I’m doing a lot of things that I am not qualified to do… or good at… or have any background in…  or being paid to do…

since wedding the farmer some 16 years ago I have been on a learning curve of small town life and attempting to do things I have no training or skill in…  of course, getting married at the age of 20 doesn’t allow for a lot of years to become skilled at much…

for instance, I’ve coached volleyball, basketball, baseball, badminton and hockey… and I only ever played two of those sports…  and it apparently makes kids uncomfortable when you call the ‘birdie’ a ‘shuttlecock’…

I taught play school and diagnosed kids with learning disabilities…  again, with no qualification what-so-ever…

I drove large farm machinery… well, only once and then I was not allowed to ever again… this is something you actually need some past experience in I’ve found…

from farm books to planting a garden to keeping small children alive, it is all a process of mistake after mistake before any form of success…

this past weekend, I was in the booth at the local rink…  where I had to deal with frozen pipes, leaking roof, missing paper towel, hood fan not working and a finicky hot chocolate machine… but the worst thing of all to deal with…  bad booth customers…

just a few notes when you go to a small town rink and order something from their booth…

  1. they aren’t being paid to work in there… in fact, they are most likely having to miss watching their child play hockey in order to make your taco salad and mocha…
  2. there are no healthy options at a rink booth… so if you made a New Year’s resolution please pack your carrot sticks with you and bring them along…
  3. they are not making money off of the booth, so complaining to them about prices or trying to barter with them is pointless…  they are not in control of it or in a position to give you a deal…
  4. ‘the customer is always right’ does not apply in this situation… ‘the volunteer cook’ is always right is a better slogan…  just take what they give you, when they give it to you, and be on your way…
  5. if you just freaked out on the lady working in the booth about the tournament schedule you knew about before coming… and then walk in to the back before the booth is opened because you need a coffee…  don’t expect her to serve you coffee…  and if she does serve you coffee… understand that she spit in it…
  6. finally… if the booth is out of supplies, do not act like it is the end of the world or that you are close to starving…  the supplies are ordered and stocked by a group of volunteer women and they all have lives and jobs and are doing their best…

I was on hour seven in the booth yesterday when I had a few distraught moms come with a dilemma..  it was so cold out that their boys water bottles had frozen… they had put them in the bus storage and they had frozen…  so they were faced with buying 24 bottled waters from the booth…

the lady who took the lead for their mom posse was a bit of a spitfire…  and she started with ‘we are going to be spending a lot of money on your booth today and are wondering if you will give us this bottled water’…  

my thoughts were ‘I don’t care how much money you spend here… it doesn’t affect me at all… in fact if you don’t spend money here my job is a lot easier’  … I asked them  ‘so you don’t want to pay the $48?’ …  

‘no… we’ll pay… just wondering what kind of a deal you are going to give us?’

to which I said ‘we’re not in Mexico… we usually just charge people what the price is on the board and then they pay us that amount …  but I suppose we can give them to you for $40’

I did wonder if she thought she had gone back in time coming to such a small town rink that perhaps she had some pelts she wanted to trade for the water… but thought it best to not bring that up in case I was wrong…

she was unimpressed by this deal and said ‘that much still? I thought  you’d give us a better deal’

I asked her ‘what would you consider a good deal then?’  but she was done with our bargaining  and the moms opened up their wallets… each pooling a 5 dollar bill in until they had scrounged up the massive amount of $40 it would take to get water for their entitled, arrogant, poorly behaved 14 year old boys… who aren’t smart enough on the coldest day of the entire winter so far to keep their water bottles where it is warm…

every small town rink operates their booth a little differently but there is one constant …  it is all volunteers …  and they don’t want to be there any more than you want to spend $3 on a Powerade that your kid will drink a quarter of…

but here we are…

now be polite