Today I was at work, and I was thinking about the ever present but never seen cloud that hangs over my job, and it made me think of a certain law firm from a certain Whedon show about a vampire with a soul. I often have nerdy thoughts such as these at work, but I think this is my favorite one so far.
I work in a deli, which means the primary part of my job involves handling food. The first couple of weeks that I worked there, all I heard about was what the health department would do in certain situations.
“Make sure you close the doors to the hot case as quickly as possible, because when you open them, the case starts losing temp, and when the health department comes, the first thing they do is start taking the temperature of all the food in the case to make sure it’s hot enough.”
“Remember to wipe down all the counters at night because if the health department comes in and sees the counters haven’t been wiped down, we’ll get written up.”
“The health department is coming in tomorrow to make sure we’ve taken all the recalled turkey off the shelves, so make sure this place is spotless when you leave tonight in case they come take a look back here.”
“If the health department doesn’t like the way an employee has left the deli at night, they could have you fired.”
“The health department comes in here all the time, and we never know when they’ll be here next, so always clean like you know they’re going to be here the next day.”
“Don’t leave this like this. If you had left this like this before you left tonight and the health department came in tomorrow, you could lose your job.”
“The health department came in this morning to defrost our cooler, then they took the temperature. It’s holding temp, thank goodness, I was nervous.”
Yet with all this talk of the health department and how often they come to the store, I’ve never once seen a health department official since I’ve worked there. They just seem to be this all-powerful force that gives out orders for everyone to follow, and everyone lives in fear of what will happen the next time the health department drops by. And when I’m closing at night, as I’m leaving I always think “I hope I didn’t forget anything. It’ll be just by luck that the one time I forget to clean something, the health department comes the next morning and fires me.” Even I’m terrified of the health department. I’ve never seen them, despite the fact that they’re supposedly there all the time, but all I ever think about is what the health department would think of the job I’ve done when I close at night.
In this sense, I’ve convinced myself that the officials from the health department are actually the Senior Partners from Wolfram and Hart.