#467: Harvey’s


GETTING MORE TALE #467: Harvey’s

Do you like a good hamburger? No? How about the best veggie burger around? If you answered “yes” to either question, but do not live in Canada, then kick yourself because that means you don’t get any Harvey’s.

The story is only tangentdentally related to Record Store Tales but the core of it is all about customer service.

According to my journals, this story took place on July 27 2005, a Wednesday. I didn’t normally work the night shift at the Record Store on a Wednesday but that week I did. I had a rotten start to the day — I had been trying to sell some magazines on eBay to some idiot who couldn’t seem to provide a valid mailing address. That morning, he emailed me to complain the magazines hadn’t arrived yet. A couple hours later, they came back to me in the mail for the second time! “Undeliverable” because the address wasn’t right. I asked him for a new address because the prior one he gave me was no good, but he just gave me the same one again. I refunded his money; to hell with that guy!

Working that afternoon and evening, there were no bosses in the office to breath down my neck, which always helped the day go smoother. I decided to treat myself to a take out burger on my way home that night, so of course that meant a stop at Harvey’s. I’m pretty easy to please; I almost always order the same thing. That night it was a double original with bacon and cheese. My toppings are (in order) lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and mayonnaise. Lots of mayo. No ketchup, no mustard. That’s my burger — the LeBrain burger. That week they were doing a promotion where you got a free candy bar with your combo.

I pulled into the drive through, usually a dull experience. However, as I’m ordering my combo five, the guy says, “Sorry sir we’re all sold out of that.” A pause; I’m baffled how they could be out of original burgers and bacon. He quickly came back on. “I’m just kidding, combo five.” Then he asked what candy bar I wanted. “Sorry sir we’re all sold out of that.” He laughed and then said, “Just kidding, drive through for your Snickers bar and combo five.”

I thought that was pretty funny. I talked to the guy at the takeout window for a few minutes as they made my burger, and it was a nice little chat. Some guy earlier told him to “fuck off” about some mustard that wasn’t supposed to be on a burger, so he was just trying to lighten up his night a bit. Lord knew, I got that! I had enough bad experiences slinging the rock at the Record Store. When you work behind the counter anywhere, you’re a target for abuse. There’s no excuse for telling somebody to “fuck off” when they’re in customer service, but it happens and it sucks. A little levity doesn’t hurt. At least he picked the right guy to joke around with in me. Humour is a fine line. If he had the wrong person at the drive through, he could have ended up with some humourless bastard who wanted to speak to the manager about the joker working there. When in doubt, err on the side of caution!

TULLThat chance encounter brightened up my night and I made sure he knew that.  In my journal I noted that I drove home, listening to Stand Up by Jethro Tull and thinking it may have been the greatest British rock album of all time.  Hot beef and hot rock, I was in a great mood.  And that brings us back full circle to the rock.

Treat those who work in retail with the respect a human being deserves.  Just because you’re the customer doesn’t give you the right to be a jackass.


And now a selection of Harvey’s burgers, from some of my favourite people.  Each burger is a beautiful thing in itself!

The Greg burger:  Bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and onions.

The Mike Lukas:  Ketchup, mustard, pickles, relish, onions.

The Uncle Richard:  Onions, mushrooms*, cheese, bacon, and mild banana pepper rings with mayo, mustard, and ketchup.

The D-Law:  “Seriously, I put EVERYTHING on it!”

The Angela:  Not a vegetarian, but preferring Harvey’s (excellent) veggie patty, here’s the Angela burger. Veggie with mustard, ketchup, BBQ sauce, pickles, tomato, onion, lettuce and hot peppers, sometimes cheese.  “Perhaps next time I’ll try bacon on it. I’m thinking that would be a unique order!”

The JT:  Everything except mayo and ketchup…triple pickle.

