Author Topic: A BIT OF HUMOR ?  (Read 3413 times)

patti

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A BIT OF HUMOR ?
« on: January 16, 2014, 04:19:12 AM »
 We bought a deli, it was located in Port Jefferson, New York. It was right across the street from where the ferry to Bridgeport Connecticut docks. There was also a marina, a hotel and several restaurants in the area. I had very high hopes for the future. I quickly learned what a fantasy that was.
          Owning a deli is not as glamorous as you might think. The work is hard, and the hours are long. I had never worked in the food industry, my partner who was also my husband was a certified chef. I thought I was going to sit at the cash register and take in the money. I knew nothing about how the food industry worked. I worked as a general manager for a new car dealership for over ten years. I could handle the bookkeeping for the deli with no problem, and of course take in the money.

          We cleaned the store from top to bottom. Mike ordered food from the purveyors, put a few tables in the front, purchased two more slicers, a new scale and cash register. In the back of the deli we had a stove with six burners, an oven, and a grill, a triple sink, a pizza oven, a long stainless steel counter, a fifteen by fifteen walk-in, a desk, and a wall with shelves.
          I assumed Mike would do all the cooking, we would hire a couple of people to work the counter and that would be it. I didn't realize I was assuming myself right into Hell. We also offered catering to our customers. I don't know what the hell I was thinking at the time, but it was not reality.
It started with the cleaning. I never saw such filth and grease in my whole life, and I, yes I had to help clean this up. I suggested a cleaning company, but Mike just laughed at me and handed me a scraper, and a pair of rubber gloves. Overnight he turned from a quiet funny guy into a man barking orders at everyone, including me! I looked at him and wondered who is this man and where the hell is my husband?
         I chalked it up to nerves and did what I was asked to do. The workers did as they were told, and by the end of a week the deli was spotless. The shelves were full with supplies, the walk-in was spotless and organized, loaded with soda, water, beer, juices and perishable foods. Mike had a marker with indelible ink and put dates on all the food and supplies in the walk-in, so everyone working could rotate the supplies properly. The front of the deli had a cold-cut case and a station where we kept hot food, there was also a case for cold food, potato salad, coleslaw, tuna, egg salad, chicken cutlets, and several other salads.
          Everyone including me had to learn how to use a slicer, and clean it, how to use a knife while cutting a roll or bagel, or slicing a sandwich in half. The thickness that the cold cuts should be when slicing them. A coffee station was set up and there had to be a certain amount of coffee filters filled and ready to be put in the machine when needed. Mike also put two large ice tea dispensers in plain view. The cases had to be cleaned and sanitized every day. All raw meat had to be weighed as it was delivered to make sure the weight was exactly what we were being charged for. All produce had to be inspected for freshness.
          I knew I was in over my head the day my husband put a huge pot on the stove and brought out over twenty pounds of ground beef, cans and cans of tomatoes and all the fixings for making meatballs and sauce, and it was all for me! “You make the best meatballs and sauce, the customers will love it.” The words that came out of my mouth next shocked me, “are you fucking kidding me? I never made that much sauce and meatballs at one time in my whole life!” His reply was, “don't worry you'll do fine, I'll help you with it, and look I even bought you a wooden spoon.” The damn thing was almost as tall as me! I didn't realize how much there was to learn about working in a deli, and I started to panic.

Ian H

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Re: A BIT OF HUMOR ?
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2014, 07:52:35 AM »
Patti
This was quite interesting for two reasons. One is we don't have similar shops here. If we want meatballs we go to an Italian Cafe.

Differences in culture are interesting.

If you would like this writing to be commercial it needs some rearranging.

Commercial writing is like a Deli, in a Deli the stick has an order to it. Commercial writing also has an order to keep the reader reader reading.

The most important is all writing should start. Hook then description.

The hook is some  action that grabs attention and maybe asks a question.

Your Ideal start is your end.

My perverse humour would start you piece something like this.

I looked at the man who looked like my husband, I looked at the wooden spoon that was almost as big as me. I wonder of I could lift it high enough to batter him.

 We bought a deli, it was located in Port Jefferson, New York. It was right across the street from where the ferry to Bridgeport Connecticut docks. There was also a marina, a hotel and several restaurants in the area. I had very high hopes for the future. I quickly learned what a fantasy that was.


Hope this helps

Ian



.


patti

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Re: A BIT OF HUMOR ?
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2014, 09:04:54 AM »
Thank you Ian. YES, it does help, and makes perfect sense. I relish :o) all the help I can get.

EverJack

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Re: A BIT OF HUMOR ?
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2014, 11:05:29 AM »
This was humorous, Patti, but Ian is right.  The 'hook' is very important.  It will usually make the difference in a person reading the story, or looking for another.  It catches the reader's eye, and makes him read on, and Ian is a master of the hook.

