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Is thus a hygiene issue or am I just being fussy?

Yesterday, my 10 y.o. And I went to lunch at a recently opened restaurant in our area. Not high end, but more of a pub type place with a bar on one side and serving sandwiches, salads, pizza with table service. While we were waiting for our meals, our waitress climbed up on the food service counter next to us and stood there for a few minutes while she wrote a new menu on the blackboard over the counter. She had her shoes on, walking on the counter right in front of us. To me, this was inappropriate. Those shoes walk into bathrooms, on the street, etc., and they are depositing germs on a surface where food is placed. I mean, how much does a stepladder cost? Someone in charge clearly chose to put the blackboard menu there; did no one figure out how to access it? If something like that (waling on a counter) is freely done right in front of customers, what goes on behind the scenes? I watched our pizza com right from the oven to us, so we ate it and left. Would this make you uneasy or am I being too picky?

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  1. I'm with you. I'm surprised to hear about a server doing this.

    It drives me crazy to see parents let their brats walk around on the seats in restaurant booths. Are they kidding? Where have those shoes been? ICK ICK ICK.

    1. Did she or someone wipe down or clean the counter after she was done?

      1. was the counter disinfected after she walked on it?

        1. TOTALLY uneasy! The other thing that really gets to me is when somebody sits their toddler in diapers on a counter while paying for takeout. Yuck!

          21 Replies
          1. re: jbsiegel

            how about letting their kids sit in diapers in the grocery cart?
            or letting their toddler kids stand and walk around in the large section of the cart with their shoes on?

            1. re: westsidegal

              Are you referring to the part of the cart designed for kids? Because I have no problem with that :)

              1. re: CanadaGirl

                if the kids are in diapers only, i have a problem with it.

                unless diaper technology has vastly changed in the last 20 years, they leak/ooze.

                think rotavirus. most kids get infected with it several times.

                1. re: westsidegal

                  Are you saying you've seen kids shopping who had diapers with nothing over them?! I've never seen that, and that is inappropriate.

                  However, as long as they are dressed, I'm fine with it. I always wipe the carts down though, including the handle.

                  1. re: CanadaGirl

                    yes, in the summertime i have seen that.
                    sometimes the only thing "over" the diaper is a onesie, which doesn't really cover it.

                    1. re: westsidegal

                      That's why grocery stores all have cart-wipes at the front door... if you're concerned that some little germ-carrier has been dirtying up the trolley, you can disinfect it before you touch it.
                      As for the OP, I sure hope that the follow-up to standing on the counter to write the menu was wiping it clean before they put food on it!

                    2. re: CanadaGirl

                      I've definitely seen parents toting around their children in shopping carts wearing only a diaper. And those kids usually have some type of food all over their face. I always suspected the clothing was probably also covered in food, and left in the car.

                    3. re: westsidegal

                      This is exactly why I don't use the top "kiddie seat" part of the shopping cart, ever. I just shut that part of the cart and lay everything on the bottom of the cart. I've read too many stories of "junior had an accident while we were out shopping" - which is a shame, since it does make a nice place to put cartons of eggs and loaves of bread - things you don't want squished.

                      1. re: khh1138

                        Well since this thread is straying a bit off topic I will add this to the list of ewwwww places for children.

                        Ball Pits!?!?!?! You know like at Mc Donalds or Chuck E Cheese........I would NEVER allow my children to play in those ball pits. All I could think of is the urine and possible worse soaked floor on the bottom of those things. They are vile ball filled petri dishes of germs!!

                        1. re: jrvedivici

                          Since we are off topic, I'll just throw it further off....

                          I cringe when a grocery store checker is obviously sick. I just envision all those germs getting all over my stuff....

                          (and I'm really NOT a germ freak at all...there are just some hot buttons)

                          1. re: jrvedivici

                            My kids, and their peers survived ball pits.

                            1. re: jeanmarieok

                              Hey, obviously millions of children have, I'll admit, it's just my "icky" factor.

                  2. re: jbsiegel

                    How about people letting their children out in public? I hate that.

                    Seriously, standing on the counter where they then place food. That's a no no. Usually I don't fret too much about a lot of the things with kids for some reason. Maybe it's because I raised 5. After the first time one of them goes to throw up and you try to "catch it" so it doesn't get on the couch your perspective changes a bit.

