Thursday, July 8, 2010

Disaster Market for the Grateful Dumpling

The Grateful Dumpling had a bit of a disaster last week in the big city market, and ironically enough, the horrible, awful weather may have worked in our favor and actually dampened the negative impact of the day. How's that for looking at the bright side? In the end, if you can remain philosophical about these sort of things, there are interesting and sometimes amazing lessons to be learned.

We were debating how many dumpling to bring in light of the stifling heat we've been having. Not so much because we were worried about the dumplings, which are on dry ice, but more because the heat would discourage people from coming to the market. It was slated to be in the high 90s, with no relief in sight. It was a brutal day.

Because the kids were at camp, they were spared the misery of sitting through the market in the heat. As I was setting up the tent, I was grateful (literally and figuratively) that they weren't there, because I was sweating like a pig. I looked around the market and asked myself, "Who were we trying to kid?"

The fact is, the crowds were thin, because nobody in their right mind was going to hang out in the great outdoors on a day like that. It was so much like Florida, and we were drenched in sweat. I had brought a fan and hooked it up to a jump box, which garnered praise from our compatriots who were suffering along with us. It actually worked pretty well, and we managed to squeeze out a couple of hours of juice from the thing, and it wasn't even fully charged.

To add fuel to the fire (no pun intended), our stove died. I couldn't believe it. The oil was getting too hot, so we naturally turned the flame off to let it cool. Then, of course, we couldn't start it up again. The fuel just wasn't getting to the stove, and we tried everything to clear the regulator, which we surmised was the root of the problem because the tanks were fine and we couldn't get the gas to release with the regulator thingy. Finally, after selling dumplings for about an hour, we were done. We spent the next two hours baking at the market trying to figure out what was wrong and apologizing to customers in search of Grateful Dumplings. What a bummer.

As I mentioned, the market was very slow, people were, for the most part, sensible enough to submerge their bodies in water or stay in an air conditioned space, so we didn't really lose as many sales as we could have. Plus, the dumplings were frozen, so we could save them for another day. On another bright note, we had many returning customers telling us they'd be back next week, and even some that put advanced orders in, though I'm curious to see if they'll actually come back.

As for the stove, we've ordered a newer, more powerful one and hope that it will get here before Wednesday, which is possible. I've searched high and low for a new regulator for the old stove, but it's pretty hard to find for a camp stove, though I've yet to try Wally World. I did call the company, Ozark Trails, which is owned by Blue Rhino, of all things, and they were very cool, and with no questions asked, are sending me a new regulator. The guy on the phone gave me some insight into what may have happened, and then sent me a new one. How cool is that? At least we can still use our little stove, maybe for a camping trip.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to pat for the pic.

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