think no because it is a 4 or 5 star restaurant, but believe me, not quite the same but still you would be amazed at what takes place.

                                      It doesn't bother me.

                                  2. n
                                    nkeane Feb 12, 2009 06:51 PM

                                    and hence my "no salad bar/buffet/self service" eating establishment rule! It may not be any cleaner when its made in a kitchen and served to me, but atleast I have a thin veil of out-of-sight-out-of-mind!!!

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: nkeane
                                      rHairing Feb 12, 2009 06:59 PM

                                      I'm with you. I was at my Wegmans and in the bakery section where you can freely pick your muffins..bagels..this kid was picking tops of muffins..licking his fingers..and going for another round...ewwww..mom was busy on her cell and shopping.

                                      1. re: rHairing
                                        goodhealthgourmet Feb 12, 2009 07:53 PM

                                        i would have said something to the mother...and the store manager.

                                        1. re: rHairing
                                          gryphonskeeper Feb 16, 2009 05:48 PM

                                          I would have picked up every muffin he touched, put it in a bag, and placed it in the moms cart saying "your son chose these muffins for you...enjoy!"

                                          1. re: gryphonskeeper
                                            kchurchill5 Feb 16, 2009 06:14 PM

                                            I second that.

                                            1. re: gryphonskeeper
                                              The Ranger Feb 19, 2009 09:38 AM

                                              I LOVE it! Kudos, Gryphonskeeper! I wish others would step up to aberrant behavior like this; it would quickly stop.

                                        2. RShea78 Feb 12, 2009 06:45 PM

                                          ODD! I never seen a Supermarket with a Salad Bar! Was it an eatery inside the Supermarket?

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: RShea78
                                            jhopp217 Feb 12, 2009 06:52 PM

                                            They all have them near me

                                            1. re: RShea78
                                              PeterL Feb 13, 2009 12:52 PM

                                              Odd indeed. Lots of them do. Many have extensive food bars. Whole Foods, for example.

                                              1. re: RShea78
                                                kchurchill5 Feb 16, 2009 11:14 AM

                                                Most of ours in FL have them. Not an eatery, just a salad bar. Strange, never seen a store without one.

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