Personally, I like to sprinkle conversation into the story, also.  I added a little bit to the following just as an example:

I remember the day my husband put a huge pot on the stove and brought out over twenty pounds of ground beef, cans and cans of tomatoes and all the fixings for making meatballs and sauce.  At first I was happy that he was the chef and not me, that is, till he looked at me and grinned.

"It's for you!"

I looked at the huge pot, the gallons of tomatoes, the mountain of beef, then I looked up at him.  "And what am I supposed to do with all this?  I wasn't an army mess cook!  I can cook for five or six people, but not a hundred!"

“You make the best meatballs and sauce, the customers will love it.”

The words that came out of my mouth next shocked me, “are you fucking kidding me? I never made that much sauce and meatballs at one time in my whole life!”

His reply was, “don't worry you'll do fine, I'll help you with it, and look I even bought you a wooden spoon.” The damn thing was almost as tall as me! I didn't realize how much there was to learn about working in a deli, and I started to panic. 


And always remember to begin a new paragraph when changing speakers.   :)

Ed

patti

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Re: A BIT OF HUMOR ?
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2014, 12:20:37 PM »
Great Everjack. Between all of you, I may get a great book out of this. :o)

EverJack

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Re: A BIT OF HUMOR ?
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2014, 01:11:50 PM »
You can call me Ed, Patti.....  :)

Ed

Cathrobin

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Re: A BIT OF HUMOR ?
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2014, 12:55:52 AM »
This is a great ideas for a very interesting piece of writing.  You will "snare" the readers' interest by using the tips Ed and Ian gave you.  One more tip I could ask you is not to give the conclusions, let the reader give the conclusions.  For example, I knew nothing about how the food industry worked.  You said earlier that you thought all you had to do was take in the money.  So you don't need this sentence that I highlighted. 
Suggestion:  go back and see what other sentences you don't really need since you have "shown" the story so well. 
This has the potential for a great article.  It actually brought back memories of when I worked in a small grocery store where we sold everything!  My fondest memories were of the meat slicer.
Cathleen

Cathrobin

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Re: A BIT OF HUMOR ?
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2014, 01:09:17 AM »
Also, Ian, Jim and Ed have great stories and you can learn a lot from them.  In fact Ed has a nice summary of his story just for you so you don't have to go back and find the beginning.  Cathleen

patti

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Re: A BIT OF HUMOR ?
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2014, 12:50:08 PM »
Great suggestions Cathleen, everyone has given me such great ideas. Lord knows I can use all the advice I can get. Right now I am in the middle of a family crisis, but I will work on it and repost it when I am done. It will await the approval from all of you. Thank you so much. :o)....

Cathrobin

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Re: A BIT OF HUMOR ?
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2014, 02:51:42 AM »
A family crisis?  Prayers, Patti.  Yes, life often gets in the way of our writing. Cathleen

Jim

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Re: A BIT OF HUMOR ?
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2014, 01:01:38 AM »
Patti - I can tell you that each of us on this site has had some life traumas.  Seems like there is always some one with something going on in their lives.  What is nice is that you find people who don't know you care about you and your trials.  I liked your posts from Pen and Paper and knew you'd love this site and fit right in. 

My big question is did the meatballs sell well?  I wanted an end to the story.  I hate stories with  out an end.  I wish I could show you how much these folks have helped me.  They really care!  I'm glad you are here.  Now to get Duke on with us.

patti

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Re: A BIT OF HUMOR ?
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2014, 08:06:48 PM »
Thank you Jim. Working through the crisis, I am sure it will end soon.

Yes the meatball hero's sold very well, but so did all the rest of the food. I don't think I have enough material about the Deli to
make it into a book, but I might be wrong. We had so many characters come through those doors.

I am truly enjoying reading the chapters of the stories here, however I do not feel experienced enough to make any worthwhile
comments, except that I enjoy reading all of them and want to run out and purchase the books.

Keep working on Duke, like you I know he would be an asset to this group.

Every one here has been so welcoming. Thank you all. :o)

Jim

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Re: A BIT OF HUMOR ?
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2014, 01:30:52 AM »
Patti, I know a taxi driver that said the exact same thing.  Not enough for a book.  She is now on her second one since her first one did so well - I worked a deli counter for a while (I was 14) and I can still remember the customers.  I still believe two of them were serial killers and a third was an escaped murderer.   As you can see, my imagination of the darker side of people started a long time ago....

What am I saying "Start the book"! 

By the way, I recall Cathleen telling me one day not so long ago that she didn't have a book in her.  She has found out different since that conversation.  I told her the exact same thing.  "Start the book....

patti

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Re: A BIT OF HUMOR ?
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2014, 05:11:43 AM »
OK,OK Ian I'll start the book. :o)

Cathrobin

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Re: A BIT OF HUMOR ?
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2014, 02:25:55 AM »
I look forward to reading it. Cathleen