Homeless at Chipotle

When visiting this burrito place, dress for success...I guess

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By David Hammond

When I go to work out at FFC, I usually don't wear my best clothes. Because I like to shave after a turn in the steam room and hot tub, I'm usually unshaven. I carry my shoes, shorts, etc., in a beat-up backpack with a busted zipper.

Recently, looking like I maybe slept under a bridge the night before, I walked into Book Table. I couldn't help but notice the man at the desk gazed at me just a nano-second longer than usual and subjected me to the slow elevator gaze, probably because I looked like I might be, you know, homeless or indigent or transient, and so without funds or other commercial interest for the store.

When I walk around Oak Park in this pre- and sometimes even post-work out attire, I get a lot of nods from some of the actual homeless around the library, Walgreen's, near the parking lot across from FFC, etc. I always nod back, because it's polite, and because I understand that, for just this one moment, I may very well appear to be one of their tribe. I'm totally okay with that, of course, and it does spare me the need to hand out spare change. Still, appearing homeless – whether you actually are or are not – clearly has its drawbacks.

Chipotle is a place I'd previously pretty much enjoyed.

Last week, looking indigent, I stopped by Chipotle for a carnitas burrito. I wanted to make sure I was asking for the right meat, so I stretched my arm over the serving table and pointed down, asking "Is that carnitas, and [pointing to another bin], what's that?"

The young woman behind the counter looked at me sternly, without answering my question, and said, "You've got to stop putting your hand over there!"

Now, I understand why fast food places can't have customers reaching over the sneeze screen, but as I am a gentleman of a certain age, being publicly chastised by a person probably one-third my years was rather embarrassing. I kind of recoiled when her reprimand seemed to imply that counter-overreaching was a regular problem of mine, perhaps some strange compulsion typical of an apparent public nuisance such as me. She was contemptuous; she didn't even bother to answer my last question. She just scolded me and then went on with her work. I had to ask again for an answer. I'm assuming her apparent dismissal was because I looked like a low-value customer.

I've done contract work with McDonald's Corporation for some years, and I've done a lot of service training for them. One thing I don't think you'd ever hear a McDonald's employee say to a customer is "Don't" or "Stop" or other command, certainly not without a "Please" and "Thank you." It's just commonsense polite and reflects a correct service orientation.

I've got to believe the Chipotle staff is trained to be similarly polite to customers…at least regular customers.

The chastisement I received from the young woman at Chipotle, mild as it may seem, kind of diminished whatever enjoyment I might have gained from the food.

The overall experience made me feel that I never really wanted to go to Chipotle again.

If I do, though, I'll know to dress for the occasion.

Reader Comments

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Butterbean from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 12:57 PM

"Did Obama then write a scolding, tone-deaf blogpost about how the low wage workers discriminated against him because he looked homeless? " No, I think he blamed the Republicans.

Big Ego Guy  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 12:36 PM

Let's see, POTUS versus food writer for (award winning) local newspaper....yeah, completely comparable!


Posted: June 26th, 2014 10:54 AM

Did Obama then write a scolding, tone-deaf blogpost about how the low wage workers discriminated against him because he looked homeless?

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 10:15 AM

My mother always said, "Two wrongs do not make a Right."

David Hammond from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 9:32 AM

Obama and me, same problematic tendency to over-reach: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/06/obamas-chipotle-moment-dubbed-a-case-of-presidential-overreach/

David Hammond from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 17th, 2014 6:17 PM

Herr Dr. Friskywhiskers, you just gave me an idea for a column. I called Poor Phil's, spoke with Becky, and she said that you could bring your kitty to the outdoor seating area at the restaurant, though Fluffy (great name!) would have to be on a leash (which it seems is already SOP for your cat). I'm guessing you might have to bring your own milk for your favorite feline, too, but that would be a small inconvenience for what I'm sure is the joy of having a quiet dinner with your friend, pussy.

Professor Kittywhiskers from Oak Park  

Posted: April 17th, 2014 3:48 PM

I had a similar run in with a local eating establishment, who shall remain nameless. I was walking my cat Fluffy on a leash, and decided we should go in for a bite together. Imagine my horror when the maître d' informed me that Fluffy could not lap up her saucer of milk while sitting on the table. Well, I sternly informed him that Fluffy is my emotional support animal, and we would be taking our business elsewhere.

