We're starting to get more offers from people to become one of the beloved Parking Thugs. We are extremely grateful for the support. We think it's wonderful, but before anyone gets excited about joining the Thugs, you need to know what you're in for. It's a bit like dating Harley Quinn. Sure she looks crazy-fun but you know it's going to hurt somehow, and you're thinking, yeah, it would still be worth the stitches. We definitely need volunteers, however we're looking for long-term help and it's a special kind of person who becomes a Thug.
We do our best to make it a good time for the volunteers who are affectionally known as the Parking Thugs. Among the Thugs, there is lots of joking, lots of kidding around with each other and the radio chatter is on the complete opposite end of PC. We are never going to change that to accommodate someone's sensitivities. It's why we wear ear pieces, but it's funny stuff.
This is an all-volunteer group from top to bottom. Nobody is paid to be here so if we're not having fun, there are no Thugs. Without the Thugs, there is no event, so we place very high value on the role and the fun we have together. We go out of our way to make each other laugh and have a good time while there is a lot of racing around the lots at the same time. It's like running a marathon with comedians while holding feral cats. You're also running while sometimes dodging people, objects, and most of all, really, really, bad jokes. If you can dodge a wrench you can dodge a Thug.
The Thugs are a culture by themselves and we don't want it to ever change. It's the very foundation of E@RTC and that energy is what keeps it fun every week. If you suffer from a restricted sense of humor, by order of your doctor, this is definitely not the place to volunteer. Not any one of us would ever be allowed to visit someone in a burn unit. Personality matters a lot to us.
Here is what the role requires. First, you have to know something about cars and know what car should go where and why. This means dragging your butt out of bed very early on a Saturday morning for a meeting before we start. Not just one or two Saturdays, but every Saturday that weather permits. Sure some need vacation here and there, but if you can't show up because you don't feel 'it' that morning, you're not what we're looking for.
We don't just park cars, we sort them in a way to make them appealing to photos so you have to think fast when 400 cars show up that all have to go to the right spot in the right order and get set up so they all look nice. You have to deal with a lot of people and there are a few with issues who aren't all that nice sometimes. Most are great people, but we have a few with a sense of entitlement that require constraint as we won't let them ruin it for the others. Now and then we kick someone out if they get out of hand as we have zero tolerance for rude people at the event. We send them to a parking lot in Moclips, commonly known as "Lot 9." We also give them their no-money back for showing up. We've been like this since Harry Truman was a volunteer. This is where the whole "buck stops here" thing started, except there was never a buck. We think he meant Buick.
You have to be willing to engage with people, remember their names, what other cars they bring or even what cars spectators came to see and make them feel welcome. It's not just participants who we do our best to make feel welcome, we also remember spectators who come out every week and thank them too for their participation and support.
This is really important. You can't just stand there and not make the effort to engage with people. If you're not outgoing and capable of carrying on a conversation, this is not the right thing for you. This however, is a great chance to make friends for life, and someone you meet could change it forever, and most likely for the better. Think of the role as kind of a party host in a parking lot where you help land cars in the right spot for the best possible viewing just for fun. We don't "park" cars, and we're definitely not, nor will we ever be a valet service or parking lot attendants. We're ambassadors. The Thugs are our core and the image means something to us.
The role requires a lot of running or very fast walking, often backwards at times, and so you're worn out when the event is over. You definitely burn off a few calories and will be exhausted by the time you get home. We're looking for people who are reliable who we can count on each Saturday morning during our season. The continuity matters to those who come to see us so we try and make sure the same faces are there to help out. You also pay "rent" for your E@RTC shirt so we can keep them maintained and in supply. We also supply the radios, and headsets and cheap laughs. We can't afford good ones. Good cheer is a must.
We get a lot of people from out of town who have a lot of great questions and so having the ability to talk about local activities or help with directions, etc., is very important. Some drive all night to get here so they need to be pointed towards coffee. Some fly in just for our event and we want it to always be well worth the journey.
We could also use some help behind the scenes. There is always plenty to do. Just answering questions on our website takes hours each week, in spite of all the answers that are all right there on our site. We'd love to see more written content so we welcome contributors.
If we've not scared you into a corner of your basement, drop us a note and Jason will get back to you. Thank you for your interest as it means a lot to us, (excuse the painful pun).