Okay, let’s talk about that snack bar

Here in North County San Diego, there are certain standards for hosting a swim meet, standards based on the oldest rule in the Good Book:

The Book of the Swim Meet, Chapter 1, Verse 1:

Thou shalt shew an excellent snack bar unto thy guests, otherwise thou wilt be known as “Losers” all the days of the swim calendar, and no one wilt ever cometh to thy meets again.

As you can imagine, running a snack bar is therefore considered to be a really important job. So why’d they pick someone like me to run it? I mean, I barely know what I’m making each night for dinner, much less what I should sell at a snack bar for a whole weekend.

And writing up menus and shopping lists is just the beginning! Snack bar managers have to make all sorts of important decisions that determine the success or failure of a food concession—important decisions I found difficult to make without several outside opinions…

BONNIE: On one hand, those mini Pringles cans sell really well. They may cost more, but then we can charge more. On the other hand, the little chip bags are cheaper and there’s less waste in the landfill. And there are more flavors, too, especially if we get those big variety packs.

GROCERY CHECKOUT CLERK: So… um… was that paper or plastic?

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a total snack bar loser. I was just majorly stressed about the other half of the job I’d been recruited to do: a job called “Hospitality”.

The Book of the Swim Meet, Chapter 1, Verse 3:

Thou shalt provideth Hospitality for all thy coaches and volunteer officials for lo, they must stand in the sun all day. And Hospitality shall include nice breakfasts, lunches and dinners for them so none may say, “Nay, let’s not go there, they only ever giveth us burgers and dogs.”

Since burgers and dogs aren’t an option, and since we don’t have a kitchen at our pool, the team moms who did the snack bar before me always got all sorts of donated restaurant meals for Hospitality.

Even those ultra-busy moms, the ones who had full time jobs, five kids, sparkling clean homes, successful small business startups and several published novels under their belts… THEY always managed to get PLENTY of donated meals.

I was never one of those moms.

BONNIE: And your generous donation to our non-profit booster club— (fumbles with a folder) … uh… will allow us to spend our limited cash reserves on financial aid, sports equipment, and airfare to travel mee— (drops several papers) Oops! Sorry! Where was I?

RESTAURANT MANAGER: About to purchase three giant lasagnas?

BONNIE: Oh, yeah! Thanks! Where do I sign?

But wait, there’s more!

I not only had to buy meals for coaches and officials, I had to guess how many might show up, based on previous meets—because snack bar leaders just don’t know how many coaches and officials are going to show up until, oh, perhaps the day before the meet.

RESTAURANT MANAGER: You did say three lasagnas, didn’t you?

BONNIE: Yeah, but maybe I should get SIX, just in case. Uh, no! Make that THREE, because it’s probably best to have too little than too much. Yeah, THREE. No, wait! Let’s go with FOUR! No! FIVE!

This is why my snack bar will probably be known forever as “The Most Expensive Snack Bar Our Team Ever Had.” Actually, there are several more titles that would accurately describe my snack bar, including:

  • “The Snack Bar That Never Had Any Brewed Coffee So We Had to Walk to Starbucks”
  • “The Snack Bar That Advertised Nachos But Lied,” and my personal favorite,
  • “The Snack Bar That Served Four Giant Lasagnas Just as the Swim Meet Closed Two Hours Earlier Than Scheduled”

The Book of the Swim Meet, Chapter 1, Verse 6:

Thou shalt not ever thinketh of getting thee hence to hide out in Mexico, either, because swim team board members haveth ways of tracking thee down.

11 Replies to “Okay, let’s talk about that snack bar”

  1. Oh Bonnie, Im sure it wasnt that bad šŸ™‚ Congratulations on surviving it! I can’t get over you moms make extra special meals for the coaches and officials, up here in the Central Valley they get what were feeding the kids which is most often some poor dad BBQing tri-tip….

  2. Bonnie! You coy little lady, you! You’ve hit on the secret to avoiding these things: Suck really bad at it!

    Next year, they’ll just stick you on a telephone tree or something.

  3. Now, Laurie, that would be the sensible thing to do, wouldn’t it? Just serve the coaches and officials what we’re selling at the snack bar, right? Burgers and dogs! (Or in your case, tri tip, and boy, does that sound good!)

    But when they told me I needed something a little more upscale for Hospitality, yowza. I couldn’t breathe normally for a couple of hours after that.

    M.G., from your mouth to God’s ears! It should be obvious that I’ve reached my level of incompetence. I’m a good little soldier, but I suck as a general.

  4. Wow…..

    Eeks. Glad it’s over for you.

    It sounds like a nightmare of grand proportions.

    I can just handle painting a room with four colours. Snack bar would be total chaos.

    Oops, I hear that pesky chaos god laughing again. šŸ˜€

  5. Wow…a tough crowd. Perhaps tougher than some tennis ladies I know. Cheer up – maybe they won’t ask you to do it again.

    Very amusing chica. Thanks for the smile to start my weekend.

  6. WOW… Glad you got through it! I’m sure you did a great job. Who wants coffee at a swim meet anyway? It just seems so…un-summer-y.

  7. There should be a union for volunteers, honest.
    “Bonnie, would you…?”
    “Sorry, already done a Home and School fun fair, two scout outings, 5 soccer trips,3 Church teas, costumes for the School Play, and collected for the Cancer Society, the Heart-and-Stroke, and the Choir.Oh, and did the Dog Walk for the Humane Society. Over my hours allotment already…”

  8. The Snack Bar That Advertised Nachos But Lied…Mmmwhahahahahahaha!

    Thank you for teaching me to NEVER show my face at a swim meet…get spy cameras and do a recon mission before stepping near the bleachers. Then you must wear the big hat and dark glasses and if anyone speaks to you, pretend you are a foreigner. “You mean dis ist naught Burger the King?”

  9. Now you can understand the wisdom of the Apocryphal book of The Swim Meet Snack Bar (which you obviously did not read before accepting your mission impossible): “And if thou contemplatest accepting the position of snack hostess from the Swim Pharisees, thou shouldst surely throw thyself on thine Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch and blow thineself to little bits, thus sparing thineself from the greater pain of being snack hostess.”

  10. Yes, of course! The Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch! ‘Tis one of the sacred relics Brother Maynard carries with him! Brother Maynard! Bring up the Holy Hand Grenade!

    I knew Mimi and Dave had great taste in movies.

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