In my early days as a waitress there would always be some sales incentive or other for the front of house staff. And they always seemed to involve eggs. I have no idea why we always had so many eggs that we needed to get rid of. I don’t even remember there being that many menu items containing eggs in those days. (In later years the company would go on to inflict all sorts of nonsense eggs on the poor chefs: fried, scrambled and even poached would you fucking believe it.) In fact, forget the brackets, while I’m on the topic, restaurant customers - Listen Up! If you visit a busy restaurant for breakfast and you see yourself surrounded by millions of other like-minded breakfasters, please just order off the damn menu. Don’t be all like, can I have the Big Breakfast but instead of bacon can I have sausage and instead of mushrooms can I have a steak and could I have my egg half scrambled and half boiled? SHUT THE HELL UP! If you want your own perfect little breakfast, go to your local cafe where there are 4 other customers and Wendy the waitress knows you all by name. Or better yet, cook it yourself.
Anyway, back to the egg incentive. So the idea was, whoever sold the most eggs would win something, probably alcohol (to numb the pain). Now, I wouldn’t say I was excessively competitive, however, I did put in extra effort to win these incentives (notice how I refrained from using the words eggcessively and eggstra: Self Control 1 - Punmonique 0). Not to be crowned Egg Champion or to receive a cheap bottle of Soave but simply to beat my friend Raj. Raj liked to win. A lot. And it only made his big square head even bigger. Most of his sales tactics were questionable, I’m pretty sure some of them were illegal. I once saw him selling a whole box of uncooked eggs to a table claiming, ‘They’re cheaper than you’ll find them in ANY supermarket!” That wasn’t true at all, was it Raj? So as you can see, I had to work really hard to win. I briefly considered dressing up as a chicken but, surprisingly, my manager quickly vetoed that. (I’m not sure why I was surprised. One time I turned up to a really early staff meeting still in my pyjamas and his face nearly exploded). So, all I had to rely on was the honest virtue of my friendly self. And a lot of the time, I won. Admittedly, Raj won a lot too, but it’s hard to beat a server who’s holding his section hostage with a steak knife.
So now, several years later, Jack and I have a new sales incentive. We're not going to win a bottle of Soave, but we might be able to eat and live. And as it turns out, selling greeting cards is not so different to selling eggs. Some people want them, some people don’t and the supermarket always undercuts the independent. So for the last few months, we’ve been trying different methods, none of which have involved us dressing as a chicken (yet). We’ve written emails, we’ve made telephone calls (when we're feeling brave enough) and we’ve even channelled our inner Kat Slaters on a stall at Camden Market. And you know what? They’re selling! Slowly but surely, the boxes are shifting and that weight that has been sat squarely on our shoulders is lifting. Yay!