Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunteer

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Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunteer

Postby devilgrrl » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:54 am

I'm not a fan of reporting negativity, especially after experiencing one the best burns I have ever had the pleasure to participate in. However, after nine burns over the past 12 years - I am increasingly disturbed by some of the attitude displayed by some of the volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe. The first incident involved a cashier that INSISTED!!!!!!! that they didn't sell Cappucino - despite that it was listed on the menus hanging behind him - and was a complete asshole when I stated that I had bought one a half-hour earlier - because I did buy a cappucino a 1/2 hr. earlier. When another volunteer pointed out to this person that they indeed did sell cappucino, it did absolutely nothing to quell his supercilious manner when he rudely asked for the money for my drink. So please pardon me when I say, "FUCK YOU DICK!!!!" :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:

The second incident happened the next evening while suffering a vexing pinched nerve in my lower back. I politely asked a cafe volunteer if she knew where the medical tent was. Her answer - "How would I know?" and off she went. Lovely. :x

If ever hear of a fellow burner throwing a cup of piping hot coffee into one those kinds of people faces - I'll know why.

Having said that - I do not blame the organizers of the event for some of the volunteers repulsive behavior.

Thankfully, those are my only negatives to report. And that's all I have to say about that.
Last edited by devilgrrl on Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunt

Postby Miles » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:57 am

Shoulda gave them a piece of your mind in person. Nothing wrong with cutting someone down to size when they deserve it.
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Re: Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunt

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:05 am

I hate working retail. It's so stressful. It's why I don't volunteer at the Cafe, but I can see how it might get to be too much even for people who are temperamentally better suited for it. On the other hand, I do know at least one person who is or has been a supervisor there and I wouldn't have hesitated to bring it up with her.

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Re: Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunt

Postby gekko59 » Thu Sep 08, 2011 3:05 pm

Every volunteer I encountered I am delighted to say were terrific, cheerful, funny, engaging, personable and seemed to enjoy what they were doing.

I wonder what was up with the ones who were supercilious? I mean, why volunteer if you're not happy doing that kind of thing? There'd be other ways to give, surely.
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Re: Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunt

Postby BurnerSkunk » Thu Sep 08, 2011 3:11 pm

Honestly, the rudeness doesn't sound that bad at all to me, pretty tame stuff. You kinda have to have a thicker skin and different threshold for this kind of thing when its volunteers at a crazy event in an extreme environment rather than employees at a starbucks. These guys actually sound less rude than most european baristas lol!
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Re: Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunt

Postby robrob » Thu Sep 08, 2011 3:19 pm

totally agree. if you want to find out where something is, go to playa info. the big fucking lit up "I" for info around the corner from the cafe.
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Re: Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunt

Postby jobi » Thu Sep 08, 2011 3:28 pm

Toughen up if you want you coffee.

While my few cafe experiences over the years have been good I do feel I should ask, if the cafe really necessary? Yes, people go there. People would also go somewhere selling slices of pizza, smoothies, or t shirts too. I would imagine the cafe was allowed in the first place because some people (myself included) need coffee. I would do things I am not proud of for coffee. Because of this, I brought tea bag thingies with coffee in them. I never needed them though because my camp mate brought an espresso machine and made great drinks every morning. Also our neighbor made large pots of coffee every morning that he put out for others to help themselves too. I suppose I was fortunate but my point is that coffee, unlike ice, is something that we can take care of and make ourselves.
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Re: Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunt

Postby Isotopia » Thu Sep 08, 2011 6:39 pm

However, after nine burns over the past 12 years - I am increasingly disturbed by some of the attitude displayed by some of the volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe.


So, I'm assuming that seeing a problem that you find less than pleasant that you'll being volunteering next year to rectify it?
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Re: Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunt

Postby devilgrrl » Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:46 pm

Isotopia wrote:
However, after nine burns over the past 12 years - I am increasingly disturbed by some of the attitude displayed by some of the volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe.


So, I'm assuming that seeing a problem that you find less than pleasant that you'll being volunteering next year to rectify it?


