Howdy, Gasmii! I’m recovering from the massive rainstorm we had a couple of days ago. And by that I mean, the 10 drops of rain. So much for weather “forecasting”. How can I get one of those jobs? Go to “work”, guess what the weather will be like, collect paycheck. I can do that!
Now on to our ep. We open at Chill, a “frozen yogurt” place in Ventura, CA. As I mentioned in the minicap, it’s owned by Sande Cranford and Jim Wright. After the obligatory call, Sande and Jim meet with Tabs.
Jim already owns a successful bar, Sans Souci, and we’re told his daughter, a chef, runs Jimmy’s Slice, a pizzeria. At this point, it’s not clear – at least to me – that Shannon (the daughter) is not Sande’s daughter, too. Jim and Sande have owned Chill for about 18 months.
We hear that the yogurt machines break once a week, leading to the yogurt spoiling. “Crunchy” and “sour” – words every yogurt shop owner thrills to hear. The machines also make a ton of noise once they cycle on.
Sande opened the shop because she “likes yogurt”. I like donuts, but I haven’t opened a donut shop. I just go to one that’s already set up and buy donuts there. Because it’s all done for me. And I really don’t want to open a business just so I can have a donut every day.
Mmmmm . . . donuts.
I wonder what, if any, work experience Sande has. She certainly doesn’t act as if she’s ever held any job, much less a management position. Later, Tabs says she thinks the yogurt shop is Sande’s “hobby”. I agree. She seems like a dilettante. We learn that Sande’s only in the shop “a couple of hours a day” (later contradicted by the staff, who say Sande only stops in for a yogurt or beverage and then leaves).
Jim comes in, in the mornings although he has been up late with the bar. Sande says she does the books at home in the morning. Really? You do the books every day? For a shop that’s losing money, so there aren’t exactly that many purchases to record? I’m all for fiscal management, but I think “doing the books” involves about 15 minutes’ work and a whole lot of morning TV.
Tabs reminds them it’s a hands-on business. Then she asks about their finances. They are 90K in the hole, and losing 2-8K a month. The profits from the bar are going to prop up the shop.
They sell a huge variety of items: yogurt, coffee, premade packaged sandwiches, snacks, chocolates, dog biscuits, and also have a hookah(?!?) Sande says they couldn’t pay the rent with just yogurt. So at what point do you look at that and say, hey yogurt isn’t working, analyze why, and make changes? Apparently not until they are 90K in the hole. Warren Buffett would be so proud!
Undercover. We see Laura, a manager, telling a worker, Jaime, to clean. Jim says they have a young, slack staff. One of them, Daisy, is drinking (a smoothie, looks like) behind the counter, then drops the drink and curses in front of customers. Flip flops and bare feet seem to be the norm.
We see a guy start to eat his yogurt, then return to the shop and complain it’s sour. Sande says they made a decision (she emphasizes this word with special enunciation) to buy used machines because new ones were 20K apiece. So you’re not only a dilettante but an idiot. Aces!
Not mentioned at all is the public health issue here. Spoiled food can cause huge problems – food poisoning, which can be fatal, among them. Also, that can lead to lawsuits. Why would anyone take even the slightest risk selling food that’s spoiled? And just as bad, do you care so little about customers that you would knowingly sell them food that can make them ill?
There’s a ringing endorsement for your yogurt.
We now see a worker say a light is out in the ladies’ room, so she’ll put a sign on the door. So, super initiative shown there. Another worker, Beth, says just change the bulb. Jim wanted someone to spark the others, so he hired Beth, who has years of experience as a barista. Sande doesn’t like Beth because she’s tough and “makes people miserable”. Tabs comments that she’s making people do their job. You know, Sande – the thing you’re supposed to be doing.
Now we see an unattended child using their dirty hand to rummage through the toppings bar. Tabs asks how long the toppings sit out, and Sande says they are never dumped out, they just add more to the top when the toppings run low. Tabs asks why Sande is not there to take care of things, and says there is no excuse for that slackness. Sande doesn’t give any reason.
Takeover! Tabs puts an “F” sign in the store’s window and tells the staff they’re closed for the week.
While Tabs strangles them with her bare hands.
Inspection. We see a knick knack shelf with “prank” items like a plastic item that is supposed to look like spilled orange juice. Alrighty then.
Tabs asks about the horrendous noise from the machines, and Sande says they couldn’t find a solution. Apparently this has been going on the entire time they have had the machines. Muy estupido. Claro que si, no?
Tabs looks at the prepackaged sandwiches (which look like the ones in vending machines – that’s gotta be super tasty), and finds one that should have been thrown out 2 days ago. She tries the yogurt, and immediately spits it out.
