Monday, September 26, 2011

Things I Have Learned From Working in a Bakery/Cafe for 2 Weeks

Occasionally I like to impart helpful life tips to my dear readers, little pearls of wisdom to improve everyone's quality of life. And friends, the time has come for me to do so again.

This time I come to you with advice about how to comport oneself in a bakery or cafe setting. Now don't be discouraged if you find you have never thought of these things before. I confess I myself had no idea about any of this until after the two weeks I have spent behind the counter of the bagel cafe I work at today.
This particular establishment is a bakery that daily makes from scratch almost 20 kinds of bagels, 15 kinds of bread, and assorted pastries, cakes, and other tasty treats. We also offer a breakfast and lunch menu of sandwiches and soups, as well as a full-service coffee & tea counter. 

Let it be clear that I really enjoy my job, but there has emerged a pattern of unsettling behaviors in the various patrons. These are just a few things I have noticed:

(1) While dulcet tones are necessary and even applauded in a library or at a funeral, please speak up when placing your order. I don't know if you noticed the thirty other people around you or the sound of various machines, buzzers, and a grill, but each one is doing its best to drown you out.

(2) Do not become enraged when I inform you that you may not have sausage on your breakfast bagel. I am not personally trying to ruin your day, we simply do not carry it. This is not McDonald's. It is a bakery.

(3) Please do not ask me to "scoop out the inside" of your bagel. Really? Really?

(4) When I tell you certain kinds of our bagels cannot be toasted because they catch on fire, I'm not being dramatic or lazy. Because of the cheese or sugar glaze, they actually burst into flames in the toaster.

(5) The same goes for bagels that just came out of the oven. It's hard enough to slice a steaming hot pile of dough, asking me to toast it too is just cruel.

(6) Don't call in at 9:30 and ask us to make breakfast for 35 people, to be picked up at 10. We're not house elves (and still not McDonald's).

(7) Tips really are appreciated. Tips are the reason I have a beautiful new camera on its way to me right now.

(8) "Is this for here or to go?" For Pete's sake, it's not Sophie's Choice. Just decide so we can all move on with our lives.

(9) While I appreciate your tirade about how overpriced the baked goods are, please direct your tiresome rant to someone who actually has something to do with setting the prices. I feel I should also point out that if it bothers you so much, go home and make your own muffins. But I will refrain because I'm hoping there will be a tip in it for me if I smile apologetically and murmur words of agreement.

(10) "Thank you" is also really appreciated. Yes it's my choice to wake up before the sun and all other living creatures and spend all day on my feet making bagels, but that doesn't mean you need to forget your manners. We're all allowed to have bad days but I just handed you a blueberry danish the size of your face so I'd say it's looking up. How about a smile then?

So there we are. Remember these gentle hints and your local food service worker/barista/baker will thank you by slipping you extra cream cheese or something. Or at least by not spitting in your food.

Thank you and have a nice day!

Image 1 Source 
Image 2 Source


  1. ahhhh... the joys of the customer service industry. you wait on them and they give you nothing but grief. jeepers. xoxo

  2. Darling you send me. . . into hysterics. LOVE your view and delivery. people ask you to scoop out their bagel? like the center where cream cheese squishes in excess? like the best part?

  3. sounds like fun! :)
    if you have a recipe for making bagels, i'm all ears
    take care ma chère! bisous. Audrey

  4. We've noticed an extreme lack of gratitude to any type of wait-staff in our country. Goodness folks. You are being waited on. Sit back, smile and enjoy the service. Bad service is an exception not the rule. And smile? Help, nobody seems to do that anymore either.

    Sounds like a fun job though and looks like you are moving around these "obstacles" fine. Can't wait to hear/see your new camera. I'm saving up for a new lens. Maybe I should incorporate tips here at home for all my "services"!! :)


  5. LOVE IT! You are SO hilarious, Ellie. Well, at least you have clarified things to me (in case I go there), haha. I would have been confused too if I was the customer.


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