I'm in charge of the Snack Shack for the boy's little league football team. Basically, it's a concession stand. We sell pop, chips, nachos, hot dogs, hamburgers, candy, walking tacos, hot chocolate, coffee, etc... It really is a shack that we sell out of. It is a building that is about 10X20 in size with no hot water and no heat. Because of all of the small appliances plugged into the electrical system of this ramshackle shack, the breakers often trip rendering us without power for a moment. The ground all around the shack is mud so the floor of the shack is covered in mud. The turkey boiling pot that we use to cook the hot dogs in malfunctions and requires that in order to light it you must burn off all of the hair on your hands and arms in the process. In addition to the primitive conditions that I must work with, not many parents sign up to assist me in the process. There are four games on game day. I arrive 2 hours before the first game to set up and make hot chocolate and coffee. I work through all 4 games-that's 8 hours. Then I stay to clean up after for another 2-3 hours. For those of you adding up the time it's 12-13 hours. It's a really long day. To have not much help makes it even longer.
I have been working hard on this job for several months. It's really a hard job. It takes a lot of coordinating of the food, buying the food, cooking the food and selling the food. Seriously, it is the hardest volunteer job I've ever done and I've done some hard volunteer jobs. There are four home games and so far we've had two of them. During one game, one of the water valves of the coolers was open and water from the melting ice was all over the floor. It was like a slippery mud pit all day long. Turned out the valve was broken. We removed the cooler and things got better. The second game was even better because it was raining almost the whole day. The floor was muddy and slippery again. I have not seen my boys play a minute of football this season yet because of my responsibilities in the Shack.
You know, I really don't mind doing it. I like to help out. I like to feel like I am making a contribution. I was voted onto the Steeler board of directors this week. At the meeting, several comments were made about how the Shack is under budget and is making money this year. I left feeling pretty good about the job I'm doing. You know pride goeth before a fall though...
I got a phone call yesterday from someone who let me know that she has been inundated with complaints about the Snack Shack. The hot chocolate is not good, we serve too much variety of food, the Shack isn't clean enough, the homemade baked goods weren't wrapped up, service isn't fast enough, hamburgers weren't hot enough... She suggested we overhaul the entire system. As she was talking I was feeling so angry and embarrassed and angry and disappointed and angry. Did I mention angry?
First of all, its not the Ritz Carlton...it's the Snack Shack. Emphasis on the Shack. We wear gloves and do everything we can to keep it clean but give me a break, what do you expect?? Second of all, why don't you help out instead of running your mouth in complaints? There is nothing I hate more than a bunch a complainers who haven't lifted a finger to help the situation.
Third of all, do you know how hard it is to be cooking hamburgers on the grill, hotdogs in a boiling pan, nachos and walking tacos in crockpots and keep it all piping hot? It's not easy, let me tell you.
My first Blair Ballard inclination is to not open the Snack Shack on Saturday. Just leave it closed and let them fend for themselves. Bun 'em.
But I'm not going to do that. I'm going to open it and do my best for another week and then another week. I'm going to do a good job and feel good about it and try to let the complaints roll off my back. But it really won't be easy for me. I have really thin skin. I wish we all had to walk a mile in each other's shoes before we could complain about each other.
On the road again
21 hours ago