Don’t Get Saucy Or You Might Get Burned

, , , , , | Working | September 2, 2020

At the grocery store where I work, I am well known amongst the staff for my love of extremely spicy foods and hot sauces. One day, I bring a bottle of ghost pepper sauce, which is actually one of the more mild sauces I own, to put on a burrito I brought for my lunch. One of my managers and a coworker walk into the break room while I’m eating.

To put this hot sauce into a little perspective, the label on the bottle says this sauce is 500,000 Scoville units — the scale used to measure the heat of a pepper. For comparison, jalapeños can range from only 2,500 to 8,000.

Manager: “Hey, [My Name], whatcha got there?”

Me: “Burrito from [Burrito Chain].”

My manager takes a closer look at me.

Manager: “Are you okay?”

Me: “Yeah. Why?”

Manager: “You look a little sweaty.”

Me: “Oh. I guess the hot sauce has a little kick to it.”

I hand him the bottle and he reads aloud the comically tongue-in-cheek warning about how hot it is.

The manager opens the bottle, gives the sauce a sniff, and then starts laughing.

Manager: “Okay, I don’t want any part of that!”

Coworker: *With an unamused tone* “Seriously?”

[Coworker] takes the bottle and reads the warning to himself, with a sort of, “Yeah, right,” expression on his face the whole time.

Coworker: “Come on. There’s no way.”

He reaches into a drawer to get a spoon and starts to pour some sauce out. I should probably mention at this point that this particular coworker is one of those guys that constantly has to prove how “macho” he is and how much he can do or handle.

Me: “Dude! Just, no. Stop. That’s a bad idea.”

Manager: “If [My Name] says it’s hot, then it’s probably hot.”

I quickly explain the Scoville thing and how intense that sauce will be for someone who’s not used to spicy food.

Coworker: “Come on, man. I’ve had hot sauces before. How bad can it possibly be?”

Before I can object, he pours out a literal spoonful of this sauce and quickly slurps it down… and I have never seen such a look of instant regret on a person’s face. His eyes look like they’re about to pop out of his head, he grabs at the side of his face and, mouth agape, he can only manage to let out a small squeal that sounds like a kitten mewing for its mother. He quickly grabs a cup and almost dives for the sink.

Me: “No, wait! Don’t do that! Water makes it worse!”

Coworker: “Then what the f*** do I do?!”

Me: “Go get some milk! Full fat!”

Fortunately for him, the refrigerated section is a straight shot down the aisle from the break room. My manager and I watch as my coworker sprints across the store, grabs a gallon of milk, tears the lid off, and proceeds to drink about a quarter of it right there in the aisle there while pacing back and forth and mumbling what I can only assume are profanities.

Manager: “Well, he can’t say we didn’t warn him.”

My lunch is over and I go about my shift. Around thirty minutes later, I have to pop back into the break room to get something out of my locker and find my still red-faced coworker hunched over the trash can, the gallon of milk now more than half empty. I just stand there looking at him.

Coworker: “I’ll listen to you next time.”

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