The Tiffany:  Original with cheese and bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup, mustard and mayo.  “Now I want one…”

The Deke:  “Harvey’s pulled out of T-Bay…too bad, they made a good burger, but man they were slow…and the place would be like a 1/4 full…”

The Scott:  Bacon, cheese, onions, two slices of pickle, a little lettuce, mayo, ketchup, and hot sauce.  “I like my burger sloppy.”

The Mandy:  Cheeseburger with ketchup, mustard, relish, mayo, lettuce and extra, extra pickles.

The Mrs. LeBrain:  Double original, with ketchup, little bit of mustard, extra onions (“I miss the old white ones – purple isn’t right”) and pickles.

The Danny:  Double original, lettuce, ketchup, mustard, mayo, pickles!

The Chris:  “I usually get everything with double relish!”

And the Cliff, otherwise known as the Party Pooper:  “Totally hate the place. Last time I was in the drive thru they charged me six bucks for a cheeseburger with ketchup (not a combo). And they didn’t blink. I also think their meat sucks. Much prefer Dairy Queen.  Sorry for the rant, but I did want to voice a ‘none of the above’ vote in your topping selection.”  [Vote counted sir!]

*Mushrooms generally only available on special seasonal burgers such as the Swiss mushroom melt.



  1. Original. Lettuce. Tomato. Hot peppers. Bbq
    sauce. Sometimes pickles on the side in separate wrap.

    I usually go to the one on King St Waterloo beside one of your old record stores.

    There used to be twin dudes that worked(possibly managed or owned) the Harvey’s store there. They had dark hair and mustaches. They were nice guys and always seemed happy, even late at night when the place was full of drunk college kids.

    As for meat content, I heard someone did an experiment and found Harvey’s had little to no meat and was full of soy. Not sure the validity, but a beef farmer I was talking to told me Wendy’s has the highest beef content in their burgers.

    No matter, I find Harvey’s tastes the best, so if I am choosing a fast food joint for a burger, I am choosing Harvey’s.

    P.S. The local Harvey’s are running a deal now 2 can dine for $9.99.
    Now I’m hungry.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We got to that Harvey’s too sometimes. There used to be a guy working there who I just loved. He’d ask what you wanted on your burger and he was so enthusiastic. “Pickles? Sure. Oh yeah, I love pickles! Here do you want three?” He made you feel like you just ordered the best burger ever made.

      But we always get good service up there no matter who’s working. We like that place.

      Didn’t know that about the meat content. Well if there’s more soy, I’m fine with that. Tastes good to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Harvey’s is my favourite hamburger joint. I have tomatoes, lettuce, onions, peppers, mustard, relish, pickles. Yum, yum.
    And amen to treating anybody in the service industry with respect. Actually, treat every person with respect, unless they’re assholes, then they don’t deserve it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know Dad likes Harvey’s a lot too. He used to take us once in a while for lunch on weekends, usually Sunday. That was always fun.

      I like to treat assholes with utter courtesy. See if they notice what I’m doing.


        1. … For it in tips. In the USA waiters only make $3.00 per hour, so I see the point, but in Ontario they make minimum wage, plus tips. So many others serve the public, make minimum and get no tips.
          Don’t get me wrong, I do tip waiters, usually 15%, but I also give a few bucks to others I feel deserve it in the service industry. I think tipping should be done to anyone that serves the public, including Harvey’s people.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I’m a pretty generous tipper but it also depends on the service. If I feel like I’m being treated exceptionally well, I tip appropriately. There are some servers who know our orders when we walk in the door, and I like that. Get to your table and drinks are already there waiting? Thank you!

          Liked by 1 person

      1. That sounds like Karma Mike.
        My guess is that is how customers felt after being helped by you in the record store days.
        I really dig record store people that have kind of a friendly glow to them. You can tell they geniunely love music, and when you talk to them they make awesome recommendations and comment positively about your choices.
        Nothing turns me off more than walking into a record store, hearing generic pop shit music, being ignored by autobots, and in speaking to them tealizing they know nothing about any music other than what is in the top 40. The last time this happened I actually left my potetntial purchases at the front counter and told them I had changed my mind and left.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s funny man. My memory of the old days is so distorted in one particular way. I tend to remember the customers who pissed me off. They made stronger impressions. So while I hope you’re right, and I made people feel like they were my favourite, the ones I remember most are the ones that pissed me off and may have received a few snarky comments from me!