Neighbor from Oak Park  

Posted: April 17th, 2014 2:23 PM

Maybe this will be the last comment... The unnecessarily rude and insulting comments made by so many of the posts below are far more ignorant and offensive than the Mr. Hammond's behavior at Chipotle. How ironic that these sarcastic and judgmental individuals/trolls consider themselves qualified to complain to anyone about lack of good manners! Speak to others as you would like to be spoken to yourself.

David Hammond from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 17th, 2014 1:09 PM

You do realize, don't you, that every time you post, you increase the visibility of this conversation? That's fine by me ?" heck, I write to be read ?" but I can't understand how someone with your stated position would want to draw more eyes to my writing. But whatever? thanks!

If I hadn't already cancelled ... from OP  

Posted: April 17th, 2014 11:39 AM

...my subscription to the WJ, I'd do it today. This guy may be a fool, but the editors are to blame for publishing this tripe in the first place.

David Hammond from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 17th, 2014 7:09 AM

Mr. Murtagh, apology gratefully accepted, though in the scale of invective hurled my way over the past week, your suppositions were some of the least offensive and were conceivably plausible (though admittedly inaccurate). Like you, I would have thought there'd be more FB-verified posters, though as one critic below admitted, she turns off FB verification so she can post anonymously. Please note, I am not advocating that every poster here be required to verify through FB, but it's been my experience that registration of some sort promotes more civil discourse. Such registration may also, however, promote less discourse (posters tend to dial back their wild charges and preposterous rage when their actual identities are known). It's a balance. Anyway, thanks.

Chipotle Endorser from OP  

Posted: April 16th, 2014 10:07 PM

@Bill, I was exaggerating. Thurston should write an article about how he invites a group of the "tribe" to a nice restaurant of Thurston's choice and treats them to a nice meal. And then give them a guest pass into FFC with him and let them enjoy the steam room and hot tub. So instead of just calling them "indigent", "transient or so without funds", he can help them out and hear their story.

John Murtagh from Oak Park  

Posted: April 16th, 2014 10:03 PM

Hi Mike (Risher) ?" I owe a couple of apologies. First, to the WJ for my implying that it has two layers of Facebook Verify to give an access advantage to some people. Second, to David Hammond for implying that he was the poster getting an advantage. The amazing thing is that with 60 or so posts, there were only eight with Facebook Verify. All were David. I assumed there were a lot more posters with Facebook Verify than there are. Thanks for trying to correct the error.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: April 16th, 2014 8:49 PM

So, 'Chipotle Endorser," exactly how does Hammond's narrative that he "stretched my arm over the serving table and pointed down asking "Is that carnitas??" somehow become, in your thinking, "walked behind the counter and pointed your finger's (sic) at the grill and asked, 'What's that?'" Do you always have this much trouble making an honest, factual argument?

Chipotle Endorser from OP  

Posted: April 16th, 2014 7:59 PM

Thurston, I understand that you have worked with McD's and that you would never hear them say "Don't" or "Stop", but I guarantee you that you would hear everyone from corporate to the cashier tell you "Don't" or "Stop" if you walked behind the counter and pointed your finger's at the grill and asked, "What's that?" Plus, being a food critic, do you really need to ask? The choices are pretty recognizable and in plain view especially, Steak, Pork, Chicken, etc. Stupid is as Stupid does!

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: April 16th, 2014 6:18 PM

I am always logged-in to Facebook, so I actually have to delete my last name, when commenting, to take Facebook verification off. I never use Facebook to log in to any other sites. Don't like it.

Mike Risher from WJ Web Department Wednesday Journal Employee

Posted: April 16th, 2014 4:45 PM

@john murtagh, I apologize that you continue to experience problems with our Facebook Verification system. I know that this has been an ongoing problem for you, but try as I might I have been unable to track down the problem you are running into. Please do rest assured that the Facebook Verification process is a completely even playing field and my comment here is going through exactly the same verification process that yours or Mr. Hammond's goes through. I do apologize for the inconvenience, but I am unable to replicate your problem on any browser or operating system. If I can ever replicate the problem you are running into I will be happy to do what I can to fix it. Thanks.

