[personal profile] tammylc
So as I said, Friday night I mostly spent feeling like I was running behind. Saturday morning I woke up early (of course), but at least that gave me time to catch up. I reorganized all of the food storage so that things made sense and it was easier to see what we actually had, then started developing restocking lists. I went to Meijer to pick up the things I needed there, and meanwhile, [livejournal.com profile] dlacey started counting soda, figuring out how much we'd used so we'd know how much more to buy. Then it was off for another trip to Costco, where we only filled one flatbed and one shopping cart, and were able to load everything into Matt's full size rental car.

Late in the afternoon I realized that I forgot to buy foam cups at Costco, and we are nearly out. So off to Mejier I go, with Erik V. Olson in tow. We picked up a bunch of different things, including more wine for Saturday night. We went through 8 bottles on Friday, so we bought 4 more assuming consumption would be the same on Saturday night. And ended up running out of wine at 11! Oh well. We also bought two hot rotisserie chickens, to bring back to the consuite as a special treat. As you'd expect, they were a big hit.

We did a bunch of things like that throughout the weekend. One of the reasons I think people liked this year's consuite so much was that we had a lot of variety. When looking at shopping lists from previous years, I could see that they'd spent about the same amount of money, but only on a few things. So they had carrots and broccoli for veggie trays, where we had carrots, broccoli, snap peas, cucumber, peppers, and grape tomatoes. Mostly budget neutral, but much more interesting. I bought a 3 lb package of pre-made guacamole from Costco, and we doled that out Saturday afternoon. Instead of buying a big jug of mediocre salsa from Costco, I spent more money on that line item and bought 7 or 8 different varieties of salsa in the regular size from Meijer. At any given time we'd have 4 or 5 available to choose from - extra spicy, green, black bean and corn, etc. Tortilla chips are cheap to buy, so you want people to eat them instead of the more expensive options, and this gave them a reason to do so. And was one of the main ways that I tried to add some "Tammy style" to the offerings. I did the same thing with mustard, having 6 or 7 different options there too.

I got comments from folks that they liked that there was always something different when they went into the consuite. Sure, you might be bummed that you missed the chicken, but you were there when the leftover shrimp ring came up from Green Room. Etc. I bought two big rounds of brie, and put quarters of those out periodically throughout the weekend. We cubed up the other varieties of block cheese that we bought, and I found that it didn't go as well that way, so next time I would keep those in bigger pieces and let people cut their own.

In the mornings, we had cereal, bagels, danishes, muffins, granola bars, poptarts, juice, etc. We ran out of milk for cereal on Sunday, and I ended up paying the hotel $12 to buy 10 little 8 oz containers of milk. Around 11 we'd put the breakfast foods away, and start putting other things out. At noon and midnight each day we put out lunch meat and cheese for sandwich fixings. And we kept out peanut butter, jelly and marshmallow fluff for sandwich making any time of night or day. At Diane's suggestion, we also had soup. The Cream of Broccoli that we put out on Friday got mostly ignored, so thought the soup idea was a failure, but the tomato soup on Saturday was much more popular. For fruit we had apples and bananas and clementines and oranges, and kept out a variety at all times. Veggie trays were another constant feature - no coming into the consuite and only having junk food to choose from. Things like cheese and hardboiled eggs and such came out every hour or so. We had a big 5 lb jar of animal crackers that got completely devoured by Saturday night, lots of Oreos, some Milanos, two bite brownies and some quickbreads. That was another example of buying a small amount of something, but having it go a long way - I bought one package of three quickbread loaves (banana, poppyseed, something else). Once on Friday night and twice on Saturday, we'd cut up a loaf, put it on a tray with some of the brownies, and we had our special thing for that hour. We had M&Ms, Mike & Ikes, and Skittles (it's important that candy choices not be individually wrapped, like Hershey's Kisses or Reeses - they make too much mess).

I ended up having to make one last shopping run to Costco on Saturday afternoon, when we realized that our soda buying quantities from the morning had been too low, and we were definitely going to run out if we didn't get to the store. Don't know what happened to all of our Diet Coke drinkers - they drank 5 cases of soda Friday night to Saturday morning, and maybe only another 5 all day Saturday to Sunday morning. But Paul bought up all the extra flats, so that was okay. As I thought, soda buying was my real challenge for the weekend - with almost no numbers to go from, I really had no idea. Now I've got the big spreadsheet, so it'll be much easier for other people in the future. I pegged the water nearly exactly - we bought 20 cases (of 35) to start, then 5 more cases on Saturday morning, which was a little too much, so we ended up with 3 cases leftover. So much for all the people that were looking at me like I was crazy when I talked about buying that much water!