Sure! And I'll be sure to learn what is offered on the menus and think about how I'd like to be treated before flippantly dismissing a customer.

BTW, these incidents took place at low traffic times ... it was uncalled for. Quit excusing rude behavior.
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Re: Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunt

Postby devilgrrl » Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:49 pm

robrob wrote:totally agree. if you want to find out where something is, go to playa info. the big fucking lit up "I" for info around the corner from the cafe.


In past Burning Mans, the Medical tent was located around center camp. So excuse me.
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Re: Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunt

Postby bluesbob » Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:49 pm

Cappucino armageddon....it's enough to keep me away next year. Well, maybe in 2013.
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Re: Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunt

Postby gekko59 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 6:41 am

Not sure why there's hostility toward someone who has a reasonable expectation for basic courtesy and respect from the people he or she encounters.

Is it because he dared to actually comment on it? Is it normal practice to be snippy with people who express disappointment in rude, discourteous behavior? Is treating someone else badly to be lauded?

Failed to grasp that when researching the core values of Burning Man, so I await your tutelage.
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Re: Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunt

Postby junglesmacks » Fri Sep 09, 2011 6:42 am

What's Center Camp?
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Re: Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunt

Postby mattmelnicki » Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:20 am

firstly, i had a splendid man burn primarily because my friend George brought me along with her group of friends who were almost entirely cafe volunteers (&workers)... they were very delightful people. ("Knuck Clan!")

but as we were waiting for the group to gather, i was sitting beside the coffee counter, at the "playa info" table off to the side... and this woman who was volunteering at the closest register was vehemently spewing verbal abuse onto anyone nearby. At first I thought it might be a "DPW" sort of tradition, and being the open-hearted gooey hippy that the late-playa environment inspires me to be, I assumed there was some sort of explanation and just shrugged it off and walked out of her range. But George was really bothered by it, so she went over to another volunteer to inquire about it. George didn't complain, because that would just be answering the negative energy back (which is a lot like stealing a bike because your bike got stolen! hmph!!!)... but rather, George just wanted to make sure that the other co-workers were aware that it was going on. It turns out that the abusive server was just having a bad day and was releasing pent-up emotions, and we soon saw her crying and being led compassionately by the hand as a manager took her to the back to talk and calm her down. i think she was eventually dismissed, but I was amazed at the kind manner of the resolution.

The playa holds a great propensity for frustrating us, and although verbal abuse is indefensible, there are great transformations that happen due to this emotional intensity and adversity -- isn't this why we burn the effigy? -- and the best part is that one is never alone on the playa, lest you do walk-in camping perhaps!!!
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Re: Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunt

Postby gekko59 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:44 am

Oh, I know about that phenomenon ... and I forget the playa term for it ... where you just reach critical mass. You're tired, or overwhelmed, or simply releasing a year's worth of pent-up frustrations that can be released because of the challenges of a completely different environment to be had in Black Rock City. I was warned it may happen and my dear friend and I discussed how we would handle it if it happened to either of us when we were with one another.

Happened to a camp-mate of mine as she experienced a very profound release from 7 years of pent-up frustration piled on top of guilt and anxiety and maybe fear.

Yes, I can understand it. It's good when those around you recognize it and move in to help, filled with compassion.
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Re: Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunt

Postby diss0nance » Sat Sep 10, 2011 7:09 pm

Most of the volenteers who work center camp cafe probable have never worked a job like this and do not know how to deal with the costomers. People who do these jobs for a living take shit tons of abuse by customers all the time. Most people who get bad service deserve it. Please treat everyone you deal with in a service situation well and you will gett better service from them. Remember that center camp cafe is staffed by volenteers not professionals. I would never work there, I have a friend who worked there my virgin year and hated the abuse she got there not only from the burners wanting their middle of the night latte, but from the guy running the place.
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Re: Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunt

Postby Clar-i-ty » Sat Sep 10, 2011 7:47 pm

junglesmacks wrote:What's Center Camp?