                    1. re: bobbert

                      people's standards seem to be much more relaxed if it's their own kid or a kid for which they are caring:
                      someone else's kid, now that's a different story.

                      1. re: westsidegal

                        Yeah, you're right. I guess I did hoave a different standard for my own children as I had a pretty good idea how clean they really were.
                        I do admit to having different standards for different types of places. In the instance of the OP's, I might have emailed the place with a "...you know, having your employee standing on the counter where you serve food...etc.) I've also been to places in my time (and it's been a pretty long time) where I've seen women actually dance on the bar where they served food. No one seemed to mind but pluck a diaper clad baby on the counter at Denny's - I'd probably have a problem with that.

                        1. re: bobbert

                          <<No one seemed to mind>>
                          especially if the women were wearing really high spike-heeled shoes. . . . . .

                      2. re: bobbert

                        I don't fret, at all, when it comes to innocent children who do what they do. They're children, not adults who should know better. It's the parents who I have a problem with that pick their children up and let them either stand or sit on the counter where there's an expectation of a clean space.
                        I've raised children and would never have allowed them to sit, stand or lay down on the counter.

                        1. re: latindancer

                          i wasn't finding fault with the diapered children, rather i was finding fault with the parents of the diapered children whose practices were practically a recipe for rotavirus dissemination.

                          i find it hard to believe that the parents didn't know that everything should be done to keep food and fecal matter completely separate.

                          1. re: westsidegal

                            It would seem perfectly logical, wsg, but I see it more often than I would like. I simply won't use the big shopping carts that babies can sit it.

                      3. re: jbsiegel

                        The baby in diapers on food surfaces is a huge pet peeve of mine.

                        It's one reason why I NEVER use the little front section of grocery carts. They are mostly used to sit small children in diapers and sometimes women's purses (that also commonly spend time on public restroom floors). Then people pick up the cart and put food in it. That's completely disgusting.

                        It does not matter if the kid has clothes over the diaper. Any parent can tell you that the things leak all the time.

                        I was in the store today and a guy rolled up next to me with a three-year old in the big part of the cart. It's snowy here so the kid got his muddy feet all over the cart.

                      4. No, the counter was not disinfected. :(

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Kat

                          counters, imho, even when people don't stand on them, need to be disinfected after each use (including counting out money on the counter, including people putting their briefcases/purses on the counter, etc) just the same as i treat my kitchen counter.

                          1. Does anyone remember that Flay vs. Morimoto Iron Chef battle when Bobby Flay won and stood on the counter/cutting board.. And Morimoto was furious?

                            1. I would have asked her to please clean the counter.It is unsanitary and a source of contamination for anyone to do that in a food service area. I also would have spoken to the manager and pointed out that it is unsanitary. I was in the produce department the other day and the produce worker dropped a bunch of Roma tomatoes ( literally at my feet) he just bend down and started piling them onto the display. I actually put my hand on his arm.....shook my head and said
                              "You have no idea whether people will wash those at home or just assume they are clean and eat them as is.I just watched you pick them up off this filthy floor and put them on top of that pile.Please remove them or I will find the manager and complain about you and what I observed you do". He complied but even though I tried not to embarrass him he was quite embarrassed. I could care less.You are not too picky.Food safety and sanitation are a priority.

                              38 Replies
                              1. re: Lillipop

                                Not to get too off topic, but I always wash my produce and can't believe anyone wouldn't! Would you have been as bothered if it had been something with a thick/discarded skin (oranges or limes or potatoes or onions)? What about your fellow shoppers who drop produce and throw it right back onto the stack? I have seen this done countless times, and it seems like the most frequent offenders are those who feel the need to choose THAT one particular tomato the bottom row, and send the rest of the stack tumbling.

                                If you thought the dropped roma was bad, you will shudder at this-- just today I saw a lady drop a clamshell of blueberries, sweep them back into the container, place it back on the shelf and then spend another 5min selecting the blueberries she wanted (popping open clamshells and tasting as she went) before finally selecting blackberries instead, of course after more extensive tasting. I was floored by her audacity and sense of entitlement.

                                1. re: ohmyyum

                                  Um is that a trick question? The part about the orange lime and onion?

