Hey, who wants to read some stories about restaurant employees losing (or nearly losing) digits? Oh, don’t lie, of course you do.
A few months ago, I had an inexplicable, crazy run of these stories...but not quite enough to turn it into a full Behind Closed Ovens. Since then, I haven’t received a single story in this vein. Part of me wonders if people were scared off by the fact that I don’t want poop/vomit stories. For those wondering why these stories fly, but those don’t: a lifetime of violent video games has rendered me pretty much immune to finding stories of severed digits disgusting.
Anyway, since by the time this posts on Saturday, I’m going to be busy getting extremely drunk, I figured hey, why not give you guys some happy fun time stories of fingers getting chopped off?
Almost 15 years ago, I worked at a Checkers fast food in Florida. If you don’t have a Checkers in your area, you may be unaware that you can’t go inside unless you work there. It does not have an indoor seating area for customers. It’s literally just a kitchen and a small office in the back. One night as I got items out of the freezer I noticed my manager crying at her desk. As co-workers dealt with her and I pumped out orders, I eventually noticed some paramedics. Then I saw the blood.
I eventually found out that the manager had been talking with a guy who wanted to put in an application. He put down that he had multiple previous arrests for theft. Since he was wanted to work the register, she declined to hire him. He got angry and kicked the steel door closed as she went back inside. The door closed on her finger.
I finally realized why some of my coworkers were searching the floor. The door had cut her finger off at the first knuckle. As the paramedics put her in the back of the ambulance, one of my fellow employees rushed outside like he had just won the lottery screaming, “I found it!”
The general manager was super cool about the whole thing. He waited a whole two days before he called her to find out why she wasn’t back at work yet.
(Editor’s Note: 100% unsurprised this happened at Checkers)
I worked the deli counter in a large grocery store. Both the deli manager and I were hired at about the same time. As the newbies, we were treated like shit by the workers who had been there longer. There was a definite hierarchy. The manager tried to be authoritative but the more seasoned workers would have none of his attitude. This made the manager turn on the only person he could wield his measly power over: me. I was only 17 at the time, but I like to think that the person I am now wouldn’t tolerate being his doormat. But there I was: his doormat. One of my main jobs was taking the roast chickens off their metal skewers in the oven and shredding them. He never let me have the protective gloves that went all the way up my wrists while I did it, so my wrists always got burnt.
Then he started punishing me for mistakes that other workers made, because he knew I wouldn’t talk back. For example: if someone dropped a chicken by accident on the other side of the room, he would say “who did that?” (even though he had just seen it happen). The bitchy girl who had dropped it would say that I did it instead of her, smirking, because the manager never could stand up to her. And then the manager would send me into the freezer to work for the rest of the day as punishment or make me stay late. At first I protested my innocence, but after awhile I gave up because it was easier than arguing.
Anyway, one day I had been working on the meat slicing machine from 7am-2pm. I was tired, and stupidly let my hand slip. It sliced off the tip of one of my fingers, right into a big dish of ham that was about to go out to the customers. The manager sees me bleeding all over the place and he yells at me to hide behind a bench so that the customers can’t see me. Another worker took pity on me, quickly yanked me out of the deli and took me to the hospital because the wound wouldn’t stop bleeding. But that dish of ham, complete with finger tip, went out to be served. And, because of that, the manager got fired. The best part, though, for me was that I got the respect of all the butchers in the department because of my “war wound.” And I will never let myself be someone’s doormat ever again.
I was a butcher in a home-town retail grocery store. The “chain” I worked for (local, so the chain was three stores) was on the down-slide since this was the late 80’s and the Big Box grocery chains were starting to infiltrate town. Things were very slow at closing, and even more-so on a Wednesday night. We had not had a customer for over an hour, and closing was in 30 minutes. They had a rigorous cleaning schedule for the meat market, which kept me and all of the other butchers there well past closing, so the night manager made a call on the PA saying to start cleaning/closing procedures. 15 minutes into getting the entire place soaped up and scrubbed down, we get “that” customer. She was a “regular” and a favorite of the night manager, and boy was she in a mood that night. She rings the bell and I go out to see her.
“Hello, Mrs. X.” I say as nicely as possible.
“Shut up and listen!” She barks. “So-and-so did not properly cut up this whole tenderloin for Puddles-” her dog “-yesterday, and now you’ve pissed me off.”
“Yes, ma’am, so what can I do for you?”
“I want some of those pork chops that you have on special”
“Yes ma’am,” I say as I walk down to a freshly re-stocked section of said pork-chops. “Here they are.”
