This past week I have ventured back into the grueling world of "work". After Todd and I discussed the reality that I needed to return to work, my only comment was "i do not want to work with food". In my search for the "perfect" job, however, I was left with only one option.
A woman by the name of Brenda manages the Panera Bread in our local mall and told me she could fulfill the hour restraints I requested. So, last Monday I went into Lakeside Mall, turned in my application and had my "orientation" to learn the "facinating career choice" I had made. Tuesday night, I was sent to Planet Bread in Rochester, the required training night that all Panera employees must attend. I listen for 3 1/2 hours how Panera got its name ("pan-era- the era of the bread pan"). I learned how great working for Panera is and that their goal is "a loaf of bread in every arm".
As soon as I arrived at Planet Bread I felt like a huge outsider. First of all, I was told to wear the "uniform" (polo shirt, khaki pants) and since I was given my Panera hat, arrived wearing that as well. Apparently, the HAT was not a requirement and right away I felt like a huge "dork". All of the future employees looked up at me as I arrived and from the strange look on their young faces, it was obvious I was not only the oldest, but classified early on as "not cool". Withstanding the extreme peer pressure to remove the HAT in order to blend in a little, I swallowed my pride, reminded myself that although I am mistaken for a teen all the time, I am an ADULT and answered each question with every ounce of courage I could pretend to have. By the end of the night, I had baked bread, ate some great food and actually made a "friend".
But... that was only the beginnning.
Wednesday, I went into Panera dressed in my polo shirt, khaki pants and HELD my Panera cap until inside the mall. After receiving an hours worth of reading (how to's of cleaning the dining room of all things), I put on the classy apron and began to trail after the trainer as she gave me the dining room "tour". Brenda gave me a test, to which I must brag that I received 100%, then I got the chance to try out a few exercises on the register. "Not so bad" I thought and went home exhausted but satisfied I had passed my first day at work.
Thursday was a true test of my sanity. I was allowed to practice on the register for an hour and then as soon as the lunch hour rush came, was actually given my own register! AHHHHH! I tried to hide the panick and very ungracefully made it through until break time. Now, for those of you who are saying "Kim, its a register! How can it be that hard?", obviously you have never worked with FOOD. You see, it would be much easier to grab a purchase, scan it and take their money. However, when you are working the lunch rush at a restaurant in the mall, you have to deal with something like this,
"Ummm. I'd like the Turkey Bacon Bravo sandwich with brocolli cheddar soup. Oh and on the sandwich I'd like no onion, light mayo, horseradish on the side, add extra tomatoes, change the bread to tomato basil, no chips , two pickles and a frozen cappicino icee (which I have to make myself). Can you actually make that the Take two instead? I can't really eat a whole sandwich"
"Ok,..." (I am scrambling to void the entire transaction and have to start OVER because the customer now wants a take-two instead of a regular sand and soup) " You wanted what kind of bread with that?"
You can imagine the nightmare that has haunted me since.
Saturday morning I was actually MORE anxious knowing the stress and pressure I was going to have to endure on the weekend.
So, needless to say I have entered a world that has not greeted me kindly. Even though I am thankful that I am beginning to learn all the steps in the touch screen register, I hate having to learn a new thing that I truly have no pride in. I wish I did, and maybe it will come in time, I don't know.