I was waiting in the checkout line at Trader Joe's today behind an off-duty employee buying groceries and chatting with the cashier. Not a problem; I'm not in a hurry, and it gives me more time to look at the metric ton of chocolate-covered impulse buys at the stand by the counter. After a few minutes, I started to tune in a bit to the conversation between the off-duty employeer and the cashier - the off-duty guy was talking about how sick with the flu his girlfriend was (apparently she'd been up projectile vomiting all night and wanted to go to the doctor but was too ill to even get to her car), and how he now wasn't feeling so hot himself, so he was just going to go home and take a bunch of vitamins and take it easy for the weekend. Then, he sneezed into his hands about four times and proceeded to touch pretty much everything on the customer side of the counter (picked up and moved a stack of paper bags, used the stylus on the credit card machine to sign his name, knocked over a jar of chopsticks and picked it back up). As he was finishing his conversation with the cashier, he had a bit of a coughing fit and wiped his nose with his hand before he high-fived her and left.
Obviously none of this is bad service - the poor guy was clearly getting sick and regardless, he wasn't on duty. As the cashier finished checking me out and I signed the credit card screen, I decided to make use of the bottle of hand sanitizer they keep on the checkout counters for customers. I'm not really a germaphobe, but it's the kind of thing where if you actually see someone sneezing/coughing all over the place and touching everything, I feel like I should use it if it's around. So I thanked the cashier as I spritzed some sanitizer into my hand, and she gave me a dirty look and snapped, "You know, we keep things really clean here, and that stuff just kills good bacteria, anyway."
Maybe so, but I'll take that over salvaging any bad bacteria from a guy who's coming down with the same thing as his apparently deathly ill girlfriend, just this once.