The other day I wrote about how surprising it was that robot Zambonis aren’t yet widespread. Even more amazing is the fact that fast-food joints aren’t yet entirely staffed by robots.
It seems like a new tale of fast-food employee grossness emerges weekly, with the latest involving a KFC worker in Wales who claimed on Facebook to have inserted pubic hair into customers’ meals. KFC said it had investigated the incident and found it to be untrue, but the damage was already done.
Such incidents, many of which turn out to be real indeed, are almost a form of corporate terrorism. While it’s highly unlikely that the average customer will ever get a meal contaminated with pubes, boogers, spit or other bodily fluids, hearing about such isolated cases is enough to sour perceptions and put a person off fast food entirely.
With employees of such chains around the world expressing anger over their low wages, it’s also likely these incidents will continue and possibly even increase in frequency.
Faced with the likelihood of having to raise wages dramatically while still having to deal with the risk of brand-damaging gross-out stunts – which can spread like wildfire thanks to social media – it really is only a matter of time before fast-food chains start to replace human workers with robots, much like our friend the zamboni driver.
In case some proof is needed, here’s a litany of example of employees doing nasty things that have cost their respective chains millions in lost sales and brand damage:
Burger King bath
You almost have to admire the Burger King employee who took a bath in his restaurant’s sink, where food is normally washed and prepared. He was fired of course, but his stunt had a certain ingenuity. Gross, yes, but probably not as bad as contaminating food directly with bodily fluids:
Burger King lettuce
Burger King has had several infamous incidents, including one where an employee took a picture of himself standing on top of two containers of lettuce, dirty shoes and all. Vigilante justice saved the day as 4chan users sniffed out the identity of the miscreant, who was fired along with his two abettors.
A pair of Domino’s employees thought it would be funny to record themselves sneezing on and putting boogers into food. They claimed it was a harmless prank, but the company fired them anyway and went ahead with felony charges:
Wendy’s ice cream
Eating ice cream directly from the spigot is admittedly something everyone has wanted to do at spme point in their lives. Still, it’s really not something a restaurant employee should be doing, much less documenting for public consumption. If only someone had told that to a Wendy’s employee, who got axed from his job for doing exactly that.
There’s nasty and then there’s dangerous, like the McDonald’s worker who spit in a police officer’s food. It turns out the employee had Hepatitis C, which is why he was ultimately sentenced to 29 months in jail:
Pizza Hut spit
Cops appear to be especially vulnerable to fast-food grossness, with an officer spotting a Pizza Hut employee spitting in his food, apparently in retaliation for a prior drunk driving arrest.
McDonald’s spit redux
It’s not just the police who have to deal with loogies in their drinks – a McDonald’s employee in South Carolina was arrested for spitting in two customers’ drinks because they had dared to return them for not being sweet enough.
Taco Bell licking
Sometimes even a misinterpreted prank can be harmful, as in the case of the fellow who licked a stack of Taco Bell shells. The company said the shells were being used for training and were in the process of being thrown out, and the employee in question was submitting a photo of himself licking them to an internal contest. The pic got out and disgusted people, so he was sacked for violating the rules of the contest.
Taco Bell peeing
Perhaps the most disgusting “prank” came in 2012 from a Taco Bell worker who bragged on Twitter about peeing on a plate of nachos. While he later said it was a just a joke and that the nachos were being thrown out anyway, it was enough to rile up the online collective Anonymous, which posted his personal information in a YouTube video for anyone wanting to exact vigilante justice.
So… does anyone still think that robot fast-food workers aren’t a good idea?