On to the freezers, where we see fruit in containers that have split open, and fruit with freezer burn. At the bananas on the counter, there are fruit flies. Laura doesn’t think that means the bananas have gone bad. Beth says she wanted to throw them away but was told no.
Tabs sums up that the place is filthy and she wouldn’t eat a thing there.
Commercial. Let’s talk yogurt. Remember the halcyon days of froyo, where there were shops everywhere? I distinctly remember regularly having it for lunch because it was “healthy”. Right, something with little dairy (so no protein) and loaded with sugar – not to mention the toppings – is totes healthy because it’s fat-free. This was also the era of Snackwell’s when people were convinced they could have a near-infinite number of the cookies because they were fat-free, and then kept gaining weight and could not figure that out. And then pretty much all the yogurt shops disappeared. And then these folks opened up and people are saying the same things they did before – it ‘s super healthy. Well, no. It’s still a dessert. It’s just more tart now. And about 10 times more expensive.
And really, can anyone believe a fat-free yogurt claim? Not these folks.
And with good reason.
Also big in the 80s:
And also won’t EVER GO AWAY.
Back for the Staff Meeting. Tabs asks the staff to try the yogurt, and they all say it doesn’t taste good. Sande is stuck on that particular brand because it’s cheap. Beth says there are other yogurt places nearby, and Chill can’t compete. Turns out coffee, not yogurt, is their best seller. Beth thinks they should focus on coffee. Well of course she’d say that – she’s a barista. I think she’s right though.
Because focusing on coffee can work out well.
There is an issue with Beth and the rest of the staff, in particular Laura. Beth is no-nonsense and work-oriented, as we’ve already seen. The rest of the staff are “friends” and spend time gossiping. Tabs asks if Laura stops the gossip and she says no. Laura, not surprisingly, has no prior experience. Beth, in contrast, has 6 years management experience. Part of the resentment of Beth is that Jim didn’t tell anyone he hired Beth to evaluate the place and suggest changes.
We also learn that Shannon has in the past made sandwiches and pastries for Chill to sell, and they sold out very quickly. The staff say the packaged sandwiches are awful.
Here’s a tasty cheese and onion sandwich. Ew.
Tabs then tells Sande and Jim that she wants to see their other businesses. She and Jim go to Sans Souci. Jim says he was in the wine business 15 years, so this was a natural progression. He’s very hands-on.
Now Tabs is at Jimmy’s, speaking with Shannon. Tabs tries some pizza and says it’s delicious. She asks if Shannon would make sandwiches and pastries for Chill, and Shannon quickly says no. She would only put her food back in there if everything were kept fresh and was thrown out at the appropriate time.
Commercial. Back at Chill, Tabs asks Sande to make her a caramel latte. Sande doesn’t know how and can’t use the machine. Tabs takes Sande to a table laden with all of the items she sells in the shop. Tabs says this array of disparate items doesn’t make sense, and Sande needs to focus. There’s not much response from Sande.
Tabs asks Sande what Chill is good at, and Sande says it “should be yogurt”. She’s definitely defensive and way irritated with Tabs. Sande says the yogurt isn’t bad, it’s just the staff’s perception. Yeah, the staff, Tabs, and the entire population of Ventura.
Totally open to new ideas.
Tabs comments Sande just won’t listen. Tabs says Sande is paying wholesale for subpar sandwiches and pastries but she could pay Shannon, and have control over quality, plus keeping the money in the family. Sande has a less than enthusiastic reaction to that idea.
Tabs says she was told Sande is often in for only a half-hour. She says the staff told her coffee is the best seller. Tabs says she wants to offer coffee and yogurt “shots” to the public so Sande can see what they think. The items will be a caramel latte, and after Sande trying every flavor and proclaiming them all so delicious, a cinnamon bun yogurt.
Outside, people told Sande to her face the yogurt was bad, but all praised the coffee.
Back at the store, Shannon arrives, and Tabs says she asked Shannon to make some sandwiches and pastries, and to teach the staff how to assemble the sandwiches. The whole staff is eager to learn. Sande isn’t though. I notice she and Shannon aren’t even talking to each other. And that’s when I realize Shannon is a stepdaughter.
Just call me Cinderella.
So here’s my take on the relationship. I think Sande opened her shop because Jim and Shannon have businesses, and Sande felt left out. I also think there is a ton of jealousy of Shannon and possibly of Jim’s former wife (whether she died or they divorced). I also think Sande tried to impose on Shannon when Chill first opened, so Shannon would do all the work (supplying sandwiches and pastries) and Sande wouldn’t have to do anything. Plus it’s clear Sande doesn’t know anything about food service, versus Shannon being a trained chef. So that can’t sit well with Shannon. This entire ep had a ton of tension between Sande and Shannon. And even if Chill does turn around, I don’t see those 2 becoming much closer. There are way bigger issues than yogurt between them. I am speaking, of course, as someone who’s taken a couple of intro-level psychology courses and also read a lot of self-help books. So I am completely qualified to make these assessments.
