|Empty Bakery, Saturday 8 March at 2;30pm|
It's been a very long, short week, mainly because I've been working in the shop and those of you who know me well, will agree that I'm much better behind a computer than behind the counter. My skills lie elsewhere, as they say.
On Saturday's we're busy from 6:30am onwards as desperado jetlagged visitors wander around looking for coffee. No amount of politely pointing out that we only open at 8am makes the slightest bit of difference -especially when the smell of freshly-baked muffins and sizzling bacon is so overwhelming. So it's a short,sharp start with no let up until Noon, with mayham peaking around 11am.
Yesterday had us hopping as we were crazy-slammed. Our little shop is tiny and gets packed with more than about four people in it. The kitchen is also right there, as in swanky restaurants but without the glass wall to prevent the customers from hearing the chef swear at the commis or seeing the choc chip cookies being burnt.
I have to tread carefully here, because as you know half the island reads this blog and some are our customers too, but sometimes it can feel a bit like 'Till TV' as we play out a fraught scene, quite normal for peak service anywhere, right in front of an audience of bemused customers. I suspect that I may provide the most amount of entertainment too.
The most frequent question asked in the One Pound shops apparently is "howmuch is this?" Our most frequent question in the bakery, with the bread constantly coming out of the oven in front of everyone, seems to be "is your bread fresh?" I point out the oven and explain that everything is done everyday from scratch. For some reason many people don't seem to believe this, so they switch attack and ask "so what is the freshest thing then?" This can felicitate a slightly snappy answer from me as I windmill my arms around the bakery saying, through gritted teeth, that " It's all Fresh. Out of the Oven. Today". Yesterday I had someone refuse to wait for the couple of minutes for the kettle to boil for tea as she wanted it immediately ("you mean it's not like coffee?"No, it's tea". "Oh forget it then, just gimme a muffin") but my absolute favourite is the 'Protracted Phone Call" :
Imagine in the midst of a packed and fully stocked shop with a gazillion things going on, queues backed up to Locker 5, orders being shouted, fans whirring, AC blasting and Tony's iPod squaking out gangsta reggae the phone rings (as it does non-stop):
Customer: "Ur, do you have any, ur, like bread?"
Me: (a tad brittle) Yes, we're a bakery. We have lots of bread"
Customer: "Ur, like what kind of bread?"
Me: (whilst trying to wrangle a large foccacia into a small bag, ring up the till, check the order book, wave hello to someone and frantically catch Tyler's attention) "All kinds - multigrain loaves, sourdoughs, foccacias etc. Why don't you pop into the bakery and have a look "
Customer: "Ur, like are they like ur, sliced?"
Me (notably irritated) "We can slice most of the breads for you, no problem"
Customer: "Can you tell me the list of breads again"
Me: (becoming sharp now) "We're very busy at the moment, so can I call you back or can you come into the bakery maybe?"
Customer (taking offense) "Ok, don't worry, I was just, like, trying to see what you like, got." Puts phone down. Score zero for customer relations. Sigh.
Even banking is preferable, to me I must be honest. Don't get me wrong, I think front-of-house is an incredibly important job, which requires grace and oodles of patience, which I clearly don't have. Anyway luckily I'm just a Temp, so we'll soon be back to normal.
It's another long weekend but this time with a few sick children and quite a bit of bakery work to catch up on (due to above). We've got in the essential supplies (wine, chocolate, DVD's) and I hope not to leave our beautiful compound until Tuesday morning or if sick children recover sufficiently, we may adventure out to go zip-lining on Monday.
Our first direct shipment of stuff should be arriving on Wednesday which is a game changer for us. Now we just need to fix two cars and one truck, pay a few bills, get 3 boys to SA in 3 weeks time, buy a house and start sorting out Christmas. All do-able.