Once upon a time, there were two bakeries, side by side on a busy road.
The first bakery was the picture of shining efficiency – stainless steel counters, spotless display cases, and meticulously placed cupcakes – all perfectly uniform in size and shape. The store offered just a few flavours, baked first thing in the morning, from recipes that the baker knew inside out. Customers were greeted by beaming assistants, who wrapped their purchases neatly in an immaculately folded napkin, and wished them a nice day.
The second bakery, to be honest, was a bit of a shambles. It had been a few years since the landlord had contributed to any maintenance, so the walls appeared to be on a bit of a slope, and there was wallpaper peeling in places, but it was neat and tidy, and the baker liked to meet each customer, one by one, as they came into the store. Each cupcake was individually baked, in almost every flavour one could imagine, while the customer waited with a complementary cup of tea.
Some customers preferred the first bakery, with it’s ready-made options, and it’s shiny surfaces. Others loved the second bakery, recognising the time and care taken in crafting each cupcake, and relishing in the flavours created just for them.
Over time, customers started to ask the first baker for different flavours. He was puzzled. His recipes had been the same for decades. Why on earth would he change now?
Instead, he decided to revamp his shopfront, with even shinier new cabinets, neon lettering, and a fancy new refrigerator.
Yet, the customers didn’t seem happy.
Some said his cupcakes tasted bland. Some felt as though the shop wasn’t very welcoming, with all of it’s fluorescent lights. Lots of people, who had previously liked his products, just weren’t coming back anymore.
Next door, he could see a steady stream of happy customers, laughing and chatting over tea, as they compared their cupcakes to each others. And to his fury, he could see HIS customers in that queue!
The baker was enraged. How could this little shanty of a store with it’s cracked windows, and threadbare flooring possibly be churning out happier customers than he?
He picked up the phone and reported a mouse plague next door. Then, a cockroach infestation. Then, just for good measure, food safety violations.
The next day, the second bakery was closed as investigators scoured the property. The baker was delighted to see his own shop full to the brim with customers. Yet, there was no queue of happily chatting people. There was no tea. The neatly folded napkins were discarded along with half-eaten cupcakes, as people within the store lamented the closure of the shop next door.
“Hopefully, it’s just temporary”, they said.
“Maybe they’ll be open tomorrow”.
And to the absolute horror of the first baker – they were.
With all checks and balances complete, the rough and tumble little shopfront was back in business the following day. And once again, business was booming.
The baker was irrationally furious. This had gone on for long enough.
That night, under the cover of darkness, the baker crept into the second store, and lit a small fire in the kitchen. Waiting long enough for the flames to take hold, he dialled the fire brigade, reporting the fire, and raising his suspicions about a breach in the fire code next door.
The fire quickly overtook the building, until there was nothing remaining but ashes. The baker crowed triumphantly to anyone who would listen that the second shop has brought this upon itself, with it’s shonky building and it’s questionable safety practices.
The following day, the baker pulled on his pristine white uniform, expecting a busy day.
He could see a crowd of people gathered outside the burnt shopfront. They were holding containers, pots, urns and bowls. Someone had brought along a camping oven, and on a long trestle table there was tea brewing. The baker from the second store, with his face coated in soot and ash, was cracking eggs, and mixing batter along with his tribe of helpers.
Next to him, stood a makeshift sign.
“Open for business”.
When consumers band together to create a community based on love, support and integrity, there is no amount of fear-mongering or sneaky, underhanded shit that can keep ’em down for long.
Midwifery as a profession is open for business. And it will be for as long as you keep asking for it.
#NSAMS #midwiferymusings #lifeasacupcake
(Image from google)