Tired Of Nutrition And Budget Concerns? Maybe It’s Time For A Ball Game.

Aug. 3, 2010
Tired of hearing about health and nutrition?Tired of being told consumers dont want to spend money in a recession?Its my job to write about it, so dont be afraid to tell me about it. But, like you, I get tired of hearing about it. So last week I took some time off. I went to a ball game.Living in Cleveland doesnt offer many chances to get away from the hard realities of life. This is a tough place. Its seen better days. A lot of people are out of work and those lucky enough to be working are worried about paying the bills and keeping out of trouble.But it doesnt mean we dont have fun. Even living in the home of the worlds lousiest sports teams, we get out and have fun.So last week, I went to see the Indians take on the New York Yankees. The night before, the Tribe had actually won the second game in the series, which at that point was tied at 1-1.No sooner did I make it past the entrance gate than I was immersed in the thick aroma of steamed hot dogs, simmering chili and greasy French fries. All around me, people were scurrying about with tubs of nachos and cheese, popcorn, soda and beer.It didnt take long to get in the spirit of things. My wife and I decided to forgo our diets for the evening and headed for the concession stands.Two kielbasa sandwiches (not large size, mind you) with sauerkraut cost $12.00. A tub of popcorn was $4.50. A bottle of water, $3.75.No sooner were we seated when a trio of life-size Heinz branded condiment easy-squeeze bottles (ketchup, mustard and relish) tapped us from behind to shake our greasy hands before traipsing off to greet other fans.All through the game, uniformed concessionaires called out their wares: Ice cream! Cold beer! Soda pop! Popcorn! Hot dogs!Fans, mouths watering, readily splurged on these unbelievably overpriced items.No doubt, the decadent concession fare provided a badly needed respite for an 8-0 shutout at the hands of the hated Yankees. By the third inning, the only thing keeping many of us in our seats was seeing if our Tribe would deny Alex Rodriguez his 600th career home run.Hot dogs. Polish boys. Cheeseburgers. French fries. Soda. Everything about the experience flew in the face of what our medical and government leaders are telling us about the choices we should be making.When its time to let loose, nothing can stop us.Which raises the second point: what about the high cost of these indulgences?A ball game is an entertainment experience, so our normal budget concerns take a holiday.A day away from the grind helps put things in perspective.As refreshment service professionals, we need to recognize consumers concerns about wellness. And we need to offer them good value for their money.But if we can make their day at the office feel more like a day at the stadium, were more likely to make them happy doing business with us.And Alex Rodriguez did leave Cleveland without hitting his 600th home run.