I went to see my aunt at her food stand today and scored a couple of fair stories.
I was chatting with my aunt outside her food stand near the counter where she sells roasted corn and keeps all the condiments. A woman suddenly shows up with some Frilly Fries and wants to apply some ketchup.
Woman: "What brand of ketchup is this?"
Me (I can't help myself): "Is that spelled with a 'C' or a 'K?'"
Woman: "I'd like a corn."
Aunt hands woman the corn.
Woman: "Do you have some butter?"
Aunt: "It's already buttered."
Woman: "This corn isn't very hot."
Aunt: "I'll get you another one."
Woman: "Do you have some extra butter?"
Aunt: "Here's a cup with butter."
Woman: "Are these salted?"
Aunt: "We don't put any seasoning on them."
Woman: "You mean I have to put salt on myself?"
Me: "For an extra dollar, I'll put salt on for you."
The woman pours an absolute avalanche of salt on the corn, completely covering it. Then she takes a napkin, rubs the salt off onto the counter, and leaves.
Every fair I cooked at, there would be one or two people who would bring back hamburgers saying they weren't cooked enough or saying that they were raw.
Today was no exception. A woman brought her cheeseburger back saying it was "raw." I looked at the bite she had taken out of it and it was gray completely through. My cousin tried to convince the woman that it was, indeed, cooked but the woman said she lived on a farm and knew raw meat when she saw it. It was not undercooked; the hamburger had been grilled to no pink and then held in hot water for up to 30 minutes. It was definitely cooked throughout.
On those occasions when I was still cooking at the fair, if a person brought back a burger claiming it wasn't done (and it was), I'd hold the patty with tongs in the deep fryer for a while until it was very done. Never heard a complaint afterwards. Maybe they were Texans, who like their meat well-done.
And if you wonder why fair food costs so much, the rental price for the space alone is unbelievable. A typical corner trailer space can go for $11,000. My aunt's space went up an additional $2500 last year because she had unfurled a canopy over her window and the fair personnel measured the additional couple of feet and charged her accordingly.
My aunt told me that one stand that sold turkey legs was upped to $17,000 for the space. The owner opted out and the fair had to settle for someone else for only $7000. Greed.
Then there's food and supplies costs, employee wages, state taxes, and the percentage taken off the cash register sales. That's why a drink costs $3.
Oh, and a bit of advice. The ketchup was Costco's brand and, if asked, the cooking oil is "Canola." Tell 'em what they want to hear. So remember that.