My First Part Time Job: Bagel Shop

My first part time job was at a bagel chain.  I used to make samplers for customers to try, but I would often get into an argument with my manager since he did not think it was a sampler, and rather free bites of chocolate chip bagels. I only put the one kind of bagel into the basket for the taking and this irritated him, so because it was already cut up, I got to eat the pieces myself.  No harm done.

There were some choice pieces  of equipment behind the bagel counter that some, both employees and non-employees, found fascinating, like the particularly long beam-shaped bagel slicer that would automatically cut bagels in half for easy cream cheese-spreading. But for me, the fascinating item was the large, shiny, espresso machine that frothed fancy drinks you’d find at upscale coffee shops—or quirky ones that didn’t overcharge you. Having never even brewed coffee at home with my parents’ simple coffee maker (no K-cup contraptions were born yet, either), I was overwhelmed by the chrome physique of the machine that would turn around a customer’s day. It was the caffeine machine.

I remember when I started working at the bagel place—the location was new so it was before the public had broken it in, and we hovered around while managers inspected our t-shirt and belt uniforms and doled out the phrases we were to share and yell with customers—something about hot bagels or something. But then we had to learn the levers and knobs that made the big caffeine machine grind and spurt and which parts would make the milk froth at just the right temperature.

It was mind-boggling for a teenager, I guess, but it was a powerful thing, controlling all that caffeine for the plethora of customers who would come in and out of that place daily and who would maybe even hope I had one of my bagel samplers for the taking.

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