Wednesday, July 19, 2006


July. Summer. Hot weather. Dining al fresco. The circumstances demand to be taken into consideration when planning product lines and when ordering.

Which goes no way towards explaining why we're not getting burger buns or 'finger' (hot dog) rolls.

The man in charge of the bread department calls our supplier. The lovely young man on the other end of the line says "we have a problem". The man in charge of the bread replies with "I have a problem, and its you." The Bread Man asks why he hasn't received the rolls and buns he ordered. The fragrant young man on the other end of the line complains that its hot, as though demand for such bread lines should be depressed by the heat.

Patiently the Bread man explains the link between warm weather, dining alfresco and the upsurge in demand for precisely the sort of bread line so popular at barbeques.


The Bread Man has no say in which supplier he orders the bread from. Such issues are decided by beings further up the food chain and at several removes from the 'coal face'. Who ever drafted the contract we have with the Bakery neglected to insert an effective penalty clause. The bread's supposed to be with us an hour before we open in the morning, but since the penalty clause only kicks if the bread's more than three hours late the bread turns up pretty much whenever the bakery's driver feels like it.

Under pressure from That Supermarket Chain (which recently opened an outlet near us now on the bakery driver's route) he took to delivering to them first, though we'd amended the contract to require that he deliver to us first.

That Supermarket Chain only obtained planning permission for their outlet, which is situated in a built up residential area, when they agreed to only open at 7 and accept deliveries during business hours. Threats of legal action were required before they brought their practices into line after opening. Mind you the man who was running the place at the time has since been sacked and taken up a job as a school caretaker.

In the meantime we still have to deal with our supplier's rather lacadaisical approach to order filling and time keeping. We do have fun with heaving, sighing customers who take one look at our empty shelves and stomp off vowing only to shop with That Supermarket Chain in future. They usual slink back an hour or so later, tails between their legs, only having discovered that That Supermarket Chain hasn't any more bread than we do.

The Bakery gets its revenge for our compliants about having to deal with the consequences of their incompetence. The bread trays are left out in the open for long enough, between bagging and loading onto van, for the birds to have their breakfast and every day, without fail, the Bread Man gets to pick through the delivery to remove the bags the birds have pecked through.

Inevitably one or two will slip through the net from time to time and so I get to deal with the complaining customer who has finally got his or her bread loaf and got it home, only to discover that the birds got there first.


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