Last Friday was day number 1 of the 17-day journey that is the Great Indiana State Fair. I started off bright and early at 5:30 AM. Brian, whom I am sharing the job of parking supervisor, picked me up in a golf cart and took me around to survey the parking lots that our team is responsible for. One of the lots is for VIPs, another for handicapped, and a third is a reserved lot where individuals buy a numbered spot for the duration of the fair. They want their spot and raise hell when someone else is parked there.
Off to one side of the lots is an area where over 200 head of cattle bed down each evening. Each morning their handlers come and get them and walk them to the showing area about ½ mile away. Their path takes them directly through our lots. Remember, he told me, that here at the Fair the cows have the right of way. Don’t hit them.
I smiled but he is right. When you peel off the skin and look inside many things at the Fair are about the animals and the families that take care of them.
Well tonight as I write this we have completed 3 days. I have a long way to go but so far have experienced a number of things that for me at least are firsts. For example I have seen three beautiful sunrises on the Fairgrounds. This place wakes up early. Horses are being exercised, cattle are being washed, sheep are being sheered, and even pigs get baths before the sun comes up. Lots of things happen that I never noticed in earlier visits when I arrived at 10:00 AM with the rest of the general public.
I also learned don’t leave things to chance. For some reason people parking in handicapped lots (at least here) will not park between the lines of a parking spot unless someone is on top of them telling them what to do.
I also learned that something that I think is odd or needs to be changed may make perfect sense to others. My initial thought was why number the spots in the reserve parking lot? If you filled them on a first come first serve basis you eliminate the hassle of making sure each person is in a correct place and you can also guarantee each card holder a place. Then I talked to a gentleman that had been coming to the Fair for over 30 years. He told me that the best thing about the Fair was his personal spot that had been the same for over 20 years. This person built one of the barns on the fairgrounds so he knows his way around. Having a personal spot means a lot to him.
Think like your customer. Experience life like your customer in your customer’s environment.
The cows have the right of way. The customer is always right. Sometimes looking at something from a different perspective helps understanding.
Until next time – all the best!