Nacho Cheese

For a couple of weeks now, Jakey’s been playing tee ball on the Rockhounds.  His best friend Stuart is on the Iron Pigs.  You’d think these were just apt names chosen for kindergartners, but in fact, these are actual names of minor league baseball teams.  This Saturday we’re up against the Lugnuts.

What I love about tee ball, besides the team names, is that there are frequent pile-ups in the infield when four or five fielders go for the ball.  And during our first game many of our batters took less than direct routes to first base.  Sometimes our players still go straight from third base to the dugout.  It’s easy to get distracted as you’re running to home plate.

What I probably like least about tee ball is Snack Shack Duty: my latest part time job.

So this past Saturday I reported to my first of four mandatory shifts.  I had no idea what to expect.  Was there training?  How would I know what costs what?  Do I have to work a cash register?  What if I was overwhelmed by impatient junk food eating baseball players and handfuls of change?

I got about five minutes of training from the lady on the shift before me: Blue Icees and Red Icees.  Tickets are worth $2.  Kids can get a drink and a pretzel or hot dog or an Icee but not both.  Don’t let them trick you.  I gleaned that umpires could have complimentary anything.  Stir the nacho cheese.  Punch cards are worth money.  Squirt water on pretzels, salt, nuke for 40 seconds.  Meal Deal.  Plastic glove.  Square for credit card purchases.  There are lots of little laminated signs posted… everywhere.

Then my Snack Shack shift buddy showed-up and fortunately, he’d done this before.  We spent two-and-a-half hours selling all manner of food-like items.  Little leaguers, grandparents, teenage Dodger fan hecklers, and an ex-flight attendant requested things like “blue Gatorade” and I would ask, “Light blue or dark blue?”  Light blue is Glacier Freeze and dark blue is Cascade Crash.  I found out Snack Shack food comes in colors not flavors.  It’s more like deodorant or shaving cream.

Corn nuts come in multiple colors.  Sunflower seeds, too.  Even Skittles and M&M’s come in three or four package colors.  We sold cheeseburgers and hotdogs and sausages.  We sold pretzels with varying amounts of requested salt.  We sold nachos with cheese and jalapeños, soda, water, chocolate milk, ice cream novelties, ring pops, bubble gum, Snickers bars, Fritos, Lay’s, and Cheetos.  At one point a kid ordered an “Airhead.”  Contrary to my first instinct, they came in different colors, and none of them were blond.

Every time I turned around, I found out we sold something else I didn’t know we had.

Pizza? Yep.
Chili?  Sure.
Cotton Candy?  Comes in a bag.
One little boy came up, looked me straight in the eye and ordered soup.  Soup?  Turns out we sell Cup ‘O Noodles.  He didn’t get our “No soup for you” Snack Shack employee joke.
Root beer floats?  Hold on a minute while I find an ice cream scoop.
Soft pretzels with nacho cheese?  That’s a thing?  Yessiree.

I also found out people believe that if you’re in the Snack Shack, you have power.

Dismiss the grill shift guy?  We decide.
Bathrooms are locked and need someone to complain to?  That’s what we’re here for.
Trash bags?  We’ve got ’em.

Colton from Jake’s class stared at me awestruck.  I’m sure there was a crown of light behind me as I handed him his bottled water.

The trade off is to work ten hours in the Snack Shack or to pay $250.  I forgot to mention you get one complimentary drink while you’re in the Snack Shack.  But I recommend saving it for later as the bathrooms are no longer open due to vandals— now there’s just one over-utilized port-a-potty.

By the end, I was a Snack Shack Pro.  Wheeling and dealing, punching cards, swiping credit cards, advising small gap-toothed children on how to maximize $2.  I bought three pouches of grape Big League Chew for the road.  I love me some Big League Chew.

Hold the nacho cheese.

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