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That’s weird. (Deliveries 5/8)

I lost count of how many drivers there were tonight. Five? Six? Huey was doing prep in the back. Deliveries were moving right along. Leff-tenant was milling about with Cap’n, checking orders and getting things ready for the weekend.

Two drivers were in the store at a time on average. We burned through cleaning dishes. The prep list was huge.

I turned around after launching a dish rack through Blastoise, careful so as to not slip. Huey was stacking a few pans. The prep table was bare except for his few pans. He had oil-in-a-can and was taking his time, one piece of dough at a time.

I think my eye twitched.

“Anybody show you the layout trick, Huey?” I asked.

“Yeah. But this only needs, like, twenty five so I’m not worried about it.”

He stacked another pan. It was like he was in slow motion.

The layout trick uses the entirety of the surface of the prep table to make multiple stacks of pans. You can quintuple your productivity and get done just as fast this way.

“But RI,” you might ask, “Why do twenty-five pans of dough in five minutes when you can do twenty-five pans in thirty minutes?”

Relief came. A new driver I haven’t quite thought of a name for yet was new to prep. She started in. Alas, she did so one pan at a time. I decided Yoda better step in before it’s too late; before she crosses over to the dark side.

I showed her how, on big prep orders, you oil all pans first, then lay them out as much as possible with the oiled pans stacked in one corner and more lids stacked nearby.

“That way, once all the pans are oiled,” I explained, “you can lay out tons and have separate stacks. It is quick. Fast.” I accentuated the last two words by clapping my hands.

She understood and I left her to rock it out.

When the deliveries dried up again, I returned to the back. There were Huey and the Chef – another driver who really is a chef at job #1 – continuing the work on the now-oiled pans. They were doing them one. By. One.

I couldn’t take it anymore.

Huey had stepped away to get another box of dough and Chef was stacking things in a freezer. I made my move. I grabbed  a stack of lids and dropped them in one corner of the table. I moved the oiled pans to the adjacent corner. Huey came back with the box of dough. He didn’t seem to know what to do with it. I motioned to a makeshift table beside the prep area. He put the dough down and we started going.

He picked right up. Then Chef joined in. It was a well-oiled machine after that. We knocked out forty or so pans in less than five minutes, moving through each step in sequence. It was beautiful. But it was slippery. That much oil and that many feet can make that floor slick. But we were KILLING IT. We were knocking out prepped dough like Gandalf stops Balrogs: loud, fast, and with the occasional fall.


Prep continued. I didn’t close, so it was time to clock out before I knew it. I counted a significant number of ones, fives and a couple of twenties out of my box that I owed the store. The ones were organized in neat piles. As soon as he was ready, I moved the bills over to him.

“So, does your significant other complain about your beard?” I asked him.

He groaned. He had just dropped a $5 bill on the keyboard.

“I screwed up your count! I’m so sorry!” I said.

“No, it’s ok, I just didn’t expect that five,” he said. “And no, she likes it.”

“Oh,” I said.  My wife despises my beard. Many wives of many friends that I know despise their husbands’ facial hair. It was weird that his so-called ‘liked’ his beard. So weird in fact that I turned to him and said, “That’s weird.”

Without missing a beat, Leff-tenant smiled and said, with a twinkle in his eye, “No. That’s beard.”

We laughed and I promised I would write that down for posterity.



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