David Hammond from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 16th, 2014 4:27 PM

I used FB verification on a number of sites. Your FB name, incidentally, is John Butch Murtagh, and perhaps if you don't key it in exactly that way, it doesn't recognize you. But this is a tech question that perhaps the site administrator can answer.

Hey HW  

Posted: April 16th, 2014 4:22 PM

You can find the author at Chipotle sticking his hands over the food safety glass while dressed as a sweaty slob following his workout as FFC.

john murtagh from Oak Park  

Posted: April 16th, 2014 4:21 PM

There are 65 post on this string. Of the 65, only 8 are Facebook Verified. All 8 are David Hammond. Is this a bizarre coincidence or is their a higher level of access? I have had no Facebook Verified all day!

David Hammond from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 16th, 2014 4:01 PM

One other thing, HW. Over the years, I've regularly taken emails and calls from English majors and others trying to break into writing, and I'm always pleased to offer whatever help I can. If you have questions of that nature, I'm not hard to find.

David Hammond from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 16th, 2014 3:25 PM

Half white, I didn't even want to get into that because either confirmation or denial of that characterization would invite a host of pointless and tangential outrage.

Half White  

Posted: April 16th, 2014 3:17 PM

David, A lot of people in these comments have been calling you a "wealthy white man". Could you please share the secret to becoming wealthy as a freelance writer, because I think a lot of English majors out there would be dying to hear it.

David Hammond from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 16th, 2014 3:13 PM

I've been doing three posts every week for several years (all of which I post at the same time, every week, no later than Monday morning). I'm not hesitant to put myself out there and take hits as they come. Facebook verification is a way of determining who's for real and who's a troll. That said, I appreciate honest criticism and analysis, and there has been some of that in this discussion, for which I'm thankful.

The Brad from OP  

Posted: April 16th, 2014 3:00 PM

BTW, it was not lost on me, either, that Hammond cranked out three quick articles in successive days to push that Chipotle column off the front page and make it more difficult to find.

The Brad from OP  

Posted: April 16th, 2014 2:59 PM

What Hammond doesn't realize on his "crusade against the anonymous" is that nobody cares who he is. Nobody cares what his name is, where he lives, where he works, what his phone number is, his middle name, education, pets, family, hobbies, nobody cares. It doesn't matter who's on Facebook, Twitter, verified or not. All that matters is that a ridiculous column was written where he lauded acting like a fool and a boar.

OP Transplant  

Posted: April 16th, 2014 1:41 PM

Mr. Hammond-A wealthy man who uses his newspaper column to punish a young restaurant worker who offended his vanity, and then tries to frame it as a social justice issue by invoking the plight of the homeless (which he is decidedly not), is just begging to be ridiculed. And now your lack of self awareness and inability to laugh at yourself just keeps making it worse. We've all made fools of ourselves before, but you refuse to stop. People will stop laughing when it stops being funny.

David Hammond from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 16th, 2014 8:37 AM

I can take the heat, and I accept reasonable criticism, of course, but there's no reason for anyone to accept mindless name-calling grunted forth from the depths of anonymity.

Teddy R.  

Posted: April 16th, 2014 8:24 AM

Mr. Hammond, you brought this on yourself by being a bully pulpit. Your "review" should have staying in your draft folder until you calmed down. Let it (responses to name calling, etc.) go and treat it as a lesson learned.

David Hammond from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 16th, 2014 7:54 AM

Just as thoughtful Republicans must deal with unhinged Tea Party outbursts, so do my sincere critics have to contend with those whose "arguments" boil down to "jerk" and "dork." I read all comments, and I have seriously taken many to heart, but when it comes to schoolyard name-calling, well, there's no way for anyone to deal thoughtfully with that.

Chipotle Endorser from OP  

Posted: April 15th, 2014 9:37 PM

Let me see what I can write about today. Hmmmm. Oh, I will write how I am a pompous jerk to someone who did their job. And, yes, I DO like cheese with my whine. What a dork!

