I had only been working at the cafe for about two weeks. I often worked the morning shifts so I could get work out of the way and enjoy most of my days. Working at this cafe was my first job and I was still trying to get in the groove of things.
I was about two hours into my shift as a barista when every employee started to scramble. It was a fairly busy time for us, so I didn’t think much of it at the time. Not too long after, one of the managers in training came up to me with labels. The labels contained expiration dates for a lot of the smoothie bases. Of course I was confused because I had never seen these before. He told me to be sure to put the labels on the bases because the health inspector was coming to check everything out.
I put the labels on the bases and got back to work, there was no time to be wasted when customers were waiting. About ten minutes later the manager came up to me and told me to be extra cautious with my hand washing. I assured her I would be (we were in the middle of a pandemic, so I was always being cautious.) Before she left she told me to change the sticker on my sanitizing water that I use to clean my station with. Without hesitation, I went to the back room and got a new sticker, then got back to work.
Time flew by as I continued to make coffee and slice bagels. I heard my manager call for me. I turned the corner to the back room to find her with the health inspector. Before I could introduce myself she asked me about the sanitizing water. I wasn’t worried about it, after all I had done everything I was told to do. I changed the sticker, and I didn’t hesitate to tell them that. I could see my manager’s mouth drop beneath her mask, her eyes got wide. “You just changed the sticker?”
“Yes” I said, “ that’s what you told me to do.” I heard the inspector start to tap at the screen of her IPad. That was the moment I knew I screwed up.
“When I said change the sticker, I meant change the water in it as well. That’s how we do things here.” She said. “You can get back to work.”
The weight of what I had done sat on me all day. “How could I be so blonde?” Near the end of my shift my manager let everyone know that we had passed our health inspection. I was relieved, without a doubt.
I’ll always be changing water now.