          I remember this one guy…Kevin Miche. He was a “listener”. He listened a lot and bought very few. I was shopping at the store new Harvey’s one day when Tom was working. Miche was there too. He walked up to the counter with 25 CDs. “I’d like to hear these,” he said. Tom, having dealt with this guy 150 thousand times responded, “Of course you do…”

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I was at that store last month and a lady asked “Do you still have a listening station?”
          They then pulled a machine from behind the counter and she had to listen to it over the counter.
          I aasume since it is not in sight, and kind of awkward and inconvenient it kind of detracts from the listening. Therefore the time wasters like Kevin are less common.
          With the internet and youtube people can check out the music they like anyway.
          I do feel sorry for you and your brethern in the record stores.
          The guy I had to listen to talked about the Liberals the whole time. He basically said the same joke about 10 times while there, and never bought anything.
          When he left the guys behind the counter said he did that every time, usually for around an hour. I am sure that never gets old.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t eat beef anymore (allergic), but when I did, I enjoyed Harveys. I had a friend who worked as an assistant manager for Harveys who did confirm they were using less and less meat in their burgers. I did notice they weren’t as good as they were growing up. Now if I eat at Harveys it’s the chicken breast I get.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. My sis gets bloated. She doesn’t eat beef anymore, or at least only very rarely. She used to be able to polish off a steak no problem. This started in her 20’s.

          I looooouuuurve me some lambchops.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. As for the beef, I wonder if it isn’t all the chemicals and growth hormones they dump in our beef that causes many issues. If I had a real serious issue with red meat ( I do get stomach pains sometimes from steak), I would try free range or grass fed beef to see if that would help.

          As for Willy Wonka I have an upcoming related post.

          Liked by 2 people

        3. That’s awesome! I can’t imagine what your Wonka post is about but I can’t wait.

          Agreed on the hormones etc. I think we’d be foolish to think that adding things to our food supply won’t have some kind of unforeseen effect. It’s like global warming. Do you really think that changing the composition of our atmosphere won’t have an effect on the earth?

          Liked by 1 person

        4. I think you’ll like the post.

          As for hormones, we are exposed to them as babies (cow milk) and every day until we die.
          North Americans weigh on average 30lbs more than they did in 1960. That is staggering. It may be over eating, but we are more self concious of image and health. We exercise more and there is a gym on every other corner, so hormones have to be playing a huge role in the increase.

          Liked by 1 person

        5. I think we have also grown in height as well, in a short period of time. To quote Terry from Fubar, “I’m no scientist. I can’t burn some stuff in a burner and figure it out.” But what you say is logical.

          Liked by 1 person

        6. This will be the second movie we’ve seen this year. The first was Star Wars. That is more than our usual which is none. Last movie before was Star Trek Into Darkness.

          Liked by 1 person

        7. At the time, I liked the first one because I was going out with a girl who worked in a hair salon. They got a lot of model types in there, and Zoolander was pretty bang-on for some of these people. But it hasn’t aged well and I haven’t watched it in years.

          You know what other one looks terrible, that How to be Single with Rebel Wilson.

          Liked by 1 person

        8. When I watched Zoolander I remember distinctly what was going on…I threw my back out and was off work for 6 weeks. I remember lying on the couch asking my friend Frank who was visiting us how much longer because I was hurting bad and needed to go to bed.

          Liked by 1 person

        9. 13 years ago – not 13 years old lol. I had mono at 19 – first year of uni. That sucked…I was sick from November to April but somehow dragged my ass to class.


        10. Mono sucks. I have a friend that got it after me, and now continues to enjoy the effects of it recurring every once in a while. It isn’t supposed to come back, but her blood shows it when tested. It is a real drag.

