Everyone, at one point or another, has purchased something from a deli. Well, I’ve worked at a couple different delis and from what I can tell, most of them are exactly the same and a little gross. Here are some secrets and tips I have come across along the way.
- Never Purchase From Pre-Sliced
Nine out of ten times it is never what it is being advertised as and quite possibly could be left over from the night before; especially if you shop first thing in the morning. A lot of the time the manager will have the deli clerks slice something up cheaper to try to make extra money on the purchases or it is something that is going out of code soon (expiring), and any left over pre-sliced item gets saved for the next day. So just skip on it all together.
- Never Buy Non-Advertised Sale Items
When you go to a deli in a major supermarket and you see an item that has been reduced drastically but wasn’t advertised to be on sale, skip it. I’ve had a couple managers who would slice up meat that has expired that day or a few days ago and cut the price to $2.99 a lb just to get rid of it without having to charge it as a ‘loss’.
- Always Ask To Discard The First Slice
If everything was handled properly this wouldn’t be a problem, but frankly, nearly every deli I worked in its not. All Items are supposed to be wrapped after each use, placed open end down in the cooler; that why the light doesn’t discolor and decrease shelf life of product and because the bottom of the cooler is the coldest, common sense. However, I’ve had managers tell me that wrapping a product after each use takes up too much time and is a waste of wrap, so we only wrapped once a day, at closing. Asking them to discard the first slice will eliminate the chance of having a discolored and bad piece of meat.
- Know What You Are Buying
A lot of the time, and I have been guilty of this, we will grab anything open to speed the line up. If you ask for something specific and we don’t already have one open, we will substitute something close for it. If it doesn’t look right to you, don’t be afraid to ask.
- Ask To Change Gloves
A lot of the time my co-workers don’t change their gloves as much as they should, sometimes its out of being lazy other times because they simply forget. Either way, don’t be afraid to ask them to change them. In our downtime we are supposed to be cleaning everything to keep it sanitary. If you see them washing the counter and then go straight to slicing your order, ask them to change their gloves.
If something doesn’t seem right to you, its probably not. Use your best judgement and don’t be afraid to ask questions. I was always honest with customers. When a customer asked me why something was so cheap I wasn’t afraid to tell them it was going out of code or is out of code. If the deli clerk gets annoyed or mad when you ask them to discard the first slice or not to use pre-sliced, so what. You are eating it, not them, and chances are they wouldn’t touch the stuff in pre-sliced either.