Why do we pretend we're shocked when photos of young fast food workers engaging in disgusting, unhealthy acts hit the web? First there was the Taco Bell shell licker, now we have the Wendy's guy supposedly chugging a Frosty straight out of the machine (see below). These are obviously appalling images, but they shouldn't surprise us.


When workers are paid -- many of whom are in their undiscerning teenage years -- hourly rates at or near the minimum wage, as most fast food joints do, we can't pretend that we expect them to take their jobs seriously.

Youths trying to throw a couple bucks together to buy new clothes or a skateboard, who are only killing time before the freedom of independence, have never cared much about these gigs.

Fast food eateries have long been associated with unsanitary conditions and lax standards, and incidences of kids engaging in such nasty acts as spitting in drinksurinating on food and more have long plagued the industry.

But now that we have cellphone cameras and social media, we are just more easily made aware of all the gross stuff that goes down at your local burger joint.

So let's not pretend that some kid licking a stack of taco shells at Taco Bell or a guy chugging a Frosty straight out of the machine at a Wendy's is some massive scandal. It's not. It's how fast food has always been.

P.S.: Wendy's spokesman Denny Lynch, to the chain's credit, condemned the photo in an email to USA Today, telling the newspaper that it occurred at a franchise location, most likely in May.

"Obviously, the employee broke the rules," Lynch wrote. "He is no longer at the restaurant. The franchisee is meeting with the restaurant team to reinforce proper procedures ... We have a daily regiment in each restaurant that stresses proper food-handling procedures ... The manager follows a disciplined process. When mistakes happen, we try to respond immediately and take corrective action."