          Liked by 1 person

        11. Also, I shouldn’t have been in school, I assure you. I was subborn, and didn’t know I could have been excused from class for the semester. My schedule was go to class in the morning, wait until 1:30, so I could go home and sleep until 7. Eat, do homework, go to bed. Repeat. This was pre diagnosis. My sis thought I was depressed over a breakup. Nope. I was exhausted!

          Liked by 1 person

        12. We used to go all the time to a show, but when the movie houses closed, Silver Cities were erected, and the prices increased from $8 to $15 in a year, that turned us off to it in the early 2000s. That and the movies seem to blow…

          Liked by 1 person

        13. Yeah I wanna see Deadpool. But I’ll wait for the DVD. I broke my Absolutely No Movie Theaters Ever rule by going to see Star Wars. But that was a must. There are no other must-sees in theaters.

          Liked by 1 person

        14. Speaking of new movies, I was at a preview this oast week of Hail Caesar. Do yourself a favour and stay as far away from this steaming pile of elephant shit.
          Good thing I got in free and got a free snack and drink.
          As for the previews though, there is a movie coming out about Eddie the Eagle that looks awesome.

          Liked by 2 people

        15. MOre hit than miss for me. I love Lebowski obviously, that’s my thing. But I also hold in high esteem O Brother, Fargo, Bad Santa (co-write), and A Serious Man which I am ITCHING to review. I haven’t kept up with their latest stuff, True Grit and Llewyn Davis. The last one of theirs that I watched was No COuntry for Old Men, which was slow but brilliant.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I always tell them I want The Works, and the messier the better. Load it up. I want a salad on the wrapper when I lift the damn thing. Double everything. Triple! ;)

    True story in your town (King and Weber in Waterloo): It was really busy in there one time, I was behind a guy in line, and when asked what he wanted on his burger, totally casual, not even making eye contact with the kid, he says “Oh, just hawk up a good gob of spit onto the middle of it.” The teenager goes to move to start with the spoons and there’s a long pause as she processes that… Oh man did we all laugh. Also, she didn’t spit on his burger.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES YES YES I love your answer Aaron. My buddy Chris calls it “heavy – all”. Heavy on all toppings baby! I also sometimes like to get hot peppers on the side.

      Whew on the no-spit!


  5. Great post. I always try to be nice to retail worker. Especially when their making my food. I don’t really mind a little extra mustard as long as I don’t get a big wad of spit on my burger.
    Did Harvey pay you for this post? It’s definitely good advertising. Now I want to try a veggie burger with bacon.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Since The Deke is S.O.L in regards to. Harvey’s here In Tbay I will tell you one thing I had a Flame Broiled Masterpeice Burger at a pub called The Local in Vancouver!
    The thing was huge!
    If I ever get back there that’s gonna be my first stop!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was only thinking fast food chain tyoe joints, but I love a place called The Burger’s Priest and was going to say they are only in Toronto, but I just googled it and they opened one in Guelph.


      Liked by 3 people

        1. We were in Toronto years ago and felt like a burger. I goggled best Toronto burger joints and this one popped up. The line up was out the door and down the street. We waited and were “blessed” with an amazing burger with a portobello mushroom on top. So, so good.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. I too was “blessed” when I ate there. Though I just had a regular bacon double cheese. I heard the portobello was tasty. I stopped in there before Toronto Urban Roots Festival last September and I still dream of it.

          Liked by 2 people

        3. I have seen the Burgers Priest on TV many times. He wanted to be priest but changed his mind and went into burgers! It looked like the ordering experience might be a bit odd though. On the show I saw, you ordered through a confessional window?

          Liked by 1 person

        4. I knew about the owner going through to be a priest, but not about the tv shows. I would like to see those.
          The one I have been to a few times does not havr a confessional, but a few quirks. Cash only, scripture on the walls and I read closed on Sundays for church.
          I didn’t care about all that, I just wanted a tasty burger.
          I now need to check the Guelph store out.


Rock a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s