                                  1. re: Lillipop

                                    No not at all! I'm with you that it was unsanitary.

                                    With things like citrus, however, it can be more difficult for someone to tell if it had been previously dropped because the sturdier skin would not show as much damage/bruising as say, a tomato or an apple.

                                    My point is that I see produce getting dropped, and getting put right back onto the shelf by other customers all the time. I suppose the difference in your case is that it was a store employee doing it.

                                    1. re: ohmyyum

                                      but we also don't typically eat citrus rind -- but we *do* eat tomato skin regularly.

                                      Still should rinse it all, but it's less of an issue with nonedible rinds.

                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                        You may not eat the citrus rind, but if you're like a lot of people, you've had a drink with a slice or wedge of lime and lemon in it. Where has the lemon or lime been? And was the outside of it washed before it made it into your drink? Probably not.

                                      2. re: ohmyyum

                                        I am just overly cautious because of working in hospitals for many years. I am also a healthy person but for some reason I am also the sad sack that seems to be contaminated by germs of others. Irony....like something out of a Woody Allen film. Go figure:) I am starting to realize that my fervor@being on germ patrol while out in public may not be shared by others:) Your reference to the rinds or skins did make me think of the salmonella contamination that caused the massive cantaloupe recall in 2012.I need to go buy a couple of new little scrub brushes:)

                                        1. re: Lillipop

                                          <<I am just overly cautious>>

                                          i don't think your caution is "overly" cautious.
                                          there are many more drug-resistant superbugs today than there used to be. ( for a host of reasons)
                                          your caution seems perfectly rational to me.

                                          p.s. i remember that cantaloupe salmonella outbreak. 94 people hospitalized. 3 died.

                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                            I don't recall the 2012 cantaloupe recall but Jensen farms cantaloupe listeria outbreak in late 2011 killed 30 people and sickened 146 in 28 states.

                                            1. re: ohmyyum

                                              the 2012 cantaloupe salmonella outbreak originated in melons that came from chamberlain farms.
                                              A total of 261 persons infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Typhimurium (228 persons) and Salmonella Newport (33 persons) were reported from 24 states
                                              which included, as i mentioned before, 94 hospitalizations, 3 deaths.

                                            2. re: westsidegal

                                              There was also an outbreak of a food borne illness at DVI (Duell Vocational Prison) in the Tracy Ca. area in 2009 or 2010. The single serving milk cartons were contaminated with either salmonella or some other pathogen. There was a massive outbreak on all of the prison units among the inmates. Etiology unknown.They finally solved the puzzle and resolved the issue.So that is an example of how improper handling of food products can cause a massive outbreak of a food borne illness.

                                              1. re: Lillipop

                                                the cdc lists the outbreaks that they have investigated (mostly multi-state outbreaks) both by pathogen and by year.
                                                not a year goes by without outbreaks and some deaths.

                                      3. re: ohmyyum

                                        Just as an addendum.I am fanatical about sanitation regarding food and food preparation.I worked in food service for two years at a huge hospital before I went into nursing.Believe me there are strict rules regarding sanitation that you had better follow.So maybe I just have a more microscopic POV about sanitation...contamination...food borne pathogens etc. That kitchen was as strict about sanitation as the actual hospital units I worked on later:)

                                        1. re: ohmyyum

                                          i, too, always wash my produce.
                                          lots of reasons for doing this.

                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                            My worst produce aisle story concerns a mother, a nose-picking child, and the head of broccoli the child grabbed mid-pick and chomped down on, and which the mother then grabbed and put back on the stack.

                                            I swiped the broccoli off the stack, threw it in a convenient trash receptace, and went and got someone. The woman did this little defensive Homer Simpson-y "oooh, lord of the broccoli...gotta protect the broccoli" dance move as she hightailed it out of the produce aisle.

                                            1. re: Jay F

                                              Oh, I see it all the time and don't consider myself a germaphobe. I do, however, like cleanliness and proper hygiene.

                                              From what I've seen those cheese and crackers offerings are the worst. It's the nose picking, running nosed, hungry and thirsty child, whose mommy tells her/him to 'eat a bunch of this and you'll feel better' scene, that gives me pause.
                                              I wash everything and don't sample the cheese and crackers.

