Bathroom Incident Flushes Away Team’s Successful Week

The Houston Astros won two out of their last three games this week and truth be told, aside from an epic collapse by the bullpen, they should have won all three games against the Kansas City Royals.

That is not however what is making the national news as a so called “citizen journalist” broke open a scandal that led to the firing of one man and a collective community wondering whether the event was one that was isolated, or one that had been more wide spread and put them at risk.

I am of course talking about Operation Snow Cone at Minute Maid Park where a food vendor was literally caught with his pants down with a partial tray of snow cones in harm’s way while he took care of the call of nature in one of the facilities at the Ballpark.

A bathroom at Minute Maid Park. Note the lack of snow cones as it should be. Photo R. Anderson

A bathroom at Minute Maid Park. Note the lack of snow cones as it should be.
Photo R. Anderson

Go ahead and get all of the juvenile clichés about not eating the yellow snow and the team not having a snowball’s chance this year out of the way, I will wait.

Okay, now that we have all gotten that out of our systems let us focus on the real issues here.

There is no excuse for a food service vendor taking product into the bathroom and placing it on the floor while they go to the bathroom a few feet away. The amount of germs and the risk of exposure to those germs by the innocent purchasers of the product is certainly not something anyone wants to be exposed to.

But let us say for the sake of argument that the three remaining snow cones in the tray were on their way back to the vending area to be destroyed at the end of the shift and were not going to be offered up for sale. We just don’t know what the plans for the snow cones were after the flush heard round the internet was completed.

Another factor that cannot be ignored here is what in the world was the person doing taking video and providing running commentary inside the restroom in the first place?

A vendor sells cotton candy and kettle corn at Minute Maid Park. Photo R. Anderson

A vendor sells cotton candy and kettle corn at Minute Maid Park.
Photo R. Anderson

People who take video of people under bathroom stalls in most cases are called predators and/or creeps. These people usually end up getting arrested on peeping tom charges or at the very least they get visited by that To Catch a Predator guy.

Granted, the intentions of this phone camera wielding justice seeking individual seem noble but I really don’t want to encourage a whole slew of restroom rangers to enter with cameras blazing looking for something amiss. What next hidden cameras in the urinal cakes?

With all of the camera phones and security cameras out in the world today it is safe to assume that at any given moment whatever you are doing is being filmed by someone.  In fact, someone very well could be taking video of me writing this column.

That is just the new reality that we are faced with as a society and I see little chance of that genie ever getting put back in the bottle. I just don’t want to think that it now includes the possibility of being filmed in restrooms as well.

There have to be some areas where a person can still have a little privacy. That is a line that simply must not be crossed. Or as Patrick Stewart would say, “The line must be drawn here. This far, no further.”

Instead of filming under the stall door, which just sounds creepy no matter how you slice it, the concerned fan could have just located a team employee to alert them about what was going on. According to the video of the incident a stadium employee does appear to get involved and the tainted snow cones do not make it back out on the floor.

As part of the damage control afterwards it was announced that the vendor in question, who worked for a third party contractor, was fired. I am sure the remaining employees will be reminded of the importance of not taking food into the restrooms as well.

Various vendors in bright yellow shirts work the crowd before a game. Photo R. Anderson

Various vendors in bright yellow shirts work the crowd before a game.
Photo R. Anderson

I have said time and time again that I never wanted to work in the food industry since I enjoy eating out too much and wanted to remain blissfully ignorant regarding what was happening to my food behind the curtain.

But I am fairly sure that they cover don’t take the food with you into the bathroom stall with you during orientation.

In the spirit of full disclosure I should reveal that over the years I have had many snow cones at many ballparks, including quite a few at Minute Maid Park. And despite this lapse in judgment by a former employee I am no less likely to continue enjoying them at the ballpark.

Of course, I will continue my habit of only ordering the snow cones from full trays that have just left the backroom where they have been made. Once the tray has taken a few trips around the ballpark it is no longer considered appetizing in my eyes and is considered unclean.

The image of a tray of snow cones on the filthy bathroom floor of a Major League ballpark is certainly disgusting but I have to believe it was an isolated incident.

When in doubt cupcakes make a lovely food choice. Photo R. Anderson

When in doubt cupcakes make a lovely food choice.
Photo R. Anderson

And while we are on the topic of phones in bathrooms can we finally put an end to people taking calls while they are relieving themselves in public restrooms?

No one is that busy, or that important that they have to take calls in the stall.  Checking your e-mail, surfing the web and texting while in the bathroom is perfectly acceptable and really is no different than reading a newspaper or a book to pass the time.

But for the love of Pete do not answer the phone to discuss business while doing your business in public. If I am on the other end of that call and I hear the telltale signs of where they are while making the call I am going to be even less likely to employ their services.

Keep the phones outside the stalls people. To paraphrase the anti-texting while driving campaign, it can wait.

Now if you’ll excuse me, all of this talk about snow cones has me craving something cold and refreshing.

Copyright 2013 R. Anderson