The radio is stuck on 4/4 pop melodies, and the butcher’s block is strewn with cow that has been bifurcated all the way down. There’s no concatenation for this kine, it is now t-bones, ribeyes, and porterhouses. Various bits of trim are in the bone barrels, and the block manager is wiping his knife clean on one of the hundreds of disposable towels we use for this purpose.
I’m chatting with one of the meat cutters about something really inane. Something to do with the crow outside that occasionally tries to get us to open up the dumpster in the back. Meat is never thrown directly in there, but pork boxes are and they have enough cruff left on them to make them well worth a murder’s time. There’s a particular bird that has discovered that it can “ask” us to open the lid on the bin, and since we sometimes do, it keeps asking and asking and asking. The bosses have told us not to serve corvids.
We have our fair-share of weird customers, or customers who ask for impossible shit, like maybe they want one two pound marrow bone at an inch thick, or something like that, or just plain Karen-esk Karens Karening along with their damn Karenteering demands. There’s also at least two vampires who ask for blood all the time. One of these fine folk told me he used to get his blood directly from a slaughterhouse, but stopped because he kept finding animal hair in his blood. This fellow speaks with an eastern European accent and always wears shaded glasses. Lately, he’s been getting fat. We should probably cut him off because blood is hella bad for you, especially liver blood which is what this guy likes, but if we do, what maidens will be devoured in the dead of night?
This dude-- this vampire dude-- is an irritating fellow. He wants blood all the time and he has lately been trying to scam the cashiers. He’ll buy raw lamb or beef liver, drain the blood out of them, and then return with the clearly desanguined liver, and ask for a refund.
Now, I’m talking about how smart crows are, and we’re all really, really impressed with how smart crows are, when one of my co-counter workers comes in with a trimmed brisket, probably seven or eight pounds of meat and drops it on the cutting board with a dull THUMP. The thumped brisket sits there and the block manager stares at it.
Cowork: Customer wants this cut into fajita strips.
Block Manager: The customer wants that cut into fajita strips.
Cowork: That’s what he says.
Block Manager: The brisket is the toughest piece of meat on a cow. See if he wants skirt steak.
Now, I already know the customer will insist on the brisket, and my coworker knows this too. And the Block Manager knows as well, but this is a Brisket. A thing of beauty meant to be smoked, meant to be cooked low and slow. And it costs $10.89 a pound. The skirt steak is $8.98 a pound. So, we’ll try to save it. My coworker leaves. There’s a hush all around the meat cutter’s room. Even the poultry guy is silent. If a cock snollygoster is silent, you know it’s serious. We wait.
The coworker returns.
Coworker: The guy says brisket is more tender.
Block Manager, as he rolls his eyes: Okay, fajita strips it is.
Block Manager, as he mutilates the brisket: I’ve never heard of brisket fajitas. Never.
I return to the counter to help with the customer rush. My coworker and Mr. Brisket Fajita are going down the line as Mr. Brisket Fajita insists up and down that brisket is the best for fajitas, but needs to ask my coworker “How to cook beef. How to cook these pork chops I just bought. How to cook ground beef. How to cook all these ribeyes I’m going to ruin. How to cook these fish. How to cook these chickens.”
The customer rush lasts an hour, and my coworker is stuck with this guy buying what amounts to one of everything for the entire hour.
So, this guy, who has no idea how to cook meat, overrides the suggestion of skirt steak, for brisket, but doesn’t know how to cook brisket, and went home with hundreds of strips of brisket that are going to be shoe leather after he tries to prep them for fajitas.
By fucking God, these people will grind a Delmonico if you let them.