A Day in the Life of a Caterer...
With absolutely no exaggeration-- here is a recap of the last 24 hours:
- Tuesday, 1:00pm: I received a call from "Pam". Pam was in a panic because she was hosting a breakfast at 9:00am the following day for 200 people (including the Mayor of Atlanta) and her caterer had cancelled on her at the last minute. Anyway I could pull it off with such short notice? YES!!!!!!!
- Tuesday, 2:30pm: Pam called back to say that she was mistaken-- she needed breakfast for 20 people, plus enough drinks for 200 people.
- Tuesday, 3:45pm: Pam called and said that there would be an additional 20 people in another building needing breakfast at the same time. OK-- now there are 3 venues: 2 breakfasts for 20, and a roaming 200 people that needed drinks.
- Tuesday, 4:00pm: Pam isn't sure about the delivery time-- it could be anywhere from 5:00am to 11:00am. She said she'll finish her conference call and let me know if she wants to confirm the order.
- Tuesday, 5:15pm: Pam called back to request that all beverages must be Coke products. She specifically wanted 100 cokes, 100 diet cokes and 200 Dasani waters. I revised the invoice and also let her know that I only had 150 Dasani waters in stock, but I could fill in the order with Sprite. That's fine, she said. She also said that she would send me a confirmation email soon, finalizing the delivery times and number of people.
- Tuesday, 6:00pm: Pam called -- she still has no idea what time the food/drinks should be delivered, but she just realized that she needs table clothes. I told her that I didn't have table clothes and she suggested that I go buy some. Keep in mind, this order is not confirmed yet, and the delivery time is less than 12 hours away, possibly. I made a run to Linen's & Things and bought six 8' white table clothes, just in case. I came home and sent Pam an email telling her that the table clothes were purchased and I was still waiting for her confirmation.
- Tuesday, 7:00pm: Pam is ready to confirm, but she's rethinking the number of drinks she needs. She now decides that 150 bottled waters won't be enough. Let's make it 250. I explained that I only had 150 in stock and it was too late to order water to have it delivered in time for the 6:00am delivery. "Can't you go back to wherever you got the table clothes and get some more water?", she asked. At this point, I'm getting tired of this game. No wonder the previous caterer backed out. Anyway, I got in my car and drove to 3 different stores before I found Dasani water for sale by the case. I bought 6 cases, came home and sent Pam an email telling her that I had all of the water.
- Tuesday, 8:15pm: Pam calls and says that she has re-thought the drink situation again. Let's just go with 150 bottled waters. At this point I had 144 extra bottles of water in my trunk that were no longer needed, but I kindly sent her an updated invoice.
- Tuesday, 9:00pm: Pam calls to tell me that the invoice looks fine, and she's ready to give me her credit card number.... but, she doesn't want white table clothes-- she'd prefer beige. At this point the stores were closed--- I told her that I would see what I could do, and she faxed me the confirmation along with her credit card number, along with a request for 5 fruit platters.
- Wednesday, 1:00am: I wake up and go to Kroger's to buy enough fruit to prepare 5 platters. When I got to work, the night crew was just leaving. I prepped the muffins and biscuits, and cut up enough fruit to fill the order. I searched the basement and found some beige table clothes. They weren't clean so I had to wash, dry and iron them while the food was in the oven.
- Wednesday, 5:00am: I arrived on site and delivered everything that was ordered. Pam said "Hmmm... I think we need more water". Luckily, I still had 144 water bottles in my trunk (back at the Biscuit), so I went back to retrieve them. When I got back to the location I started setting up the tables. I put the beige table clothes on the tables, and filled each table with the fruit platters, continental breakfast trays, 200 water bottles and 200 soft drinks.
- Wednesday, 5:45am: Everything is set up and I'm ready for Pam to sign the credit card receipt. Only one problem-- sometime between 9pm last night and 5am this morning, Pam has found some orange table clothes that she preferred. I had to remove all of the food and 400 drinks so that she could remove the table clothes that I had ironed this morning and replace my table clothes with her new-found favorite color of orange.
- Wednesday, 6:00am: After everything was set up (again) I presented the check to Pam. At this point, she advised me that she wouldn't be able to tip me, but if I gave her my address she'd send me a cool T-shirt from her company. I can't believe this-- She's had me working for her nonstop for 15 hours--because of her, I've worked two full days with only 3 hours sleep. And all she has to offer me is T-shirt? I saved her ass-- she's hosting a breakfast for the Mayor of Atlanta and it wouldn't have all come together if I hadn't stepped in at the last minute and been willing to jump through the many hoops to pull it off. And for that, I might get a T-shirt?
- Wednesday, 6:15am: I returned to the delivery van to find that one of my tires was flat. I got prepared to change the tire, and then realized that the spare tire was missing. I called a tow truck and spent the next three hours in the Goodyear waiting room.
- Wednesday, 10:30am: I received a phone call "Hi this is Lisa... I don't know if you can do this or not, but I have a last minute breakfast order for tomorrow for 100 people.....".
And the cycle repeats daily. As unbelievable as this sounds, I swear it's all true. This is my life.........