                                        2. re: Lillipop

                                          there was a thread that ran to hundreds of posts about all the stuff the tomatoes come in contact before they end up in the store -- stuff that's a lot scarier than a floor that gets washed at least once a day.

                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                            that's one reason i wash my tomatos before slicing and eating.
                                            grapes, citrus, apples, pears, cucumbers, peppers, too.

                                            anything with a smooth skin/peel gets washed.

                                            1. re: westsidegal

                                              Don't for get the bananas and oranges too. The insides might be fine but you hold the pesticide covered fruit in your hands, peel it, then procede to hold your previously chemical/crap free fruit with your newly contaminated hands and eat it. We can go on forever. Everything we come in contact with is gross.

                                              1. re: bobbert

                                                it's amazing we all manage to survive an average day.

                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                    actually, if you look at the CDC statistics, "we" DON'T all manage to survive.
                                                    because the only people on this board are people who are still alive, SELECTION BIAS is created.

                                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                                      your sarcasm detector is malfunctioning.

                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                        my sarcasm detector has never been hooked up.
                                                        need to get a Sarcasm Technician in to see about that.

                                                    2. re: sunshine842

                                                      Given how often I forget to wash my apples, I'm pretty sure I'm going to be the star of the next episode of "I Shouldn't Be Alive."

                                                    3. re: bobbert

                                                      i absolutely wash bananas and all citrus.

                                                      the harder-skinned fruit, like apples, citrus, etc. get washed before they are put in the refrigerator; that way, nice, clean, cold, healthful, fruit is always readily available.

                                                      bananas, though, get washed as they get used.

                                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                                        I also wash my apples and avocados and other fruit before it goes in the fridge (except berries and figs, which get washed immediately before use), but it has never occurred to me to wash a banana! I eat them out of the peel, usually on the go, or slice them inside the peel to avoid dirtying another plate or cutting board. I don't touch the banana and the banana never touches the outside of the peel.

                                                    4. re: westsidegal

                                                      I was shopping at a Winco in the city south of Lodi with the high homicide rate etc.etc.That store is like bursting at the seams with every imaginable type of individual possible...*hood rats*....moms with kids LOTS of little rogue kids running wild.....businessmen......grandmothers.....in other words that floor was scummy.My point was that kids/toddlers grab things and shove them in their mouths......maybe some geriatric person forgets to scrub the produce.I am cognizant and functional so it is not an issue with me.I wash my purchases and since the cantaloupe recall I scrub and wash melons....and oranges etc. Food borne pathogens are not a *third world issue*. People can die from food borne illnesses.My beef was with the employee for pulling that crap right in front of me.The nerve of that sap:(

                                                      1. re: Lillipop

                                                        i am in complete agreement with you.

                                                        1. re: westsidegal

                                                          westsidegal.....I hope I am not being intrusive by asking this and if I am overstepping a boundary I apologize up front. I am always open to listening and learning.Are you in the science field? You gave us great stats very efficiently. Appreciate that.

                                                          1. re: Lillipop

                                                            not at this point in my life, but now my daughter is in the science field.

                                                            really rue the fact that when i wanted to get my masters in human genetics and become a genetic counselor (in the early 70's), my professor-of-medicine uncle convinced me that there wouldn't be any demand for people in that profession. listening to him on this topic was one of the worst decisions of my life. still mourning that "path not taken."

                                                            1. re: westsidegal

                                                              You obviously have the brain for comprehending microbiology and bacteria:) Good on your daughter. Our daughters have so many more options than we did and I am grateful for that.

                                                        2. re: Lillipop

                                                          Yeah, I know that store...I've shopped that store. I've seen many of those same kids cruise the bulk bins as if they were a huge, snack buffet. One of many reasons I don't like that store.

                                                    5. re: Lillipop

                                                      Glad to encounter a kindred spirit, Lillipop! Having had a very similar experience to yours re: tomatoes, and reacting just about the same way (asking they be removed from sale), I posted about my experience and was taken aback by the responses. Read about it here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/887494

                                                      1. re: Lillipop

                                                        I dunno, I view it as EVERYONE's personal responsibility to wash their own produce. Unless it's in a sealed container, if you don't wash it, you're an idiot. People handle it, sneeze on it, etc. The grocery worker wasn't doing anything wrong in my opinion - no one has a right to expect that the produce they buy is clean and ready to eat. I watch people drop produce in the grocery store all the time and put it back on the pile. The guy was probably less embarrassed than biting his tongue so he didn't say something to you that would get him fired.

