On Sunday I had some fun doing a little experiment selling beer in Dolores Park in San Francisco CA.
I had this grand money making, hustling, capitalistic endeavor to provide tasty frosty beverages for the masses of SF, but spoiler alert, it did not go exactly as planned.
I did have a lot of fun and will share my experience for you to enjoy.
Or to not enjoy. and to go back and check Facebook now. Peace.
I should sell beer! This was my great plan as I was sitting on my porch at home drinking some sun brewed iced tea on quite possibly the hottest day that I have experienced in SF in the past year. Exaggeration, maybe, but look it is true:
So I gathered some ice, my ice chest and my bucket singing a great tune (“Mr. Bucket. Buckets of fun. I’m Mr. Bucket!”) and hurried myself over to smart and final, the smaller faster warehouse store down on Bayshore drive to procure packs of beer. The only reasonably priced (i.e cheap) cold beer in cans ( I wasn’t going to sell bottles) was Tecate. Modelo was cold and available, but too pricey for my cause. All other cans were warm.
“Is there a sale going on on beer?” Asked the curious lady in front of me at the checkout.
“No. I need these for a party.” Was my terse slightly dishonest reply.
Hurry up I thought. I got money to make, woman!
Then commenced a quick adrenaline packed and heart pounding rapid organization of beers into coolers, bags and buckets in the trunk of my car in the parking lot. Note for future reference. Do not use a hammer to break ice over already packed ice chest with beers. You will puncture the beer. As evidenced below.
“We lost one!”
Then I headed out to Dolores Park
I got a parking spot immediately with no effort on 20th at Dolores. Any closer I would be parking in the park. “what a great omen” I thought. Beers already ready to go, I sacked up and treaded down the hill to the populated part of the park as the upper part of the park (the portion on the hill, but physically south), was under construction for renovations. I should have realized that the park was under construction. That was another mistake in my haste, impulsive plan.
Also, the fact that is was about as much smoke in the air as the Golden Nugget Casino in Reno, NV due to nearby forest fires should have alerted me to the fact that they’re might not be a full crowd at Dolores that day.
“Beer Here!!!” “Hey, you want a beer?” “Get a beer here!” “Ice cold Beer.”
The rallying cry of a lost soul wandering Dolores with a home depot bucket and a Trader Joe’s bag full of Tecates looking like I just staggered my way from a drunken binge that had not stopped from the prior night.
“Are they free?” was the immediate response from one stoned group. No you bums, they’re for sale!
“Hey Man, want to donate a beer to the poor?” The response from two homeless dudes under a tent.
“Ok,” I said. “Here you go you can have two for free. May it bring me good karma!”
I got so many “No’s” that by the time that I received a “Sure”, I was genuinely surprised.
“Oh, ok, two dollars then” First customer down!
Next customer was a stoned guy under the shade of the tree.
“You have a deal on two beers?”
Oh you crafty guy! Ok, two beers for three dollars. Sold.
Next group overheard my special and I sold him two for three dollars.
Come back in fifteen minutes he said. I will get more. So I had Siri set the timer for 15 minutes and away I went. No more sales on that trek.
Most people I learned actually bring they’re own beers to the park. And no one wants to really drink Tecate. “Do you have anything else?” “Do you have any water?” “Anything better?” “Bud? Bud Light? “Corona?” “Can I have some ice?”
“No, only Tecate!” Buy it and Drink it! I am not running a charity organization here!
“Today is a wine day!” I heard enthusiastically from a gaggle of aged 20 something girls. Why aren’t you in the Marina? I though to myself?
With only my 5 beers sold and two given away plus the one wounded solider I parked my self on the slope on the concrete steps and contemplated my missteps. I still had over 30 beers in my possession along with my reserve stash still in the trunk of my car. These will never be sold at this rate!
Everyone that was now passing by got a yell: “hey you want a beer?”
One more Sale! To a guy with an Ike’s Sandwich
Timer goes off on my phone. Time to stroll back to my one customer request to return. “oh, hey man, No thanks I never finished the second one.”
“Beer?” One more sale.
“Hey man I was going to catch you earlier but you went the other way.” Glad I returned after all.
Oh, snap the park ranger is there!!!!
“Hey guys, I am going to hang out with you for a while ok?” I sit on my bucket for a few minutes like the guy beating the drums on the Powell street corner.
Park Ranger meanders off and I avoid him. Probably a sign to go.
Like blind kids playing little league who are subject to the mercy rule, I am demoralized by defeat and I quit. A real hustler would have stayed out there, but damn it was hot and I needed a water. Why wasn’t anyone selling water in the park???
Many Lessons were learned on this expedition.
The most obvious is that it is a ridiculous idea to sell beer in the park. There plenty of liquor stores in SF and even a Safeway grocery store within 5 blocks of Dolores Park! Plus most people actually bring their own beverages to the park. Wow. What a thought.
Water would have been a much better, safer (i.e slightly more legal) alternative to sell.
I lost money on my endeavor, but I did have fun. I saw some cute girls and for the readers with preferences for the same sex, gay guys (it is SF).
And I learned that people of SF are generally nice. Not one person was openly rude to me. I received plenty of “oh, No thank you”. Like it was a genuine surprise that I was there requesting that they buy beer.
Anyway, I will sell my excess inventory at a fire sale the first weekend of October at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. I’ll see you there. And you better be buying my beers!