Toting a heavy tray around your neck while yelling “Peanuts! Popcorn!” can’t be all that much fun. So why would a 47-year-old state worker spend his evenings and weekends doing just that?
You’ve already got a full-time job.
Why are you doing this? I love baseball. When I heard the River Cats were coming to town back in 2000, I was so excited. I thought, “Great, I can go see some ballgames if I get a job there taking tickets or being an usher.” But all they had available was concession stand worker or hawker. I didn’t want to work at the concession stand, so I figured I’d give this a try. This was back in 2001, their second season.
What’s it like?
It’s harder than it looks. You’re carrying a tray full of 15 to 20 drinks, 20 ounces apiece, and that kinda adds up after a while. You’re making change, and you’ve got people screaming at you left and right. The first time I did it, I thought, “This is way out of control.”
But you’ve been doing this for a decade, which suggests it got better.
At first, I didn’t have the knack for it. I carried my money [for making change] in my apron pockets, and kept having to kneel in the aisles to get my money straight. Then, one of the other vendors taught me how to hold my cash in my hand—how to organize it—so I wouldn’t have to dip into my apron all the time.
What kinds of food do you sell?
I generally carry one item per game. Lately, it’s cotton candy. Before that, it was the snow cones. And it’s not easy. A full pole of cotton candy weighs from 40 to 60 pounds, and the snow cones weigh 20 to 30 pounds. When you carry that up and down the stairs, you get a good workout.
Are you in better shape today than before you started the job?
Absolutely. I also run half-marathons, and in ’07 I had my personal best. I don’t even have to work out because I get such great exercise doing this job.
It must be pretty uncomfortable on a hot July day, though.
I was born in July. I love the heat.
Anything fun you like to yell to the crowd?
When I’m selling snow cones, I yell, “Get ’em while they’re hot.”
Would you do this in your next lifetime?
Absolutely. I love Raley Field, and the Sacramento crowd is fantastic.