What You Did Not Know About Working at a Bakery

I was never able to get those down!

These simple flowers take so much skill to do! I could never get it down.

I decided to work at a bakery because it seemed like an easy job to do. It is actually fun and a happy atmosphere, you meet great people, and you see a lot of talent that you can only see as an employee and not a customer. However, it is not an easy job to do. You are constantly bending down, answering questions, running around and trying to open sticky bins or carrying heavy cakes. It doesn’t stop there though, once you become a cake specialist you can never go back. You will never see a creative cake with the same eyes again! You always get interesting personalities coming into a bakery, but with a cake order, you get to know them on a deeper level. An annoying customer who wants a cookie is a world of a whole lot different interaction that an annoying customer who wants a a cake. “A customer is always right” was the worst thing in the world during those crazy moments.

Anyways, I did not think doing cakes was a big deal until customers made it a big deal.

1. You are surprised by the things people complain about!

I opened the box to show the customer how her cake turned out but she said she did not expect the frosting to be so dark. This lady showed me a picture of what she was expecting, a white cake with gold accents for her party but she chose fudge icing on her cake. She did not expect for her cake to come out as a dark brown cake with gold accents. She made a fuss, was mad at us for not pointing out to her that if she chose fudge as the icing, her cake would be brown. We had to re-ice the whole cake.

2. People want us to be like cake boss

This one was one of my biggest pet peeves. Customers would bring in pictures of lavish extravagant decorations which were usually made out of fondant, topsy turvy tiers and movable parts. I would explain to them the extent of how much we could replicate the design and often they would not be satisfied. Then, I would get the managers and cake decorators, we would draw out the design they wanted, and when finally they were happy with the compromise, the whole thing would go to shambles once we added up the total. After dealing with them for an hour, they would walk out with a regular round cake with a printed picture on top.

You will love this cake, but you will not love the price!

You will love this cake, but you will not love the price!

3. Saturday is the worst day in the world

Saturdays are they days you hope just come and go. That is the day of parties and celebrations and several large walk in fridges jam packed with cakes and orders. Most of us are small petite girls who weigh less than those cakes we need to find. Then after finding the cake, and struggling with it or having someone kindly carry it for us, that was only halt of the victory, the next was hoping that the customer actually liked the cake, or you have to struggle with it back to the decorator’s station. I got a lady who started to cry because her cake was misspelled, something we could change right away. Another lady thought her cake was too light blue and she wanted the cake for free and her money back in cash even though she paid with a card. I told her to wait for the manager to come and she responded,

“Well you can tell that bitch to give me my money! I’m a single mother! Open that register and give me my money!”

That was a scary moment. Onlooking customers kept asking me what ended up happening for two weeks afterwards.

4. People who don’t make space for their cake in their car

Oh my sore arms! I have had to hold big cakes right in front of a customer’s car as I am waiting for them to organize their stuff. Its not just one person during the day, but a lot of people who do not come prepared with enough space in advance. I do not care at least one bit how messy and dirty your car is, that car better have some space to put that damn cake! One time a guest came in with a luxury sports car that had no trunk and I  had to bend down almost to the curb to put that cake on the passenger seat. He was picking a cake up for a friend and had no idea how big the cake was going to be.

5. People who order cakes for someone else and are too nervous to make a decision

There are a lot of well intentioned people who volunteer to order a cake for a friend. What was incredibly frustrating was that they had no idea what to order, and would often excuse themselves to send their friend all the pictures of the designs and tell them about the flavors, then come back while I am just waiting for them on the counter as if I did not have a full line of people waiting. One person was on Skype on the phone while making a cake order! This was really awkward. They would say “My friend is nice but you don’t know how picky she is!”

6. People who get your name and threaten to find you if their cake does not come out well. (Because apparently we’ve done it before but they still come here?!)

Yes, when we get these people, we brace ourselves for a scene because no matter how right we do the cake, they will find something wrong with it. One lady complained that we did exactly what she ordered and wanted us to change it because it was too plain.

