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Not Prince Hamlet

"Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse."

The Waiter Chronicles Survey: The Test

Monday, September 10, 2007

If you live in Riverside County and work in a job where you handle food, you have to get a Food Handler's Card. Getting this card means trekking down to the local environmental health office and paying $18 to take a 50 question multiple choice test. You're only allowed to miss 15 questions if you are to pass.

And if you are troubled, dear citizen, by the thought that some of the men and women handling the food you're eating are only about 70% clear on what will make you sick and what won't, let the sheer difficulty of that test put your fears to rest.


Test takers are given a short booklet to study before they start penciling in the bubbles. Feeling confident, I flipped through the first few pages of it, then declared myself ready to be examined. I was more ready than I knew.

If this test is a measurement of the need-to-know involved in food service, then it appears that little more is needed than a basic grasp of English and a healthy appreciation for sarcasm. Because, while a few of the questions pertain to details--the temperature at which food grows bacteria, for example--most of them are mind-numbingly ridiculous.

Here's an example (and I paraphrase):

Cockroaches and rodents like to feed
a. when the manager is not around
b. when they're stressed
c. when it is dark and quiet
d. on Mondays and Thursdays

(Duh. Everybody knows the answer is "a," with a postscript, "depending on the manager.")

It got so bad at one point that I actually looked around the room to see if other test takers were as amused as I was. I also suspected I might be the unwitting subject of a hidden camera prank. Nope. My colleagues were all furrowing their brows and engaging the exam with full seriousness.

You will be relieved to know that I am now the proud possessor of a Riverside County Food Handler's Card. That's right, when it comes ot roaches, mice, flies, and rotting food, I'm bonafide.

So here's the survey: submit your best multiple choice answer option "e" for the question about mice and rodents. The actual answers will be hard to beat, I know, but give it a shot. Because the best answer wins its author an Honorary Riverside County Food Handler's Certification.

May the Food Handler's Force be with you.

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posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 8:24 AM


e) while you are taking tests, so get back to work.
commented by Blogger Michael, 12:00 PM  
commented by Anonymous kairos, 5:51 AM  
"Ewww . . .?"

C'mon, man, get in the game.
commented by Blogger Not Prince Hamlet, 7:28 AM  
e) on the finest meats and cheeses the clubhouse has to offer...because they are the Kings of the Diamond.
commented by Blogger Scott, 4:12 PM  
I would be in the game, but I'm over here vomiting.
commented by Anonymous kairos, 11:09 AM  

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