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9 things you should know before going into business for yourself

I didn't have 10 things to say. I had 9 though.

1.       You don’t get days off.

You get days away from the literal brick and mortar of the thing you're doing, but you don't get days off. It's kind of like parenting. No matter what you're doing, your kids aren't too far off your mind. With kids, you always have reason to smile. With a business, you always have reason to worry about a hot water heater breaking, or a roof leaking, or an employee not showing, or etc. Your worry will be limitless and there's little assuaging it.

C.S. Lewis once described dealing with the loss of his wife in this way: Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything. Not to be too emphatic, but running a business is all-consuming and will bring you closer to death. Try taking a day off from dying. You can't, man.

2.       You’re not even really the boss.

Like, I get what the organizational chart says, but when an employee calls in sick you can't boss them into the shift. You can't boss them out of sick, or fever, or hangover. You can yell at them, I guess, because you're the boss or whatever. But you're also covering the shift, because you're not really the boss. When your ingredient list isn't prepared correctly, you can't boss the ingredients into being on the truck they were supposed to be on. You can yell at the food people, because you're the boss or whatever. But you're also driving to the store because you're not really the boss. 

3.       You can’t be good at everything. And you won’t be.

Rule of Pie sells pie. We sell different kinds of pie, but not all kinds of pie. We do some other things, but on a smaller scale. We're relentless about what we do and what we don't do. We won't ever do cake, because cake is inferior to pie. We won't ever do shells florentine because our shells florentine sucks. Go to Cummare's for that.

Mark Bell's Super Training brand is pretty focused. It's why I like it. If you've ever been to a commercial gym you're living in, like stuck directly in a marketing masterclass. There are hundreds of machines at commercial gyms designed to "isolate" certain body parts, to "tone" them, or "tighten" them, as if your musculature can be reformed like wet earth. That premise is a lie and the machines are a ruse. Super Training knows this, (in knowing that your body is made up of fat and lean tissue unable to shape-shift) and all of their work telescopes down to three barbell lifts: the back squat, deadlift, and bench press. They're at the gym five, six, sometimes seven days a week and you never have to ask them what they're doing. They're always working toward greater totals of back squat, deadlift and bench press. This, friends, is the truth. It is the gospel of the barbell and it will accomplish a good, strong work in you.

So, you should stick to what you're good at because (odds are) you're less talented than you think.

4.       It's impossible to overvalue your own time as a commodity.

You have to protect your time as your most valuable commodity. No one is more valuable to your business than you because more output means less reliance on payroll. People who work for other people tend to forget this easily, or have never had to learn it. 

5.       Small business will kill your joy.

People hit us with this all of the time. Like, oh, you're doing what you love for a living! How great! I always smile and nod and never eat pie. I could never eat pie again. Don't think you're hobby is directly translatable into business. If it is, you're probably going to be looking for a new hobby.  Like my hot, sultry, scandalous love affair with doughnuts. They're my hobby now, until we put them on a menu, I start golfing more, coming home late for dinner and start brushing my teeth at the kitchen sink so as to not wake anyone in the too-early light of morning.

6.       You have to say no to a lot of things.

This is unfortunate, might make you uncomfortable and is really going to make other people angry. But it's all for the better. This weekend we're donating a whole bunch of pie to a Wounded Warrior event. We don't go telling people about it, because we've also had to tell four other causes--just this week--that we're unable to help them. We're too busy playing the Little Dutch Boy most days, running around covering the holes in the dyke to give reasoned and eloquent explanations for everything. 

