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Burger King

Having spent several days thinking about the sequence of events, I cannot draw any conclusion other than the burger was somehow contaminated. It is less likely that the lemon drink would be, I would imagine that is pasturised. It was also in date and the little ring around the lid was unbroken.
But the burger? There's lettuce (always a class vector for messing with people), there's cheese, cooked and raw meat (shared utensil?), etc etc. Made by people who are probably particularly not well paid, and under pressure to "get it done" to keep up with the level of orders. A tiny slip or inattention and...

My stool test came back negative. This I expected, given the samples were on Wednesday morning for an exploding gut on Sunday night. I would be worried if I still had pathogens in me that much later. Well, I wouldn't be worried, I'd probably be in a hospital bed. Or dead.
I think my doctor demanded the test for completeness rather than expecting to find anything. I probably should have taken myself to the hospital on Sunday night with the BK receipt in my hand if anything was going to be proven, however I'm not one for hospitals and really all I wanted was for the pain to stop and everything to settle down.

I didn't bother to see my doctor on Monday. I just called work to let them know what happened and said I wouldn't be able to come in. I didn't see much point as it was pretty obvious what had happened. Bad food, bleugh. I don't need a person who went through med school to point out the bleedin' obvious (see what I did there?). I had Tuesday off, so I basically gave myself two days to recover.

It wasn't until I was still bleeding (just) on Wednesday that I figured that going to see the doctor ought to be a good idea. But that was more for getting signed off work (which counts as legitimate justification) rather than me phoning up to say I hurt like hell so won't be in (which is an unjustified absence and could lead to potential disciplinary action). As the bleeding was getting less, it was healing, just taking its damn time.

Let me just clarify here that I had no expectations of the company I work for disciplining me, as I have no history of taking random days off. They aren't arseholes about it. But technically any day not worked that is neither signed off by a professional or taken as a congé (holiday) is recorded as an unjustified absence. The only time I've missed a day at work without paperwork to back me up was when I said I couldn't come in because my little car slid on the ice out front. It's probably discretionary as to whether or not it is considered justified (I think the regional government needs to issue a "do not travel" edict before it would be accepted), in this case they accepted it. Like I said, they aren't arseholes. They are just French and need paperwork. ☺

My doctor signed me off for four days, backdated from Monday to cover the time I was absent. It also means I can recuperate my holiday day as the sick leave takes precedence. Unfortunately, it means a hit in my pay. The first three days are not paid at all. I think this is to discourage employees from pulling sickies, but it also tends to have the effect that people who actually are sick turn up because they cannot afford not to. The fourth day? I think the Sécu may cover 60% of it. In order words, instead of making about €240 for the four days (guesstimating at about €60 a day in my pocket), I'll make something like €40?

Don't worry, the missing pay will be annoying rather than critical. I plan ahead for such eventualities.

Yesterday afternoon, I changed my Burger King review on Google Maps to a lone star (and would have given it zero stars if it were possible) and said:

[English below] Ils me donne un intoxication alimentaire. Dimanche 15 mai, je views juste après 11h pour un Double Steakhouse. Parce-que il est énorme, c'est le seul chose que je mange cet jour, sauf pour un thé chez moi et un boisson citron l'aprem. Fin du soir, vomissements puis diarrhée puis du sang et enfin le fiàvre (choc). Je suis en arrêt maladie pour quatre jours. Donc, à revoir avec urgence - votre practique d'hygiène alimentaire.
They gave me food poisoning. On Sunday 15th May, I stopped by just after 11am for a Double Steakhouse. Because it was huge, it was the only thing I ate that day other than a tea in the morning and a lemonade in the afternoon. Late evening, I was throwing up, then diarrhoea, then rectal bleeding, an then my body went into shock. My doctor put me off work for four days. Therefore this place really needs to look at it's food hygiene practices, urgently.

If the English is phrased a little oddly, it's because I thought of it in English in my head, translated that into French and wrote it, and then translated what I wrote back into English. In other words, the French part came first.

Oh, and spot the former Care Assistant in geriatric nursing that I can spell diarrhoea without looking it up. ☺


Today lunchtime, the review was noticed by Céline who replied:

Bonjour Rick,
Merci de nous avoir écrit, nous sommes sincèrement désolés pour cette mauvais expérience.
Afin de pouvoir prendre en charge votre réclamation, pouvez-vous nous envoyer un message à cette adresse : ?
N'hésitez pas à mentionner votre pseudo Google dans celui-ci pour le suivi du traitement.
Soyez assuré de notre implication dans la prise en compte de la situation.
En espérant tout de même vous revoir très vite chez nous.

Basically, she's really sorry to hear about what happened. In order to take charge of my reimbursement, please contact us on this page of our website, and don't forget to mention your Google name in order that we can follow who you are to treat your demand.

But it's the last line that raised a wry smile. That would translate to say "We hope, all the same, to see you soon at Burger King".

Uh... unlikely.


So I went to that site, and sent them a message. Please excuse me writing a brief translation in English as marking up the HTML by hand is driving me nuts (every time you see 'é', I am writing "é").

I said that I left a comment on Google Maps for your restaurant, gave my Google name, and said that the comment explained everything.
I also said I don't remember the amount exactly, I think it was €23 (it was two holiday cheques and three in change, wasn't it? I probably should have read my blog!) but everything went into the bin the next morning.
I then said that perhaps they have a record of it, given that I used my loyalty card, which I then gave the reference of.
I then said that I wasn't particularly interested in a refund, noting that I have lost ten times that in wages. I felt it would be much better to take stock with their employees regarding hand washing and avoiding potential contamination between raw and cooked, that sort of thing.
I also asked them not to phone me (the form said a phone number was necessary) as being British I have difficulty understanding people on the phone.


