Friday, May 18, 2012

Concession Stand Sociology

Yesterday was Cade’s first ball game. I don’t have much to report on that end because I had to work the concession stand. The concession stand is prime people watching space. Before the game even started I texted Jay that I’d already had two customers worthy of blog notation.

In all my years of concession stand experience there is one constant to every stand I’ve ever worked-there is that one kid with the sweaty $$$ that will be in the window the second it cracks open for the first time. He/She will more than likely be your best customer the rest of the evening. Jay always pegs the kid like that at the Icebox and declares that will be the kid we make the most money from. Last nights concession stand did not disappoint-that kid was there in a flash. It’s like a cat stalking it’s pray. At the first sound of the latches being loosened they are up and ready to pounce….the second the door cracks open bam! They are in your face.

I didn’t know I was working the concession stand until I got the game. So in other words – I was inexperienced and didn’t know what was going on. Our team needed two mothers to do it and since Cade is the youngest player I was the first one drafted. It was fine because Jim and Sharon were there so they watched Camryn. It’s also the first week of ballgames so things aren’t sorted out yet i.e slighty disorganized. The doors on the stand were open but we didn’t have any change. “The Kid” came up to the window with a sweaty $5 in his hands. I’m experienced….I knew what the kid had, I knew he wasn’t going to spend it all at once and I knew I couldn’t make change for him. I told him he’d have to come back in a few minutes. Our coach must’ve thought I wasn’t very nice because he said “Hey bud, what do you want”? The kid wanted two gatorades which came to $3. Tom nicely explained to him that he’d need to bring back $3 exact or wait. The kid just stood there. Tom went on about his business while I was stuck there somewhat awkwardly with this kid and his puppy dog eyes. He was at the right height where his chin was almost able to rest on the counter. A few tortured minutes passed and the kid looked at me and said “what about that red and blue Gatorade”? I patiently explained to him for the 3rd time in less than 5 minutes we didn’t have any change. The kid said “Oh”. He waited a few more minutes then said “I guess I’ll come back later”. The other mother working with me didn’t seem to be the type to laugh at this sort of thing so I kept it to myself. I couldn’t wait to run it by Jay later.

The other customer was a mother from the opposing team. She was high maintenance. I’m sure every town is about the same as Miller….youth sports is ran by volunteers, it’s a thankless job….people are drafted minutes before game time to work in these stands. The concession stand it not designed to be a 5 star restaurant. It’s something to fill in the time while you wait for the long hour and a half game to pass. This mother wasn’t happy that the popcorn was microwave so she opted for Nachos, even though she pointed out to me that Nachos were in fact not listed on the sign out front. A little later she came back and inquired about our drinks….again we aren’t a 7-11….bottled water, 3 different Gatorade colors and some pop cans. She wasn’t sure what she wanted. Then she asked the temperature of the pop. She was afraid it might be too cold. We grabbed a can for her to feel. It seemed to be ok but of course she didn’t want the can we had pulled out already, she wanted a different kind. She finally settled on the type and determined the temperature was ok and she left. But she came back. This time she wanted candy. I went through the list of the candy in the fridge. Again, we don’t have a large selection….Starbursts, plain M&M’s and Hersheys with Almonds. When I mentioned Starbursts she got a look on her face and in a very serious hushed tone she said “have they told you about the Starbursts”. I am not exaggerating about this at all – her tone was the same as someone leaning in and saying “Has anyone told you your dress is caught up in your underwear and you are wearing a thong”. She was dead serious about whatever she needed to tell me about the Starbursts. They expired in 2009. Good Grief – what am I supposed to do about it. I just said “oh sorry”. She asked for the M&M’s. Before she walked away from the window she rotated the package 3 or 4 times looking for the expiration date. I wanted to say “it’s chocolate not dairy”!

These baseball encounters seriously make my summers. I only wish Jay could’ve been there with me. He would’ve laughed. I don’t think the mother I was working with was a finely tuned to Concession Stand Sociology as he and I are.

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