I was on the phone with a guy from Yelp the other day, about to say no to something before he asked me how I was doing:

Yelp Guy: Hello, is this Rick Stapel?
Me: This is Rick Stapel.
Yelp Guy: You're a hard guy to get a hold of! 
Me: I guess so.
Yelp Guy: How are you doing today?!
Me: Shit is a really rolling on down the hill, friend. Just rolling on and away. All down hill.
Yelp Guy: ...
Me: That's how shit moves. Just how they tell you! All down hill! I've never seen shit rolling uphill. It's just like they tell you. No shit up the hill. It's all down hill.
Yelp Guy: ... *chuckles*
Me: And I lost my phone the other day. Half the reason I carry it around all the time is just in case I see shit rolling up hill. If I ever see it, I'm gonna take a picture of it. I'm gonna just. I'm gonna take a selfie with it.
Yelp Guy: ... Is now not a good time for you?

I telegraphed that no so hard, I didn't even have to say it.

7.       Profit is like the cosmos.

It doesn't care about much. That doesn't mean you shouldn't care about much. It's just that your margins are indifferent to what's happening around them. Not to get all existentialist here late post, but hoping to profit without motivating profit is like Waiting on Godot. 

8.       The taxes are too damn high

I wanted to write a blog post with this title, but Miranda advised against it, said someone would say something dumb and falsely equivalent about liking to driving on roads or call policemen in response to my complaining about taxes. I told her I would tell those persons to go to hell, maybe with no detours. And she said I shouldn't do that. So here we are.

9.       There is but one reward.

You might contribute directly to someone's happiness. You might actually make actual things quantifiably better for someone. 

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The Price of Pie

Starting with the new year, Rule of Pie will ask for $4.50 for every slice of pie on our menu. All slices will be served with a portion of our homemade whipped cream.

(I once took a class on fiction writing. The instructor always said that young writers should say what they want to say upfront. Right from the get. Let the story unfold from the start.  Start the thing by saying what you want to say. Bruce Willis was actually dead the whole damn time, man.

I've always thought this was good advice, both from a narratological standpoint and from a business point of view. Well-executed plot turns are hard and no one really likes being set-up. Like, once we figured out that Bruce Willis was dead, we never trusted a thing about the rest of M. Night Shyamalan's career.)

So, starting with the new year, we're raising the prices of our slices by fifty cents each. We're not trying to set any one up here. So, if you don't care to read our justification, great. But in case you do, we thought it best to explain in no particular order.

When customers would order a slice for in-store eating, we'd always put cream down next to their slice. We did that as a compliment. Kind of like, odds are, if you  sit down at a Mexican place, you're getting chips and salsa. You carry out, you're probably not getting the chips. We'd be remiss to not point out the cost of heavy cream and it outweighing the cost of corn. So, while in-store customers liked having the cream, and appreciated it, people who took pie out to-go did not. They were all like, hey, where's my cream, guy. And we were like, you have to pay for that because it costs. And they were all like, that's stupid and I don't like it. That's dumb.

So, noted. 

Also, the laws of gravity do not apply to taxes. Taxes will rise, maybe levitate a little bit, and then rise again. I don't really care how you feel about them because they don't really care about how I feel about them. They go up and never come down. It's kind of like the worst magic trick ever. Taxes are just one cost consideration. The cost of doing business with our ingredients is always climbing too, but I won't bore you with that list.

Speaking of cost consideration, though, we encourage you to pursue the menu of other places, not exactly gastronomic art galleries themselves, such as Applebee's, Chili's, or Ruby Tuesday. Here, you can purchase a slice of cheesecake for $6. Or, a piece of chocolate cake for $7. We're not saying that our dessert is better than their dessert, but if you don't think our dessert is better than that dessert, we probably never did anything to earn your repeat business. We'd like another chance at it, but ultimately we can't compete with big stores on costs, so we have to win with quality. If you disagree with our claims of quality, we've probably lost you. And we're probably not getting you back.

With sales tax, our price gets you scratchmade pie and cream for under five bucks. It eliminates confusion. It covers the added cost of ingredients out the door. I understand that price increases, justified by reason or not, will cause some heartburn--as well they probably should, all things considered.

I get that. 

The truth is, I'm writing this post because Miranda said I needed to. She said that people might come in and accuse her of trying to rip them off, or set them up and she's seven months pregnant and doesn't want to go to jail because she loves our kids very much. So, she asked if we could provide some kind of explanation to our slice price.