                                                        1. re: Heatherb

                                                          Um no there was no tongue biting or tongue thrusting.Nothing I observed indicated a grown man being on the verge of *jeopardizing* his job @ Winco Foods secondary to an interaction between two adults.Maybe the majority of people handle themselves with more finesse than you seem to want to give them credit for. Calm down you are over reacting to my posts:)

                                                          1. re: Heatherb

                                                            Even if it is in a sealed container. I always wash those so-called "organic" salads one buys in horrible clamshell packaging. I buy those very infrequently, but I sure wouldn't trust their cleanliness.

                                                          2. re: Lillipop

                                                            Tomatoes and other foods go through so many stages of picking and transportation that them rolling onto the floor of a shop should not be problematic. I have purchased food which was dropped onto the ground of a street market (by me, out of clumsiness - but only for a few seconds and not in mud or a puddle or anything, just the floor). I made sure to wash them extremely well and not eat them raw afterwards, and/or peel them.

                                                          3. As a voice of decent and the complete opposite of a germaphobe - this wouldn't phase me at all.

                                                            In general, I expect that I am exposed to bacteria/germs in a pretty wide assortment of ways all day - and I suspect most bar tops to be fairly "germy" most of the times. Not to mention the amount of wiping tables that involves a not fresh rag or is just a wet rag with no disinfectants on them at all.

                                                            Either way, none of this bugs me.

                                                            18 Replies
                                                            1. re: cresyd

                                                              HaHa on your wit:) *None of this bugs me* Germs=Bugs.

                                                              1. re: cresyd

                                                                I'm with you. I'm sure I'm exposed to much worse throughout the day and I'm doing just fine.

                                                                Regarding the OP, it is not unusual for staff to stand on counters, bars, tables, etc to change lightbulbs, hang things, clean things, etc. What is unusual is for them to do it in front of you and then not have the common sense to wipe it down. You are right to think that worse things are probably happening behind the scenes, because they most likely are. It happens. I would bet that your server at any given meal has handled money (arguably just as gross as the shoes that touched the ground and then the counter) and then picked up your order and dropped your beautifully prepared food in front of you. A restaurant (grocery store, corner market, farmer's market, etc) is a not a sterile environment.

                                                                1. re: cresyd

                                                                  It's not just bacteria and germs that are on the soles of shoes. Would you lick the bottom of someone's shoes?

                                                                  1. re: taos

                                                                    Possibly as a joke when I was younger. In general no, but I'd also never lick a bartop.

                                                                    Aside from that, in general - I assume that most of "the stuff" that's in my environment does end up getting into my body in one way or another.

                                                                    1. re: cresyd

                                                                      You are on a roll with the snappy come backs.Too funny. The visual of someone licking a bartop does not seem that far fetched depending on the amounts of alcohol consumed. You are funny and I like your posts because you are always nuanced thoughtful and you write well.I am seeing some wit and sass in your last two posts that is enjoyable as well.

                                                                      1. re: Lillipop

                                                                        Thank you!

                                                                        In general, I do respect that this really isn't "my thread". And yes, while worse probably does happen, having a staff that doesn't understand that "customers shouldn't see that" probably allow even worse to occur elsewhere. But it just doesn't bother me.

                                                                        Also living abroad and traveling to some far less sanitary parts of the world - if my main concern is shoes on the bar, then I'm doing very well.

                                                                        1. re: cresyd

                                                                          I agree with you wholeheartedly -- I live in a highly-developed country and see things that would send US-based germophobes into a coma.

                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                            Yeah - I've come to think that the reason that toursits are told to visit major open air markets during their busiest time is not to appreciate the "hustle and bustle" - but rather to avoid getting too close a view of certain food handling practices.

                                                                            1. re: cresyd

                                                                              I don't want to say it's made me lax, but I certainly worry less -- I figure if my neighbors have all survived it, I probably will, too.

                                                                              And it's pretty well-documented that giving your immune system something to do helps keep you healthy, rather than just giving it a sanitized existence where it doesn't have to do anything because everything's clean. Also means that when you DO get something, it's less likely to stop you in your tracks.

