There's a white box of donuts waiting for me this morning. It's on the bench out back. I left $7.20 in an envelope last night, and today there's a dozen sweet and fried bits of dough.
Selling donuts wasn't exactly part of the plan. I have this thing about selling someone else's baked goods. Call me territorial (and I may in fact be). But I take great pride in my danishes, muffins, even cookies and whoopie pies. It's not that they're amazing, it's that they're made with my hands. Cups of flour, dishes of berries, fresh eggs and I combine them to turn out this product that people pay me money for. It's a satisfying process from start to finish. And so when Jack pulled his Ford Focus up to the curb, hopped out and asked if I wanted to sell donuts, I didn't even hesitate.
"No!" I said, a bit on the emphatic side. "I mean, I think we're fine right now."
"OK," he said. "But here's a sample box, just in case..." and he hands me a heavy pastry box, his card taped on top. With a wave he's back in the Focus, pulling into steady morning traffic.
I manage to ignore the pastry box for almost ten minutes, while I putter around, straightening bags of chips and brewing coffee. But it's there, on the counter, the faint sweet scent of sugar taunting me. There's no harm in looking, I say to myself. Inside the box are nine pastries. Boston Creme donuts, a coffee roll, chocolate donuts, glazed donuts, jelly filled donuts, a blueberry muffin. I stared hard at the box, knowing instantly that I would not only eat least two donuts right away, but that I would also end up ordering a dozen for the shop. They weren't even that good, I'm sorry to say. But I kept breaking off pieces until what I rationalized as just a nibble turned out to be two full Boston Cremes and a jelly filled eclair.
Within an hour I had called Jack and placed an order for a dozen donuts, to be delivered the next day.
"They're just 60 cents a piece," I explained to Rich in a voice that came out more like a plea. "We can sell them for a dollar!"
He's not impressed, and neither are our customers. After the weekend's over, we've sold just one donut, consumed four and chucked the rest as the two-day old stale set in. Looking back, I'm impressed what an easy sell I was. One box of samples and I was in. Maybe there's something to that. I stay in my little shop all day, waiting for hungry people to wander up. I wonder how much better we'd do if we went to them.
So,I'll pack a bag of samples, I've decided- tiny version of our most popular wraps. I've got a list of businesses and I'm sending Rich in (dressed in chef whites, his request) and we'll see what happens. Meanwhile, I"ve got six donuts to burn off, so if you see me doing jumping jacks behind the register, you'll know why...