Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Turns Out, Alcohol DOES Mix With Children

I work with children.  Hundreds of them.  (Okay, about a hundred of them.  Whatevs.)  I also work with 20ish ladies who work their asses off to care for these children each and every day.

A little back story-about 5 years ago, I was asked to bid to take over a child care center, and purchase it from the founder-she was sucking, people were pissed, the usual.  I bid, got it, and took over with the intent to turn it around as quickly as possible. 
One of the interesting details of the business is, it is located inside a State building, and I am sort of a subcontractor.  It's part of a program to provide child care to State workers in a downtown area where rents are really high, in a field where profits are very low.

Looking at the almost insurmountable odds and hellishly long hours, I looked into the mirror and saw a massive overachiever and I said, "Why the hell not?" and jumped in with both feet, dragging just about every able body I know with me.

We are now in our 5th year, and we have a huge fundraiser each year.  It's a Spaghetti Feed, with silent auctions and raffle prizes.  Each year gets a little better (not the food, the fundraising.  It's spaghetti, what do you expect?), but we have a finite number of potential attendees, and we are always trying to figure out ways to boost profits.

A couple years back, the concept of selling beer and wine came up at a Board meeting (the Board is the group of people that oversees my progress, and chose me to take over as owner).  Many of us were on board, but a good point came up:  It could be the best idea in the world, filled with numerous positives.  But it would only take one person to prove us wrong. The point was taken, and we shelved it.

It came up again, and again, and again, so we discussed it as a Board. We ping-ponged the idea around for months and months after getting liability insurance.  Then, a parent got a donation of the wine and beer last year.  Awesome-pure profit!

Then I found out you need a one-day event liquor license. From the police department.  For a child care center.

Which seems insurmountable enough.  Then add in the fact they wanted permission from the "building owner" before they could approve it.

How unlikely is it that the State of California will approve my plan to serve alcohol, on their property, to a group of parents of young children?  Before you say, "hmmm, 50/50?", please know that I cannot have a BBQ on site.  I can't have a fridge in a room with carpet.  Toasters are frowned upon, and popcorn has been outlawed.  Add to that I can't even attach a shade structure to the ground, OR the side of the building, to keep the children from frying to a crisp.

So, we gave up the plan last year.

Now, you may have noticed I am not shy.  Nor am I conservative.  I also err on the side of horrifically honest about everything, and the hilarious juxtaposition of human behavior. (That sounded pretty damn smart, right?) There is nothing in my brain that says beer and wine and kids don't mix.  I joke with parents about all sorts of inappropriate things.  My staff seem somewhat unsure about my mental stability, but they tolerate me like one might tolerate an exotic pet.  The point I am trying to make is, while I may think serving liquor at a school is a bang-up idea, I am well aware that my judgement is sketchy, at best.

But this year, one of the main planning-spearheading-delegating-overworking moms pushed and pushed until I said I would try.  (She's one of my favorites) Well, it didn't quite play out like that, but I kinda did want to see her drunk, so I thought, What the fuck.

I sent off an email to the "Building Manager" about a month before the event. 

Three weeks later, I got the response, "I don't see why not.  Good luck."

Holy shit. OMG. Wow.  And all that.

So, I tell everyone the good news, and trot the form over for the signature.

Almost immediately after, I got another email, this time from someone in the State that pretty much said, "Well, we better run it by Legal".  I deflated like a waterbed under a sack full of kittens.

About 75 emails later, mentions of "Right of Entry", "Private Security", "Liability Policy" and "Real Estate Legal Counsel", I FINALLY got the okay. I shit you not.

So it was off to some dude to sign the original in the 15 minute window of time he had, 5 days before the event.  With the understanding I still had to get the police department to think it was all a great idea, and then off to ABC, NOT within the "no more than 30, but no less than 10 days before the event".  Hummmpppfff.

Got my signatures, ran to the police department, and had to leave it for them, using the old, "sorry, I'm in a rush, and I know it's not your problem, but I had to wait several weeks for the State to approve it, you know how they can be", :::sweet smile, while still looking indebted, innocent, and worthy, all at the same time:::

24 hours later, I'm off the ABC.  Which took all of 15 minutes, thanks to an awesome dude name Quincy, who doesn't find anything odd about a child care center giving out alcohol.  Finally, someone who gets me. Mentally, I put him down as a potential second husband, in case Sky King perishes in some sort of industrial accident.

And, no one but me gets more than half the families, and ALL the staff at the center, because we sold LOTS of wine and beer tickets.  Lots.  As in, this-was-our-best-idea-yet,-even-better-than-selling-the-parents-their-kids'-own-art idea.

And today, I'm stuck to the couch, wishing my skin didn't ache.  But it was worth every pain-pill co-pay.


No comments:

Post a Comment