                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                Yup. When I was little my dad fought an aggressive form of cancer, and my mom's explanation of germ theory to me at the time basically centered around the idea that as my dad had never been in daycare, he had a more sensitive immune system than I would. Not that cancer is necessarily caused by "germs" - but it definitely left an impression on me.

                                                                                1. re: cresyd

                                                                                  actually, for some cancers there IS a virus-cancer connection.

                                                                                  if you're interested, look up the term:

                                                                        2. re: Lillipop

                                                                          We once watched someone doing this in a métro car here in Montréal - of course he had spilled his cocaine. I suspect hygiene was the last of this individual's concerns.

                                                                          1. re: lagatta

                                                                            I do so hope your voyeurism satisfied you? Hmmm sleaze bags sucking up cocaine in a cab...sounds like California to me baby:)!

                                                                            1. re: Lillipop

                                                                              a metro car would be a subway car.

                                                                              Not so much voyeurism as hard to avoid.

                                                                              1. re: Lillipop

                                                                                I'm not a voyeur. (or voyeuse...) It happened right in front of us when we were returning from work. It wasn't a cab, a métro means a subway, tube or whatever it is called where you live.

                                                                                Unfortunately, public consumption of hard drugs can be seen in most major cities and a lot of smaller places. I live in Montréal.

                                                                                1. re: lagatta

                                                                                  Montreal looks so beautiful to me.The old buildings are just so majestic. I hope to visit there in my lifetime. It is on my *bucket* list. I thought you had written *metro cab* and I of course was being snippy but please accept my apologies for my lapse of sanity:) I know all about illicit substances I am an RN. I worked acute psych all over northern California for many years with many substance abusers. Now I work Critical Care and Acute Psych as a travel nurse only when I want to:)

                                                                                  1. re: Lillipop

                                                                                    Yes, it is a lovely city with a vibrant food culture (though of course we don't have the year-round fresh produce of northern California, where I have travelled). A neighbour of mine is a street nurse - that is, working with itinerants including a lot of psych cases and substance abusers; you know the picture. To bring it back to the subject at hand, yes you both have to be very careful about working with people with disastrous hygiene. Bravo.

                                                                    2. I am going to email the restaurant about this now. There was no manager in sight when we were there and the servers and hostess were all really young, so hopefully it is just inexperience that was the cause.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Kat

                                                                        I was just going to suggest that. Even tho it's after the fact, I would email or call and let them know the situation. That behavior is really unacceptable.

                                                                        1. re: Kat

                                                                          Please ask the management to buy a safe stepladder. This is a work safety issue as well as a hygiene issue.

                                                                          1. re: Kat

                                                                            I don't know what state you live in. The State of Connecticut Food Service Inspection Guidelines are available online at http://www.ct.gov/dph/lib/dph/environ...

                                                                            Standing on a counter and not cleaning it right away is a violation. See rule 27a.

                                                                          2. Personally I have a bit more relaxed attitude about this sort of thing. (I would certainly hope my own kitchen is clean enough to be healthy!) But, looking at the bacteria on the counter that person stepped on- food will be served on dishes, not piled as is/ naked on to that counter. There is a barrier between that contaminated surface and your food. Ditto for that Toddler in a diaper. Yes, I would agree, one shouldn't do those things, but it is not THAT important to me.
                                                                            Btw, you can scrub your hands well and then make a handprint on an Endo Agar plate, incubate at body temperature and marvel at some colonies of E. coli which still will be present. People with "practiced" healthy immune systems usually don't have a problem with bacterias which are present everywhere. Yes, we all get sick at times, but living in fear of every little perceived bug will not help much in the long run.
                                                                            Just my 2 cents here....

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: RUK

                                                                              You may not eat directly off the counter, but very often your silverware and napkin are directly on the counter and you put those in your mouth. Not to mention your hands and the hands of the servers.

                                                                              But, as I mentioned above, it's not just about bacteria on the soles of shoes. Shoes have all kinds of grit and grime on their soles that are not intended for human consumption -- grease, road tar, road salt, gasoline, etc.

                                                                              Yes, humans may be exposed to, and resilient to, a lot more bacteria when we think. This is not an excuse for never washing hands, not washing the outside of vegetables and walking on countertops.

