Thursday, October 02, 2014

My Bagel Shop Career

It took me forever to hop on the bagel train.
They were a little too chewy for my taste. Seems like every one of them I'd ever met was stuffed full of raisins. And I'm no fan of raisins.
Eventually I discovered the beauty of the bagel; how a hearty chunk of baked wonderfulness is the perfect host for a glop of cream cheese. Well shoot, had someone mentioned the cream cheese earlier I woulda been all-in sooner. I became a believer. A fan of bagels. A fan of bagel shops.
One in particular.
Came the day I needed a job.
Needed it pretty bad.
Hours and hours I sat in my favorite bagel shop, sipping coffee and chewing on little chunks of my bagel friends; cruising the internet for work; completing online applications which, eventually I came to think of as online invitations for sad letters; they call them "flush letters" in the H.R. biz.
"Dear Ms. So and So, after careful consideration of your many skills and accomplishments we feel that another candidate is a better fit for this position. Thank you for your interest in our company and we wish you the very best in your job search!"
What. Ever.
There I sat, day after day.
One afternoon a sign appeared on the counter. The bagel shop was looking for a manager trainee. I stopped up to the counter. A week later, I reported for training.
Training was fun.
I learned all about bagels. How they are made, what care is taken for consistency, how a clean kitchen was of paramount importance to the (franchised) shop. It was interesting. Sat through eight hours of it, learned how to make the foo-foo coffee, how often to freshen the pots and how to operate the bread-slicing machines. (Nope. Split isn't the only option!!!! This knowledge was a complete amazement to me, all in itself. I can have my bagel sliced thin, like a loaf of bread!!!????)
Yes, Debbie. There is a Santa Claus.
I was excited the day I reported for my first day of work.
The uniform shirts were pretty cute. They handed me a bucket of markers and let me decorate my own nametag. If you know me and my love of markers, you know this was a bigga deala.
And I'll add, morning-woman that I am, having arrived at the shop before 6 AM was no problem. None at all. I hit the ground running with the chickens each morning, I can do early.
There I stood, polished up nice for my first day.
Stepped up to the counter and met my first customer.
Got her coffee wrong.
Oops! Sorry. Told her I was new.
This didn't seem to matter, she left scowling.
Next customer.
Had to wait in line for my turn at the slicer to properly prepare her bagel.
She was in a hurry. Big hurry.
NOT. Happy.
Took too long.
And then the next customer...
And the next...
And the next.....
And it was in my second or third hour behind the bagel counter I had one of those life-changing moments. I looked around me, considered the parade of customers I'd already enjoyed (?), and realized...pretty much without exception.....folks are not very nice in the morning.
Wellll, that's not entirely true. Men are nice.
But I've never met so many bitches in my life.
More than once I wanted to wink and suggest, "If you weren't wearing those ungodly invites for a weekend of paid bondage that you call shoes, your toes might not hurt so bad and you might not be inclined to be so nasty in the mornings, missy."
Well. I never said that.
But I thought it plenty.
Ladies who order coffee and bagels in the morning are nasty.
And that's when I knew.
You can love a place and feel comforted it by it. You can settle into an old, squishy chair in a bagel shop and trouble over your unemployed misery. You can sip coffee and even though you are worried, you feel a sense of consolation in the familiarity of the place. You can become a part of the wallpaper, losing yourself in the place while the world and all it's trouble marches past the windows.
But it's a totally different view from behind the counter.
I quit after my first shift.
Yep. Handed back the cool-enough shirt, unpinned the nametag and called it a wrap.
It was a good move.
I never regretted it.
Bitches and bagels are just a bad way to start out the morning.
I still hang out at my bagel shop.
And I'm always especially nice to the morning girls who make my coffee.

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