Sausage rolls, hair nets and sloppy Tuna Crunch: What you learn from working at Greggs
Making Tuna Crunch baguettes will become the bane of your life
Greggs summarises what it means to be British. We worship the humble sausage roll and will fight to the death over the last steak bake.
Whether you're from England, Scotland or Wales, you will find it difficult to walk past a Greggs without nipping in for a cheeky pastry.
However, working at Greggs is another story. It involves hard work, dedication, and an in depth knowledge of baked goods. After making 200 sandwiches from six in the morning, you'll never want to eat one again.
Every customer makes you test the temperature of their bake, and you forget what warm feels like
God forbid the word 'hot' is ever mentioned in the shop. You dread hearing the words "excuse me, which pasties are hot?" or "excuse me, can you please check if the chicken bakes are warm?". You're forever having to repeat yourself, smiling sweetly and saying "I'll just check for you now".
Putting your hand into a paper bag to 'accurately' check the temperature of every bake becomes a regular occurrence- it gets to the point where you forget what warm even feels like.
Gosh, do people not realise everything's freshly baked? It's not my fault if chicken katsu bakes aren't in the top ten best sellers and the last one has gone cold.
Going on 'bake off' does not mean you're about to go on GBBO
Going on bake off just means you're chucking frozen pasties and sausage rolls onto a big tray, ready for the oven.
You will have plenty of scars from oven burns
Baking these delicious goods smells peng, however, there's a 90 per cent chance you'll somehow burn yourself, despite wearing hench oven gloves. Your scar will remind you of those 12 sausage rolls you urgently had to put in at 2.30pm last Tuesday.
The hair net and hat combo will instantly turn you into a 2/10
The uniform isn't really an example of couture fashion. Baggy trousers, an oversized polo shirt and a long red apron doesn't really do any justice.
The hat and hair net combo though, is another level of fashion crime. Kim K wouldn't even look good in it. You may be a confident 8/10 when you come to work in the morning, but when you get changed you're definitely not.
Customers get really aggy about paying an extra 20p to eat in
VAT sucks. And what sucks even more, is that every time someone asks to eat in, you get moaned at for the automatic VAT charge added onto their bill.
Sorry, I'm just trying to do my job properly, I hope 20p isn't too much of a grievance for you. And please don't kick up a fuss, there's a queue of seven other people waiting behind you.
And some will even blame you personally for the fact the whole shop has sold out of their favourite pasty
I'm so sorry I didn't go in my lorry to the Greggs factory myself to pick you up an extra steak bake.
Welsh people have a weird obsession with Corned Beef Bakes
If you work in a Cardiff store you will quickly find out corned beef bakes are a best seller. Seriously, you watch customers hearts break in front of you, when you have to declare "sorry we've completely sold out of corned beef today." Weird.
Corned Beef Bakes aren't to be confused with Cornish Pasties, which we're banned from calling Cornish
In 2013 Greggs were forced to change the name of their Cornish Pasties because they contained peas and carrots, which isn't traditional. So now we have to refer to them as Beef and Vegetable Pasties which confuses customers a lot.
6am starts will kill you, but they're also the best shifts
Waking up at 5am is no fun at all, but being put on a 6am is actually the best. You're either making sandwiches whilst listening to Heart FM, or serving a long queue of workers coming in for their daily breakfast fix. Either way time goes quickly and if you're only a part timer, there's the rest of the day free to do what you want. Nothing's worse than a six-hour afternoon shift where the shop is dead and you actually have to mop.
Making 200 sandwiches in three hours is a challenge worthy of putting on a CV
You have three hours to make approximately 200 sandwiches, baguettes, wraps and salads. Once you've grasped the methods of production, making sandwiches actually becomes quite fun, especially when you test yourself and try to beat your personal best time of finishing the sandwiches.
The weirdest thing is learning that most sandwich fillings are mainly mayonnaise and have to be scooped onto the bread with large ice cream scoops.
A major pet hate is bagging baguettes with a sloppy filling
Some baguettes are so annoying to make, let alone put into fiddly cellophane bags. Any filling which requires a scoop is a nightmare. When you're trying to quickly bag the baguettes, the messy filling will smear on the transparent wrapper and may even fall out into the bottom of the bag.
Tuna Crunch baguettes are the Devil's creation
Tuna Crunch baguettes are the bane of any Greggs worker's life: sloppy filling, plus random bits of loose red onion sprinkled on top equals a recipe for disaster.
Ham and cheese baguettes are a blessing.
Running out of bacon and sausage and buttering baps at 7am is hell
Imagine being engrossed and on track with the sandwiches, and getting asked to cut and butter 24 baps – so inconvenient. You have to cover them over with a blue plastic bag as well 'to keep them fresh'.
And when on the front during breaky, running out of bacon and sausage when a customer's just ordered baps for their whole workforce is such an agg. You have to remember six different orders whilst continuing to serve more people.
Opening an industrial sized tub of boiled eggs in brine on a hangover is horrifying
As is the lack of sleep, a hangover, and feeling queasy when there are 200 sandwiches to be made and the smell of food is inescapable.
The unique patterns on each pasty are carved into our minds
"Hi can I have a chicken bake please?" Erm sorry they're actually corned beef ones on that tray, I know because of the pattern. Zig zag lines are steak, wavy lines are chicken and straight lines are sausage bean and cheese – I knew GCSE maths would come in handy at some point.
We put pepperoni on the pizza ourselves – and there's a strict formula of how to apply it
There's six pieces of pepperoni, three near the crust, two in the middle and one near the point. If it's near closing time and we tell you we've sold out of pizza, it's likely we just can't be bothered to walk to the back and make you one. It's major effort when you've probs been eyeing up those steak bakes anyway.
Remembering meal deal combinations is harder than a uni degree
If you can't remember what comes in the meal deal you're better off not asking. Most people know what they want and it definitely isn't a cup of soup with their sausage roll- how are they meant to eat that on the go?
50 per cent off everything is a major perk of the job – but can also be dangerous
When I started at Greggs I'd only ever had sausage rolls. Now, I've sampled every single bake. Why wouldn't you centre your diet and lifestyle around pasties?
You also get a free hot drink on every shift which is decent in the winter months.
You will definitely work more hours than you're contracted
If you applied for 16 hours, you'll probably end up working 24. Greggs is life.
Most of the pasties and sweet treats are taken at the end of the day and handed out to the homeless
No, we don't get to scoff the remaining sausage rolls at the end of the shift. We have to carefully note down how many products we have left, and then put them into trays, ready for collection. Left over pastries and sweet treats either go to a second hand shop to be sold off for half the price the day after, or they are given out to the homeless.
However, some products such as fresh cream cakes, bacon and cheese wraps and pizza have to be thrown away – this breaks our hearts.
Festive bake = Festive BAE
Everyone literally goes mad for the festive bake and the other festive treats, such as the turkey and cranberry roll, Christmas lunch soup and gingerbread muffins. Is turkey, cranberry sauce and stuffing in a pastry really that special? The UK seems to think so. I do not #controversial
You could bump into some famous superstars, like the legend that is Corbs
On a final note, we're kind of offended we've not been made to wear Greggings yet as part of the uniform. Come on Greggs, make it happen.