The truth is, she works harder than I do. She works harder than you do, probably. No offense. It's just that she wants to do right by everyone. I think that's impossible and I think that's silly silly. I've spent years of my life trying to silence that impulse of hers. I am losing--this blog post as my latest witness. 

We appreciate your time, your business, your trust--all of it. Thanks for your continued support of RoP. 

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We're open this Saturday (9/17) because Apple Festival

RoP will be open this Saturday, September 17th at 10:00a. We're taking pre-orders for Saturday pick-up times. Other than that, we'll be serving slices and coffees, espressos, lattes, and mochas--all that good stuff--this Saturday. 

We love bringing the kids out to the Apple Festival Grand Parade, but that's something we'll  have leave to other people this year. Pie ain't gonna make itself, you know. But we're lucky people here. We have a lot family around Southern Illinois. Even as much as I joke about not needing a telephone number (they don't call) or a welcome mat (they just come on over)--it's a good thing. It's a good thing to entertain family and those who care for you.

If you've never been to the parade, you're really missing out.

As for us, we're gonna meet a lot of people this Saturday who aren't familiar with the shop, and that's a good thing too. We're lucky, people, man. We get new customers and they usually say the nicest things about us. Except for that one woman who, just the other day, wrote one of the greatest Facebook reviews ever written. Even as much as I joke about printing out directions to the closest Walmart for folks who name drop Marie Calendar (I'm gonna do it this year) and who don't get FAQ pages (www.ruleofpie.com/faq)--it's a good thing. It's a good thing to entertain curious people of all kinds. 

We're also gonna meet a lot of people this Saturday who will have things to say about the way things are or aren't with respect to the town, the festival, the shop, other shops, other people, etc. Even as much as I joke about life being a Kafka novel and all of us standing accused--it's a good thing. We think critics are very helpful, even though some of them might think that taking offense with something is the same as actually doing something. We get it. That temptation is pretty strong. So is the impulse to get little cranky and start fires with just about anything as kindling-wood. Plank, speck, doesn't matter. Large crowds are kind of difficult to deal with for us too. But, all told, some folks are going to find hills to climb up, and they're going to climb them with the sole intent of dying on them. Right on top them. Or, maybe at the base of them. Or, maybe just around them, like in their neighborhood. Like, yeah, maybe they'll just die in the general vicinity of some hills because It's the dying that's most important.

It's a lot of work, really. Being offended takes some energy, man. So does the planning and execution of the festival, or Parade Day. Heck, I'm a little gassed writing this blog. Everything takes energy. So, before I can summon any more, I should stop here. See, the thing is, I've got some lawn chairs to set-up out in front of the shop. A pretty long line of them, actually. I don't want to tire myself out here.

Come see us this Saturday morning.

We'll give you some great pie and coffee and maybe even a laugh too.

 

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We don't give very good interviews

A few weeks ago two students from an SIUC film class got in touch with us about producing a short film. The long and short of it is they came to Rule of Pie and asked us a lot of questions about our businiess--how we got started, how we want to grow, how well we work together, what it's like to have a small family coexisting alongside of a small business. They were really well-prepared and super professional and had big lights and cameras too. So, when they got that all lined up and they wanted us to talk into them I (Rick) got really nervous and started moving my hands around a and I thought they were going to fly away from my wrists kind of like Mary Tyrone's in Eugene O' Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night. Except I'm not not trying (and failing) to kick a morphine habit, I swear. But I look anxious and suspicious and the only other time I had a camera in front of me when someone asked about pie I said something so stupid that most people I know want to put it on a t-shirt. 

