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FlourPower

Can you make that smaller?

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WHOA! Hold on, everybody. This has gotten blown way out of proportion. I should have been more clear.

First, we don't have 24 rules. Not sure where that came from.

Second, I have nothing against the poor. I'm poor. Our bakery's in a neighborhood with a huge income range -- everything from $10,000 a year to $300,000. We really, really try to have something for all price levels. We give people discounts and/or free items if they need it or are regulars. We're not greedy or stingy. If you come in and you're cool, we'll work something out nine times out of ten. Believe me, we're not in this for the money.

As for this woman being cheap, past experience with her has borne this out. If you've got a dozen kids to feed, go to Wal Mart of one of the grocery chains and get a dozen cookies for $3. There's a huge grocery store within two minutes of our place, so it's not as if we're the only place with baked goods in town. If you have to have homemade stuff, make it yourself. We can't compete with the big places on price. Our customers know that. They come to us because our stuff tastes better and is made like your grandma makes it. I'll work with you to give you what you want, but it ain't gonna be for a nickel. Maybe a quarter, but not a nickel.

HOWEVER. We are a mom and pop shop and quite frankly don't have time to shoot the shit with every person who comes in. We have an open kitchen, which is a good/bad thing. Good in that people can see you working. Bad in that they all want to be acknowledged. We try to be friendly and answer their questions, but it reaches a point where it impacts production. Everyone wants to talk to the owner. Everyone wants to know what time you get up. We know this and deal with it the best we can. Having someone up front to run interference helps a great deal.

As for the customer deserving exemplary customer service, I'm right there with you. I will go the extra mile for people. We've delivered cakes in blizzards, and we don't normally offer delivery. We've stayed late, ran for special ingredients and sold things at a loss to keep people happy. I fully understand the give and take of customer service. We bend over backwards for our customers.

But if the person's making insane demands and/or acting like a two year old, then it's another matter. I won't put up with it. Maybe that makes me an asshole or someone "suited for another line of work." But just because I'm behind the counter doesn't give a customer the right to treat me like an idiot or an indentured servant. Yeah, I'm there to serve them, but I'm not there to take their abuse.

I don't like to disappoint customers. I don't like to make people cry. The reason we started this was to make people happy. When someone bites into a danish or a cinnamon roll and their eyes light up, that makes it all worthwhile. The customer in question in this instance reacted in a way I'd never seen before and took things personal when they weren't intended that way. I tried to tell her that and I really tried to show her my sympathy. I didn't want to ruin her day or anything. Literally everyone else who's been in and seen our list and gets a kick out of it. They understand where we're coming from.

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I fully understand the give and take of customer service. We bend over backwards for our customers.

But just because I'm behind the counter doesn't give a customer the right to treat me like an idiot or an indentured servant. Yeah, I'm there to serve them, but I'm not there to take their abuse.

well, your defense of yourself is admirable but it seems to me that if you're worried about being made to feel like an idiot or indentured servant, then the fact remains that it's not the customer's fault that you feel that way. perhaps you need thicker skin if you want to thrive in business?

sad as it is, there are a lot of jerks out there. but they have money and you're in this to earn a living (presumably), not to make friends. swallowing your pride for one or two jerks a day makes sense to me. you bend over backwards for your customers and that's great. but great customer service also involves bending over backwards for the difficult customers, not just the inconvenienced (or poor) ones.

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Returning to the topic... I just love to have a wide variety of very different foods in front of me and that means small portions. I love "good" buffets, Danish cold tables, canapes and the like and, if I had the time and energy, all my meals would be tiny courses of a wide variety of foods. Do I long to hear McD's say "Can I mini-size that for you?" No, but I think it's a step in the right direction.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Staying on the topic of "why all the mini stuff?".... some things seem to suffer from being miniaturized

Mini's that work for me

1) Skirts (just kidding... sort of but not really).

2) Little single bite cheesecakes with a bit of fruit glaze on top.

3) Mini pecan pie tartlets - yummmm.

4) Bite sized (or pehaps two bites is more polite) hors douvres style quiche.

5) Cute little triangular spanakopita (and damn near anyhing else in phyllo dough).

The list of losers

1) Skirts (on the wrong person - definitely not kidding on this one).

2) Hot dogs - why do the full sized ones taste better?

3) Muffins. Big ones get that almost crunchy feel to the top - not the little ones.

4) Bagels. never ever have I tasted a mini bagel that aproacehed the texture and chewiness of a regular bagel.

5) Pizza. Admittedly... I've never tried quality pizza crust baked in a tiny size (like English Muffin diameter) but in a regular pizzeria, even the medium pies never seem as good as the large. A mini could only be worse.

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Perhaps the "mini-sizing" is a backlash to the "biggie-sizing"?

There was a great comment in, of all things, the NORTHERN EXPOSURE cookbook: the book was edited with "running commentary" from one of the characters, and there was a nugget about the "muffins" you frequently find for sale in a lot of bakeries and supermarkets now; and how they were "the size of thatched huts." "I cut one in half," the passage went, "and it seems more appropriate to curl up on it and take a nap than to eat it." I agree -- a lot of the "regular-size" portions are just so huge, in many instances. A couple mini-muffins are simply more manageable than one of the big horkin' muffins.

I also look for smaller, single-size, or what have you cooking utensils because, nine times out of ten, I am cooking only for myself and it doesn't make sense to do single omelette on a 12-inch skillet, say. Or to make an entire quiche just to cut myself a single piece and put the rest in the fridge, because invariably I end up either eating it piece by piece and it takes me a week and by the end of the week I'm thorougly sick of quiche, or I forget I have it and a month later I have a pan of sludge in the fridge. With a mini-quiche, I have a single serving that's big enough for one meal, but small enough that there's maybe only one night's worth of leftovers and that's it.

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Mini (as compared to regular American-sized) lattes and cappucinos work for me. A 12/16/20 oz. cup of warm milk flavored with an ounce of espresso just doesn't cut it.

I hope that the trend continues as far as espresso drinks go.

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Mini (as compared to regular American-sized) lattes and cappucinos work for me.  A 12/16/20 oz. cup of warm milk flavored with an ounce of espresso just doesn't cut it.

I hope that the trend continues as far as espresso drinks go.

Most folks who know their way around espresso pretty well generally agree on 2 parts milk to 1 part espresso for cappuccino's and 3 parts to 1 part for lattes. Although they've done some good things for the promotion of coffee and espresso, Starbucks has convinced many people that a latte is defined by lots of milk and a little espresso. The interesting thing is that so many places go along with the program primarily because they don't make good quality espresso shots - lots of milk hides a multitude of sins.

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