7. We cannot sell bad tasting or hazardous cakes

What I mean is: we are not going to ice your whole cake in gold and deep red and cover it in pearls that is going to choke the kids at your party. One person ordered their cake with gold swirls as the filling, but they had to bring it back because their guests got stomach aches soon afterwards. After that incident, we had a stricter policy to anything bad tasting. Even if a customer insists that they only care about how pretty their cake will look and not the taste, it looks really bad on us and their guests will think we make nasty cakes.

Also, if you want your cake to be chocolate cake with lemon mouse and fresh strawberries filling we will stop you too! If we made an individual cake that serves one person then fine, pay to give yourself an acid reflux! But do not make yucky choices and bring your guests down with you too.

8. The R Rated Orders

These were kind of fun but a little awkward too. For bachelor parties boob cakes were highly requested and thongs… but we could not do that, we would make bigger bottoms or add a bra. To price a boob cake, I needed to find out how much we priced two basketballs or two golf balls. Customers would start laughing as they saw me look up different round shapes to price their boob or butt cakes. We had a famous rapper’s mom ordered a cake and we could not do most words that she wanted: we could not use the n-word.

This is as far we go!

This is as far we go!

9. Pregnant Belly Cake

This one was just too odd to me! Who wants to eat a cake that looks like a belly with a foot in it! These are so popular and people really love them, but it just never grew on me. It looks like your are eating someone’s breasts or belly, what if you go the foot?

I cannot eat a belly cake... just seems so wrong!

I cannot eat a belly cake… just seems so wrong!

Its like a strange cannibalism. Also, that is one big foot coming out of a mom’s belly.

10. Save the best for the last, people who do not know any information about the cake they are picking up!

They do not know what name the cake was held under, how big, the flavor, the design and not even who the cake is getting dedicated too! How am I supposed to find this cake? The bakery does not have a search engine where you put one word and your cake will magically appear.

Sometimes, people would come in and give us the wrong name on the order. We would look for their cake high and low, in the tiniest and darkest places, to then find out ourselves that they had given us the wrong information. We would come shivering out of the fridges. These customers would even have the audacity to be impatient while we were looking for the cake.”Uh… excuse me but I am late to the party and this is unacceptable! I have 2 people searching for this cake and not one person can find it! What did you say? I’m in the wrong bakery?” If they gave us the wrong info how are we supposed to find their cake!?

Slowly the first girl who started looking for the cake starts hiding in the back while looking for the cake as customers start giving you these evil glares the longer it takes to find their cake. The more glares, the more nervous we get and the longer it gets for us to find the cake. We have to be investigators and do miracles with the information that we are given.

Be that as it may, I really enjoy working at a bakery. I would say these are 30% of our interactions while 60% is full of wonderful people who stop to say hi to us. I’ve gotten gifts from regular customers and one even made me a Christmas stocking with my name on it in glitter.

How to be the Only Happy Person in Your Job

One happy person

Happiness is a choice. The reason I smile when I help you is not because I have an amazing job, or because I get paid a great salary, but because despite the job being simple and sometimes stressful, I decided to enjoy something out of it. It’s the lovely people the come visit everyday, the taste of new products, and making jokes with my coworkers. I do not expect my job to fulfill me or become my dream job. I do what I like outside of work. And this is someone who has a degree, I’m “overqualified” for the job, but the people that come into my job do not even have that and they just complain and complain.

It is frustrating to see young people walk away from their new jobs because there is so much work to do. “This is not what I expected,” they tell me. “I am not getting paid enough to deal with all these angry customers!” Yeah, but neither does your mom or your teacher or the bus driver.

I do not believe that the amount  I get paid should dictate the quality of my service. My service is priceless and I am glad someone is paying me something for it. The customers that walk into the store I work for just want to have a nice experience during their time off and they work hard for their money like I do. That alone motivates me to be helpful and give people good customer service. Sometimes coworkers or customers get impatient and try to treat me like I’m stupid, and all I’m thinking is “Excuse me, but I have a bachelor’s degree, what do you have but just impatience and a stinky personality.” I let it slide and do not take it out on anyone. Then I go and smile at my next customer and give them a good time. Even if my bachelor’s degree did not land me a good paying job, at least it gave me something to draw confidence from.