He writes because he know he was wrong  

Posted: April 15th, 2014 12:33 PM

The shield is up for a reason. To prevent people (any people) from reaching over and possibly contaminating food. You were wrong, you know you were wrong. If anything you owe the young woman an apology.

OP Transplant  

Posted: April 15th, 2014 10:27 AM

It's the "gotcha" nature of the whole thing that gets me. The author admits he was dirty and that he reached across the counter toward the food. The girl had no choice but to say something. Then he pulls this, "Ha! I'm actually a rich guy who writes for the paper! I'll get you!" And he goes home and writes a column about how he caught her being rude to a customer he assumes she thought to be homeless. He's completely unable to see how foolish this makes him look. Funny, though!

David Hammond from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 15th, 2014 10:26 AM

You've been by my house, OMG? Now that's creepy. Maybe I should start posting my articles anonymously...


Posted: April 15th, 2014 8:42 AM

By your own account you were aggressive and rude to the worker. That may explain why she reacted that way rather than how you look. You live in a giant beautiful house and you work out at the most expensive health club in town. Do you really believe that because you CHOOSE to dress like crap you have special insight into the indignities homeless people suffer (hint: it's worse than poor service for an 8 dollar organic burrito) and must therefore speak for them? Walter Jacobsen much?

T. Howell III  

Posted: April 14th, 2014 9:10 AM

Irony Police - You don't understand that this is not an issue of sanitation. The author admits to his lack of sanitation. It's an issue of the serving class knowing its place. If I want to cool my feet in the salsa verde, the counter help can damn well keep their mouths shut. I, like Mr. Hammond, am a very important man.

The Irony Police  

Posted: April 12th, 2014 12:41 PM

Sorry Mr. H, but your outrage at what sounds like an appropriate chastisement registers particularly hypocritical coming from the same delicate flower who has written multiple chastising columns about the unsanitariness of fingerlicking at the table, and (gasp!) eating a chicken leg with one's fingers.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: April 11th, 2014 8:57 PM

Wow. Reaching across a sneeze shield is 'disgusting,' 'absolutely insane behavior' and bad enough to make you lose all respect for everything he writes. Jeez Louise, dude- just a bit tightly wound, aren't you, Brad? Good thing he didn't flick any spit when he asked his question, huh?

The Brad from OP  

Posted: April 11th, 2014 3:38 PM

Reaching across the shield like an animal is disgusting. I have no idea what you were pointing at if you knew what you wanted to order and had been there before. Just absolutely insane behavior. I've walked out of restaurants who allow this. Kudos to Chipotle for putting you in your place. Odd behavior, odd article, very odd lauding that you walk around like a homeless person. I guess I just lost all respect for anything you ever write. Go away now.


Posted: April 10th, 2014 5:57 PM

Old people entitlement is really annoying. Sorry we are all not kneeling before you, grand sire.

OP Transplant  

Posted: April 10th, 2014 3:20 PM

"The overall experience made me feel that I never really wanted to go to Chipotle again." Since I'm sure they think of you as the old guy who doesn't shower and reaches across the counter toward the food, I'm not sure how much you'll be missed. So this is kind of a win-win.

joe from south oak park  

Posted: April 10th, 2014 2:27 PM

How's Lovey holding up these days?

T. Howell III  

Posted: April 10th, 2014 11:24 AM

Joe, I must respectfully disagree. I was just discussing this at the club the other day with that little guy from the Monopoly box. There's a nasty strain of egalitarianism in American society that often makes the serving classes dissatisfied with the lot our Heavenly Father has justly given them. Imagining themselves our peers only makes them more unhappy. It's truly a kindness for the author to use his position at the newspaper to keep them in their providential place. Huzzah, Sir!

joe from south oak park  

Posted: April 10th, 2014 10:51 AM

David- this may be OP but you seriously need to man up. From the article you already know you were wrong in putting your hand over the sneeze shield. If you didn't like the way that the employee treated you, address it then and there rather than using your position at a newspaper to lambast someone 'one-third' your years who had the gall to call you out on your own bad behavior.

