i have been active volunteer since i was 16 and have spent most of life getting involved with community because being part of community enhances where you live. however, this weekend after a very disappointing breakfast i would take a ferry to volunteer at has turned a corner not only on its members but its aging volunteers.
i became involved with the Swedish Cultural Center 10 years ago-and felt proud to wear the royal blue apron while i cleared dirty plates often for 2 hours or more. i promptly stopped volunteering when i discovered that the subpar catering company that still occupies the building had paid people to clear dishes when i was volunteering.
this past Sunday when i was there with my husband i finished my last bite of pancake and some dbag with a white shirt, black pants and a fugly tie tried to take my plate while my husband was still eating. not only was it rude-but it is one of the reasons i decided against having my wedding reception there. because the staff that the catering company hires is bottom of the barrel people and i was wrongly fired for cashing my check @ a money order place before i had a checking account.
i was sad to see an old man i’ve known for 10 year walk around the room offering coffee that no one wanted because they had coffee @ their tables. in old days the room was filled with people that mingled, that knew each other and people would stay just to listen to music or see the dancers. now, however they charge $9 for adults and $6 if you become a member. which was what they used to charge. i felt like i was in McDonald’s or Burger King. $18 later-i almost cried @ the table because….
what i used to love about being Swedish and going to the Center was gone. i was proud of my association with the Center and felt that it was a great place to meet people-i met my husband there. back 10 years ago i would get up @ 7:30am on a Sunday morning to catch a ferry 9am and would spend most of my day watching movies, buying chocolate and socializing.
now, the pancake breakfast is just about raising money, processing people like cattle. they may have had a holiday bazaar this weekend-which when i came in was empty. they even had begging boxes by all the entrances asking for a $1 donation. something i refused to do since i already was handing over $18 for the breakfast. the “Club” which is what i used to call it has become corporate acting-and when you are 5013c that will make you purge people not draw them to you.
i will miss the breakfast-but i can make pancakes @ home and have the jam rolled into the pancake not globbed on top like i was once saw @ IHOP 25 years ago.