“NO!” she shouts at the top of her voice, which brings up the night manager, sprinting to her aid from the front of the store.
“What’s wrong, Mrs. X?” the Manager asks, which sends her into hysterics about how the butcher last night didn’t get her order right, poor over-pampered pooch wouldn’t eat all day, and then how I refused to point out the pork-chop specials. After a lengthy discussion between the two, it seems the pork chops were not cut thick enough for her liking, and I was going to have to cut her some special-like and give them to her at the sale price. I pull the night manager aside and remind him that he started us on closing and I had the entire shop soaped up, pointing through the windows. It looked like a 2000’s bubble-rave.
Nothing doing; I had to cut this order. I trudge back in and hose off the saw, trying to get as much soap washed away as possible. I dig through the cooler and the only pork that was on special was in the freezer. I haul out a slab, set it on the saw, fire it up and set my feet. As soon as I slide the pork into the saw, the whole slab starts to spin, tosses my hands backwards, and RIGHT INTO THE SAW goes my left index finger. A quick jerk back, followed by a mind-numbing pain, and I look down to see the tip of my finger, sliced on the bias, hanging on by a tiny sliver of skin. The blood is flowing fast and furious. I grab a roll of paper towels, wrap my entire hand in the whole roll, and head up front to let the manager know what had happened. This waste-of-flesh looks at me with ALL of my other co-workers standing there in horror as I bled through the entire roll of Bounty and all over the floor and asks if I have finished the customers order?
After 10 minutes of fighting with him and me turning pale from blood loss, I am seeing red (which was funny considering half my life was in a pool at my feet), so I go back, cut her order, wrap it, and look down to see that it looks like a murder scene from a Friday the 13th movie. When I hand it to her, I tell her, “No charge for the extra blood!” She doesn’t even blink, snatches the package and leaves.
I was 15 years old and my mother had decided that I was too much of a pain in the ass to be at home all summer without a job. After filling out a few job applications at the mall, I was phoned two days later by York Steakhouse (now gone from that particular city) and asked to start immediately as a busboy. I went in the same day and started cleaning off tables.
A few months later one of our prep cooks lost the tip of his finger in the salad shredder. We would fill a giant tub on wheels with shredded salad that we would use all day. The assistant manager picked out the tip of the finger, gave it to the prep cook who was driven to the hospital by one of the waitresses and the assistant manager scooped out and threw away any lettuce that had blood on it and served the rest.
In high school, I worked in a crappy olde-timey ice-cream-and-burgers restaurant. Sometimes, I worked during the day shift, which mostly consisted of prep work for the day followed by the lunch rush, which wasn’t anything resembling a “rush” during the year, but could get a bit nasty in the summertime. As a result, we would usually hire a prep cook to slice the meats and cheeses for sandwiches, burgers, etc as well as to prepare the salad bar.
One summer day, a few minutes before we opened, the prep cook, a sweet 16-year old girl who was probably in the first week of her first job sliced the tip of her finger off using the meat slicer to shred lettuce for the salad bar. There was a big commotion, and one of the managers wrapper her finger up and rushed her off to the hospital.
About twenty minutes later, we get a call from the hospital. It’s our manager, telling us that the doctors there have said they can re-attach the fingertip if its in good enough condition. So, we all begin to look around her station for the missing fingertip. After several minutes of fruitless searching, one of us pauses and asks, “wait, what was she doing when she cut her finger?”
We suddenly remember that she was slicing lettuce into the big salad bowl that was now out on the floor as the salad bar’s centerpiece. Yeah, the bowl that’s been there with the restaurant open and people already encouraged by the waitstaff to go ahead and hit the salad bar to build their side salads.
After looking at each other in a stunned, “there’s no f-in way, right?!” kind of way, we rush out to the salad bar, grab the bowl and take it back to the kitchen. Sure enough, after some digging around, there it was, at the bottom of the bowl. Apparently, one of the other managers, realizing that we were open with a half-ready salad bar, had hurriedly thrown everything out there without really considering that, you know, there might be body parts in it.
So, we rescued the fingertip (it was only about a quarter inch at most), packed it in ice, and rushed it to the hospital. Reportedly, the doctors sewed it back on. I don’t know how well it healed, since the girl never came back to work.
(Editor’s Note: I WONDER WHY)
So, who wants lunch? My treat.
Image via Nitr/Shutterstock.
Contact the author at WilyUbertrout@gmail.com.