What Students Really Need to Hear

beautiful:

“Why pass *put your class here* when I will not use it in real life?” Because school is more than passing classes and reading books, it is about building character, building discipline and lots of other things that will not happen if you give up and do not use your resources.

Originally posted on affectiveliving:

It’s 4 a.m.  I’ve struggled for the last hour to go to sleep.  But, I can’t.  Yet again, I am tossing and turning, unable to shut down my brain.  Why?  Because I am stressed about my students.  Really stressed.  I’m so stressed that I can only think to write down what I really want to say — the real truth I’ve been needing to say — and vow to myself that I will let my students hear what I really think tomorrow.

This is what students really need to hear:

First, you need to know right now that I care about you. In fact, I care about you more than you may care about yourself.  And I care not just about your grades or your test scores, but about you as a person. And, because I care, I need to be honest with you. Do I have permission to be…

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Important Taoist Thought: Seeing Things as They Are.

Is getting a Pooh stuck on the hole a bad thing?I am also borrowing from the Taoist writings, which is a classic work from the Huai-nan-tse which is about the importance of identifying whether something is truly a problem to then decide if you should even try to to solve it. An important Taoist philosophy is seeing things for what they really are.

“An Old Man and his son lived in an abandoned fortress on the side of a hill. Their only possession of value was a horse.

One day, the horse ran away. The neighbors came by to offer sympathy. “That’s really bad!” they said. “How do you know?” asked the old man.

The next day, the horse returned, bringing with it several wild horses. The old man and his son shut them all inside the gate. The neighbors hurried over. “That’s really good!” they said. “How do you know?” asked the old man.

The day after that, the army came through, forcing the local young men into service to fight a faraway battle against the northern barbarians. Many of them would never return. But the son couldn’t go, because he’d broken his leg.” (172, The Te of Piglet).

 

Te- A Chinese Word meaning Virtue- of the small.

il_340x270.431857240_hm77I am currently reading the book “Te of Piglet” which someone really special recommended to me because it is about looking through the perspective of the weak and small. Piglet, the cute small pink pig who always hung around Winnie-the-Pooh always felt self-conscious of how small and fragile he was, and would often be scared of everything, even things that were not there. However, Piglet has amazing qualities to offer the world which is illustrated in this book “The Te of Piglet,” which represents an important principle in Taoism: Te is the Chinese word that means Virtue of the small.

Below I have placed a passage from the book that puts to question what is really considered good or bad. Things that are considered good, such as being successful, wealthy and beautiful is not always such a good thing:

“Its considered good to be beautiful, but many people through being beautiful have ruined their lives and the lives of others. It’s considered bad to be unattractive, but because of being unattractive, many have come to concern themselves with matters more important than the surface appearance and have gone on to make something Special of themselves- in quite a few case becoming Beautiful in the process.

It’s considered good to be healthy and strong, but many energetic people lose their health and strength by taking what they have for granted, not knowing what it’s like to be old and depleted-and therefore not taking care of themselves- until it is Too Late.

It’s considered bad to be ill and weak, but many have responded to such conditions by examining their lives and changing the ways of doing things, thereby building up their health and strength to remarkable degrees.

Unattractiveness, illness, and weakness have many valuable lessons to teach to those willing to learn from them.”

-“The Te of Piglet” by Benjamin Hoff

This is very encouraging, and we should be happy about what we learn from not having it all. We also should not be quick to judge ourselves so harshly when we do not know how certain things will affect us in the long run.

Blowing a Dandelion

Special Sunglasses that Help You See Past the Advertisement

Imagine if you could wear a pair of glasses that would let you see secret messages within ads! Well now they exist! Just kidding they don’t. However that idea comes from a movie, called, “They Live” which came out in 1988 directed by John Carpenter. It explores how media is used by people in power to slowly control people into buying, obeying and staying asleep. However, it gets even crazier by also revealing that people in power are all aliens!

