Musing: Date Nut Bread & Customer Service

September 8th, 2011: Date Nut Bread
Food of the Day: One-Year Goal
Day: #64

Emily made this delicious Date Nut Spice bread

I headed to the bakery to buy date bread or a date nut muffin, which they did not have—but they did have date nut buns, so I bought one. Since I was pretty sure I was not going to like it, I hedged my bets by also buying a chocolate cupcake.

The bakery I frequent is a neighborhood bakery.  On the glass below the baked goods there were two signs.

The first sign explained the increased prices and thanked us all for supporting them over the years.

The sign next to it read: If you are on your cell phone, we will ignore you.

Really? I wasn’t on my cell phone and would agree that holding up a line or slowing down the ordering process because of a cell phone conversation is rude, but I could think of a number of ways to reword that sign. For example:

Enjoy your phone conversation. Just let us know when you are ready to order so we don’t keep you waiting.

Or, better yet, why put up a sign that insults your CUSTOMERS? Just pleasantly ignore them while they chat and then greet them as valued customers when they stop chatting on the phone and offer you their order.

A long time ago, we bought our bread from a neighborhood bakery run by an Italian family. They hated men, and even if you were a woman it was a terrifying place to shop. They were always screaming at one another and waving wooden spoons at tots in diapers, and no matter what I asked for, they filled my bag with what they wanted me to buy. The price was always fair, but I had no idea what anything cost.

One day when I walked through the door, one of the women behind the counter was all over a customer like an angry wasp. The best I could figure out is he had waltzed in and expected to buy 15 loaves of bread, which would not have left enough loaves of bread for her GOOD CUSTOMERS. When she was done with her rant, the man meekly asked the correct question, How many loaves of bread may I buy? He walked away with four. When it was my turn to order, I asked if she had any bread for me to buy. Smiling broadly, she filled my bag with bread, buns, and focaccia. I watched carefully to make sure she did not slip any of the grandchildren that she kept a watchful eye on into my bag; however, I’m pretty sure I would not have questioned it if she had….

What is the difference between screaming Italian bread ladies and a rude sign on the glass of a more homogenized bakery? Everything. First, the Italian ladies sold the best bread in the whole world. Second, they did not hide behind a sign; they would have ripped the phone out of the customer’s hand and thrown it out the door in front of a car. And third, there was no doubt that as scary as the ladies behind the counter were, they wanted to serve their customers…at least the women.

The bread bakery eventually closed to day-to-day customers. The owners retired and the younger generation wanted to focus on commercial sales. I will forever miss their bread and the cookies they always put into Cole’s little hands. Two cookies, one for each hand. His payment was a kiss for Nonna. They liked little boys just fine.

My date nut bun was a nothing mucher.

My chocolate cupcake was very good!

Musing is more fun when you muse along…so please share thoughts! Odd Loves Company!


4 thoughts on “Musing: Date Nut Bread & Customer Service

  1. I don’t think I have ever had Date Nut Bread. The cupcake looks good! I agree with you–it is never good business to be rude to a customer.Love the story about the Italian Bakery. They were not rude…they were just very real.

    • The cupcake WAS good. Loved the bread bakery; despite being terrified every time I went it and never knowing what I would leave with. It was worth it.

      Thanks for dropping by Carrie!

  2. I know this is odd but I actually crave dates. I like them in everything. My grandfather introduced them to me when I was a kid and I ate them like candy. Strange but true! The cupcake looks good.
    Love your muses.

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