Friday, October 19, 2012

Jelly and toast: was this an OCD episode?

Larry and I were in a restaurant. I had ordered toast with my meal, so I wasn’t surprised by the waitress’s question. She had already taken our order, but was walking back by our table.
“Would you like butter and jelly with your toast?” she asked me.
“Yes, please” I said.
“Here you go.” And she laid a small plastic container of margarine and one of jelly on our table. “And I’ll bring you more.”
After she left, I wondered why she had been walking around with margarine and jelly in her hand. Then I realized that she had been cleaning off the table behind us.
She had given me the margarine and jelly that had been left on the table by the customers who had just left.
Larry and I talked about it. Wasn’t she supposed to throw out anything left over like that? How long had it been sitting out?
“I don’t want to use it,” I told Larry. “I don’t think it’s an OCD thing. I don’t think she was supposed to do that.”
“It’s a health issue,” Larry said.
He took a napkin and scooped up the plastic containers, and I ate only the margarine and jelly that the waitress brought from the kitchen.
Now, dear readers, did I do the right thing in not eating the first containers or margarine and jelly?
It didn’t feel like OCD. I didn’t feel anxious.
And yet, I wavered at making a decision. I hate to waste food. The food was sealed. What was wrong with using it? Was I being a stickler about a health code that might or might not exist? Or was I right to pass on eating it?
I purposely didn’t look up the health code in Virginia to see if the waitress made a mistake because I didn’t base my original decision not to eat the food on information I knew for sure.
But I guess I’m still thinking about it because here I am asking for your opinion.

Would you have eaten the margarine and jelly?

23 comments:

  1. If it was sealed, I would have eaten it. If it was open, then I'm sure she would have thrown it away--or should have anyway. However, people have different standards, OCD or not and since you didn't feel anxious and Larry agreed with you, it may not have been an OCD thing. Sometimes I have things where I know I won't do something because I don't think it's clean and it's not an OCD thing even though some people wouldn't have a problem with it.

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    1. I guess I would consider it excessive to throw it away because it was sealed. Those little tubs of margarine and jelly don't go bad, and I think they just throw them back in a container if they are unused. It's not something to worry about though. :)

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    2. Thanks, Kristina. I thought it was an interesting little occurence and wanted to get feedback.

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  2. I think I would have just used it too, but I do wonder if the margarine isn't supposed to be kept in the fridge?
    But it's like Kristina said, she could have taken them back into the kitchen to later give them to you and you would have been none the wiser.

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    1. Klaaske, yes, I hadn't thought of that, that she could have reused them without my knowing.

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  3. I have never waited tables, but if people left and I was cleaning the table I would throw anything away they didn't use if they had touched it. Like sometimes they will bring me a couple butters on a plate with my waffle and I will set them to the side and not use them and when I am done eating, I throw them back on the plate for them to throw away. You know I never thought about what they do with that stuff if I just left it there. I guess I use the salt and pepper shakers that other people use at the table, so maybe it is ok to use the butters and jelly's if the package is sealed. You got me on this one Tina. Of course my motto is "When in doubt throw it out" so if I had a question of hygiene I wouldn't use it.

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    1. Krystal Lynn, I like that motto! I tend to be like that too.

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  4. I spent many of my younger years waitressing, and as a rule, threw out everything on the table....
    To me, it doesn't sound like an OCD thing for you, as you weren't feeling anxiety over it. It's funny, because I was just thinking of writing a post about it sometimes being hard to know if behavior is OCD related or not (from a family member's point of view). I may just have to link to this post!

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    1. Thanks, Janet. It was strange. I was in a mini-quandary, but didn't feel the anxiety something related to OCD would cause.

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  5. I think a lot of people would handle the situation the way you did. I think this illustrates, though, the gray areas that we all have to face. While I often challenge my anxiety, there are times when I choose not to. For example, I now know that I can go into a supermarket on a Saturday afternoon (I couldn't for many years), but I still won't do it if I don't have to, because I prefer going when there are fewer people in the store.

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    1. Nadine, this was definitely one of those gray areas!

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  6. It sounds like it wasn't OCD for you. However, I also think you could have eaten it. Many people don't refrigerate their margarine, so no problem there. And some restaurants leave those packets at the table all morning, over to the side, where who knows how many people touch them.

    So it really comes down to personal preference. Of course, you could also decide to eat them just BECAUSE you have OCD and you want to really kick it to the curb.

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    1. Ann, that would have been a good idea, to push the OCD. And I have seen restaurants, also, which keep out the marjarine on the table.

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  7. Hmmm . . . good question. If it was sealed, I probably would have eaten the jelly. I don't think I would have eaten the margarine only because I wouldn't have known how long it was unrefrigerated. Technically, it is probably against hygiene laws to do what the waitress did, but other than the refrigeration issue, it would not have bothered me (again, as long as they were sealed).

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    1. Sunny, yes, they were sealed, so I probably should have eaten them. But there was that doubt . . . though it didn't feel like OCD.

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  8. I wouldn't have eaten it - not as a food spoilage issue so much, but because I would've be thinking about the germs from the other table! :)

    I think you made a good decision. I know OCD gets in the way of me making decisions for fear of making the "wrong" decision; good for you in deciding something, either way. :)

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    1. Thanks. That was part of my concern, the thought of people touching the items at the other table.

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  9. I would have eaten them. As long as they were sealed, then it would have basically been the same as if the ones she had brought out "fresh" had been on a table hours earlier, she put them in the back, then brought them out again.

    It might have been a bit of OCD, but it also is about knowing how long they were out and what kind of crap we are being fed. So don't feel bad, I think you did well!!

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  10. I would not have eaten them either Tina. So I think you did the right thing and I do not think it is OCD related as to the reason you did not. In my mind you don't know how long they had been lying out all be it sealed or who had been touching them or even if they had fallen on the floor etc Thus in my mind I would want fresh ones to be brought for me to use. Just my opinion though. Take care.

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    1. Thank you, Behind the Smile. That's what I was thinking about the food at the time.

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