Saturday night was pretty relaxing for me. I'd finally gotten things organized, and all the shopping was done, so I was free to enjoy myself. I went down to the masquerade, visited some room parties, and hung out with Eric for a little while. But mostly I was still bopping around the consuite, keeping things clean and tidy and stocked. Which leads me to staffing. In terms of staffing, I had a shift supervisor scheduled in four hour blocks for every hour of the day. On top of that, we had requested a volunteer for each hour (although we didn't always get one, particularly on Saturday night and Sunday). From 7pm to 3 am on Friday and Saturday, we had a bartender staffing the kegs and wine. On top of all those people were Diane and myself, who spent nearly all of our waking hours in the consuite. While we did occasionally trip over ourselves, for the most part, I found that having that many people was also a big asset in keeping things running smoothly and keeping things clean and stocked.

Date: 2006-01-26 06:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] marahsk.livejournal.com
Soup is a good idea. Cream of broccoli soup is, well, questionable. Many people dislike broccoli.

Date: 2006-01-26 06:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dlacey.livejournal.com
True enough. Also the soup itself had gone a little funny-looking after a while which, due to my middle-aged eyes and the lighting in that part of the consuite, I failed to pick up on.

Date: 2006-01-26 06:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] marahsk.livejournal.com
I didn't get that far. My internal "Oooh, soup!" turned into "Oh. Cream of broccoli. Nevermind."

Date: 2006-01-29 03:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] avt-tor.livejournal.com
Ha. She says broccoli, but the truth is it's the cream she doesn't like in cream of broccoli.

Date: 2006-01-29 05:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] marahsk.livejournal.com
True. Not that I like broccoli, but it was more the "cream of."

Date: 2006-01-26 06:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thatguychuck.livejournal.com
For all that I love ConSuite, I was really surprised at how little I was there this weekend. Then again, I attended lots of programming, which was new for me.

Every time I went into the ConSuite I really enjoyed it. You run a good show, Tammy. :)

Can you paste what's written above into a .txt file and upload it to the ConFusion files area? It's really good info and I'd hate for it to be lost over time.

Thanks for running the ConSuite!

Date: 2006-01-26 07:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tammylc.livejournal.com
I'm planning to write up a shorter and more concise version of what I'm writing here to upload to the ConFusion files area, have no fear. Part of why I've been unloading it all into LJ as quickly as possible, so I don't forget anything.

Thanks for the compliment.

Date: 2006-01-26 07:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jeffreyab.livejournal.com
Soup was a good idea maybe more tradional types like vegetable or chicken noodle?

Date: 2006-01-26 08:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tlatoani.livejournal.com
They did have chicken noodle, and it looks like it went fast.

Cream of broccoli really is a traditional soup type (at least in the States), by the way.

Date: 2006-01-26 10:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jeffreyab.livejournal.com
Up here it must be replaced by split pea soup, I had never heard of it before.

Date: 2006-01-27 12:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shekkara.livejournal.com
Yes. And I'm quite fond of it, but I avoid it these days because of the cheese content. Though I do agree with others that "cream" soups can look rather unappetizing when they sit out for long periods on buffets. That skin that they can develop is a turn off.

Date: 2006-01-26 09:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] malawry.livejournal.com
I don't know why all these people are hating on the cream of broccoli soup. Cream of broccoli spiked with cheddar cheese was probably the single most popular soup I made for the sorority when I cheffed there. The only problem with any green vegetable soup is that it starts to look faded and olive-drab after a while of sitting out. It still tastes fine but it doesn't look as appealing. Anyway I give you props for your soup choices and I would have eaten the cream of broc. And asked for more. :)

Date: 2006-01-26 09:17 pm (UTC)
elizilla: (Default)
From: [personal profile] elizilla
I think cream soups are a little scary in that environment, even if they aren't broccoli. If they're untouched for too long, they get yellow around the edges, which is scary, and if they're stirred infrequently they get lumpy, which is also scary. No one wants to risk eating a soup that may have gone off, not at a con.

Date: 2006-01-27 12:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] peteralway.livejournal.com
Oh, and you didn't mention the cashews. Mmmm...cashews.

Date: 2006-01-27 01:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tnatj.livejournal.com
I must say that brocolli is not my favorite vegetable. Stick with tomato soup, or something with carrots, peas, onions and potatos.

I found myself drinking more water at this year's convention, rather than diet whatever. Perhaps because it was available and prominently displayed?

Date: 2006-01-30 06:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brendand.livejournal.com
I just have to put my two cents in about the Cream of Broccoli. I would have eaten it, had I known it was there. I love cream of Broccoli, and would NEVER have split pea soup. Ewwww!

Also, there wasn't a door guard at any point in time that I saw. Granted, most people know me, and know that I am a con person, and I don't know that many people were ghosting, but I suspect there were some people ghosting.

Date: 2006-01-30 12:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tammylc.livejournal.com
There wasn't a formal door guard, but whoever was on staff was largely stationed at the front door, checking badges casually rather than formally as people came in.

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