If we had those glasses that would let us see all the manipulation in everyday media, imagine how much more we would learn about the world around us. It is an eye opening exercise if we sat down and wondered what we would see. For example, in from of the dieting books section in the books stores I could see the message “Become Nothing” written on top of them. In front of reality shows I would see the message “Judge and Obey” since it makes you judge other people and feel good about yourself for being “civilized.” In front of fast food places I can see the messages “Binge” since they use hunger inducing colors and accumulated specials, that for only a few cents more you can make your small meal into a big one!

What messages would you see?

But since we will never get sunglasses that can conveniently do that for us, we simply have to do it the hard way. Doing nothing is what they refer to as “staying asleep.” Within all that junk, we need to find and discern information so that we will become aware between what is healthy and beneficial and what are lies and harmful to other people. Practice thinking for yourself, form opinions, and learn different view points.

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32.

 

Bob Ross, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood and Cesar Millan: Gentle People Can Have Strong Presences Too

I am not a loud and charismatic person. I am not witty, or make a lot of jokes.  I need to have some time alone, or with one other person to rest. If I do not get that, I get exhausted and anxious, so I only like to have a small group of close friends. I felt that people like me are usually in the background, not really exciting to be around or watch even less have a strong presence. How can people like me be leaders? But after watching the way that Bob Ross, Fred Rogers and Cesar Millan  taught and carried themselves, and how much I admire and liked to watch their programs, I was encouraged by the fact that quiet and calm people also carry a strong presence.

Ross's Landscape Painting

 

You do not have to be a painter to appreciate what Bob Ross had to say. Bob Ross was a very talented artist who was aired in PBS who would amaze people by how almost effortlessly he would paint gorgeous landscapes. He advocated finding and following your own passion, an outlet. If you don’t have one, it will only fill up inside of you and can turn into something negative, like depression, emptiness, and lack of purpose. It is not about finding something “cool and exciting” it is about finding something that you believe in, and find fulfilling. If it is important to you, then it is important.  He would say, “There are not such things as mistakes, just happy accidents.” He would talk while painting, and he was so soft spoken and gentle, yet his talent and his confidence made him someone that you wanted to be like.

Mr. RogersFred Rogers, known for his children program “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” was also a quiet, calm and assertive person. He was not just an actor that hosted the program, he fought for the program to air on television, wrote the script and composed all the songs. Rogers believed that children needed a place to learn about the world in a healthy environment, not what you see in places like Cartoon Network or other shows that are just for entertainment and create over the top characters. Fred Rogers wanted children to know how to deal with their everyday challenges, such as being scared of getting a haircut or to how to deal with family arguments . He stressed the need for respect for children. Mr. Rogers defended children’s television in front of the U.S. Senate when their proposed grant of $20 million dollars was going to get cut in half to $10 million. To put things into perspective, $6,000 only pays for 6 minutes of airtime on television. He gave the U.S. senate “goosebumps” while he was calmly explaining why his show is important to children and read one song outloud for him. Talk about a strong presence!

Lastly, the show, “Dog Whisperer” by Cesar Millan, shows what a powerful effect being calm and assertive can do on a dog. Dogs are pack animals who feed on the feelings and body language that their owners reflect. If the owner is nervous, the dog will become nervous and want to protect their owners. If the owner is feeling calm and assertive, the dog will retreat and follow the owner. I love “Dog Whisperer” because it teaches people how to carry themselves, not just in front of dogs, but other people. It teaches you how to build trust with a dog so that it can relax and let you be the “pack leader”. It gets you back to the basics of how to communicate, starting with boundaries, exercise and discipline and then love. Millan never says to overpower you dog, or show him who is “the boss,” he constantly repeats, even after commercial breaks, “Stay calm and assertive.”

He knows how to walk this many dogs because he stays calm and assertive

Fred Rogers, Bob Ross and Cesar Millan show how power does not always come from being loud, overbearing or aggressive, it more effectively comes from being constant, gentle, and assertive.