Friday, December 14, 2007
Really Smelly Smelt
Well, it's not like I didn't have it coming. When you are graciously given a Saturday off, the preceding Friday must be as shitty as humanly possible. I closed with Tattooed Tim and Snarlie (get used to the nicknames) tonight. When I came in at one thirty, there were thirteen cases of pork tenderloins waiting to be weighed. Clay, the opener that morning, saw me coming about fifty feet away and promptly removed his apron, nametag, and hat... "Well hey there sweetie, it's been kinda dead today and", I blinked, and there was a funky cloud of cheap cologne and B.O. left in the shape of his body. What the hell.... should have been a sign of things to come. The full service seafood case looked a little ragged. Forgivable. The damn cooked shrimp, which are 50% this week, were running low. Okay... I paused for a second, and a pleasantly plump woman with an English accent beckoned to me. "Hello dear. Let me have two fil-lets of the tilapia." I tried to ignore the slight shiver of irritation that i get everytime someone mis-pronounces fillet. "Yes maam... Anything else?", I asked, wrapping her fish in white paper. "Well yes. I would actually like to get about a pound of the Chilean Sea Bass." My interest was piqued, because I just read an argument online yesterday about the fact that there is "No such thing as a Chilean Sea Bass", it's actually a really really ugly creature called a Toothfish.... the name is just a marketing ploy to popularize it. Whatever, this fish is 18.99 per pound. So I took a look. One small piece was left, a little tail end. "Um... I don't think this is going to be quite a pound, Maam. If you have time to wait, I can get some from my freezer, and thaw it for you." "How long will it take?" Another lady standing next to her chimed in, "Yes, because I'd like some too." I told them it would be about twenty minutes. The bass comes in huge fillets, the smallest probably weighing about three pounds. I also felt great, because one wanted a pound and the other, a pound and a quarter. Great profits for our department! I heard one woman say to the other, "Yeah, I know! It was such a great deal, I couldn't pass it up!" WTF? When the hell is nineteen dollars per pound a friggin bargain? So I took a look: Clay, AKA Douchebag, changed the sign to read ten nintey nine per pound for the one lonely tail piece left over. Fuck. As soon as the women left, I switched the sign back to the normal price. Really pissed. Without any time to recover, another woman moseyed up to the counter. She asked me to show her what two pounds of smelts looked. I pulled out the smelts, which had been marinating in their natural juices for at least two days, no buyers. Someone got the interesting idea to put them in a meat tray, you know the kind you buy ground beef in? But okay. I smelled a horrifying stench before i attempted to put my face close to them. She saw my nauseated expression and i quickly offered to get her some "fresh" ones. "Thank you", she said with a smile. I found the rest of them, not stored in their original box with ice, but in a white container, which we use to store seafood at night. I was morbidly curious as to what the sell-by date was, but I snuffed out my unfounded nosiness and smelled the fish. It smelled better that the crap than I'd just thrown away, which isn't saying much. I also found some large ones, and one small, cute head.. She wound up buying four pounds. I thanked her and helped the customers who had lined up behind her. After the coast was clear, I went back to the seemingly impossible task of filling up my case. Since I already had the smelts out, I put them in a metal strainer to remove some of the leftover ice and slime. I grabbed a tray and started slinging them in there. Just as I was about to slide them back into place, I saw it. A worm. and then another. Nastiest Shit Ever. At least I was not sickeningly surprised this time. The only time I've ever found worms in our fresh fish is when it comes from Canada. It first happened about two months ago; I was closing up, and had just sold a customer a few flounder fillets. As soon as the guy walked away I saw it. I called management, and our remaining female manager, Frangela, came to assist me. We then trooped through one more worm filled case of Yuck. Actually, I'd found a few worms in some Amberjack fillets in my first month. They were probably from Canada too. All the flounder, smelt, cod, whole flounder.... all infested, and nobody bats an eye. I just hope a customer does not open a package and see any..... A girl likes her job.