T. Howell III  

Posted: April 10th, 2014 8:16 AM

The author is right. Despite his admittedly poor personal hygiene and boorish behavior, no serving girl has the right to address a wealthy white male in such a manner. Why, that could have been any of us! I'm all for Oak Park liberalism, but my tolerance is stretched when the help doesn't know its place. I hope this column serves as a warning to the lower classes to remember their station. We may not shower or behave appropriately, but we remain their superiors at all times.

Neighbor from Oak Park  

Posted: April 9th, 2014 11:08 PM

For all you science guys-can you answer me one question? How many germs or bacteria can jump off a dirty bum like post work out finger tip into the carnitas below? Could he possibly. spread the Plague, Black Death, malaria?... Or is it just that the picture in your mind of is such a yucK?

Dave Zier from Wilmette  

Posted: April 9th, 2014 10:52 PM

Anyone who remotely knows David Hammond knows what kind of top notch guy he is. I get the feeling he was more mocking himself than chastising a servant at a fast food joint! Lighten up people!

not bill dwyer  

Posted: April 9th, 2014 9:23 PM

It was a dark and stormy night... No wait...The young woman behind the counter looked at me sternly, without answering my question, and said, "You've got to stop putting your hand over there!" Yeah, that's more like it. Mr. Hammond, stop writing about food. You have a future in romance novels.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: April 9th, 2014 7:57 PM

So, Brendan, Hammond was 'acting like a complete A**hole" simply because he reached across a sneeze shield? Or because he dared to relate how the employee overreacted? Try and be clear here, son. As for an 'imbalance of power,'OP Transplant, really? This isn't the Russians invading the Crimea. He just wanted a snack or breakfast, unfortunately dressed for working out. What is WITH the goofy overreaction of Oak Park folk over this? The counter employee was the jerk here, and Chipolte knows it.


Posted: April 9th, 2014 7:25 PM

Complete a**hole!


Posted: April 9th, 2014 7:24 PM

Maybe you were treated that way because you were acting like a com

OP Transplant  

Posted: April 9th, 2014 7:15 PM

I think what's offensive here is the imbalance of power. The actual situation was just Mr. Hammond's rude behavior met by an equally rude response. But the young employee in question doesn't have a newspaper column to ridicule Mr. Hammond's behavior. Using his position to get back at a kid who was rude to him in turn makes Mr. Hammond a bully.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: April 9th, 2014 6:45 PM

So, M. Perkins, did Hammond mention a name in this 'public rebuke"? Because that would have been out of line. But he didn't. And he acknowledged he erred. That doesn't excuse the unprofessional and rude behavior by the obviously poorly trained employee. All she had to do was politely ask him to not reach over the sneeze shield, and then, just as politely and professionally, answer his question. But she didn't. And that reflects poorly on both the unnamed employee and Chipotle.

M Perkins from Oak Park  

Posted: April 9th, 2014 6:33 PM

People, this is dave hammond, a self important hack of a "writer" who is a coward and a jerk for calling that young woman out. She was doing her job by not letting his filthy clothes come near the food that everyone had to eat. She should have been commended and praised but in typical smarmy hammond fashion, he chose to take her out and disgrace her for his incompetence. He "writes" (and I'm being kind here) for a newspaper and he feels he has the right to use the paper for his public rebuke.

Jim from South Oak Park  

Posted: April 9th, 2014 4:13 PM

Dave, you are suffering a mild case of excessive pride; the specific diagnosis is an attack of: "Don't you people know how important I am!" Usually, the hurt feelings go away by counting to ten or sleeping on it overnight, Unfortunately, you blurted our your feelings before considering how the real world gets along. Go to your room and take a time out.

OP Transplant  

Posted: April 9th, 2014 10:47 AM

It's true that only in Oak Park could a rich guy who doesn't like to shave before he hits the steam room at the gym imagine himself to be the voice of the homeless. If there's anything alive that's less self aware than a white guy from Oak Park, I haven't seen it.


Posted: April 9th, 2014 10:39 AM

Rude rich person who enjoys slumming behaves rudely toward low paid service worker and is offended when she is not polite in correcting him. Instead of learning from the experience, he assumes worker is discriminating against homeless people and takes offense on their behalf. Writes a column in Wednesday Journal bemoaning the decline of corporate manners toward all people, even those who like to pretend they are homeless. This may be the most perfect thing I have ever read in this paper.