So, we're not romantics or whatever, you know? Before we opened Rule of Pie, we didn't have any aspirations of becoming small business owners. Miranda thought she'd try to focus more on baking, something she'd been doing for a long time anyway, and I thought (at worst) however south things flew, they'd telescope down into a lot more dessert happening at home. I don't know what to tell you. I am a selfish person. I wish I had a better answer to: how did you all get started? The answer is pretty much on accident. It turns out that Miranda is better at making pie than I am at any one thing I've ever done in my entire life. It's almost that simple reallyI wish I had a better answer to: what advice would you give to aspiring [XXX]. I mean, the hell if I know.  Do better? Yeah. Do better. Try harder. Try harder than you are currently trying. 

Other than that, odds are  whatever you're doing is not that important and you're taking yourself too seriously. Don't take yourself too seriously. Laugh a little bit more, will you? At yourself too. Even be irresponsible when you can get away with it. Responsibilities are heavy. It's okay to put them down every now and again. Be sure to pick them back up. But odds are, it's not that important and you're taking yourself too seriously. Not everything you're doing matters, not everything you're going to do will be eternally significant. And that's okay. It really is! 

I'm four paragraphs into this thing here and kind of feel like my grandma, God bless her. She was under five feet tall, loud, and had a mole on her cheek the size of an eyeball. I remember it that way, but it probably wasn't so bad. She was nothing if not curt, and always dropping pearls of infinite wisdom like shut the hell up and finish the food on your plate. You can always do worse than shutting than shutting the hell up and finishing your dinner. I think that's important for everyone to know. If those students came back and asked another question, I think I would answer with that--maybe even irrespective of the question.  

All told, we're really excited to see what they come up with and how it fits together given how talented we know they are. They were really great.

We'll be throwing that sucker up on our social media feeds so you can all make fun of Rick for looking like semi-retired bingo-hall wrestler and sympathize with the look on Miranda's face--the one where she's pondering, in light of her husband's ponytail, the moment her bright future left her.

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These are a few of our favorite things

The Southern Illinoisan just put out another Readers' Choice issue. Last year, Miranda and I were thrilled to be mentioned. We weren't surprised to lose out to Larry's House of Cakes in the "Best Place For Dessert" category because they're pretty awesome. This year, Miranda I were thrilled to be mentioned and again took the runner up spot to the fine, first-place folks over at Larry's. Miranda doesn't like losing, she thinks it's habit forming. I, on the other hand, am pretty good at it and don't mean to brag, but am kind of a natural.

I played Right Field (baseball) when I was kid. I was also fat, had a pompadour, and wore a fully-developed red Kool-Aid mustache--which didn't really hinder my ability to play baseball, but it speaks to the many dimensions of my inability. I really looked the part of the kid who decided whether or not he was going to swing before the ball was even thrown.(This is a terrible idea.) I was in it for the sunflower seeds, the sportsing drink, and the Big League Chew. Everyone knew this because the kid who brings the biggest bag of sunflower seeds usually has the most time to eat them. More often than not, I batted ninth out of nine batters. (That is not good.) But my coach, who was just a  wonderful coach, always read the entire line-up with such enthusiasm that he sort of tricked me into thinking we needed strong hitters at the bottom of the order. I mean, he read the names [seventh batter], [eighth batter], and Stapel! He'd clap his hands. We need strong hitters at the bottom of the order, now! That's what he said--every game. He'd clap a lot. I don't remember the exact moment it hit me that bottom-of-the-order hitters sucked, or that bottom of the order hitters got less chances at the plate to swing and miss, but around the time it did I remember asking my dad if I was a good baseball player. 

He said, Well, son...
...To me, you're good. 

I knew what that meant. And from that day forward decided to stick to things I was good at. You ain't good at everything, and that reality is a fine reality to live in. So, if we ever lost a "Best Place for Pie" category I'd take it a little harder. But it got us to thinking and gave me reason to annoy Miranda with a lot of questions about her favorite things.

