I mentioned in my last blog post that sometimes words escape my gob and I’m not entirely sure where they came from or how they *es-cah-payed* my mouth. Because they certainly weren’t intended!
This isn’t a new phenomenon for me. Unfortunately, I have a track record. There’s one embarrassing episode I recall quite clearly.
It was back in the day.
Back when I worked for Peter Piper Pizza in Prescott Valley, Arizona.
The Peter-Piper-Pizza Days!
Feel free to skip this embarrassing story to scroll straight to "Shit we say in the Travel Center" below!
I must have been 19 or 20 years old. I used to make pizzas for a living. I’d grab a previously prepared disc of dough, spread on the sauce, sprinkle it with cheese, and then add the toppings: mushrooms, beef, jalapeños — or whatever was indicated on the particular order.
In the oven they went. It was a rotating oven. The pizza would go round and round. Sometimes bubbles would form, which we had to pop with a giant bubble popper. Basically, a metal rod we’d shove into the oven and smack the pizza bubbles with whenever they’d appear. A strangely gratifying job.
After enough rotations, we’d pull the pizzas from the oven with a utensil that basically could be described as a giant metal spatula. I think “pizza lifter” might be the official term. If the pizza was ready to exit the oven and you didn’t pull it in time, it faced the risk of burning on the next rotation.
We used to get super busy — “slammed” as we’d say — and I remember “saving” many pizzas at the last minute by having to reach my arm way into the oven with the giant spatula, grabbing and lifting said pizza to save it before it made another rotation, doomed to die a horrific scorching death.
This resulted in my arm being seared repeatedly on the edge of the rotating shelf, so that eventually my right arm was covered in oven burns that made it look like I was into self-mutilation. Over time, the scars faded. Thankfully.
The things we put ourselves through in the name of duty!
We’d take pizza orders in person, as well as by phone. And we had a specific phone script we were to use that went as follows:
“Thank you for calling Peter Piper Pizza, how may I help you?”
We’d be busy taking orders, ringing up customers, cooking the pizzas, etc. Once the pizzas were safely out of the oven, we’d cut them into eight, ten, or twelve slices, depending on the size. I got quite skilled at this. I was like a pizza ninja warrior, cutting the pizza into slices in a matter of seconds.
We’d prepare pizzas for both pick-up and in-house patrons. The restaurant had a huge dining room that seated maybe 80 people, as well as a game room where kids could spend their tokens, and — if they were lucky — earn some useless plastic prizes as well! Score!
We kept busy. We’d take orders and prepare them, cook the pizzas, and pull them from the oven. We’d cut the pizzas, then get on the microphone to the dining room, saying: “Order number 263, your pizza is ready.”
263 was just an example. They weren’t all 263.
One day, we were super “slammed.” The phones were ringing non-stop. I kept having to say “Thank you for calling Peter Piper Pizza!” into the phone. And I’d blurt “Order number 172, your pizza is ready,” into the microphone for the in-house patrons.
172 was also just an example.
We were in top-speed-auto-pilot-pizza-mode that day, trying to keep up with all of the orders. I pulled another pizza from the oven, cut it into 8 slices, got on the microphone that amplified my voice across the venue to the seventy-plus in-house patrons and said:
“Thank you for calling Peter Piper Pizza, how may I…
Ugh… er… um… I mean…
…order number 178, your pizza is ready.”
Lowering my head in shame, I slinked back to the pizza-prep counter.
Well that was embarrassing.
So, on the topic of recalling embarrassing stuff I’ve said at work, I thought I’d write a little blog post dedicated to the topic of funny things we’ve said in the Travel Center, aka —
Shit we say in the Travel Center!
As I’ve said before, I pretty much embarrass myself publicly on a regular basis. But it turns out, I’m not the only one! I’ve finally found a clan amongst whom I feel right at home!
So, here are some of the embarrassing things we’ve said in the Travel Center:
One of our previous and much beloved coworkers once answered the phone by saying “Traffic Circle!” instead of “Travel Center!” We have a roundabout here in downtown Edmonds, so I guess he had “Traffic Circle” on the brain!
Apparently, on another occasion the same employee was on the phone, and another co-worker overheard the following script:
“Yeah. I have one, it’s great. It’s about ten inches. Yeah, it fits in most places. I wouldn’t go anywhere without it.”
He was talking about a moneybelt, of course. What were you thinking?
Hang-ups with hanging up!
This one might not be that embarrassing, but it makes me laugh.
Every. Dang. Time.
It’s about that awkward moment when you try to hang up the phone but you think the person on the other end of the receiver said something else — but really they didn’t.
It’s my coworker, Stephen, who is the frequent perpetrator of this. He will finish a phone call, and then, just as he’s about to hang up, he’ll think he’s heard something else. So he does this thing where he goes to put the phone down, hesitates, pulls it back to his ear again, listens to see if they’re still saying something else — which usually they are not — and then he’ll finally put the phone down again.
Maybe it’s one of those things that’s funnier to witness than to read about. So here’s a little demonstration Boomerang for you:
Recently, Stephen had been talking about the Travel Festival we held this past March.
We host Travel Festivals twice a year in downtown Edmonds: in the Spring and in the Fall, during which we offer a full program of free travel classes at a couple of different venues. Rick usually teaches several of those classes himself, so it's a great opportunity to come and see Rick speak! (FYI, I love seeing Rick present! It never gets old!)
I was listening to Stephen’s conversation about the festival when I answered the phone, so I accidentally picked up and said “Thank you for calling the Travel Festival!”
Luckily, the person on the other end thought it was hilarious too, so we had a good laugh together.
Have a baby!
One of my awesome coworkers, Rosie, was helping someone on the phone not too long ago. By the end of the call, she was about to say “have a good day,” but then the person on the other end said “bye” at the same time — which distracted her — so what came out of Rosie’s mouth instead was an awkward mix of: “Have a byeebay!”
The joke in the office has now morphed. We all tell each other on a regular basis to: “Have a baby!” But we pronounce the “baby” part more drawn out like: “Have a byeebay!”
All this baby-wishing came in handy when one of our coworkers recently actually did have a baby!!!
Or at least, his wife had the baby! They sure took our “have a baby” suggestion to heart!
So, we were finally able to say “have a baby!” and mean it sincerely!
Those are just a few highlights of the fun things that are said in the TC. The important thing is, it’s all in good fun and we can all laugh about it. Thankfully, the customers are usually laughing along with us!
Is there anything embarrassing that you’ve said or done recently that you’d be willing to share? I’d love to read about it in the comments section!
Hope you all have a good day, and don’t forget to — have a byeebay!