LMAO! Think Burning Man Mini Mall.
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Re: Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunt

Postby Isotopia » Sun Sep 11, 2011 12:14 am

Never went to the Center Camp once.

Why?

I brought my own fucking coffee and the entertainment was better at 9:00 and key hole.
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Re: Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunt

Postby trilobyte » Sun Sep 11, 2011 12:39 am

Ouch, sounds like a crap experience. Next year, keep an eye on the theme camp list (when it comes out) for the chunk of the dial you're aiming for (or are being placed at, if registering a camp). There are quite a few cafe camps who not only offer cappuccino, but likely better stuff and better attitudes :)
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Re: Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunt

Postby junglesmacks » Sun Sep 11, 2011 6:05 am

I went once my first year, and something just didn't feel right. It's like something somewhere was just.. trying too hard. I ended up having a decent little mental trip one "enlightened" night about how Center Camp is really just a secret plot to keep all the soccer moms, weekenders and un-knowing away from the knowing while they run amuck each night..
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Re: Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunt

Postby C.f.M. » Sun Sep 11, 2011 6:41 am

Isotopia wrote:
However, after nine burns over the past 12 years - I am increasingly disturbed by some of the attitude displayed by some of the volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe.


So, I'm assuming that seeing a problem that you find less than pleasant that you'll being volunteering next year to rectify it?


Sunday before Gate opened I rode by Volunteering, and paused to check out the board. I was told Center Camp Cafe was oh, 500 volunteers short, due to the ticket problem.

So yes, having you there next year, to be sure that people who should volunteer do, will be wonderful.

Also, "Center Camp is where Burning Man goes to die." - me
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Re: Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunt

Postby Bob » Sun Sep 11, 2011 8:26 am

The Cafe does have an intended use, in case of emergencies eg intense rainstorms or terrorist attacks -- like the Louisiana Superdome after Katrina. Don't worry, a bus will pick up you up any day now.
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Re: Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunt

Postby C.f.M. » Sun Sep 11, 2011 8:36 am

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Re: Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunt

Postby lazerfox » Mon Sep 12, 2011 12:31 pm

I tried the Cafe place while visiting center camp on Monday night and suffered a pretty similar fate of rudeness. And I think those who met me know I'm not a rude person at all...even after he was rude I was very sweet said thank you and proceeded to find my way elsewhere to shake off the hurt I felt at having been treated that way for no reason.
I believed this person may have been having a bad night and ventured again the next day and had a very similar experience from a totally different group of volunteers.
So I never went again.

I may choose to volunteer some year but at this time I think I would just stick out for having a different attitude than the crowd who was there.

And my new awesome friend Java Johnny and his lovely girlfriend made sure I had a great place to visit every morning for some awesome Java and conversations. :D
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Re: Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunt

Postby Lassen Forge » Mon Sep 12, 2011 12:50 pm

Instead of going to Center Camp cafe, experiencing burners doing unburnerish things, orgs who eschew commodification and yet are vendors of something you can make for yourself, and rude counter employees selling something on playa, come by one of our camps and experience a life devoid of commerce, where coffee is a gift rather than a commodity (to the people who provide the means belong the fruits) where socilism, er social life is genuine and if not snarky, well fuck you, and where if you bring it and a shotglass, the vodka shall to flow freely.

(I *do* know why the Commodification Consumerism Cafe exists; it doesn't mean I either agree with it, it follows the Burning Man principles, or it should even be there. Ice - yes - it keeps people from getting food poisoning, and is required by the Health dept. But Coffee? COFFEE??!! Arrrghhhh.....)
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Re: Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunt

Postby lazerfox » Mon Sep 12, 2011 12:56 pm

HI BBS!!! :D

I honestly went to support the cause and talk to them as I was considering volunteering the following days. I learned my lesson quick though and went to a lovely java stop along my road (5:45 and I) instead every morning like clockwork.

