Want The Ice In The Freezer Scraped? No Worries, I’ll Get It Done

“I was a recent engineering graduate, working full-time making pretty good money. I decided I wanted to propose to my partner and needed that good diamond ring money. So I randomly took a job as a waiter at a local diner and would work afternoons, nights, and weekends. Making pretty crap money, but I’m a sucker for money, so I didn’t care. If you’ve ever worked at a job you don’t need, it really is eye-opening, but that’s another story.

So as I’m sure most of you know, waiters and waitresses have “side work” to do at the end of their shift, which to me seems pretty bull, but whatever. The state I lived in paid $2 an hour for servers on top of whatever tips they take home.

On my second week at the job, my end-of-shift side work was to scrape down the ice cream freezer frost buildup. When freezers run for a long time, condensation forms and then freezes on the inside of the freezer walls. I had worked at an ice cream shop as a teenager, so I was very familiar with ice cream freezers. Normally, you just let the freezer warm up and melt the frost off, but these fartmuncher owners didn’t do it that way. Instead, I was encouraged to pay a busboy $5 for him to scrape the frost. Now, in my mind, that just sounds like I am paying an employee to do work at a restaurant I don’t own, nor profit from. So I said, “No, I’ll do it myself.” The manager didn’t like that at all, but she couldn’t really do anything about it. My tips were already in my pocket, and she couldn’t force me to give my funds away.

I open up the freezer and see that there are about 3 inches or more of frost on the walls. I know from experience this is several years of frost build-up. These walls haven’t been frost-free in years. So I asked the manager how much frost she wants me to remove, warning her it would take a while to scrape them down to the bare metal. She snidely said that the busboys remove every scrap of frost, every week (bullcrap), and that’s what she expected from me.

Okay, you asked for it.

Over the next two hours, I scraped, sweated, grunted, and struggled with this frost. It was a chest freezer, so I was bent over, head inside the freezer. The ice cream had to be moved out of the way, so it all melted and dropped onto the carpet. The freezer was in the dining area, so guests were treated to awful noises and my butt in the air. I sweat like a maniac and probably smelled awful. Everyone in the whole restaurant could hear this cacophony.

The manager kept coming back to heckle me and ask, “You gonna give up? Come on, just pay the busboy. It’s late, and I know you have work in the morning.” Fellow servers (mostly mid 40s people) were actively rooting against me. My arms were wrecked for weeks after this. It was 1 in the morning (24-hour diner), and I had been on my feet at two jobs for like 18 hours. But I was earning, and $2 an hour was enough to keep my resolve ironclad. Plus, I was so angry off at the insistence that I pay her employees for her. After two hours and six gallons of melted ice cream, the manager gave up and sent me home. Only 1/3 of the frost was gone. And I was $4 richer.

Tip your servers; they probably put up with so much crap.”

Another User Comments:

“Darn US labor laws.

And, for anyone else who has this task: rubber mallet. I worked for an ice cream company back in high school, and that’s how we’d handle buildup like what’s described. You take a rubber mallet and give the ice a good tap so it cracks, then you can just pull the chunks right off.

(And to be specific: I worked as an assistant for the maintenance department. We went around to service the ice cream cabinets we lent to stores to sell product out of, and lots of places don’t manage their ice buildup. So this was a pretty common task for us.)

As long as you don’t swing too hard and don’t hit the cabinet wall directly, it won’t damage the cabinet. (You really don’t want to burst the refrigerant coils embedded in the walls. But indirect taps straight on the ice are fine.) Just tap the ice, generally only on the thick parts. Once you’re down to a small layer of frost on the wall, you can use a scraper on that, but most of the time, the ice just breaks directly off the wall and leaves very little behind.

Honestly, thick buildups like this are almost faster to clean off than thin layers of frost.” Laringar

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Mollydoright 2 years ago
Not one thing about labor you've stated is true. The extra side work is federally required to be paid minimum wage not tipped wage. Also that manager was doing a lot of illegal shit.
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