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Eating while staff is cleaning tables with Windex and mopping the floors with bleach..

This is a major buzz kill for me on so many levels..

Chemicals and eating don't go well for me.
Has this happened to you...what do you do?

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  1. How near was the table---next to you or a few tables away? I can see how the odor would be off putting, no matter how much I like cleanliness.

    1. God, I hate this. One of the most annoying things I can encounter while eating out. I sometimes ask them to stop. If it's fast food, however, I just eat faster and leave.

      1. "Do you mind not doing that right by us?"

        1. It's not the chemicals that I mind, but more the feeling of the implication to hurry up and get out. I understand that restaurants close at x time but if you allow me to sit and enjoy a meal I think that perhaps you can focus on other cleaning responsibilities outside the view of the customers and accept that you might have to stay later because you seated a table at whatever time with the risk that they might still be there near closing time.

          3 Replies
          1. re: fldhkybnva

            Since this is only about your perception of being rushed and not about the actual work or chemicals

            Quote: accept that you might have to stay later because you seated a table at whatever time with the risk that they might still be there near closing time

            um, if it bothers you that much then you can choose your timing better of when you show up. Go earlier and avoid the clean up. Choose a restaurant that closes later if you have no choice to go earlier. It's not the restaurants fault that you feel rushed just because someone is cleaning closed stations. BTW, in some restaurants certain stations are only open during the lunch rush and dinner rush and are reset in between hours.

            I see a lot of people posting stuff on Chow that is really based on their own internal dialogue ( cleaning means I have to get out) rather than any actual interactions with the staff ( them asking if you are finished yet, or telling you they are closing soon, no longer refilling your coffee because it's closing time). This really isn't about the staff.

            1. re: fldhkybnva

              << if you allow me to sit and enjoy a meal I think that perhaps you can focus on other cleaning responsibilities outside>>

              the "you" you are referring to is normally a very low-on-the-pecking-order person who has been given orders about what to do and when to do it. this person is normally NOT in any way in a position to protest the orders nor to change the orders on the fly.

              <accept that you might have to stay later>
              the closing procedures that management puts in place are normally constructed (for a host of reasons) so that nobody has "to stay later." as a matter of fact, in many restaurants, they are NOT PERMITTED to stay later.

              closing procedures are intentional, deliberate, decisions on the part of restaurant management based on management's judgement.

              closing a restaurant out is normally a team effort with everyone doing their part in a particular order for a particular reason. i've NEVER worked in a restaurant where a member of the closing team had any on-the-fly say about how to go about the job.

              re: mom 'n pop places
              one of the mom 'n pop places that i frequent has the same person doing the cleaning as doing the kitchen prep work.
              he arrives at 10AM and doesn't leave the place until 9:30PM. he does this 6 days a week.
              every time i walk in he is working feverishly.
              i would NEVER do anything that would cause him to
              <accept that you might have to stay later>
              the food they serve is special--not the usual corporate food made with industrial ingredients. the care they take in the cleanliness of the restaurant is special. the care they take of their clients is special.
              it would be worse than haughty for me to show late in the evening AND make requests that they stay late just for me because i chose to linger enough so that my visit overlaps with their cleanup procedure and i don't like being around during the normal cleanup/closing procedure.

              1. re: fldhkybnva

                Thing is, the workers can't stay late unless the owner is willing to pay them overtime. Some can't stay late because they have another job to get to. As a customer, your convenience is of course first consideration, but it's not a bad thing to be mindful of the people who are working to make your tables, floors, kitchens clean. When you go into a restaurant and sit at a table, you expect the table to be clean. What about the folks sitting next to that table who watched it get cleaned? When you turn over a table, it gets wiped, so unless the place is empty, somebody is going to witness the wiping. I'm not sure if I want a table wiped with water from a dirty bucket, or sprayed with, say, vinegar or something else benign. There's always a balancing act, and some give and take.

              2. in the back section that they've already closed? okay.

                next to me? Not so much.