Quit Your Day Job

Stark singer-songwriter David Ramirez used to box up 15,000 pies a day

Photo by Todd V. Wolfson

David Ramirez

When I was 22 and living in Dallas, I got fired from Starbucks and needed some money. My friend's girlfriend's grandparents owned the Mindy Lu's Pies factory in Fort Worth, so they helped me out.

Basically, I would show up at about 6am and stand at the end of the conveyor belt. This wonderful woman named Maria would feed the unwrapped pies down the conveyor belt and they'd come out on my side wrapped up. My job was to load them all into crates, and they would be coming very quickly. We would wrap and pack up 15,000 pies a day. We didn't leave until the job was done, and then come back the next morning and do it again.

It was just standing there for eight or nine hours on your feet, catching pies and going home smelling like a bakery. No one else there really spoke English, and unfortunately, despite my last name, I didn't speak Spanish, so it was very quiet and pretty mindless. For the first couple of weeks, I listened to music, but your ears would just get tired, so I stood there in the quiet and caught pies and made boxes. It was terrible. I was very thankful to that family for giving me a last-minute gig when I needed it, but it was rough.

I was there about three months before I found another coffee shop job and then about a year later headed to Nashville.

David Ramirez's four-star We’re Not Going Anywhere is out now.

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