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True Confessions of a Hillside Worker

There are good times to talk about birth control. There are bad times to talk about birth control. And even at Catholic school, there are utterly irrelevant times to talk about birth control.

“I have to go get a what?” I repeated back to my manager at Hillside.

“A condom.”

“I swear, I just cut my hand on a pair of scissors earlier today. I don’t even understand anatomically how you could have concluded from my bleeding index finger that I’m in need of—“

“A finger condom, Lexy! To keep the band-aid on. I’ll show you where to find them,” came the ever-patient response.


photoAs simple as working in dining may appear to the outside observer, the intricacies of some of the procedures we follow never fails to surprise me. For example, the fact that one unfortunate employee has to shove other employees out of the way in order to violently stick a thermometer into all of the deli food every thirty minutes to ascertain that everything falls within the nine-degree acceptable range. Or the fact that every time someone orders a gluten-free sandwich, all production must cease in order to insure that no meandering bread molecules float their way into sight range of the gluten-free loaf and the special, purple, gluten-free knife and cutting board set. But that’s all fairly easy to pick up on after a few days on the job.

Not so easy to understand, however, is how to make the Mediterranean Hummus in such a way that the ingredients—feta, hummus, balsamic, obnoxiously-shaped lettuce, and some basically liquefied vegetables—don’t seep through the bread and come out in oddly-colored droplets through the other side. Or how to fit anything on a sub roll. Or where the tomatoes come from, why they never look the same from one day to the next, why they always come in different containers, what the cause of last year’s “tomato distribution error” was, and why anyone feels the need to order the Turkey and Brie without the turkey and brie.

Also, I would greatly appreciate it if someone sat me down to explain the combination of chemical factors that cause the bacon to sparkle.

Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 5.58.53 PMThat said, a word to the wise: if you’re going to order a ridiculous sandwich, especially on a sub roll, be polite. Most people are, particularly athletes and nurses (not sure why, but that just tends to be the case. We all perk up a little when large groups of people enter wearing either sweats or scrubs). I’ve found that the majority of people say “please” and that almost no one texts while placing orders. But every now and then, someone will come in who jokes around with us, or asks us how we’re doing, or just smiles at us while ordering.

I think my personal favorite was the guy who apologized in advance for his dairy allergy, saying that he didn’t mean to inconvenience us. Generally, allergen-free sandwiches take a while to prepare, and we sometimes receive polite but pointed queries about what could possibly be taking so long. And it’s completely understandable. But it’s nice when people go out of their way to acknowledge that, even though we’re paid employees, we’re humans, and we appreciate the kindness.

Also, I know some employees who award extra frips to people who say “please.”

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