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Vending Boot Camp Weekend

July 11, 2011

A while back, I was contacted by the Phoenix Museum of Art. They wanted me to bring my cart to an event they were putting on for their members. At that point, it was weeks away — plenty of time for me to finalize my permits, get my equipment ready, and make a load of pops. I also liked having a nice, solid deadline.

Alas, I hit several delays, and the process dragged on. After knocking on a few doors, and making some calls, I got my commissary agreement ($100). Check!

The event was the next day, and I only had a couple obstacles in my way. I had to take my cart to Environmental Services for inspection. Problem 1) I bought my trailer sans title. No title = no registration and tags. Problem 2) the trailer wiring on my truck was a tangle of broken wires. No lights = no registration.

After some tinkering, I finally had functioning trailer lights. I took the trailer and cart down to MVD, where it passed inspection. But found that I have to go through a lengthy bond process to get a title, and thus, tags. Ulgh. At least I got 90 days tags. That will do, for now.

While I waited for the MCEnviro inspection station to open, I swung by Phoenix Public Market to get my Toilet Use Agreement signed. Yes, this is a requirement for my peddler permit, along with a menu, sample labels, my Food Manager’s card, and a bunch of other things.

Then it was inspection time. The inspector looked all around the cart, and in it; asked me a bunch of questions. He hmmed, and scribbled some things down on his clipboard. It wasn’t looking good. Alas, my lettering was too small! Well, some of them are. The F’s and P’s are OK.

Nonetheless, it passed! I just have to fix the lettering in 90 days – no problem! Another $120, and I was done.

Time to head to the kitchen and bag and label a million kajillion pops, before the next morning. It was a late night, but I got it done.

The next morning, everything was going just swimmingly, when I managed to dump the 300 lbs freezer cart off the trailer, and right onto my quads. Owwie owwie! Power through! Lesson learned: make sure the trailer is secured to the truck, before attempting to stand on the back, especially if the freezer is not strapped down.

Now, that freezer cart has been on the trailer since I bought it. It took three people to get it on there. I was on my own.

I put out the ramps and gave it a go – and managed to slip it off the ramps, and onto my ankles. Owwie Owwie! Power through!

After some finagling, I got it back in place, strapped down, and loaded full of pops. Even with all that, I was still on time, though a bit bruised and sweaty.

Turnout wasn’t quite what I was hoping for. But I think I made some new fans – and big bonus – it was air conditioned. The music was nice too.

When the event was over, loading on went a LOT more smoothly than the first time. I headed back to the kitchen, and plugged in for the night.

I still had so many pops left. Then I remembered hearing about a small festival taking place in my very own neighborhood the next day. I hit up the Facebook page of the Hotter Than July Chili Cookoff & Salsa Fest, to see if they would be interested in having me join them. Sure enough, they were!

Bright and early the next day, I headed up the street to join in the fun.

I’d say the turnout was smaller than the day before. But the crowd was boisterous and hot. I was very busy most of the day. I met so many interesting people and loved chatting with them throughout the day.

At the end of the weekend, I was beat – sore, dehydrated, and bruised. But I never had so much fun and learned so much at once. The whole weekend was so rewarding. If it was any indication of what’s in store for me, I can’t wait to see what’s next.

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