Sande, meet your mirror.
Getting back to the ep, Shannon suggests a picnic offer, with sandwiches, dessert and drink offered as a package deal. Tabs likes that.
People get to cleaning, and Tabs asks Beth to show Sande now to make a coffee. Beth says she’s offered before, but Sande always laughed at her. So Sande rises yet again in my estimation. Or her own.
Tabs meets with Jim and Sande, and it’s agreed they will discontinue selling yogurt. Jim tells the staff, and they cheer. Tabs asks them if they’re ready to commit, and they say yes.
Commercial. Okay, let’s chat about concealer. You probably noticed Sande was in desperate need of it in the whole nose area. So when you get up in the morning, Sande, do you not realize you look a lot like this
What’s the solution? Stroll on over to the local Clinique counter and pick up some of this powder. Works wonders. It does not take much to look presentable, it really doesn’t. That goes for all women. Why wouldn’t you want to look your best? Yes, this is my Makeup Rant. It’s not “look like a hooker” v. “look half-dead”. It’s “look presentable and pretty”. I totally don’t understand women saying they’re “afraid” of makeup. It’s inert. Also, when you say your S.O. likes women without makeup, they really mean they like women who don’t look like they charge $10 for a – - well, you get the point. Pretty is always what your S.O. wants. And if you’re over 40, you had better slap on some makeup every morning. Because without it? If I were you, I’d avoid going anywhere near coroner’s vans. Because you could easily be mistaken for one of their “customers”.
Oh and Sande, get a hairbrush too, and use it, m’kay?
Now we’re at the reopening. The staff came in matching tops! There’s a new patio, and the interior has been redone too.
Tabs reminds everyone they have to work as a team, step up and hold each other accountable. She tells Laura to leave personal feelings out and manage. Laura shares she’s not going to turn into a bitch in one day. Sidebar: where did everyone in America get the idea that being businesslike and holding workers to standards is “mean” or “bitchy”? I say this as someone who does those things and is frequently called that behind my back. I couldn’t care less really, but it’s very strange how a lot of folks want to get paid good money to essentially do as little as possible in a slapdash manner, and any kind of correction results either in tears or anger. It’s like we’re an entire nation of perpetual children. Or American Idol auditioners. Waaaahhh. S T F U.
My favorite American Idol auditioner (and who neither cried nor got defensive). Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. William Hung.
Tabs got the staff t-shirts to wear as a sort of uniform. She splits the staff into 2 teams. Beth’s team will open.
Shannon is there. Sande says she (Sande) has to step up, and Shannon says she’s willing to help.
Tabs meets with Beth and Laura. Laura says Beth is negative. Beth says that’s because she got backlash. Tabs says Beth isn’t afraid to enforce rules, and tells Laura to be tough and lead. Laura says she’ll “try” – Tabs says do it.
Beth’s shift, predictably, went great. Laura’s? As Tabs put it, it was a clusterf-ck. At one point, a customer asks for a sandwich on toast, Laura forgets, and the sandwich has to be remade. Laura offers the customer a coupon (which is part of a stack sitting out already). Tabs tells her to offer the customer a cookie – that way if she likes that and the sandwich, she’ll be back. Laura says she wanted to tell Tabs to leave her alone.
Mature AND a good manager.
Sande is introducing herself to customers and being more involved. She also looks better than she has in the preceding 40 minutes.
Final recommendations. Sande says she’s ok with not selling yogurt. She’s excited. She feels the staff did a good job. She’s also thinking of a demerit system. Tabs asks if she’s up to spending every day there, and Sande says yes. Tabs praises Beth’s style. Sande says Laura did a good job too, and Tabs says she did not. So yet again Sande shows her antagonism towards someone (just like Shannon) who is businesslike and has standards. I didn’t like Sande at the beginning of this ep, and really don’t like her now.
The staff are told that Beth is going to be a manager too, and that Laura will continue as manager “but there’s a new bar – set high”. Sande talks about her new demerit system. Tabs hands the keys back.
6 weeks later. Beth and Laura are getting along better. Sande is there more. There is a staff meeting once a week. Laura seems to be managing better, and even wrote up someone. Sande says there are new faces, that she doesn’t miss the yogurt. She also says she and Shannon are doing fine. I wonder about that. Also Sande’s given everyone a demerit, and seems positively gleeful about that. I can’t imagine anything that would merit a demerit for Beth. Because she does not appear to have any business experience, Sande doesn’t realize that being a good manager does not mean handing out demerits left and right. That kills morale. At this point, I totally loathe Sande. Beth would be well-served to get another job. Maybe here . . .
Next time, a salon 489K in debt. Holy f-ckballs. See you then!
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