Bitter Chocolate

Occasionally, a dissolved piece of candy can leave an unkind taste in one’s mouth. The oft-maligned licorice legume , easily mistaken for its grape-colored counterpart, can be swallowed with a handful of variously-toned Jelly Beans and result in a case of The Shudders. Biting into a spicy cinnamon disk can cause howls when one cracks a tooth. A stale rib from a Bit o’ Honey can lead to perpetual, annoying chewing. Sour Patch Kids can infrequently seem too sour. And chocolate can get you fired. Yes, it can.

I moonlighted at a gourmet sweet shop on the third floor of the Water Tower Place mall, while simultaneously being employed as a server at a Mexican eatery on the sixth. My retail job, indulging a yen for chocolate common to both continuously-dieting Gold Coast shoppers and the “cocoa-disenfranchised”, was a good one. I would reach behind an unsmudged display case, tenderly pinch chosen dainties one by one with my transparently-gloved right hand, and deliver them over the counter to guiltily smiling faces. It had the added perk of gustatory access to any sweets damaged during shipment also.

One Monday evening, I was winding business down on the sixth floor, clearing the mole-stained plates of a middle-aged couple who were seated at a minute table for two. As I did, the woman produced a small bag from the third-floor confectionery. I told her I held a position there, too, inquired about her purchase, and watched as she presented a small box of truffles, raspberry, key lime, and two others whose names escape me. They were familiar, since my manager at the shop had recently introduced them as new products. In fact, when we sampled them together, she opined that they tasted “like a fluoride treatment.” I shared this with my guests, who shrugged it off.

The following morning, I received a call from my manager.

“If you’re working your other job today, would you mind stopping by afterwards?” she firmly inquired.

I was perplexed, since I didn’t know what the conversation could entail. I hadn’t stolen anything, the store was always wiped down to the best of my ability when I closed, and I had the faith of my co-workers. Still, I consented to meet her at three that afternoon to tend to this business.

Upon my arrival later that day, I was pulled into her cluttered, dimly lit office, where a tattered box filled with half-eaten hazelnut bouchees sat on her desk.

“I got a call from someone that you met last night at your other job, someone who had brought in a box of the new chocolate truffles. Do you remember him?” she queried, averting my eyes.

Unsure where this was headed, I nodded.

“Well,” she swallowed,” he wasn’t very happy with me for what I said about them. He was the Vice President of the company, just to let you know. So I’d appreciate if you allowed me to express my own opinions, in the future.”

We worked side by side for another week, during which I’m sure I pinched the chocolates a bit too hard out of sheer nerviness. And when she asked for my apron, I wasn’t surprised.


5 responses to this post.

  1. Oops…! Bitter chocolate indeed. Funny story and a great one to share!


  2. Posted by Nikki on March 9, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    This certainly made me chuckle… I almost like this one as much as the Frank story! Keep this tidbits coming Dan! I am loving them!!!


  3. Posted by Anne Smock on March 9, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Love the story… and LOVE the picture of the truffles!!


  4. I’d been honored to get a call from my friend as soon as he observed the important points shared on your site. Browsing your blog article is a real wonderful experience. Thank you for taking into account readers just like me, and I desire for you the best of success being a professional in this field.


  5. Posted by Michael on March 12, 2012 at 4:18 pm



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