Monthly Archives: October 2015

Unrelated Items.

Here are a few things about life at PJP that have absolutely nothing to do with each other at all…

  1. Our dishwasher, Eva 2000, has been acting out of sorts lately.  When we called in the person who installed it, he took a look inside it and asked us if we had been washing our towels in there.  Wait, what?  No, obviously…but the better question is why would he think we would do that?  Is using a dishwasher as a washing machine a thing?
  2. And is he saying that it could technically wash our towels?  Because cutting out a $36 a week bill to Cintas to do that sounds sort of appealing.
  3. We’ve started working with Mid-Continent Paper Company, who will deliver our tins, boxes, and bags on a regular basis each Monday.  In theory, this could mean that we don’t run out of stuff.  IN THEORY.
  4. 8 out of 10 people who walk into PJP Buttonwood read the options for Thanksgiving pies and then immediately ask what is in the mincemeat.  Does anyone even know the answer to that?  Since I’m not completely sure myself, we will be sampling it out all next week and maybe we can figure it out together.
  5. We are completely convinced that the ads on Spotify are 100% louder than the music.  I’m fairly certain that was a thing with television commercials until the FCC wised up and shut that practice down.  Someone needs to alert the commission that radio commercials are ripe for regulatory control.
  6. Speaking of tunes, three people stopped by today and asked if we had listened to the new Adele song yet.  And the answer is HECK YES.  And then when we couldn’t agree on anything else, we listened to the soundtrack from Pretty Woman.  And I’m here to tell you that those tunes have NOT stood up to the test of time, which is a shame.
  7. Every single advertiser in a nine-county region has stopped by this week to sell us ad space in magazines and in television and radio.
  8. Every single organization in a nine-county region has stopped by this week to ask for a donation of pies, gift cards, and/or baking parties.
  9. Every single journalism student at Mizzou has stopped by this week to ask us everything.
  10. I seriously can’t think of a final thing, but I appreciate ending on #10…and now I have.

#OptForTheCouchAndNetflix

For the last few weeks, Jeanne and I have been struggling with our post-Thanksgiving plans…namely, whether or not to open for business as usual on that Friday and Saturday immediately after the holiday.

Last year, we a) barely survived the holiday, and b) had already committed to opening from 9 until 1 on both Friday and Saturday.  That Friday morning found us tired, sore, and a little surly after days of no sleep and a baking list of 1700 pies.  We baked the bare minimum to open the store and swore that if we survived the two days, we would vow to always close for the weekend  immediately after the holiday.

And then 10 months passed and the reality of Thanksgiving 2k15 started to fade into history.  We started discussing it and looking at sales numbers from those two days and ended up on the fence.  Yes, it had been difficult…but we had good numbers for just those few hours each day and who are we to walk away from that?  Can a small business ever really walk away from revenue opportunity?

Maybe you’ve heard by now that the retail giant REI has stunned everyone by choosing to close all 143 retail locations on Black Friday this year, despite it being one of their biggest sales days of the year.  Rather, they are encouraging their employees – and paying them – to spend time together outside (even adding the clever hashtag #OptOutside).  Completely over the frenzied commercialism of cutthroat competitive shopping, REI simply decided it wasn’t what was best for the culture of their company.  So REI just decided it wouldn’t participate any longer, despite the massive cost to the company.

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That decision took some serious guts, no?  I’d like to be friends with whomever signed off on the final paperwork to put #OptOutside into motion, as I suspicion I could learn a thing or two from him or her.

REI’s bold move made me stop for a minute and think about PJP Buttonwood.  The days immediately preceding Thanksgiving are completely insane.  We won’t go home (or likely sleep) for the three days immediately prior to the actual holiday.  We will live on coffee and Mountain Dew Kickstart (keeping it classy, yo).  We will actually stock clean PJP t-shirts in the store so that we aren’t covered in butter splatters for 72 hours.  Which is all to say that after we survive those three days, home is going to feel tremendously great.

So if working on Friday makes us tired, sore, and surly…and away from home and our families again to make money for a few hours each day, is it really worth that price?  After reading about REI’s bold move, I’m going to have to say that it isn’t.  Chasing a few hours of retail sales isn’t worth the cost, despite whatever our overly commercial culture would have us believe.

Here is the official statement:  PJP will be closed Friday, November 27th and Saturday, November 28th so that we can be with our families.  I can’t use #OptOutside because, well, I don’t even like outside that much.  But I can use #OptForTheCouchAndNetflix.  Sounds like a beautiful plan.

Don’t Be Jealous.

Last Friday, we had 600-ish Jelly Jar pies on order for two different events.  I’m happy to report that it all went down with no crying and only the amount of yelling that you have come to expect from us.  PROGRESS, INDEED.

And between just you and I, we were feeling pretty smug over the weekend given our increasing ability to handle large events without the wheels completely falling off the PJP wagon…

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And then there was TODAY.

Today should have been your basic no-frills sort of Tuesday.  Except we had a large number of orders AND back-to-back hair color appointments for both Jeanne and I.  And I completely get that complaining about leaving our super busy business for a full set of pricey foil highlights is a first world problem, but sometimes the struggle is real.  (Just ask Beyonce).

But the short version of our story today is that Jeanne and I basically traded off the PJP Captain position all day.  I went to get my hair done and came back…she left to get her hair done and came back…I left to pick up kids and came back…she left to pick up her dog from the vet and came back…and you get the picture.  Which is exactly how we found ourselves finally seeing each other for the first time at 5:10 this afternoon.  We were basically like those Olympic relay running teams that pass the baton for the next lap around the track.  Minus the running.  And the baton.  And the dreams of Olympic gold.

(As a complete aside, I finally caved and bought a pair of those Hunter rain boots that everyone seems to be wearing.  So I changed my shoes about 30 times today between all the being out in the rain and then coming back inside PJP Buttonwood to bake.  By the last time I just felt worn out with it all and not much unlike every time Robin Williams had to morph into Mrs. Doubtfire and back again and in the end he just shoves a cake on his face to cover it with frosting rather that do it all again.  But I digress.)

In the interim of all of our switching on and off and changing shoes, we couldn’t seem to make any significant forward progress in the pie baking process.  Whatever we baked was just immediately sold off the trays while still hot and almost every measuring cup, whisk, and bowl in PJP Buttonwood was dirty and laying in the sink by late afternoon.

But all that said, we sold so much pie today.  No one seemed to mind in the least that pie was going immediately from the oven to the box or if they had to call a few times before the phone line wasn’t busy.

Or if I was wearing one Hunter rain boot and one Nike tennis shoe because I stopped changing to ring up someone’s pie purchases.

Don’t be jealous of our progress, Beyonce.  Really.