One more preface, if you're reading this and disagree with our favorites, or think we've left something out (we've definitely left stuff out)  leave a comment---or, uh, maybe start your own blog. Feel compelled however. Now, without further ado:

Favorite Restaurant?
Miranda: Hunan. Thai Taste, too. Wow, I don't know. I have a lot of favorites. 
Rick: Yeah, I agree with those places. They're really, really good. Also, Cummares. Not only is their pizza the most legit, the dude making the pizza looks like he has been doing it his entire life. Goatee is impeccably trimmed, hair is always on-point, bespectacled and laser-focused on the dough he's working. The shop is his orchestra, man.

Favorite Brewery?
Miranda: I don't like beer. I like cheese though. 
Rick: All of them. 

Favorite Winery?
Miranda: Pomona Winery.
Rick: Same. 

Favorite BBQ?
Miranda: Oh, Jeez. How do you pick that?
Rick: Yeah, picking between 17ST and Pat's BBQ is like picking between a magic genie and Joel Osteen's wish-a-jesus. That bbq is just a-making people happy, man. Dreams are being wrought by that bbq.

Favorite Sushi?
Miranda: Sushi Ai, STL.
Rick: All you can eat. 

Favorite Breakfast?
Miranda: Dish? Or place? Dish--of course, Mary Lou's B&G.
Rick: Harbaugh's skillets are my kind of food. I'll drink that Mary Lou's gravy. Flame has a nice little Sunday brunch menu going on too. People might sleep on that, but shouldn't.

Favorite Coffee? 
Miranda: I would kind of say our store. Otherwise, I'd say probably Longbranch.
Rick: Uh. I'm definitely saying our store. WTH kind of question is this? Steam Shovel all day. Jen's Joe til i die. Also, Sump Coffee, STL. Look at that beard. It's enough to make your knees weak.

These are a few of our favorite things. Comment with yours,  categories, places, whatever. Link them up, spread the love. Here's to celebrating some of the stuff we've got going on in the region.

  

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A Mere Confession

Listen, I've been wearing flannels for years. This is a mere confession, as I can't stop and I won't stop. We  all know people like this. People kind of loud about what they do well and even louder about what they don't. People who think that by virtue of a defensive admission, they've become less culpable in the messes they make. Man, I told you I was gonna spill that milk, man. That milk was ready to spill.

Or, hey, I'm an outspoken person...I just tell it like it is

How many times have you heard that: I just say what's on my mind. I don't have a filter.

And you're all like,  okay great!  That doesn't give you carte blanche to say dumb, irreverent things at the most inopportune times! There's nothing more honest about being that kind of idiot. 

But I refuse to acknowledge flannel wearing as a problem and thus, as Jason Isbell has said, I ain't never gonna change because I ain't doing nothing wrong.

So, all that is to say, there's nothing really wrong with Butt Rock (point three might be the most fitting definition) in the sense that taste is subjective and you have to find the lane of traffic your most comfortable in, and then drive there, you know--the rest of the thing be damned. I've just found that post-grunge stuff, for example, really isn't my thing. I'm not going to hold it against Collective Soul that the greatest chorus they ever wrote was, MMMM......Yeeahhh. That's the sound I make when I'm eating a cheeseburger. So we have that noise in common--it's not a personal thing. But it's why I ask people who work for me what records they're listening to or what books they're reading. I ask them this before they're working for me.

And I want them to answer the question so I can quietly make wild and baseless judgments about who they are as people based off of the types and kinds of media and music they're consuming.

Look man. I'm just being honest here. This isn't a me problem. If you can't handle it, it kinda sounds like a you problem. I didn't make Collective Soul suck. That's not my problem.

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Words mean things

I went to McDonalds the other day because of the PlayPlace. My kids wanted to run around with a few friends' kids, which turned into them running around with all kinds of kids--most of whom I did not know. So, I couldn't yell at them (the ones I didn't know) for making loud animal (?) noises and acting drunk. I just sat there and dreamed about yelling at them and that felt pretty good. 

