"Sorry, Edzo's is closed today due to xxxxxx. We apologize for any inconvenience".
I've never had to actually write the sign, but it keeps popping into my head, just when I least expect it. I wrote two of them today, mentally.
The first one was when I started grinding the meat this morning. I usually get in early and cut up the large pieces of chuck that I get, then let them sit in the freezer for a half an hour or forty-five minutes before grinding them.
Today, due to the fact that I was having printer issues, the beef sat in the freezer longer than usual. And then, when I started grinding it, I nonchalantly tossed in a piece that was almost all solid fat. The grinder, which has never skipped a beat, didn't seem like it could handle the job. Of course, I forced the issue, jamming the pusher down hard on the stuck piece of fat.
The grinder made a god-awful noise and then just.....stopped.
Arrgh. Fear! Scary empty-stomach feeling. I realized that I had no backup plan for a busted grinder. No beef = no burgers = Edzo's closed. As I disassembled the grinder, my mind started wondering how much ground beef the nearest Dominick's would have in stock at 7am on Sunday morning, and then started writing a sign; "Edzo's is closed today due to mechanical problems".
Disaster averted. Took the grinder apart, removed the frozen chunk of fat, put it back together, and it started right up, good as ever. Lesson; have a backup grinder on hand just in case.
Later, as 9am rolled around and only Oscar had shown up and clocked in, I started to worry (as I always do when employees are late) that the rest of today's crew wouldn't show up. Luis and Norberto were both ten, then fifteen, then twenty minutes late.
In my mind, when this happens, I always fear the worst. No call, no show, they're quitting. And then I start to figure out what I'm going to do once they don't show up and don't work for me any more. And sometimes, I compose signs in my mind, since if two of the three scheduled employees fail to show, we're going to have a heck of a time operating that day.
Handling late employees is a weak spot for me. Managers of small operations like Edzo's live in fear of employees (especially good ones) not showing up for work, because with so few employees, one no-show can really make the day (and subsequent days, weeks, whatever) difficult.
So when someone oversleeps, or just fails to leave enough time to account for late busses or trains, and shows up forty-five minutes or an hour late, I'm generally just so relieved that they eventually did come through the door, and that I don't have to go through the hiring/new hire/training process again, that I tend to be too laid back about the lateness.
It's a hard thing. I have to force myself to ignore my relief and gratitude that they didn't just outright blow me off, and act more stern and put out about the lateness than I'm actually feeling.
I did it today with Luis, who has come in more than a half an hour late two consecutive Sundays. Even though I wanted to hug him for eventually walking through the door, I angrily told him that he needs to leave more time on Sunday, since the trains don't run as often, and that if it happens again, he's going to be out of a job.
And I did it again today with Norberto, who picked up his phone when I called him a half hour after his scheduled start time and sleepily asked me what time it was.
So....no signs got posted today. The beef got ground and the employees who portion and cook it showed up. But I did double duty composing the signs in my head.