Driving half a ton of hot sauce to Edinburgh in an ice cream van made me realise I’m better when others help me
On Monday 19th July, 2021, Andy from Fits The Scoop and myself loaded eighteen large boxes of hot sauce into the back of his van and set off for Scotlands capital city.
Let's back up a little.
I've had large orders before. They typically come with some notice and with the option to stagger the delivery. This time, the order came in mid June and was for 1250 bottles of Het Sass and it all had to be in Edinburgh on the 19th July. I said yes and then started panicking about the "how" part.
It would take every bit of capacity I have to complete that order and even then, I wasn't sure I could do it alone. You have to realise that although Singularity Sauce Co might look like a polished outfit, the present reality is I am a one man army doing every job in the business.
So I knew I would get one shot at it. There could be no margin for error. Even a single bottle breaking would be a real headache for me. Straight away I couldn't put the delivery of this sauce into the hands of a courier. I'd have to deliver it myself to avoid breakages. Fortunately for me, Andy is a good pal and also has a van. He agreed to help and we looked forward to a night out in Edinburgh after.
Firstly I had to figure out how long it would take to label, seal and box 1250 bottles. I knew I had to be finished by 18th July which was also a problem because I was at Chapelton farmers market that day. So I had to be finished by 17th July. (Spoiler: I didn't manage that, my wife and daughter had to save my skin by rolling up their sleeves on the Sunday. No shit, they saved the day.)
I then knew when it all had to be bottled by and from there, I knew there was just enough time for the fermentation phase. I had to move fast and I ordered all the ingredients required and filled every fermentation tank I had. Even then, I had to bring a new 60L tank into play.
All the sauce got bottled roughly on schedule and then it was just the panic of labelling, sealing, applying BBE/Batch stickers and boxing it all up. This was all done by 9pm on the 18th thanks to "Team McAulay".
On the 19th, Andy and me drove to Edinburgh. We delivered the sauce to the amusement of the customer. "Why are you in an ice cream van?" was a fair question. "Why wouldn't we be?" is definitely the correct answer :)
I've become so used to being the whole business that sometimes I need reminded that I'm going to get more done with the help of others. I’ve never been good at asking for help. It’s a failing that I’m working on. Even when people offer assistance, my first reaction is to say thanks but I’ll manage. This order would never have gotten finished if it wasn't for my family helping and it would never have gotten to Edinburgh without the help of Andy. If I hadn't accepted help, I wouldn't have been able to write my most favourite headline yet…