Working at the Creamery

hamzberg | 28 November 2023 | 4 minute read

It's amazing how anticipation for something sweet changes people.

New Frontier

Fairly recently I've been working at my university's dining hall.

This has been a first for me since I've never worked a real job before. Sure, I've had an internship, but this time I was actually making money.

It's also been a great space for me to socialize more. It sounds silly, but I could really spend the whole day in my room. All I think about is my projects. Often times I just zone out, staring out a window until someone wakes me up to ask what I'm thinking about. "Just work," I'd say.

That being said, it's entertaining getting to know the cast of characters I work with. The workforce is made up of students and faculty. The students are, unsurprisingly, students. The faculty are any other people. Regardless, everyone comes in their own shapes and sizes.

I think about how character designers come up with a new wacky design. The faculty I work with would be great inspiration.

Starting the Shift

Work starts with putting my cap on. It's not glamorous at all. For some unholy reason, whoever ordered these hats thought it was a genius idea to put dark olive green text on black. The logo isn't much better and looks like it was designed with Microsoft PowerPoint. Disasters like these tell me that I will have job security.

Once I arrive at the dining hall, I put on one of over-sized jackets. I actually like these, since they just go over whatever I'm wearing. They're also pretty thick, so stains don't seep into my actual clothing.

Then I walk over to the punchcard machine, find my nametag, and punch my card in. It does actually feel like the 1980s when I use it.

Over by the serving line, the manager always puts out a sheet with all the students' jobs listed. It's clear they have preferred spots for me, but sometimes they put me in the creamery.

Serving the Cream

I honestly like working in the creamery. It's this small room that's made separate from the back storage by a colorful ice cream design curtain. People order by entering an incredibly small booth-like room where I wait at the counter. It's quaint.

Everyday there's a new batch of flavors. Many are carried over from the previous day, and many are the usual flavors one finds: vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. But then there are a few, more stylized flavors: rainbow, cookie dough, peanut butter swirl, and others.

The normal procedure is to provide no more than two scoops per person. Simple enough, although everyone tries to order three or more. Often I decline. They'll inevitably ask why, and I'll respond with a fictitious excuse:

"Why not?"
"Because there's a Lockheed Martin American M1 Laser-scoped AI-assisted turret behind this curtain and it will fire at me if it detects more than three scoops in the bowl."

This made a group of freshmen laugh, but little do they know.

Sometimes people will get annoyed however. In one particular instance, someone came up and asked for the coveted four scoops. I, the oppressive authoritarian with complete disregard for human rights, said no. Now this person had a lazy eye, and the moment they heard me say no, they focused both eyes on me.

To be honest, it caught me completely off guard. I didn't realize that someone with the condition could do that. But with their focused eyes, they gave me a true look of annoyance. So, I worked out a deal. I told them that I can give them only two scoops, but I will give another bowl for "another person." That disarmed the conflict, but I was still a little shaken.

Reflecting on the Cream

Moments like these make my job worth every minute. In most cases, a group of people just come up giddy with excitement. They'll even debate which flavor is the best, or which flavor the other should choose. I'm surprised by how childlike they become. I've worked at the Deli section a few times, and people are just not as excited to get a sandwich.

Though there is only one good flavor: cotton candy.


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