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Paczki Day, Part II

February 21, 2012

First, you’d best get over to 1730 Outlet early today if you’d like free paczki! The world has gone paczki crazy!

1730 W. Wrightwood, Chicago, 60614. Entrance to the outlet is around to the right (east).

I ordered paczki for our outlet customers last Friday, calling Dinkels ahead of time so I wouldn’t have to wait to pick them up. HA HA!

The first sign of trouble was plainly visible when I pulled into a no parking zone across Lincoln Avenue from Dinkels at 7:50AM. Vehicles of all descriptions were lined up on both sides of the street with their emergency flashers on. I looked in the bakery’s windows to get some idea of how crowded it was inside. All I could see was a huge amorphous shadow filling the storefront, moving sluggishly in no particular direction.

But I ordered ahead! I should be able to walk right up to the counter and pick up our paczki! HA HA HA!

I turned on my emergency flashers hoping there was some kind of Paczki Day moratoreum on parking tickets being issued near bakeries. I hopped out of the car and crossed the street.

The door wouldn’t immediately open because of customers filling the store to its capacity, and then some. Then a couple of people smiled and edged away so I could squeeze into the store. I reached for a pink numbered slip drooping out of the “Please Take a Number” machine.

“Won’t do you any good,” said a young man in a black North Face jacket.

“What if I pre-ordered?”

“That line is the outer line, which ends somewhere way back there.” He pointed toward the far, rear corner of the bakery. “The inner line is for walk-ins.” The two lines formed concentric amoebas.  I shrugged and thanked the young man.  Resigned to my fate, I made my way to where the end of the line was rumored to be.

A kind young woman standing in the far corner where the two main display cases meet confirmed that she was indeed the end of the line. (She took the above photo and emailed it to me, so that’s an actual view of Paczki Day at Dinkels, 2012!) As we moved forward, the wonderful fresh-baked pastry aroma filling the store and heightening our anticipation of paczki to come, we all got to know each other pretty well. The young woman ahead of me began to cheerfully help bewildered newcomers.

A young man wearing a striped Blackhawks stocking cap entered.

“Did you pre-order?” she asked.

“No.”

“Your line ends right there.”

A young woman in a ponytail entered.

“Your line ends with the guy wearing the striped stocking cap.”

Another black North Face jacket entered.  By this time we were near the door, so we began holding it open both for new customers edging their way in, and for paczki-laden patrons trying to make their way out.

“Your line ends with the woman in the ponytail.”

“They should put you on the payroll!” I offered.

“I’ll take payment in paczki! They should be handing them out! Or I could shoot them out of a teeshirt gun like they do at the United Center!”

Yet another North Face jacket entered and stopped. “Holy moley!  I ain’t going through this!” He turned to go.

“Come on in and join the party,” we urged.  “Beats going to work!” He changed his mind and started toward the rear of the store.  “Your line ends with the guy in the Fedora and the North Face jacket.”

Spirits were high in general with the paczki humor flying freely, except for one woman dressed in a red coat who took it upon herself to redeploy Dinkels personnel. She didn’t think her line, whichever one it was, was moving quickly enough.

The kind young woman and I finally made it to the front at about the same time. She confided that she hoped she would get a seat on the “L”.

“How far do you have to go?”

“The Loop,” she said.

Wo!

I hope she got a seat, too!  She earned it.

But it was all worth it. 

So drop everything and head to 1730 W. Wrightwood right now! (10:30 Tuesday morning) because our paczki are fresh and waiting for you!

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