How The Cookie Crumbles
find jacky here
I like change and the easiest thing to change is your job.
I started working at a cookie store that does deliveries to about thirty blocks in every direction that’s nestled near the heart of Oklahoma City about four weeks ago. The job itself is easy, I mean I make and sell cookies which is about as stressful as it sounds, which is why I was initially attracted to the job upon getting the opportunity to interview.
But the most attractive aspect was that I would basically get to be alone from 8:30 AM to 6 PM every night, with the exception of working with a single driver. But the driver can only do 2 things:
- Deliver cookies
- Fold the boxes that we put the cookies in to be delivered
This results in the driver during the day not doing much. As luck would have it Chris, the driver I get to work with most of the time enjoys her solitude almost as much as I like mine.
“I’m an avid reader.” She told me on my second day out of training, “I usually sit in my car reading until we get busy, you can stick your head out of the back door and holler at me when I’ve got a delivery.”
So I stay alone until we get orders, with the exception of around 10 people who actually come into the store during the day to buy cookies.
And this is the way that the ordering system works:
People who come into the store usually never order more than 12 cookies, of which is extremely easy to manage because we’re supposed to keep 25 of each cookie in the morning.
Deliveries can fall into one two categories,
- A preorder which usually means ordering ahead of time for an order that needs to be delivered at a later time that day but can also be a preorder for any later date, usually these orders are for birthdays and people want to order a cookie cake or for catering order which are more than 50 cookies
- An ASAP order which can be an order of any kind that needs to be ordered as soon as possible, usually this is 6-24 cookies, management tells us that we’re suppose to send out these orders within 5 minutes of receiving them.
Every morning I look at all my orders and organize them. I know exactly what time I need to start baking every order so that they have enough time to cool and then be boxed for Chris to be able to take them to their destination on time. The manager told me I don’t need to be that precise but I tell myself that it does.
So I do it this way. Smaller area for error.
Last Tuesday I had several a 50 cookie order that needed to be delivered at 2 PM, 75 cookie order that needed to be delivered at 2:30 PM and another 50 cookie order that needed to be delivered at 3 PM.
Like any anxious worker I had everything planned down to the time I needed to start baking all the cookies, had the amount of each individual cookie i needed to bake and had the cooling time perfectly worked out for the cookies to still be warm upon their deliver like management told me to.
I had everything perfect.
Then at 1:47 I got an ASAP order for 50 cookies.
Another order comes through. ASAP. 24 cookies.
Another order comes through. Deliver at 2:30. 100 cookies.
Shit. Shit. Shit. I feel the walls pressing towards me.
The heat for the oven is warmer than it usually is.
The cookies are taking much longer to cool than they normally do.
A customer walks in the front door.
Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit.
I know what’s about to happen I just don’t know how to stop it.
I’ve got coping mechanisms, tons of them, months in the mental hospital back me, I’m basically an expert at this point.
Five things you can see.
Four things you can touch.
I’m boxing up the walk in customers order now. I wonder if she knows how much she just ruined my life bu coming in and getting 36 cookies.
Three things you can hear.
Two things you can smell.
One thing you can taste.
“Have a great day!” I chime through heart palpitations as the customer walks out the door. I hope she didn’t notice the sweat beginning to bead on my forehead. I wipe the droplets away with the hem of my shirt.
In the back Chris looks at me helpless, she’s not allowed to help me.
Heart rate increases.
I see the dull gray of all the baking pans scattered in the back.
The bright white of the freezers holding cookie dough I need to be baking.
Chris’s eyes pleading, I’m so sorry.
Another order. ASAP. 12 cookies.
The black text on the white receipt paper.
Filing layers of cookies into boxes I get a paper cut.
Feeling the sting and seeing the red fills two items off the list, but I still don’t feel better.
I reach for one for the baking pans desperate and wonder if Chris can hear my shallow breaths.
I touch the wrong one. Burned. I could feel that.
The timer to take out the cookies goes off. I can hear that.
I slip on the oven mitts, they’re worn down. I can feel that.
I open the oven doors, smell the fresh batch of cookies.
Another mark off my list.
I had everything timed perfectly I breathe out.
There’s baking pans everywhere now.
Chris has gone with all the deliveries she could take at once.
I got them all out on time, but barely if you were wondering.
I’m alone again.
I’m crying now.
Salt water in my mouth. I can taste that.
Last mark off my list.