Pop! Pow! Get Hopping!

I have had a few jobs in my life. One was actively unpleasant, but even so it was unpleasant only part of the time. One was fantastically uplifting, but I didn’t make any loot doing it (though I didn’t have a boss, either, so there’s that).

One of my jobs, across two locations, over the course of several years, however, was a great job. I was a concessionaire at movie theatres. It was a great job. My employer was clear about what I was supposed to do, and if I managed to do it, they gave me additional money for doing it well. And I didn’t even have to do it all that well to earn the bonus. Every time I did the part of the job I was expected to do, I earned a discrete amount of money in addition to my hourly wage.

That thing? Sell a certain size popcorn bucket. And here’s the thing about that. It was easy. I mean, really, really easy. At a movie theatre, at the concession stand, the person you are talking to (often referred to as the “customer,” but who we called “the guest”) actively wants you to sell them something. Almost all of them want at least some popcorn, and they’re in a good mood because they’re looking forward to enjoying the show. And what makes enjoying the show even more enjoyable? Indulging in popcorn! So most people want popcorn, and most of those people want more popcorn than that! It was perfect!

I was good at it. I could read if a customer really didn’t want popcorn, or more popcorn, and got really good at multiplying by $1.75, which was the price of most of the things we sold at that time. I could tell if a person was thinking about getting more popcorn, or gauge how many kids they have with them, and offer little paper bags. Anything, just about anything I could see or hear, could be turned to selling more popcorn.

At the end of most transactions everyone was happy, like, in the eight years I worked selling popcorn in movie theatres, I can think of about a half a dozen times the guest wasn’t happy with things by the end. But almost always, the guest was happy with more popcorn, I was happy with my bonus, and my employer was happy with the marginal gross profit that went along with selling more popcorn.

Something that goes along with selling popcorn is making popcorn. I made a lot of popcorn. I rarely saw a kernel actually pop. Not safe, and not efficient. But I like to imagine, now that I have seen this video, that I made this sort of thing happen millions of times in those years.

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