Hollywood is the only industry that I’m aware of where the employees expect their employer to feed them. Lunch at the very minimum, and probably breakfast, possibly dinner,1 and snacks throughout the day.
And I love it. I basically don’t do any grocery shopping between August and April when I’m on a show. Free food is the best food.
But as an office PA, a good amount of your day is spent dealing with other people’s food.2 Taking orders, placing orders, picking them up, and most importantly, making sure your order is correct.
Yesterday, we ordered Chipotle for lunch. Since we’re not fully staffed yet, rather than order family style, the coordinator told my fellow PA to get individual orders. I, like everyone else, placed my order– chicken burrito, white rice, cheese, lettuce, fajita veggies.
About an hour later, the PA returned with lunch. I eagerly unwrapped my burrito– chicken, white rice, cheese, lettuce, fajita veggies… and beans.
INT. PRODUCTION OFFICE – DAY (FLASHBACK)
TAPA takes a bite out of her burrito, wrinkles her nose. Something isn’t right...
Why are there beans in my burrito?
It’s a burrito. Duh.
I understand. But I didn’t order beans.
Burritos always come with beans.
I wrote down the things I wanted on my burrito. Beans were not on that list.
You should’ve said, “No beans.”
I didn’t write “No cyanide.” Is there cyanide on this burrito?
Oh, come on. Cyanide is not part of the standard burrito order. A burrito is meat, beans, rice, and cheese wrapped in a tortilla.
The PRODUCTION COORDINATOR enters, holding a burrito with one bite taken out of it.
Did I get the wrong burrito? I didn’t order cheese.
Listen, everybody has their own idea of what is the “normal” way to eat something, whether it’s a burrito or a hot dog or french fries. But someone else might have a different idea…
Now, I’m just a lowly PA, so who cares if I got the right order? And our coordinator is a nice guy, so he just shrugged it off. But if that PA had gotten the producer’s order wrong, he would have been screamed at. Get an actor’s order wrong, and they’ll send you back to the restaurant.
The solution to this is simple: order what you’re told. If someone expects beans and doesn’t get them, well, show them the lunch order.3 It’s their dumb-ass fault for not ordering what they actually wanted.
And while we’re talking about food, always, always, always ask for sauce and dressing on the side. For one, it doesn’t travel well. And they always put on too much or too little. Plus, sauce is one of those things that restaurants themselves add without necessarily mentioning it on their menu.
“BLTs always come with mayonnaise. That’s standard.” Fuck you. They’re not BLTMs.
Anyway, my broader point is, if you give someone lunch with an ingredient missing, they’ll be annoyed, but at least they’ll eat. If you bring them food with something they’re allergic to, or just find gross, they might not eat it. Then they’re hungry and annoyed, which is not a good combination.