I ordered an Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich (TM) and a side salad. When I asked the cashier if they had fat-free salad dressing she paused, looked down at he register, pressed a few buttons, paused again, and said, "No." She looked as if she took offense to the question, so as to preempt anything further I told her that I usually ate like an idiot and was just getting used to asking questions like, "What menu item will kill you the slowest?" She pressed a few more buttons. Turns out the answer is low-fat Italian dressing.

I sat down and before I opened the sandwich box observed a moment of silence for the word Artisan. Call me old-fashioned, but words should mean something. That word has been tortured; its meaning expunged; its corpse sent from from some nondescript corporate boardroom and  laid to rest on cardboard for the masses. The sandwich was--all things considered--pretty good, if not undersized, but the packaging wasn't fooling anyone. 

When we talk to food distributors, we find ourselves trying to explain the concept of ingredient lists. And, I know what you're thinking. Ingredient lists aren't concepts. They're nouns, man. They're things. Hand the list over, get the ingredients. But with some of the bigger guys, it's not simple. They're constantly trying to push pre-made pastry shells, fillings full of preservatives, proprietary mixes and coatings. They push this stuff off to people as artisanal too, when really--its never about the raw material and it ain't real food. That's frustrating for us in a way because certain words and phrases are bandied about carelessly and to the conscious consumer, it's easy to become skeptical of gasbag droning on about the virtues of the Artisan Chicken Sandwich as a menu item delivered to an audience of roughly 33,000 restaurants. Skepticism bleeds, man.  And we feel a little silly here because we're not trying to be self-righteous about the work involved in our products and the arduous nature of working with simple ingredient lists. We understand that no one is buying the branding, but we would've called the thing Pretty Good Grilled Chicken Sandwich. That's all we're saying.

Because it's a pretty good chicken sandwich and there's nothing wrong with that. That's all we're saying.

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Go forth and be caffienated

We don't mean to project. Like, we're into something but we don't mean to assume that everyone else is, then, into that something. There has to be a word for that, other than father-in-law, for the person who doesn't understand that taste is subjective. 

But, we're really into coffee. The stuff has a hold on us. Those beans, they're our little, oily opiates, man. We're subjugated. I once tried quitting coffee, but I got a headache. Then I puked. Knees were really bent, man. I'm a healthy addict. Some of you probably are too. Judge us. Whatever. We stand here accused, drinking. But, we like experimenting with the coffee stuff too. Not just out of necessity, but because it's kind of fun. So we're trotting out a bigger coffee menu at Rule of Pie. 

We're serving a Dirty Hippie. The Dirty Hippie is a hot chai latte with a shot of our espresso. We serve it with scratch made whip. The big un' is a double shot. This is the part where someone makes a joke about Rick being a big, dirty hippie. We're fine with that. Apparently, Starbucks has something like this on a secret menu. Secret menus are really something I don't understand. Like, if the thing was good enough, it wouldn't be a secret. It'd move from a secret, a thing customers use smugly (I KNOW THE SECRETS. I'M SUCH A SMART COMPANY MARK. DO YOU EVEN STARBUCKS, BRO?) to a thing worth promoting and selling.

We're serving a Vagabond Mélange. The Vagabond Mélange is a nod to our decaf customers, recognizing that they kind of get the shaft with us not having a decaf espresso blend. The drink is Jen's Joe Mexican decaf, Madagascar vanilla and our signature whip.

We're serving a Snow Shovel, which is a scoop of our homemade ice cream dropped into some Steam Shovel brew. We flavor it with a lot of variety: chocolate, white chocolate, peppermint, etc. 

We're serving a White Lighting. White chocolate syrup, double the espresso of a standard latte, and steamed milk. 

We're serving a lot more variance. I'll quit naming for now and hope that you come check it out. 

If you have ideas, drinks that you might want us to replicate or think about building on, let us know! 

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Radio Silence

Dear Readers, 

We're sorry for the near radio silence this past week and a half. With holiday orders finally finished and the holidays themselves thrust squarely upon us, we had to take a little time off. Maybe not for safety's sake in the sense that no on here was ready to start lighting their persons on fire, or playing in traffic, but we were ready to drink things through a funnel and sleep for days at a time. We know that's a bad place to be, especially when you're not in college anymore. So we had to put things down and walk away.

