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September 11, 2007

McDemeanor Reckless Conduct

This is sort of a follow-up to the Nifong story, below:

Also on Friday, in Georgia, a 20-year-old McDonald’s employee was arrested and charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct after serving a police officer an overly-salted hamburger which he said made him ill.

Like Mr. Nifong, she spent Friday night in jail; though unlike Mr. Nifong, Kendra Bull isn’t off the hook with the criminal justice system.

Ms. Bull admits that she accidentally spilled salt on the batch of chopped meat that was used to make the hamburger (Bull ate a hamburger from that same batch without consequence), and that she told her supervisor about the spill right after it happened. A co-worker then tried to remove the excess salt from the meat.

What puzzles me about all this is… Why is Ms. Bull being held responsible for this at all? McDonalds staff are, for the most part, either students or fairly unskilled workers, earning minimum wage. They’re neither trained or paid enough to make judgment calls. Once she told her supervisor about the over-salted meat, and presumably her supervisor told her to use it, it was no longer her responsibility.


  1. Why hold Ms. Bull responsible? Come on, Bill. “I was just following orders” hasn’t been a defense since the trials at Nuremberg!

    Comment by solarrhino — September 11, 2007 @ 2:17 am

  2. I think there’s a slight difference between a soldier torturing people and gassing them to death, and a kid using hamburger meat that her supervisor tells her it’s okay to use.

    Comment by Cidu Bill — September 11, 2007 @ 2:40 am

  3. I’m with Bill. Ms. Bull reported her mistake to her superior; she certainly lacked any authority to override her manager and discard the salty meat – a whole batch, not just one burger – on her own volition.

    Comment by Brian Leahy — September 11, 2007 @ 7:09 am

  4. For the most part, McDonald’s wants drone workers (no offense to Ms. Bull)in there restaurants (and I use the term loosely). People who do what they are told when they are told are highly valued in the fast food (again .. using the term ‘food’ loosely) industry.

    Ms. Bull brought the issue to the attention of her supervisor who told her to go ahead and use it. She did what she was told. Her Supervisor is being paid to make those decisions — not Ms. Bull. She should TOTALLY be off the hook.

    A couple of more thoughts, Ms. Bull did nothing malicious, she claims it was an accident and there does not seem to be any dispute of this statement.

    Isn’t salt the first ingredient in a Mcdonald’s hamburger ??? How could you possibly tell if there was too much ???

    Comment by Nicole — September 11, 2007 @ 8:16 am

  5. The article I read about this is that they are also
    sending the half eaten hamburger in question to
    the state crime lab for analysis just to see if the
    “salt” in question may be from another source.

    Nice to know state tax dollars are being put to
    good use.

    Comment by chuckers — September 11, 2007 @ 8:55 am

  6. I really feel like if I were given a burger with enough salt on it to make me sick, I’d take a bite, spit it out, and throw the rest of the burger away. I can’t imagine I’d wolf the whole thing down, throw up, and then return to McDonald’s for vengeance.

    Does this all mean that now I can call the cops and get the chef arrested any time I go to a restaurant and get crappy food? ‘Cause I went to a diner the other day that played hell with my digestive tract, and I’d love to see the person responsible behind bars.

    Comment by Count Shrimpula — September 11, 2007 @ 8:58 am

  7. I see no justification for putting Ms. Bull in jail, especially not if her manager was not similarly punished.

    Comment by Powers — September 11, 2007 @ 11:23 am

  8. I’m with the Count – why is this even going to court? Sure, the guy got a bad burger, but if it was salty enough to make you sick, wouldn’t you notice? And once you noticed, wouldn’t you ask for a refund and go elsewhere?

    Comment by Janice — September 11, 2007 @ 12:11 pm

  9. This sounds to me like a cop’s gross abuse of authority for personal reasons. Ms. Bull should go straight to the chief of police, ombudsman, internal affairs department, or whatever is available and raise holy hell. She may have a great claim for false arrest as well.

    Comment by Norm — September 11, 2007 @ 2:20 pm

  10. The cop probably thought that the worker had done made him sick on
    purpose, because there are those in the fast food industry who don’t like cops and like to spit on their food or what not. I don’t think the worker will have to go to the Supreme Court to get out of this one, though.

    Comment by Robert Warden — September 11, 2007 @ 7:40 pm

  11. “The cop probably thought that the worker had done made him sick on

    This is exactly what the officer claims happened. He questioned her and was trying to find out if she had any “bad” experiences with cops. Then from the answers, I guess he decided she did it on purpose. Even though this was a drive through and probably no way for her to know if it was a cop or not. He claims there is something else in the burger besides salt and that’s why he sent it to the lab. Just a dumb waste of money and time on everyone’s part.

    Comment by Cedric — September 12, 2007 @ 10:47 am

  12. This reminds me of something a co-worker did years ago. He got a burger at Jack-in-the-Box and left it on the counter in the breakroom. He brought it home after work. He finally got around to eating the sandwich 8+ hours after buying it. That whole time it, and its mayo dressing, had been sitting out in the open, unrefridgerated.

    So he gets food poisoning. He then proceeds to threaten the restaurant with a lawsuit. Of course he left out the bit about how long the sandwich was left out and all that….

    Comment by Jeff Schwarz — September 12, 2007 @ 3:07 pm

  13. My understanding of reading a different version is that the extra salt was all over the burger including the lettuce, tomato, dressing etc. It wasn’t that it spilled on the patty while cooking, which was the first impression I got. That makes a world of difference to me in suspecting intentionality.

    Comment by Its justme — September 12, 2007 @ 7:14 pm

  14. “Ms. Bull should go straight to the chief of police, ombudsman, internal affairs department, or whatever is available and raise holy hell.”

    of course she should – but it wouldn’t do a bit of good, because she’s young, black, and poor.

    Comment by vigilantejustice — September 12, 2007 @ 8:01 pm

  15. I didn’t know she was black or poor.

    Comment by Powers — September 13, 2007 @ 7:28 am

  16. Whatta country we have become

    pld guy

    Comment by gary — January 15, 2008 @ 9:11 pm

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