The staunch detectives and champions of hard-nosed investigative reporting over at Good Morning America took an undercover look at the seedy underbelly of the petri dish industry we like to call restaurants, and you’re not going to like what they found. In a segment that highlighted tabletop items that were “Germier Than a Toilet Seat,” their secret researcher visited restaurants in New York, Arizona and Ohio and swabbed the common tabletop items that most of us take for granted. Germaphobes and germavores alike will never look at salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard, sugar and menus the same way ever again.
Restaurant servers have often suffered the brunt of their customers’ disdainful stares for undercooked meats and slow service, and at times deserved it for the occasional steak dropped on the floor, washed, re-grilled, re-garnished and sent back out, or for not washing their hands, directly contradicting the placard on the bathroom wall. Anyone familiar with the industry has seen the dirty rag (you know the one) that’s used to wipe down everything from menu to countertop. But all this time the real danger to customers’ health has been…the customers themselves! All those grimy, grubby fingers grasping on salt and pepper have left an indelible mark on our nation. Bacteria, apparently, really like pepper and congregate there in far larger amounts than on salt, sugar, ketchup or mustard but the real blight upon the soul of each and every god-fearing restaurant manager is the menu itself. The most handled item in the restaurant is hands-down the germiest item on the table and indeed germier than a toilet seat. So the next time you enter a restaurant, place your order, wash your hands and keep the deadly menu away from your children. And restaurants, do your customers a favor and clean the menu S’il Vous Plait!!!
The next formerly safe location for people on the run and families alike is the hotel room. Where once we examined maps, looked at driving distances to amusement parks and researched getaway routes, now we must be ever vigilant for the bacterial scourge. Discovery News checked in on poisonous hotel rooms and found that even though the housekeeping staff generally spends up to 30 minutes cleaning an individual room, they don’t spend nearly enough time cleaning their mops and sponges or refreshing their cleaning liquids. Imagine the dirt of a thousand strangers used to clean the hotel room you’re in the next time you’re trying to save a few bucks on that suite. And as with the lethal menu, the silent but deadly TV remote and bedside lamp switch also carry 2 -10 times the amount of bacteria than are allowed in your nearest hospital. Room service and a movie…? I think we’ll pass.
The last great stronghold of the germ insurrection is located in the American heartland, the site of the great, overhyped economic recovery where we eat cheeseburgers over our keyboards, our beloved offices and cubicle farms. Here where we spend our days surfing the Interwebs, taking phone calls and shedding profuse amounts of bacteria from our “nasal, oral and intestinal cavities” is where the germs are winning. Jennifer Welsh of LiveScience.com reports that the majority of bacteria in the office setting are found on our telephones and armrests, and she makes this unexpected discovery. Men, it appears, are dirtier than women. Welsh definitively states that men “don’t wash their hands or brush their teeth nearly as often.” This surprising turn of events threatens to upend years of improvements in male grooming habits and advances made in the field of male hygiene. Don’t let germs get in the way of your next webinar, wipe before you Skype!