Rule of Pie will be back, up and running on Jan 13, 2016 (Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 8a-530). We'll be serving the usual pies and all sorts of other stuff in 2016 I can't tell you about yet because I'm not sure if their good ideas, but I probably won't be talked out of them because there's nothing more in this world we love more than our own ideas.

And because some of you have asked, we'll confirm. Rule of Pie will be expanding at some point in the sort-of-but-probably-not-too-near-kind-of future. We've made some preparations and have a few ideas. The kids want to open up some kind of ice cream fountain and think that soda jerks are funny because they're jerks. They think dad would make a great one. Miranda likes the idea of  a brunch menu. Rick likes dark liquor. I mean, we all have ideas. We'll get something figured out. 

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Our staff is small and so is our store

Back when Miranda and I were fixing up Rule of Pie, right after we purchased it, just as the thing was being born, we kept pretty busy. A lot of the work we put into the building was cosmetic, but we drug all kinds of stuff in and out at all hours of the day and night--made a lot of noise. Folks walking Main got used to us being there. Some would peak inside, some would come in--ask us what we were doing. I'd tell them I was doing next to nothing, namely because it was true. Miranda was spearheading pretty much everything and aside from the time I said all of the bad words I knew after almost falling through the building's flat panel awning while trying to hang our sign, no one seemed to mind us. 

There was this one guy though. A guy who walked into the shop and right up to me as I was in the middle of not changing a light fixture very well. Not one for fancy introductions, he demanded to know what kind of soup I was serving at the cafe I was opening because I was opening a cafe (because he had read it on Facebook) and, thank God, a cafe was exactly the kind of thing the town needed.  So this was an important question. He was glad to meet me, but before that it was important for me to know that I needed to serve different kinds of soup with our sandwiches--split pea among them. Split Pea and Ham. After that, a failed joke about the five points of Calvinism, double predestination, and apropos of nothing, he asked:
 
Do you know what kind of coffee is the best coffee? 

Nope, I said. 

It's Folgers, he said. Folgers Coffee is my favorite coffee. You have to serve some of that here.

I explained that  weren't going to serve sandwiches nor soup because were weren't opening  a cafe. I also explained that we weren't going to serve Folgers because it sucked. Things took a turn for the worse there because he kept projecting his predilections. He wasn't angry because he couldn't understand what I was saying. He understood. He was angry because I wasn't saying what he wanted me to say, you know. If Folgers is the best part of your waking up, go back to sleep. Just try again, man.

I don't think most people are like that guy and if given then chance I don't think they'll demand subjugation to the Order Cheap Coffee and the High Priest of Split Pea.  I actually think most people are reasonable, if not altogether pragmatic. Either that, or we've had really, really good luck with customers. Everyone is so patient with us. 

See, we make a certain number of pies for pre-order purposes, and a certain number of pies for walk-in purposes every week. X = pre-order pies, Y = walk-in pies, X + Y = Z. 

Z never changes. Even if demand increases there's only a certain number of pies we can make in a week, given that our store has a limited carrying capacity. Even if we had more hands to guide the dough, right now, we don't have the prerequisite space to store all of our ingredients. We don't have the ovens to bake them. Now, we have some exciting news to reveal in the near future, but  for now--it is what it is. Our staff is small and so is our store. And we're not going to bake on Monday to make due for a Friday Christmas. Monday pies can't be consumed on Friday--we won't encourage it anyway. I mean, do what you want with our stuff once you take it out of the store, but fresh food is the best food.

So we've shut down Christmas pre-orders for the season. We're maxed out. We're sorry. We'll grow and get better.  In the meantime, thanks for bearing with us.

And if you're ever going to walk straight into a hardware store and demand fried chicken--ride that bomb, Slim Pickens. At least demand that the fried chicken be good.

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