It was a cut-and-dry case of a rare food service Karen: A rude, conniving Jersey Mike’s employee refusing to change her gloves to accommodate a sweet patron with Celiac disease merely looking to avoid cross-contamination… or was it?
Though the viral clip claiming to depict a worker berating a customer with dietary restrictions at the sandwich chain’s Farmingdale, New York location may have set TikTok ablaze last week, new questions have emerged surrounding the now-infamous sandwich spat, calling into question whether there was more to the story than what was seen on screen.
First uploaded to TikTok last week, the clip sparked anger and outrage, the patron appearing to keep her composure while interacting with the visibly peeved employee.
@steiorsteven deleted video of the jersey mikes situation. #fyp #jerseymikes #farmingdale ♬ original sound -
“So again, I’m just gonna ask that whoever is handling my sandwich can just change their gloves because I have celiac,” the woman in question asked the staffer.
“Okay, you’re gonna keep waiting,” she replied, before continuing to spar with the customer. “This isn’t fast food, babes.”
“All I asked is that you change your gloves handling my sandwich because I have celiac disease,” the customer pleaded.
“We always change our gloves,” she continued. “This isn’t McDonald’s, this isn’t fast food.
Now we’re not gonna serve you.”
While at first, viewers were largely divided on the incident, several decrying the employee’s behavior — “This is not what Jersey Mikes is about,” wrote TikToker @azdrink2shrinkllc on a reupload of the clip, dubbing the interaction “a poor representation of Jersey Mike’s” — the tables slowly began to turn in favor of the worker.
“The woman behind the camera is such a Karen and needs to go,” wrote @mintchipshovel.
“I feel nobody is understanding that the problem is that she wants the food right then and there and that’s not how it works,” added @camiladusk while @hotdogsaredisgusting1 implored that management “give that girl a raise.”
But it wasn’t just social media users who came to the worker’s defense. As the clip began making the rounds on TikTok, Jay, the store’s manager, headed to both TikTok and Yelp to both apologize and defend the young woman in question. Though she ultimately quit over the incident, he explained that video captured at the restaurant's checkout counter painted a very, very different picture of the situation.
@sznseason Replying to @ ♬ original sound - .
“I reviewed the video on TikTok and then i went and reviewed the video of the store and, the full story is not told on the TikTok video,” Jay explained in a video reply, noting that his now-former employee proved to be “an excellent worker over the years.”
“We care for the people with celiac disease, my son has celiac disease,” he reiterated. “We all wash our hands, we clean the counter, we put down a fresh deli sheet.”
So take it from this viral tale of sandwich woe — if you’re gonna be an a-hole, maybe don’t get out your camera.