Initiation Ritual in Bakeries

Informant worked in the bakery belonging to his grandmother and father to put himself through college.  While there, he encountered this initiation rite that every new employee had to ‘pass’ before they were officially one of the guys.  It is a variation on the idea of snipe-hunting, or the naval ‘steaming the deck’ trope.

Informant: We used to give the new guy a ten gallon cream can and send him three blocks down, a new guy when he came, started, and send him three blocks down to another bakery to get a can of steam.

Interviewer: Why?

Informant: Just kind of initiation.The milkcan, the cream can, the thing weighed like forty fifty pounds, they had to be heavy or they’d get dented.

Interviewer: Empty?  Thirty pounds empty?

Empty. Ten gallon can? It’s huge, it’s made of metal, I used to carry em around full.  By the time the guy figured out it was a, I guess, a hazing thing, he was one of the family, you know.