I am ridiculously clumsy. I do not know why I cannot stop dropping things. I really think it's due to a lack of focus. The older I get, the worse my attention span is. Today, for instance, I had a $500 catering order. The order consisted of 80 half sandwiches on 5 trays, and 1 tray with 40 cookies and brownies. I stacked the trays 3 and 3 high on a roll cart and wrapped the trays with plastic wrap so they wouldn't slide off of each other. On top, I layed a brown paper shopping bag with 40 bags of chips, 40 pickles, 40 plates, and 80 napkins. When the customer arrived to pick up the order, she asked, "do people usually tip?". Yes! Yes! They always tip!, I thought. "Um, well everyone is different. Some do, some don't," I said. Honestly, I never expect tips from people picking up an order.
"Okay, I'll tip," she replied.
"Okie, Thanks," I said happily. She added $43 to the bill, which I thought was very generous.
I helped her out to her van, which was wrapped in logos from a local radio station. The customer was the head of promotions for the station and holding a lunch. Also, this was the same radio station that had spoken out about our restaurant on their morning show and blog a few months earlier. An incident with forgotten cookies led to a huge discussion about how we were not customer friendly... However, before they finished their morning show, I knocked on the door of the station with an apology letter from our regional manager, replacement cookies, and bonus baked goods in tow. We had redeemed ourselves with the station, but one false move could put us back on the air. I steadied the bag of chips and pickles on top of the two stacks of trays to keep them from tipping. Focus. focus. I thought as I pushed the rickety cart over the gravel.
"Do you want me to take that bag? Is it heavy?" she asked me.
"It's fine, I mean, it's not heavy." She took the bag off the top of the cart anyway and walked around the side of the van. focus. focus. foooocus. hey, that's a pretty bird- CRASH! In the three seconds that my mind wandered, the first stack of sandwiches tumbled onto the pavement. Luckily, all the lids stayed on.
"I'm so sorry," I apologized. I flipped the trays back over. Chicken Salad was visibly all over the inside.
"They look okay. I can fix them up back at the station," she said.
"Are you sure? I can take them back inside and make them better, or new ones?" I pressed.
She said, "It's fine. Just put them towards the front. I don't want them sliding too much. I'm not a very good driver."
"Probably a better driver than I push carts," I said.
A few weeks earlier, I was doing a breakfast delivery. The owner of my restaurant was providing free breakfast and lunch for a dentist and his staff. I had delivered to this dentist before, and he always held these meetings at his home. It was a beautiful house in a fairly new development just up the road. When I arrived, he and his daughter were loading up their car. I waved, took out my cart and opened my trunk to load up the food. When I lifted the trunk, I discovered one of the lids to the bagel trays had come loose. I tried to fix it, but the bagels ended up tumbling all over my trunk. Mind you, my trunk is not a clean place. It's filled with dust, dirt from the many plants I have purchased over the last few years, and even some kitty litter from when I moved the cats down from Philadelphia. I turned around to find the dentist standing behind me.
"Just scoop 'em up and put them inside," he said.
"Sir, I can run back and get another tray. It's a five minute drive and I can have the staff put together another tray before I arrive." I said.
"No no, it's okay. Reduce, reuse, recycle," he responded.
"But..but my trunk is so dirty."
"It's fine. Just wipe them off." I did as I was told and set up the continental breakfast inside his kitchen.
When I came back for lunch, I had been instructed by my regional manager to drop a receipt with the total amount that they would have paid if the catering had not been free. Tacky, I know. To me, if you donate something, you don't turn around and show how much it was worth. Instead of presenting the receipt, I shoved it inside one of the boxes behind the sandwiches. As I turned to leave, the dentist was again standing behind me.
"Hi sir. You're all set. How was breakfast?" I asked.
"It was great," he said. "Everyone loved it. Especially the bagels"
Point being, I need to be a little - scratch that - a lot more careful so I don't keep ending up with a mess of food in my hands and an apology on my tongue.