Eighty Pounds Of Carrots

The cafeteria is to be avoided at all costs. No matter what. I have to keep reminding myself of this because when I break my own rule about eating lunch in the cafeteria, I suffer heavily for it. Last night I gave myself another lesson in lunchtime woe. I should have known better. Most of the time I head off site for lunch, but there are nights when I am buried in work and far behind schedule. I make an exception for the cafeteria. I’ll admit that on rare occassions I’m too lazy to drive around town to eat someplace so I’ll walk across the factory campus for lunch instead. Afterwards I always regret it.

Swing shift lunch breaks are only 30 minutes. If we leave work and go out to eat, we can take more time as long as we’re honest about having an extended lunch hour and make up the time at work. Walking through the site complex to the cafeteria takes a while from where we’re located. The bosses have given us an extra ten minutes during lunch to walk there and back. Cafeteria food is like eating fresh poison, crafted with little to no care and served up lukewarm daily. Usually on my walk back to Building 2 my guts decide to mutiny and I have to make a mad dash for the nearest bathroom. Not only is the food fresh poison, it’s also fast-acting poison.

Yesterday’s lunchtime woe was called “Beef Lasagna.” At first glance the food on my plate resembled lasagna and even smelled like it. When I sat down at a table in the dining area and cut into my food, I realized I had been tricked. A thick layer of shredded orange stuff was concealed by oozing cheese, tomato sauce, and fat sheets of undercooked pasta. Ground bits of cow appeared to be scarce. I frowned. It was those fucking carrots again. A few months ago I noticed the cooks were sneaking carrots into almost every dish they possibly could. I half expected to see shredded slivers of carrots in stuff like ice cream soon. Punks.

As I sat glaring down at the food on my plate with a scowl plastered on my face, Paulee came over to my table and grabbed a spot across from me. His choice of fresh poison was the meatball dish. I watched him as he took a forkful of meatball and chomped on it. Paulee threw his utensil at his tray with an angry look in his eye.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.
Paulee said, “Meatballs are supposed to be BEEF. Red MEAT. That’s the meat part of a meatball. This shit is turkey!”
“Yeah. They’ve been doing that more often. Hamburgers are the only thing on their menu with cow in it anymore, I think.”
Paulee was real angry. Mumbling out loud he said, “Motherfuckers.”
Shoving my plate towards him I said, “Check that junk out. A monsterous layer of shredded carrots hidden in lasagna. It’s not the vegeterian dish tonight because it’s supposed to have meat in it. You ever seen anything so stupid before? I haven’t. Tastes like crap, too.”
“We need to do something about this.”
I thought about it and asked Paulee, “What do you want to do? Complaining isn’t going to change anything around here. They don’t give a shit.”
“Let’s go yell at them and get our money back. You with me?” Paulee was serious.
I shrugged and said, “Yeah, sure.”

Both of us stood up with our lunch trays and marched out of the dining area past employees waiting to pay for their food in the cafeteria cash register lines. Paulee was in the lead, walking while searching for the manager. When he saw her, Paulee went right up to her and launched into an amusing tirade. It was amusing for me, that is. He was totally riled up about buying meatballs that were made out of turkey instead of cow. While raising his voice so everyone within a fifty foot radius could clearly hear him Paulee explained that in his view, red meat is actually meat and everything else is not meat. Therefore meatballs or meatloaf should not consist of ground turkey. The cafeteria manager was confused.

Before she could do or say anything I questioned her about excessive amounts of carrots in their cooking. “We use eighty pounds of carrots a day.” She informed me.
“80 pounds a day? That’s insane. I’ll bet you are using it as filler in everything because it’s cheap. You guys need to knock that off. It sucks. I’m not a big fan of carrots to begin with and I’m probably going to turn orange like an Oompah Loompah from an overdose of beta-carotene.”
She said, “I’ll speak to the chef about it tomorrow and see what we can do. I’m really sorry. Would both of you like your money back and a coupon for a free lunch?”
Paulee took her up on the offer. I accepted my six bucks back, but I skipped the free lunch deal. I wasn’t going to eat there again anytime soon.


~ by factorypeasant on December 8, 2005.

5 Responses to “Eighty Pounds Of Carrots”

  1. I miss Paulee. There was one time when somebody found him on the floor in pain next to his test station. We called the MERT team but nobody responded because it was late on swingshift. I went over and when security responded they asked me what we should do. I told them that I would drive him to Kaiser. Security arranged a company car for me. I told Paulee that I had two conditions if I was to drive him there. He couldn’t die on the way to the hospital, and he couldn’t fart (those of you who worked around Paulee will know why I asked). Paulee kept his promises with me but the next day I got a call from the nurse. I was expecting a big “THANK YOU” but instead I was told that I put the company and myself at risk of a lawsuit for driving him to the hospital instead of calling an ambulance. Eminem, who was my supervisor told me that he would have done the same thing.

    Rest In Peace Paulee

  2. Paulee was a fun guy. i will never forget him.

  3. What happened to Paulee after you dropped him at the hospital?

  4. Paulee told me that he had a mild heart attack. He was a big guy and had a lot of stomach problems. He was trying to lose some weight so they could operate and fix whatever problems he had. I went back to see him the next day and he was already gone.(not dead, just gone)

  5. Ah, yes…Paulee was a sweetheart. He always had me laughing! He left us way too soon.

    Indeed, Rest In Peace, Paulee


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