Monday, August 2, 2010

The Waterboy

After 20 years of selling nothing but Bud or Miller at Twins games, the summer outdoor atmosphere of Target Field has presented a couple of opportunities to vend a different product. On the warmest and sunniest of day games, nothing sells better than Ice Cold Water. Bottled Aquafina.

Beer just doesn’t sell well to fans sitting in the sun and 95 degree heat. Fans cannot actually continue drinking beer at a partying pace when it is that hot. Water outsells beer at those games.

I have passed on the beer ticket and sold H2O twice so far this year, and it has worked out better than selling beer. Besides, it is so easy to sell bottled water.

No ID’s needed.
No caps to remove.
No cutting people off if they have had too many.

I just break the seal on the cap and hand it out. I can sell to 7 year olds and 70 year olds. It’s almost as refreshing to sell, as it must be for fans to drink.

Vending is all about marketing. With beer, the chant from most vendors is, “Beer Here!” Simple and to the point. People want "beer", and “here” is where they get it.

With water, I have discovered a new phrase… I present this thought in fans’ minds that they “need” to drink water. The sun is heating them up, they are thirsty and slightly uncomfortable, and everyone knows that water is what you need to survive. I will walk down an aisle and almost make a plea for people to pay attention.

“Who NEEDS Water?? Who is thirsty??”

I add almost this desperate tone on the word “needs”. It puts this thought in fans minds, that I might be right and they may not survive 9 innings without the water I am selling. I never even mention Aquafina because it really isn’t important. I could be selling Minneapolis city water and it would make no difference, because... People NEED it.

I see hands go up, and it becomes infectious. People actually say to me when purchasing, “Yeah, we need water here”, sounding almost grateful for the opportunity to hand over $4 for a bottle.

Sure, I get grief from a lot of my regulars about selling water, but even they will buy one when they get too hot.

So don’t be surprised if you see me selling water at games on those hot days. After all, I am just trying to distribute the thirst quenching liquid that people need the most at that particular game. Some days it is beer, and some days it is water.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

3-Game Homestand

This weekend has been odd at Target Field. Usually MLB likes to schedule more than 1 series for a team on the road or at home. Six or seven-game homestands are typical. Saves on travel expenses. This year we actually have six 9-game homestands. Those get long.

Spanning over a week, these can really disrupt a schedule. Most vendors have regular jobs, so it is usually 8 hours at that during the week & then come in to Target Field for another 3-5 hours. Then, you really don’t get a weekend to enjoy either. There is a game right in the middle of Sunday, and both Friday and Saturday evenings are shot.

Every once in a while, there is a 12+ game homestand where the Twins have 4 series with different teams before going on the road, but it is becoming more rare. We all were sitting around reminiscing (at the bar after a game, of course) about the longest homestand anyone can remember, and it was either a 14 or 15-game marathon back in the early 90’s at Metrodome. Over 2 weeks of games. There was a big party at the end of that one.

This weekend has been a breeze - a 3-game homestand.

Couldn’t happen at a better time. The Twins play 17 of 20 games on the road with this little series dotted right in the middle. During the best days of summer, too. A little bit of “freedom” to actually get to enjoy July and August.

Couldn’t happen to a better team, too. Seattle. Typically, the Mariners are not a great draw. Not like the Yankees, Red Sox, or any Central team. Seattle is probably in the bottom 3 or 4 teams in the AL for bringing in a good beer-drinking crowd.

At least some of the regular fans probably looked at the schedule and thought, “The Twins are out of town for 2 weeks except for these 3 games with Seattle… We better go.” Made for a surprisingly good little homestand this weekend.

Now for another 10 days off. I’ll take it.