(Times Burned: 3; Wrong Orders: 5; Customers I Want to Slam Over the Head with a Skillet: 2, Major Catastrophes: 1)
12PM-2PM is always lots of fun. This is when most of the early morning workers are still here, but business is slow enough for us all to just fool around. April and AJ are throwing towels at each other, laughing and flirting like only best friends/exes can do. He slips an ice cube down the back of her shirt and wriggling like mad, she knocks off his name tag, which falls at my feet. AJ mock-yells at her, so I bend down to pick it up, but he tells me to just leave it. The two are just too cute.
Once I’m done sanitizing everything and refilling the three-compartment sink, I brew a fresh batch of coffee and watch April and AJ rationing the pre-sliced American cheese. It is a mountain of cheese, skyscrapers that tower over all the little people I imagine who live in this Dairytown. They look like Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and they nosh on their own cheesy houses when they’re feeling a little peckish. It’s like those insanely orange Kraft Macaroni n’ Cheese commericals with the dinosaur and the jingle that tries to rhyme everything with “macaroni”. Imagine that without all the noodles dancing around and whatever (now you have a glimpse of what goes on in my head everyday).
I feel like I’m finally on top of things. After an embarrassing morning (the first day of work after skipping a weekend to go to Toronto with family), I’ve really got the hang of things. I can make coffees in record time, and donut disasters are rare (Donut disasters are when I plop a donut into a bag and it lands frosting-side down. Donut disasters = very unhappy customers). I’ve reached the last page of my book of humiliating failures. That is, until I notice coffee is spilling over the sides of the coffee brewer. It isn’t just coffee; the grinds, which have clumped together now, are also seeping out, and for some reason, it looks as if the hole in which the coffee is supposed to drip into the tank is blocked shut. I call over April and AJ, and the look on their faces could not be graver.
“Oh, crap, not again. No no no no noooooo. I want to cry,” says AJ.
“Should I turn it off?” I ask, meekly.
“No, you can’t turn this thing off. It’ll just keep brewing.
“Remember Rachel?” Chelsea says, as she surveys the situation. “The same thing happened to her. She was so stupid. She forgot the filter!” I pray to God that I didn’t forget the filter, but upon racking my brains, I’m not entirely sure I didn’t make the same mistake.
So while AJ and April leave to go fill drive-thru orders, I stand there and watch as the grinds/coffee mixture seeps underneath all the other machines on the countertop and onto the floor. It is a miserable sight.
Once the brewer finally stops, I slide the grinds holder out and, confirming my worst fears, see no filter. By now, I feel like April, who trained me on my first day and has only ever seen me fumble, is just about ready to throw me out of the place. She puts on her I-wish-I-could-hit-you-but-will-try-to-remain-sweet face, and reminds me that it’s only my second week. She points out that it was poor Rachel’s fourth. This cheers me up slightly, but we’re still a miserable bunch as the three of us have to stay past the end of our shift to clean up the soggy mess. I thank my lucky stars the manager left an hour ago, but I know my blunder will surely be fodder for the next week’s DD gossip circles. And months later when this happens again to some poor newbie, it’ll be, “Remember Lena? She was so stupid! She forgot the filter!” Think I’m overreacting? Maybe. But I now have an internal filter alarm installed and fully functional, and not one grind cup has gone into the brewer filter-free ever since.