Forest through the trees  

Posted: April 9th, 2014 10:00 AM

Your first mistake was going to Chipotle. The fact that you actually think Chipotle is decent undercuts your credibility as a food critic.


Posted: April 9th, 2014 8:57 AM

You dress like a slob. Admittedly violate Health Code laws. Get mad when your called out on it and write an article blaming everyone but you.


Posted: April 8th, 2014 9:39 PM

"I may very well appear to be one of their tribe. I'm totally okay with that, of course, and it does spare me the need to hand out spare change. Still, appearing homeless ?" whether you actually are or are not ?" clearly has its drawbacks." Perhaps you thought you were being clever or humorous with this thought, but you missed the mark.

chris from morris  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 8:20 PM

Hi, my name is Chris and I live in Austin. I dress like a bum and am also of a certain age. I shop and do business in Oak Park daily and I have never once received an off look from any one I have encountered. I visit the Book Table often, eat lunch at the various restaurants your fine city has to offer and interact with many residents every day. I have only ever been treated with kindness and respect from everyone I have met since I moved to the area from my home town. Perhaps it is you.

Intern at ACORN  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 7:06 PM

Another common misperception is that all bums are actually homeless. Many of them do quite well in fact. Professional panhandling can be quite a lucrative enterprise.

Neighbor from Oak Park  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 6:29 PM

Not all homeless people dress like bums. That is a stereotype. It is difficult to identify the working poor from the other working classes on the basis of dress and behavior. My point is that all people deserve to be treated with courtesy and respect, even if being directed to maintain sanitation.


Posted: April 8th, 2014 5:15 PM

Oak Parkers have a funny perception of the working poor. We shouldn't have seciton 8 housing because it attracts crime, discipline and acdemic achievement only happens at home, but poor people aren't home with their children instead work 2 jobs, but we can't afford to pay a living wage because that hurts the job creators. But if a well-off man want to dress like a bum, it is his god given right and you must treat him with the dignity of his station, no matter what gross thing he does!

Neighbor from Oak Park  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 4:57 PM

Well, I think that column was an interesting vignette... As a former waitress, and a damn good one if I say so myself....there is no excuse for restaurant personnel to be rude to anyone even if he enjoys dressing like a bum. Maybe she would have been more gracious in her correction if she was hoping for a tip?

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 4:31 PM

Yes, I am John Butch Murtagh, John Murtagh and john murtagh. Mu verified name is John Butch Murtagh. It is the John I used most. Sometimes the Facebook Verification does not appear when I am ready to post. So I use the "Type Post" capability provided by WJ. My name for "Type Post" is usually John Murtagh, But sometimes my fingers are so sore from the typing that I do not have the strength to operate the capital key. When that happens I go 100% lower case.


Posted: April 8th, 2014 3:30 PM

While I would never reach over the sneeze guard I can vouch for the fact that the chipotle on lake street has some grouchy workers

Randy from Cary  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 2:50 PM

As a food columnist for a major daily paper, I bet that David knows what is acceptable behavior at a restaurant. As a long-time resident of Oak Park, I bet that David has seen his beloved community change in attitude toward people of 'a certain age' and 'economic standing.' And as a blogger, David has the ability - the editorial requirement - to speak his mind about his community. And I'm certain he has the internal fortitude to handle the Comments section, no matter how petty or self-serving.

David Hammond from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 2:46 PM

Hi Violet Aura (no FB verification required with you!). Just to keep it factual, I don't work for the Tribune, and the Book Table people have always impressed me as being earnest souls...but I've produced a bunch for WBEZ, so maybe it's just my perceptions (which is, really, what this discussion is all about: perception).

Violet Aura  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 2:35 PM

David, my biggest revelations from your piece are that you look so raggedy and yet work for the Trib and that you also experienced the stink eye from those characters at the Book Table. Are they are owners? They remind me of the radio "personalities" (total exaggeration) at WBEZ who speak so coolly as if expressing a shred of emotion is equated with having a lower IQ.

