Both kids started their jobs at the city pools last Saturday when the pools opened.  Evan has been a lifeguard for a couple of years now and is an old hand at it.  He knows the politics of the pools.  Erin however, has never had a job.  She got a gig working the concession stand at the city pool and it’s been a rough transition.

They really threw her into the deep end of the pool so to speak since opening day is the busiest day besides the fourth of July weekend.  With no experience to speak of, she found it to be a very long day.  She staggered into the house that evening saying “Where’s the food!  I want food!”  When I asked her why she didn’t just eat a hotdog from her concession stand, she just made a disgusted sound and collapsed into a chair almost in tears from exhaustion.  They were both due back from work at different times so we hadn’t planned dinner; we quickly told everybody to get in the car and we headed for a restaurant.  On the way, she told us about life at the concession stand.

First, the nacho cheese warmer was on the fritz so they had to repeat that fact to about half of all the people who showed up at the window.  Next, her first attempt at making a snow cone resulted in spilling bright red syrup on her white pants right in the crotch.  So she was off to a rough start.

There was always a line apparently so there was never an opportunity to take a break; just a long continuous stream of people making demands.  One mother wanted to come in and use the microwave to warm up a jar of baby food.  The manager was summoned to arbitrate this one.  They learned that mothers of infants will take no crap from anybody and will not take no for an answer; a compromise was reached somehow.  Another woman brought back a hotdog and requested a new one without a bun.  Basically she wanted a new wiener because her son was allergic to bread.  Erin had no idea that anybody could be allergic to bread and I’m sure it showed in her face.  Actually several hotdogs were returned because they had been dropped and the customers wanted fresh ones.  Erin’s gut reaction is to say “Tough.  That’ll be another dollar!” but she consulted the manager again and they usually end up just doing what the customer wants to keep the peace.  Nobody wants any ugly letters to be written to the Broken Arrow Ledger to be read by dozens of people.

Then there was the fat guy who kept ordering hotdogs two at a time with no shirt.  Again, Erin’s thoughts were along this line:  “No.  You’ve had enough and it’s obvious to everyone.  Go swim.”  My pointing out that selling food was a high profit revenue stream to the city was brushed aside.  “He was gross Dad!”  I guess economic theory is of no concern to someone who is hot, tired, and hungry.  Something about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs probably applies.

It was a Bataan death march of snow cones, hotdogs, pretzels, candy bars, and making change.  Everybody brings a $20 bill of course because that’s what the ATMs spit out so there was always a lot of change to make.  At one point she had to clean the hotdog warmer which apparently has a tray underneath to catch the grease and the appearance of hotdog juice just about put her off her feed.  Then there were the kids that stood there in a haze of indecision about what they wanted after being told that there were no nachos.  Add to this the fact that if the hotdog warmer gets a bit too hot, the wieners sometimes split open and people will often return these; apparently viewing them as defective.  Erin’s method of dealing with these split wienies was to put them into the bun with the split side down thus hiding them.  This works 90% of the time.  The other 10% of sharp-eyed, splitwieniephobes, will return a half-eaten hotdog and demand a replacement. 

So her first day was, shall we say, well rounded.  She saw all there was to see about the pool concession business.  Every day after that has been slower and less hectic.  But the 4th of July is coming up.