It's true, by the way. I almost feel like the gesture of refunding the cost of my meal is a bit of an insult. I understand it's something they feel obliged to do even if I hadn't actually asked, but as I pointed out, I've already lost a lot more due to not working and - to be honest - there isn't any amount that they could offer me "for the pain". I have had food poisoning before, and my tummy sometimes throws a wobbly over stuff it doesn't like (pretty much how I learned that alcohol is a no-no). But I can, hand on heart, say I have never thrown up so violently in my life.
I probably puked less as a baby, and we all know that babies are tiny joyous balls of pee, poop, and puke.
Or, to put it another way, it's been nearly a week and my chest still hurts from it. Not to mention all the wiggly bits down below. It's healing, sure, but it's not healing quickly.

So, basically, stuff the refund and make sure the employees pay better attention to what they are doing so that this doesn't happen again to somebody else. I mean, it knocked me for six. How do you think a child or an elderly person might have reacted?


I received an email fairly soon afterwards, with a zero byte file attached called "customBase64PDFPDF". Well done.
Sorry, I'm a geek, that sort of thing stands out. ☺

The message, which had no name attached this time, said that they wish to inform me that they have taken note of my message, and to be assured that they have attached particular importance to my complaint.
That line sounds so much better if you imagine Liam Neeson saying it.

They thanked me for taking the time to report this incident, and apologised for any inconvenience. A rather bland boilerplate statement, as I don't think whoever wrote that really comprehends the inconvenience.

They have immediately transferred the complaint to the manager of the restaurant so that he can "re-sensitise" his employees to the hygiene requirements of Burger King so that this does not happen again.
They then explain that the food preparation procedures and checks carried out on our products throughout the day are entirely governed by the protocols applied in France and in all of their restaurants around the world.

I am aware of the checks and procedures, I work in a place that produces food. And certainly, nobody wants to be the next Lactalis, Kinder, or Quick Burger. In the case of Quick, it killed a 14 year old. So food hygiene is something that is important and must always be taken seriously.

Sadly, this is sometimes confounded by the fact that low wage employees may lack the mental acuity to understand why. Hell, some adults don't even understand the importance of washing their hands after visiting the toilet, a task I would have thought would have been learnt by the time the person finished kindergarten (nursery school).

Maybe I just had bad luck? Maybe my burger was the one the fly regurgitated on before the bug zapper blew it to bits? I hope so, I don't want to think anybody else went through this.


So, they are aware of what happened and the manager will probably show them a Powerpoint slide whilst the employees yawn. Ho hum...


As for me, a little earlier I ate a tin of pineapple chunks that I left in the fridge overnight. It's the first thing I've eaten with any real substance. Hell, it's the first thing I've eaten with actual colour!

I think in a little while I'll make some linguini.

That said, my pee is coming out bright yellow even after several cups of tea, so I think my body is trying to tell me that I can lay off the vitamin supplements and protein drinks. Just transition to eating real food.

You know what? I might put a sauce on my linguini. I have a nice chicken bolognese (whoo! colour!). I'll use half a jar, and throw the other half out, so hopefully that won't be too problematic, and if it is, I have tomorrow to recover.

Update: Here we go. Doesn't this look nice?

A bowl of worms
A bowl of worms.

I put the remains of the sauce in the fridge. Couldn't bear to just throw it out. It'll be good tomorrow.


Human shield

On Thursday evening, I drove around to see Cyril. I left an extremely wonky mower wheel with him and asked if he had anything that I could use as a replacement. He asked me to leave it with him and he'd take a look.

Turns out he didn't have anything, but he thinks there's one ride-on that might be scrap, so if it is, he can salvage the front wheels for me. I left him my number and he'll let me know, but it may be two or three weeks.

As it is, I need to mow here, but given that the ground is not flat and the mower wheels are small, it's a bit like riding a bucking bronco. I rather suspect that doing such a thing right now would be spectacularly stupid. It's just my bad luck to be ill on a week of thunderstorms (rain and warmth, perfect for growing grass).

Now, you are probably wondering why a discussion about mower wheels is titled "human shield". It's because on the way through the horrible one-way system in town, I came across this.

People standing in the road
People (two adults, four boys) standing in the road.

They were refusing to move out of the road, effectively blocking it. A little further down, not caught by my dashcam, was a lot of blue strobe lights and what looked like a car on its side. How does that happen in a thirty zone?

I don't know whether these are two mothers with their own children, or two teachers or school assistants with their charges... but using kids to block a major road through town?

Ladies... I salute you.


Now, to upload this and then go put the kettle on. Yep, that sounds like a plan.



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J.G.Harston, 22nd May 2022, 14:17
Wierd. In UK if I'm driving and am desparate for something to eat, I deliberately avoid MacD and seek out a Burger King if I'm in an area I don't know. 
Though, there was one BK outlet I went to where the server appeared to have weeping sores covering her face, and I was rather reluctant to eat what she'd handed me.
David Pilling, 23rd May 2022, 00:05
A journey from making food because you love people, to damaging their health by cutting costs. In the UK one can look up "Food hygiene ratings" for food businesses - restaurants and the like. Graded 0-5.

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