Out of the Rain

Lian.jpg

Yesterday’s 4:30 afternoon phone call was, according to my phone, from Lian Cung, our new employee from Burma.I was squatting on the floor poking at our sealing machine with a screwdriver in hopes of fixing it.

“Is you the taxi?”

“No, I’m the granola guy.”I don’t love the title, but it’s sometimes convenient.

“You isn’t the taxi? Oh.I thought this guy was calling a taxi to pick him up cuz’ he don’t know where he is.”

Lian doesn’t speak any English yet. He was also supposed to start work at 4:30. If he didn’t show I was going to have to figure out plan C for picking my kids up from school.My wife—(Plan B)—has been out of town.

“He’s my employee.Tell me where you are and I’ll come get him.”

It was pouring rain.Enough to turn some streets into little rivers. I had soaked my feet just getting from the parking lot to the kitchen.

"He’s at -------." “What?” "-------!" "What?"

I’m not a Providence native, but I know these streets pretty well.For the life of me I couldn’t grasp what the guy was saying.But we finally figured it out.I jumped in the car, pulled over at a corner where a drenched new employee emerged out of the darkness.

So it’s 0 for 2 on map reading for Lian.Although 2 for 2 on being resourceful.(I never met this week’s good Samaritan.)I’d even given Lian a driving tour of the neighborhood when I found him last week: the bus stop on Broad; Friendship where Amos House is located; the back entrance on Pine.I made him repeat all the words.

We did the tour again.

“3 O’clock!” he told me a few times.

Apparently he’d been wandering around in the rain for an hour and a half.Really it doesn’t surprise me.Every time I’ve been in a foreign country I’m amazed by how everything looks similar. Subtlety gets lost in novelty.Hard rain doesn’t help.I wondered if he came at 3 to avoid finding it in the dark.And waiting until 4:30 probably suggests how hard it was for him to ask for help.

I did hand him my screwdriver once we arrived.He had the sealer running in the few minutes before I needed to leave to pick up my kids.Then he maneuvered all 60 pounds of it upstairs.I doubt he weighs much more than 120 himself.

This is all a long way of saying that it’s training that makes running a granola company fun for me. And people who have been denied a lifetime of opportunity like nothing better than being trained.This week, Zaid has taken over our ecommerce site, managing the email, the orders, buying postage, a few phone calls.My main rule with him has been to call me if he doesn’t understand something.We’ve gone from about 50 calls on Monday to about 10 yesterday.None (so far) today.That’s an impressive learning curve.Don’t let anyone say that someone who didn’t grow up with computers and web sites can’t figure this out.

This is also an even longer way of reminding you that Providence Granola is at the ready to service all your granola needs.We’re very busy, but eager to be even busier.The web store is open. A Granola of the Month subscription, in particular, is a one-of-a kind gift that can keep nourishing and delighting year round.

Skim down a couple entries on our blog to read about our specials.And while your at it, you can waste a few minutes watching our television debut.

Three other things:

a)I am delivering to Whole Foods this morning.So one way those of you who are in the Providence area could really help us out is to move it off their shelves.Let them know we are serious.

b)A number of you have expressed interest in collecting and combining granola orders to save on shipping—or just to help us out.I’m attaching a form (to email recipients) that you are welcome to use for group orders.Just emailing a scan or photo of it would be enough to get it off to you.

c)We’ve had a few questions about shelf-life.We are putting a 6 week “Best by” date on the granola going to Whole Foods.Really granola should keep for a few months, but I think it loses some flavor after a few weeks.We generally don’t sell granola unless it’s been made in the last two weeks or has been frozen.Our granola does keep exceptionally well in the freezer or fridge, so that’s where I would recommend keeping anything you don’t plan to eat today.

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