David Hammond from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 2:34 PM

Sometimes I wonder if this discussion is just me and maybe two other people. Without Facebook verification, it's hard to tell john murtagh from John Murtagh from John Butch Murtagh (who actually is Facebook verified on this site).

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 2:23 PM

While the author here certainly violated a basic food sanitation rule, the employee was inexcusably rude. So many service employees nowadays seem oblivious to the reality of business, i.e., that their salary comes from the money customers pay for their service. The rude girl behind the counter needs to work on displaying a modicum of good manners and learn to correct customers more respectfully.

Big Al from Oak Park  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 2:19 PM

Sorry David but I think you are in the wrong. You got your pride hurt and then tried to blame it on your looking homeless. I for one am glad to see that the staff is concerned about germs and cleanliness. Get over yourself.

john murtagh from Oak park  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 2:13 PM

You will probably return! Ain't that special!!

John Murtagh from Oak Park  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 2:07 PM

I like Chipotle's and will continue to eat there and will encourage others. I find the staff to be not only efficient, but friendly, interesting, and quick. I find the customers to be diverse in race, age, etc. The dress standards are high and obeyed. I don't know how old the writer is, but it's apparent that he acts like a 10 year old in restaurants. Glad he is staying out of Chipotle's.

David Hammond from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 1:53 PM

Holier than Thou, thank you for providing me with my new tagline. Guys, I'm not arguing that what I did was just fine, nor am I saying that the counterperson was out of line for correcting me. Heck, I'll probably go back there; Chipotle is an admirable enterprise, but I'll just make sure I look the part of the respectable burgher...and next time, I'll get the barbacoa, which looked really good.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 1:01 PM

The column wouldn't be so bad if the writer didn't mention the establishment. It would be a quirky little personal vignette. But by mentioning the place by name, it's a public shaming and a misuse of someone's platform. The writer comes off as graceless and full of himself.

Bully pulpit?  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 12:46 PM

Wow. A young person disses you and you have the luxury of writing a column demonizing their behavior while you pose for holy pictures. Was it really that bad? I too have experienced my fair share of rude counter help, but have satisfied myself with speaking to the offending party's immediate manager, if the situation warranted it. I give this young person credit for having the wherewithal to remind you of your manners and I hope that they have the confidence to continue to do so.


Posted: April 8th, 2014 12:39 PM

As someone who owns a business, has taken a company public etc what makes people think they can disregard signs and barriers. Yes, she was stern but the public is so rude that you have to be. Respect the place and wont be issue. I have been all over the world, on private jets and poorest places oin planet... simple policy. dont start none, wont be none. or dont be wise guy and you will fine.


Posted: April 8th, 2014 12:12 PM

Always look your best you owe it to the people that have to look at you. I thank Chipolte worker for looking out for the food and not allowing you to contaminate it. The fact that you train employees and have the gall to write this article is appalling.

Holier Than Thou from Oak Park  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 12:01 PM

You sir, are the scourge of the Earth. Worse than Stalin, Pol Pot and Hitler combined!

Chris Williams from Oak Park  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 12:00 PM

I'm with the writer on this. he didn't touch the food. He was treated rudely. His points about basic service are right on. No one wants to go to a place and be disrespected. I, for one, will remember this article and think twice before eating at Chipotle.


Posted: April 8th, 2014 10:55 AM

I have to agree with the others. What you did was disgusting and could make other people sick. You even understand what you did was inappropriate, yet still believe she should have deferred to you because of what? Middle age white male privilege or typical baby boomer narcissism, take your pick. Thanks, chipotle employee. Those of us who have actually worked in food service know the customer is not always right.

OP Transplant  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 7:49 AM

So you went in looking like a slob, and reached across the counter, putting you hand above the food. The person behind the counter could have chosen a nicer way to say it, but you were 100% in the wrong. Now you're going to write an entire editorial to slam some kid because you don't like the way you were corrected, even though you clearly needed correction. Learn to apologize when you're wrong.


Posted: April 8th, 2014 7:33 AM

The service at that Chipotle makes us regret that we love the food so much. We draw straws for who picks up food. But David, by your own admission you violated a serious "ewww" rule against your fellow customers. Stay behind the glass!

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