How hard could working in a snack bar be?
How hard could it be to sell a hot dog? That’s what I thought a few years back when a friend asked me if I wanted to work in the snack bar at an upcoming motorcycle race.
I said I’d be glad to help.
Did I say “glad”?
That was before I knew I was not gifted in that area. That was before I gained a new appreciation for people who work behind the counters of fast food restaurants.
The snack bar was not an actual building. More of a big wooden box. It had holes in it. A really big hole with a counter to serve people. A hole on the side so wind can come gushing in and blow things over. And a hole in the back for a door so unsuspecting volunteers like myself can step inside and make a fool of themselves for four hours.
It would go something like this. Carol was cooking and putting together the Aunt Janey’s Super Special Flat Track BBQ chicken sandwiches with garden fresh tomatoes and the dogs. Periodically she’d call out and tell me how many dogs she had done and ask me if I needed more.
I was supposed to keep her informed of pending orders; refill the tubs of ice with drinks when they ran low and hand out candy and food.
That would have worked fine if the people would have cooperated. But what they did was all gather in a group somewhere off to the side and then about 20 people would line up all at once at the window.
“What can I get for you?” I’d say.
“A Diet Coke, two hot dogs and, what do you want, Son? An ice tea? Do you have ice tea? Make that two ice teas, never mind the Diet Coke, and let’s have three hot dogs instead of two and what kind of candy did you want Son? They have--what kind of candy do you have? Oh, look over here, Son. All the wrappers on the menu board! What do you want Son?”
Son would say “Mmm, umm, I’m thinking . . . .”
“Hurry up Son, people are waiting, what kind of candy do you want? How about the chocolate? No, how about the Starbursts? Mmm-mmm Starbursts are good, do you want Starbursts?” Then back to me. “Okay we’ll have Starbursts with everything else.”
Everything else? I got so busy wondering what kind of candy the kid was going to pick and how long it would take him to pick it that I forgot about the rest of the order.
“What did you say you wanted?”
“Ice tea, two cans, three hot dogs.”
“Three hot dogs, Carol!” Oops. Forgot to replenish the tea in the ice tub. “I’m sorry, the tea isn’t cold, do you want something else?”
Well it got worse as the night went on. We ran out of chocolate candy; and we ran out of Starbursts and we ran out of hot dogs and hot dog buns.
Not only was I not very good in the food department, but I failed miserably in the information department too.
Along with all the food responsibilities I got asked all kinds of questions: How long has this track been here? Is there development slated for this area? How much longer do you think this track will be here? What kind of bikes are out on the track now? How much does it cost to race here? How long has this group been together that’s putting on the races? When is the next race? Where can I get a copy of a race schedule? What other places around here do they do these kinds of races? What year are the bikes that are out there running right now?
I had one pat answer: “I don’t know. Do you want a hot dog?”
To comfort myself all evening I silently practiced answering the question that I knew would come at the end of the night: “No, Carol, I don’t want to work in the snack bar again.”
Fortunately, everyone was patient. We didn’t hear one complaint. Unless you count the guy who came up, looked us over, looked the snack bar over and then smirked “So this is the snack bar?!”
Then came the inevitable question. “Do you want to work in the snack bar again at the next race?” Carol asked as we cleaned up.
I looked her straight in the eye and said, “Okay.” Ε