                                                                            2. I share your discomfort.
                                                                              Frankly, it ought to have been done when no one was seated in the general area. I understand daily specials change for lunch/dinner, but still---poor timing.

                                                                              And certainly, the surface should have been sanitized.

                                                                              1. It strikes me as not only unhygienic but also unsafe for the worker. They should be using the secure type of stepladder (with wide steps you can get your feet on). People should be doing this in their own kitchens, by the way.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: lagatta


                                                                                  Yeah, those days of hoisting myself on the kitchen counter to either sit and talk or stand up on the counter to get to that teensy weensy microscopic spider web are long gone.

                                                                                  Investing in a sturdy stepladder is the ticket.

                                                                                2. Yuck!!!!
                                                                                  Then again, I think the same thing when a Park Slope mommy takes her diaper clad kiddie out of the stroller and sits the kiddie on the counter or table.

                                                                                    1. How about women's handbags on the dining table - you know, the ones that have just previously been on the toilet floor.

                                                                                      Actually providing the food is not coming into direct contact with the counter, no real problem as far as I am concerned.

                                                                                      19 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: PhilipS

                                                                                        do you *know* that every handbag has been on the floor?

                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                          LOL - no - lurking in ladies loos is not my bag.

                                                                                          Just something a female friend passed comment upon once. Apparently she said it is common to see bags on the floor under the gap in the door.

                                                                                          1. re: PhilipS

                                                                                            I find that quite unusual. There are hooks for purses in the stall, so why would you put your handbag on the floor? No hook-hang the bag around my neck.

                                                                                        2. re: PhilipS

                                                                                          Mine have never been on any floor, let alone the bathroom floor. My ability to balance a coat and purse in a stall without a hook is a thing of beauty :)

                                                                                          1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                            If there's no hook provided (a pet peeve of mine), I've perfected a way to squish the strap of my bag between the door edge and the door frame. I don't ever put the purse on the floor, nor on the sink counter (why can't people at least wipe-down the counter after use?).

                                                                                            1. re: pine time

                                                                                              Oh, I know! It's always covered in water. I wipe the counter at home- why not at a public restroom?

                                                                                          2. re: PhilipS

                                                                                            Forget the purses. There was a study published in 2011 that one in every six cell phones has fecal matter on it - and how many of those end up on dining tables.

                                                                                            1. re: cresyd

                                                                                              This I can believe - the number of times I have gone in the loo to hear some bloke in a cubicle on his phone.

                                                                                              1. re: PhilipS

                                                                                                In the study - texting while toileting was actually the biggest culprit. Either way, if you google the study there are all sorts of less than comforting articles about "how to make sure e Coli isn't on your cell phone".

                                                                                                Sure food service employees are required to wash their hands after using the toilet. But after checking that text in the middle of their shift...... Food for germaphobe thought.

                                                                                                1. re: PhilipS

                                                                                                  LOL, my spouse does this all the time, even at work. He once dropped his IPhone in the toilet after a particularly animated conversation and when he came home he stuck it in a bag of rice because someone told him that would "dry it out" fast (did not work, phone was totaled). I had to sneak the bag of rice into the trash after because he would see no problem with eating it.

                                                                                                  1. re: Kat

                                                                                                    That is worse than "trash talking"...

                                                                                                2. re: cresyd

                                                                                                  I guess you can literally say "that was a shitty call" when you hang up.

                                                                                                3. re: PhilipS

                                                                                                  Why, oh why, would any woman put her purse on the toilet floor? That is just disgusting.

                                                                                                  1. re: RosePearl

                                                                                                    Agree. I put my purse around my neck it there's no hook. No way is it hitting the floor. I even carry one of those table hanging hooks for purses so I don't have to put it on the floor or hang it on my chair behind me.

                                                                                                    1. re: monavano

                                                                                                      hanging it on your chair is an invitation to pickpockets, anyway.

                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                        Might as well hang a neon sign pointing down "please, take my purse!".

                                                                                                        1. re: monavano

                                                                                                          Where do you people eat, the local prison chowhall??

                                                                                                          1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                                            I hide my shiv at the prison chowhall ;-)

                                                                                                            1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                                              any major city anywhere in the world.

                                                                                                              You don't hang your purse on your chair or leave your phone laying out on the table - they disappear.

