Lesson Eighty-Eight : Macaron Mishap


When I worked at the Bakery, my task was to help prepare the displays in the morning.  That included putting the trays of eclairs, cream puffs, lemon tarts, macarons, napoleons, pecan tarts, almond tarts, slices of chocolate raspberry cake, temptation cake… and other fancy desserts that our pastry chefs had prepared into the display case on the right side (as customers walked in) of the store.

The great thing about this job was that it was simple, peaceful, and happy.  The customers who came into the store were happy to be receiving delicious treats, and I was happy to work for a few hours, and be able to spend the rest of the day with my 4-year old son, who was at the pre-school across fhe street.

On this particular morning, as I was sliding the case of macarons onto the shelf, and waiting for the try to touch the edge of the glass that protected the pastries from the drool that dripped from customers’ mouths as they salivated in anticipation of consuming the best French pastries in town — there was one problem — I was daydreaming.

I continued to gently push the tray forward, so that the customers arriving in 30 minutes would be able to gaze upon the delicate pastries, and make their selections… forgetting that it was the display case to the left (with the croissants, danishes, and bearclaws) that the tray edge touched the glass.

There was no glass for the tray to touch.

And it was not long before the center of balance caused the tray to tip, and macarons slid down the front of the crystal clear glass that people bumped their heads into).  And tip, the tray did.

The. Entire. Tray.

Macarons spilled off of the tray, like an untapped waterfall, tumbling against the sparkly clear glass that protected the delicate treats from customers’ drool, landing in a heap at the front of the case.

Mild panic entered my heart, but my partner in crime, Karen, had already spring into action, lightning quick to clean up the macarons, which by now had also rolled back onto the floor on our side of the counter after bouncing off the inside of the glass, and lying helplessly at my feet — their one job in life (to be enjoyed by a soul craving its delicate light fluffiness) — snatched instantly from them, with no second chance available.

There was no blaming.  No shaming.  No yelling.  Just hands working quickly to clean up my mess.  Verbal directions to guide me through my shock and dismay. “Grab your tray.  Pick those up.” “It’s okay.  Accidents happen.”

And we worked together to clean everything up, and finish setting the display.

When the doors opened, no one else knew what had happened earlier that morning.  My mistake was wiped away.  Clean.

But I knew.

I knew the financial cost of my mistake.  I knew also, that the cost of the macarons was my responsibility — no one else’s.  Not my friend who I was daydreaming about.  Not the shelf maker for the shelf not touching the glass.  Not the tray maker or the macaron baker or the weather or anything or anyone.

The responsibility rested squarely on ny shoulders.  Someone had to pay for those macarons.  Me.  I had to.  It was my mistake.  So, I did.

I couldn’t afford the retail price, but I could afford the wholesale price.  I didn’t tell my boss until after I rang it up and put it in the register, because he had already told me not to worry about it.

And when I trained new folks who joined our team, I made sure to point out that the shelf does not touch the glass.

To Think About:

Who would have paid if I had not paid? Would prices have gone up?

Take Aways

Personal responsibility leads to more personal responsibility.

Mindfulness trumps all.


#EachOfUs #AllOfUs #OurChildrenAreWatching 


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