Posts Tagged ‘Hurricane’

Hurricane is a-comin’. Better stock up on cupcakes.

August 27th, 2011 | Rachel

If you have followed the news at all the past week, you may have heard that there is a hurricane heading toward New York City.  Its name is Irene.

Although Irene is causing concern up and down the whole east coast, if it does hit NYC, it will present some unique problems and possibly cause quite a bit of concentrated damage.

In an abundance of caution, Mayor Bloomberg is shutting down our entire public transportation system starting at noon tomorrow.  Since the subways and buses are arguably the lifeline of the city, this is a huge deal.  Personally, I think everyone is going a little overboard, but after the national embarrassment New York City suffered this past winter when it was crippled by a series of snow storms, the powers that be aren’t taking any chances.

I worked the afternoon shift today at the bakery today.  Fridays are great because they are busy enough to be fun but not so crazy that you want to pull your hair out.

Since I didn’t have to be at work until 1pm, I ran some hurricane-related errands in the morning and stocked up on water and nonperishable food.  For all of you in the south who have done this drill so many times you could do it in your sleep… try doing it without a car!  I was lucky to find an old rolling cart in Steve’s apartment that I used to drag my fifty pounds of water and canned food up the hill and, thankfully, into the elevator of Steve’s building.

When I later decided to weather the storm at my own apartment, I had to pack one of my 2.5 gallon water jugs (carrying both was unthinkable) with my food in a large suitcase, drag it out to a cab, pay $20 for the ride, and sweet talk my friend Arthur into carrying it up the stairs to my fourth-floor apartment.

Soon after I arrived at work, I learned the bakery would be closed over the weekend due to the approaching storm.  The first order of business for the managers was to call all of the custom cake orders that were scheduled to be picked up Saturday and Sunday and tell them the bad news.  It didn’t help that we had so many orders for the weekend that we had reached capacity earlier in the week and had to turn people away.  Meanwhile, the four of us working out front were left to deal with the steady stream of people coming into the shop.

At first we thought it was just the usual Friday business, but then the line reached the door — and out the door — and never died down.  The orders were unusual as well.  Many of our regulars came in, clearly concerned that we would be closed for the next two days, and ordered two or three times as much as they normally did.  A higher percentage of people bought cakes and declined the complimentary inscription — a sign that they would be eating them at home rather than taking them to a birthday or anniversary party.

We quickly sold out of our chocolate cream pies and peanut butter chunk cookies.  The lemon pucker cupcakes and banana chocolate chip muffins soon followed.  All were purchased by worried customers.

A woman came into the shop late in the afternoon to order a cake for her dinner party on Monday night.  The manager politely informed her that the bakery would be closed over the weekend because of the hurricane and would not be able to make any custom cakes for Monday.  “But I have a dinner party!” the woman exclaimed.  “What am I supposed to DO???”

A few customers came in to pick up their custom cakes for events that had already been canceled.  One man in particular picked up two birthday cakes for a party that was supposed to be in a town in New Jersey that had been evacuated.  Sadly, Grandma Jean wouldn’t get to see her “Happy Birthday Grandma Jean” cake.  I hope they will at least send her a picture.  The cake was very pretty.

With an hour until close, we were sold out of most of our cupcakes, cookies, scones, muffins and pies.  Since our wholesale orders would not be delivered, we were able to sell those cupcakes as well.  During the final stretch, a customer asked for the last two red velvet cupcakes on the tray.  I told him the people in line behind him were going to hate him.  He said he had been thinking the same thing.  As I picked up those last two cupcakes, I could see a look of panic rise in the eyes of the woman behind him… and the man behind her.  “Are there any more?” she asked, desperately.  I reluctantly said no.  The woman and the man both scanned the rest of the store, considering their options.  Then I remembered the rest of the wholesale cupcakes.  I took the sad, empty tray into the kitchen and returned with it full of red velvet.  More than one person in line breathed a sigh of relief.

At 8:03pm the manager locked the door.  We bagged and boxed orders for the rest of the people in line, and then breathed our own sigh of relief after the last two stragglers finally left.  We ignored the couple with pleading eyes knocking on the door… and the man with the baby.  Sorry buddy, it’ll take more than a cute baby to get a cupcake from us once we lock that door.

I’m anxious to see what this storm is going to do, but regardless, I will be eating a chocolate mousse cake while I’m waiting.