                                                                                                              Double for sidewalk cafes.

                                                                                                  2. I assume the bar was wiped down at some point? No, this is weird, and I'll be there is a stepladder somewhere. Whether there is or isn't, I think what the server did is a violation of some safety code, or possibly a violation of the restaurant's own procedures.

                                                                                                    In this case, I'd have mentioned my discomfort about this to the manager before I left.

                                                                                                    What if the server had fallen?

                                                                                                    1. Yes, it would worry me greatly.

                                                                                                      Allowing staff to climb on the counter without using a ladder is such a flagrant breach of workplace safety. It is obviously being condoned/encouraged by the management. It is a clear risk to the member of staff who could easily fall injuring herself badly.

                                                                                                      If I had witnessed that, I would be drawing it to the attention of the workplace safety inspectorate in that jurisdiction. The possible hygiene issue raised by the OP pales almost into insignificance by way of comparision.

                                                                                                      1. I am trying to get my mother to stop using the bottom of her cane to punch elevator buttons.

                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                          that's like trying to herd cats.
                                                                                                          the right and wrong of it is probably going to have no bearing on her behavior.

                                                                                                          try yoga breathing.
                                                                                                          in all likelihood the best you can do is try to find a way not to be bothered by the behavior, no matter how wrong it may be.

                                                                                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                            She also stood right in front of the doors while waiting for the elevator to come, and continued blocking the way while people were trying to get off.

                                                                                                            I had to learn consideration for others AFTER leaving home, clearly.

                                                                                                          2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                            A good reason to punch the buttons with knuckles.

                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                              If you start taking her to the senior center tai chi class, she can start using the bottom of her foot/shoe.

                                                                                                              1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                She's gone now, but HA that would have been a sight!

                                                                                                            2. Send something in writing to the management, and sign it. Make sure they understand you will never be back, and why.

                                                                                                              1. my response is pretty much double sided. If I were the customer, it wouldn't bother me at all. But if I were the owner of the restaurant, I would be outraged.

                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                                                    I agree. As a customer, I'm assuming my food is going to remain on a plate before I get it, so it should be safe. (So far I'm the only one who has given myself food poisoning.) But as an owner I would be worried about an employee falling and getting injured, plus the impression it gave to people about their cleanliness. They probably ought to invest in a step ladder.

                                                                                                                  2. It's not necessarily the employees fault that the restaurant doesn't have a board that can be taken down to update it, so they don't have to stand on the counter. I would be equally grossed out if they took their shoes off and were walking around it in their sweaty socks. It is unsanitary.

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: Atomic76

                                                                                                                      I feel better about shoe bottoms than sweaty socks, in general. A carpet guy once told me that sweaty socks and bare feet made a carpet much dirtier than shoes wiped at the door.

                                                                                                                      Take that, all of you fanatical shoes-off people. I don't want people's sweaty feet on my carpet, personally.

                                                                                                                    2. What's worse... shoes on the food service counter, or somebody's ass on a food service counter? http://www.whitehousedossier.com/2014...

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Dan114

                                                                                                                        I think it must be shoes. Look at the photo - all those people are applauding the man for sitting.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Dan114

                                                                                                                          seriously...an ass that we'll *assume* was exposed to hot water and soap that morning, and is encased in at least one, possibly 2 layers of fabric (you could conceivably count the shirttail as a 3rd) being worn by a continent adult, on a counter on which food will be separated from the counter surface by a plate.

                                                                                                                          No, it doesn't matter *whose* ass it is, as long as the hygiene and clothing mentioned above apply.

                                                                                                                          Life is too short to stress over this long a chain.

                                                                                                                        2. As soemone else pointed out above, even Bobby Flay has committed this sin. In front of Morimoto, no less.

                                                                                                                          See approx. 3:35 into:


                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                            Isn't that one slowly getting a tad old?

                                                                                                                            1. re: RUK

                                                                                                                              Sure is. But it was mentioned earlier in this thread, so I thought I'd attach a video to it, old as it may be.

                                                                                                                              1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                                No matter what Flay does/ did in all the years following this , people will not let it go. Good grief! Tiresome, video or not.

                                                                                                                                1. re: RUK

                                                                                                                                  Perhaps that goes to show just how big a faux pas this was to certain members of the cooking/food community.