Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Sean's TURN....

What a difference four weeks makes. As you know, we are back in the DFW area. Back in the land of traffic and heat, but with those we get hair cuts, eyebrow threading, and pedicures. Trying to get Marian to try them, too.


We are enjoying watching Meg play ball. They are having a challenging season with glimpses of volleyball on occasion.  Meg has had some success when they can get the ball to her. Fun, but sad, knowing after all these years of watching our kids play sports, that chapter of our life is over. Still have the grandkids though.


Upon our return to Arlington, we learned a vendor for ATT Stadium was conducting orientations for new staff. For those who are asking, ATT Stadium is the “house that Jerry built” and home of the Dallas Cowboys; and Jerry is Jerry Jones, Owner of the Dallas Cowboys; a struggling billionaire.


As part of our nomadic work experiences I had always thought it would be interesting to work at a large venue to experience the carnival atmosphere, without being one of those being led to the fleecing. Did I mention the ATT stadium is one of the most expensive stadiums to view an NFL game?


Knowing enough about sports fans, we knew that alcohol was the key to making a few nickels at these events. Bad news is that we had to pay our dues selling snack and sodas for two weeks, prior to be gifted with the opportunity to move to alcohol. We stuck it out and sold sodas, popcorn and cotton candy. Didn’t make much, but got the lay of the land.


This past weekend I got called up to “the show”. Yes that’s right, beer vendor! Well actually there is an asterisk. There were two games this weekend. Saturday was a college game featuring Texas A&M vs Arkansas, with Sundays game being New Orleans Saints against the Cowboys. So I got a warm up game with the college crowd. Although it sounds like a moneymaking opportunity, most college students are not old enough to drink – legally. The alumni were mostly too old to drink, or smart enough not to do it at $8.50 per beer.  So while there was money made, it was not what I expected. 


So did I quit? NO, I did not. I know what deviants are out there and my faith was not misplaced come Sunday! Marian joined me this time; she was working at Costco the previous day. To demonstrate our strong family bond and values, our daughter Meghan, and her friend Abby joined us. In fact they have been vending longer than us and have been successful. Never would have thought people would by $16 margaritas from pretty girls. 


To set the stage fully, I need to explain some of the ground rules. There is a dress code and a uniform. A sporty collared black golf type shirt with “VENDOR” stenciled on the back. As such I was unable to utilize cleavage to sell the suds. Raising three kids and working in prisons has enabled me to project my voice, i.e., yell; which is a good trait to possess when trying to get my point across to thousands of folks seeking rehydration. BEER HERE. GOT YOUR COLD BEER. You get the picture. I have also found that my gift for perspiring at any time has been somewhat an advantage. When traipsing up and down the isles with a “sweat ball” (acknowledgement to SNL’sRosanne Rosannadanna) not just on the end of my nose, but everywhere; think that’s also referred to as glowing, people don’t wait for their change. Think they want me to go have my heart attack in another section.


The girls were all assigned to the same room while I was assigned to another. Rooms are the bases where you get resupplied to nourish the parched sports fans. Upon arrival,all the beer vendors draw to see who is assigned to a beer cart. A cart is much larger and can accommodate cases and cases of tasty beer, and water if your taste runs that way. Did I mention the cart has wheels? Yes that’s right. Although it is delightful to tote cases of beer in a tub with a strap around your neck, it is a little bit of a workout. How do I know so much about carts? Because I was luck enough to get one. First day in the “bigs” and I’m the starting lineup. 


Like everything else, nothing is as easy as it looks. Although I had plenty of supply, you always need more. Now the strategy comes in. After your initial stock, you have to buy all new supplies with the money you make, so you have to have enough. You also have to make sure you have lots of small bills. You will see plenty of big bills, and unbelievably some people want change after an $8.50 beer, including the two quarters. It’s all management that comes with time.


Some legalities to be considered when hawking suds. Age, sobriety, and how many hands they have? Can sell two drinks at one time, one per hand. There are state alcohol agents on site, so correspondingly ATT has their own team watching us. I was praised by a 20 something year old for carding a group of beer buyers. Of course she doesn’t know if they really were of age, just knows I looked….


We are paid a commission per unit. More pay with a tub than a cart, but more volume with a cart. My limited experience is that we make as much with tips as we will on commission. Liquor sales must end at the end of the third quarter. The trick then becomes selling to every poor schmuck who can’t possibly make it through the last 15 minutes without a Miller Lite, while making sure you aren’t last to your room, where you return unused product and settle up. Be last and you’re there an extra hour. An extra hour puts you still at the stadium at the end of the game and 100,000 people all driving where you want to go. Not good.


Again, you don’t know what you don’t know. So won’t make that mistake again. The girls all did well although I never saw them once. Marian was the top earner among the three of them, validating my previous theory. I certainly made enough to make me want to come back next week. Figure almost $600 for the two days. We enjoyed the financial boost, but the dynamics of 100,000 attendees, all with varying motivation for being there make for good story telling, too. As a matter of fact, we are already registered for this Sunday’s games. So if you’re in the area next week, stop by and have a beer, just buy it from me, the sweaty, loud guy.

    Ready to go serve some thirsy fans!

    A thirsty fan.....

A few other funny photos from our time here in Arlington......

    A neighboring pooch who has an ac unit attached to his dog house. Nice!

   In front a house where we walk. Everything is bigger in Texas!

    Go Meghan!

    Cute photo April sent me of Cory, the pet whisperer!