Thursday, June 22, 2006

Ooooh...that smell...


For those who have never worked food service, I don't imagine you'll understand this fully, though there are other industries with distinct smells.

I smell when I come home from work. I'm not talking BO from sweat at work (though that too is alway possible...), what I'm talking about is smelling like the restaurant we work in. Each place has a slightly different and distinct smell. Red Lobsters smell like Red Lobsters wherever you go. I know this is the same for other restaurants from my experience in other companies. The customers like this smell for the most part. They associate it with positive things - good food, fun etc. Waiters on the other hand are repulsed by this smell (so are their spouses!). I come home smelling like a big basket of fried seafood. My clothes reek of it. I could be blindfolded in a room and still be able to point to my clothes because of the smell that eminates from them. Now some might joke that washing your clothes and taking a bath could fix that, but the truth is that washing the clothes only partly removes the smell. Only after bleaching do my shirts fully loose the stench of Red Lobster. My pants and apron seem to never loose that distinct smell. I notice the smell most strongly when I've been away from work for a while. If I take a week off from work, when I first enter the store it's like a scented punch in the nose when I open the doors. They say that scent has the strongest triggers for our memories of all our senses.


The smell of a Red Lobster will forever be one that I will not enjoy, far too many days of my life spent in those confines.



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19 comments:

Natalie said...

I know what you're talking about. The fried smell is especially clingy.

Reciprocity said...

UGH, talk about hitting the nail on the head. My clothes smell vaguely like old cheese from o'charleys, my guess is it's the famous overloaded potato soup??

Fille de Papier said...

omfg. i hate that. mcdonald's is one of the worst... every night I smell like french fries and quarter patties. or worse, the dishes... everytime i step into a mcdonald's it gives me a headache just thinking about being in drive-thru...

sarabelle said...

I know exactly what you are talking about. Back when I was waitressing I would wash and dry my pants and aprons like normal. THen I would spray the hell out of them with Febreeze and throw them back in the dryer. It seemed to help.

irishlucky said...

i'm with you on the memories being tied to smells thing. (i personally believe that memories are stored in muscled and fat tissue, which is why an organ transplant recipient will "remember" things that never happened to them. true.) i smell like a hamburger when i come home from work. mm-mm delish! (yeah, right.)
keep up the good work, lobster boy!

-irishlucky

OldSchoolD15 said...

Chick-fil-A is bad too.

We lost power in our RL for about an hour today, and very quickly, as soon as you'd walk back in the alley, a funny smell would hit you, along with sweltering heat.

christopher said...

Totally picking up what you are laying down. Being a lifeguard for years, and a swimmer for many years prior to that, I know all about workplace smells. I can smell a pool from a long ways off, gotta love the smell of that chlorine. :)

pherring said...

this post caused me to shout at my computer at 4AM.

No one around here knows that..... its a nice refreshing breath to get someone who knows.

Steven said...

No kidding. Till the day I die I will remember my days at Togo's when the smell of cooked pastrami comes my way. I still like to eat there but the smell... ugg.

Val

Lobster Boy said...

There are good smells that remind me of great things in life too. Certain perfumes remind me of specific periods in life, or certain women. Coppertone sunscreen reminds me of other things. But there is nothing like the stench of restaurant clothes. I especially hate coming home from work late, and throwing my clothes in a pile to only wake up in the morning and walk into the room and smell that stale stench. It's not good on an empty stomach!

Lobster Boy

WendyKat said...

i always smelled like chow mein... i worked at a japanese restaurant...

and when i went to culinary school i always just smelled like random food. though i learned that if you dump in some dishwashing powder with the laundry powder and some oxiclean... your clothes smell less gross and you don't have to worry about bleaching your black slacks.

Kevin said...

Middle daughter currently smells like China-bistro food when she gets home.

Eldest daughter and her friends worked a booth at the Rodeo one year during high school -- corndogs, popcorn, fried twinkies, funnel cakes. I was the transportation manager. It would about make me pass out when they'd all pile in my car for the ride home. UGH!

Psychobabble said...

McDonald's smells like fries at the end of the day, not surprisingly.
Denny's is a mixture of pancake syrup and hot wings.
The supper club I worked in Wisconsin smelled like steaks on the grill. Do you know how long it was until I ate a steak again? lol

mrclm said...

I used to work as a cook at a place where over 3+ years I cooked in excess of 180,000 lbs. of hamburger (300 days of work a year, 200lbs of burger meat per day) as well as 30 lbs of bacon a day. I honestly didn't eat burgers, or even buy hamburger for 3-4 years after working there. The grease would slowly cause the soles of my shoes to disintegrate. That was a vile job to have. Changing grease buckets is remarkably disgusting, even when they are changed multiple times a day. Love the blog Lobster Boy!

Another thing about RL is the smell of specific foods can be good. Every time I smell a fresh set of Coconut shrimp, bacon wrapped scallops, or fudge overboard, I get a little bit hungry.

I think the worst job to have would be to work in a bakery. Coming to no longer love the smell of fresh bread or pastries would be a terrible thing...

Big Chris

Madame X said...

I still remember my food service jobs and the gross smell that seemed to linger afterwards. I had a couple of spectacular spills (a vat of salad dressing and s tub of semi-frozen strawberries) that were particularly hard to shake off, but then there was just the everyday icky smell of steamy greasy food. ugh.

Thanks for the link, by the way. I'm glad it led me to your blog, I enjoy your stories!

Lobster Boy said...

You're welcome for the link there Ms. X.

Lobster Boy

phil said...

my clothes smell like rancid smoke after a night at work (nightclub). I breathe in about a pack a day of second hand smoke. Drive me nuts!

Skwerly said...

Ugh...this post reminds me of my one food service job.

At the age of 20, I worked in the restaurant of a bowling alley.

Every day, I reeked of stale cigarette smoke, grease, and beer. *pukey*

Big Tasty said...

Oh yeah, the smell.

Go on vacation, come back there's the smell...you know you're at work.

The smell arrives, the mood changes.