Friday, December 16, 2011

Turkey Will Never Be the Same

Our lodge had its installation of officers and Christmas dinner on Thursday. My task was to provide dinner for about thirty people. I went down to the Basha’s Deli and ordered a veggie tray, and antipasto tray, and one Holiday Feast. The Holiday Feast consists of a turkey, a ham, various sides and two pies. I will have to confess my ignorance here as when I was ordering this, I actually thought that the Feast came hot. I arrived promptly at 5 PM to pick up my goodies for the 6 PM meal. Whoops! This all comes cooked but cold. Apparently all is cooked ahead of time, frozen, and thawed for your convenience. I am screwed as it takes about 1 ½ hour to heat everything up. Dinner will be late. It would be nice if they let people know that little fact when ordering it. Oh well, live and learn.

While racing down to lodge, I am thinking fine thoughts about how I have just screwed up the Christmas dinner. I decided that we could get everything in the ovens as there is a kitchen there, snack on the veggie and antipasto trays, go do our installation, and then come back down for the main dinner.
It! Could! Work! Relief, at least there is a plan. A couple of the brothers were waiting for someone to unlock when I arrived. I even have willing (or drafted) volunteers! Things are looking better. We hauled everything to the kitchen and started our preparations. We slid the ham out of the packaging, put it into a pan and slid put it in the oven. We then opened the package the turkey was in. The stench that filled the entire kitchen was impressive. This baby was really, really rank.

I remember one year dove hunting that I did not clean the birds in the field. The dove came home and were cleaned in the backyard. I deposited the carcasses and entrails in the garbage can. A couple of days later, I came around the corner to the fragrance of dead birds. Now this is Arizona, so a little heat and time to do magical things to raw flesh that will provide some of the most memorable olfactory experiences. The turkey was worse. The bird was so strong that it must have been very ripe prior to being frozen. There is no way that the bird gained the elevated status of “exceptional olfactory revulsion” during the thawing period. So much for plan “B”. I am screwed as we don’t have enough food. I hate having two stressful moments in less than an hour.
The turkey got put in a metal pan and covered with tin foil to keep the aroma from escaping any further. Exhaust fans went on and we continued with prepping the side dishes into the oven. I explained to people what had occurred as they arrived. Our event was not a failure as it turned out we had enough food with the ham, sides, veggie/antipasto platters, pies and cookies. My better half brought a huge plate of Christmas cookies. We actually had a nice evening.

The remaining food was packed up and the dishes were taken care of. Our chores were not too bad as we used the “good china”. This is our reference to paper plates and plastic utensils. Now we go back to that nasty turkey. It was carefully placed in a garbage bag as you really did not want this thing to leak in your vehicle. I decided to put the whole thing in a metal serving pan just in case it did leak and off to Basha’s I went. You could smell that thing right through the bag so I traveled with the windows open regardless of the outside temperature.
I carefully carried the precious cargo into Bashsa’s about 10 PM and asked for the manager. She arrived and looked with suspicion at my cargo resting on the service counter. I still had a jacket and tie on which does tend to help in these situations. She inquired how she could help me and what was in the bag that smelled so bad. I politely informed her that it was the turkey from the “feast” picked up that day and asked if she wanted me to untie the bag so she could get a peek at it. She firmly answered “No! I can smell it through the bag”. I had saved my receipt for her perusal. She actually called the deli manage at home as she was unsure what to refund as it was a package deal. There was an irritated manner about her after she returned from talking to the deli manager that did not seem pointed in my direction. The deli manager thought that only the price of the turkey should be refunded and the night manager thought that was inadequate. We settled on half the cost of everything. I can’t say how many times the night manager apologized to me and said how embarrassing this was. She was very professional. I told her that she need not apologize anymore and asked her a question that I already know the answer to. Don’t you just hate having to apologize for someone else’s actions that you had no control over? She finally smiled.

Some mischievous person said that it would only be proper to place the turkey on the deli manager’s desk and close the door. The deli manager should not be deprived of appreciating some of the department’s handy-work.  The night manager laughed, took the bag, and told me she would be right back.
I feel that the refund was adequate but that this could not be let slide. I felt that the deli manager’s attitude might need further adjustment. Thanks heavens the turkey smelled as bad as it did. If it had just been a bit tainted, we probably would not have known and eaten it. There would have been one group of sick people and some of the group is elderly.

My complaint is that the food handling procedures are so poor that this even happened. This turkey had to be rank before it was ever frozen and thawed for me. Basha’s should be ashamed that their employees find this type of process acceptable. A strong note was sent to the store’s general manager through corporate and a health department complaint has been lodged.
Turkey anyone? I know where you can get a Holiday Feast but don't use my name as a reference!


Kevin said...

Revenge is a dish best served putrid.

Primeval Papa said...

And I thought that it was best served cold but I like your version better!