I can’t remember if I had the scorekeeping job or the concession stand job first. Seems like they were, at times, intermingled. I do remember discovering that standing on my feet for several hours caused some intense pain in my ankles (multiple doctor visits, blood tests, MRI’s – no diagnosis; one doctor suggested gout, maybe). And sometimes “several hours” can happen without really noticing – like Sunday, for instance. I thought I spent an hour or so moving a couple of car loads of stuff into Alyssa’s new dorm room. Apparently, it was more than an hour – or maybe there was a lot of standing around and waiting associated with the actual moving (waiting in line to check-in, waiting for the hordes of other people moving in to get out of the way, waiting for Debbie and Alyssa to finish “decorating” and arranging the room, and so forth).
I learned a couple of other interesting things working in a concession stand, too. Some of them useful. Like when someone comes to the counter, it is apparently rude to say “What do you want?” – I learned this after the boss gave me the evil eye, and told me to ask them politely if I could help them. I also learned that if you drop a spoon into the 5-gallon bucket of popcorn oil, you should just let it go – diving in to grab it and getting oil up to your elbow is not only gross, but the boss seriously does not like you sticking your arm into the popcorn oil. Who knew? And if you drop a case of glass coke bottles off a hand truck (yes, they were big glass bottles then; we didn’t have a fountain), the boss might not make you pay for them, but you’ll wish he did (so he would shut up about “stupid kids”). And there is a lot of mopping associated with a case of broken coke bottles!!
I’ve continued my concession stand learning into adult-hood. In order to help raise money for Camp Smiley , I’ve worked at concession stands in Death Valley, and at our high school stadium. What a WORLD of difference. The high school is a lot like the city softball park – a bit disorganized, a bunch of stuff on the menu, and somewhat laid back. Death Valley concessions, on the other hand, is very hectic (especially during SEC games), VERY long (12 hours in the stand for a 3-4 hour game), limited menu (faster service), and a lot of fun. Working New Orleans Saints games at Death Valley following Hurricane Katrina was also different (besides selling beer in the stadium, adult crowds are quite different than college crowds). But that nagging ankle problem still hasn’t gone away, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to do it any more. Usually, my ankles would be sore for a day or two, and I’d limp around a bit. Last time I worked the concession stand, I could hardly walk the next day. And now, two days after what I thought was a simple dorm-room move-in turns out to be worse than I thought. Even good shoes aren’t helping right now. This could seriously hinder my chances for running in a marathon-sprint. Maybe I’ll have to get a pool instead, and hire some kid to keep it clean (so he, too, can have a summer job story to tell).
Whether I work another concession stand or not, I do know how to count change (a dying art), make a hot dog, pour a coke, and be polite when I need to. And, I know I do NOT like working the front counter. Just like the rest of my life, I generally prefer working in the background.