It's a shame as I think it could be a very nice place if people were not made to feel so unwanted but that is something for another year I guess. I had a great time regardless and will hope to visit Java Johnny again in later years. (Luckily he is a vet and I doubt he will stop going any time soon :D )
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Re: Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunt

Postby Lassen Forge » Mon Sep 12, 2011 1:42 pm

Hi Lazerfox!!!! Love putting faces to names! ****MUAH!!!!****

Part of the awesomeness of Terminal City is EDude and his gifting of 'Spresso... It is all his fault I survive out there! And the Kantina, where we also have coffee (and hopefully next year, tea from a russian samovar!) just because... ;)

Problem with CC is (discounting the snark) it's an antithesis of itself, and those who work there know it... you'll always get negativity there because how can you go to an event that claims no coommercialism then be one of the ones that handle money and sells shit? Every time I go there I pick up on the vibe - it's like... like... Hell, a SHOPPING MALL.

Of course, they also changed management at least once since I was there, but personally it would be a thankless PITA job to deal with Scheduling, accounting, cash control, volunteering, supply ordering, maintaining the Pershing Health Dept reqs, not to mention the drama of the snotty unburners who end up going there because they don't know how to interact and, well, be a burner, and can't live without fondling green for a week... AND all the drama on both sides of the counter...

Known too many people who've BTDT. No desire to join them - almost did my burgin year, but woke up quick when I realized they contridcted themselves. Yiiii!!!

So yeah, let's get together and do a round.

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Re: Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunt

Postby iclimb » Fri Sep 16, 2011 9:51 am

Ive never bought anything there and don't get why people do. Why do you need to get away from it all and go to a wanna be starbucks? There are so many camps handing out coffee and everything else, why spend the money? The cafe workers quickly become jaded after getting tricked into working for a fake Starbucks for free and turn into assholes. I wonder how many do it for more then one year? In their defense, I'm sure lots of cafe patrons are also assholes thinking they are at starbucks.
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Re: Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunt

Postby NessaZee » Sun Oct 02, 2011 9:09 pm

Bay Bridge Sue wrote:
Problem with CC is (discounting the snark) it's an antithesis of itself, and those who work there know it... you'll always get negativity there because how can you go to an event that claims no coommercialism then be one of the ones that handle money and sells shit? Every time I go there I pick up on the vibe - it's like... like... Hell, a SHOPPING MALL.

Of course, they also changed management at least once since I was there, but personally it would be a thankless PITA job to deal with Scheduling, accounting, cash control, volunteering, supply ordering, maintaining the Pershing Health Dept reqs, not to mention the drama of the snotty unburners who end up going there because they don't know how to interact and, well, be a burner, and can't live without fondling green for a week... AND all the drama on both sides of the counter...


iclimb wrote:Ive never bought anything there and don't get why people do. Why do you need to get away from it all and go to a wanna be starbucks? There are so many camps handing out coffee and everything else, why spend the money? The cafe workers quickly become jaded after getting tricked into working for a fake Starbucks for free and turn into assholes. I wonder how many do it for more then one year? In their defense, I'm sure lots of cafe patrons are also assholes thinking they are at starbucks.



My burn went by so fast, it wasn't until the journey away from BRC that I realized I never once went to center camp. I guess i didn't feel the need...

In defense of the 'unburners', is it too unreasonable to think that CC may be a place where they feel comfortable? It's probably a toned-down taste of their everyday life. The vibe that they are used to. Experiencing a burn for the first time can be overwhelming. Yeah, it sucks that being in a place that feels like a shopping mall makes some people feel at home. It is what it is. Not having a place like that could easily scare off new burner blood. I see people post about how they don't really want 'certain types' of people to come back. I don't think that's how they really feel, I'd like to believe that it's reactionary emotions doing the talking. Every single person has the capacity for change/evolution if positive environments are provided. Quite a few (me included) see CC as a place which holds negative vibes. But, to some(mostly birgins), it's probably a way more positive environment than they are used to.
Who knows, perhaps next year will be the year one of those 'snotty unburners' (if we didn't scare them away) won't feel the need for a starbucks fix. And then the next year they will actually be giving away coffee....

As for the volunteers...wow. Disrespectful treatment totally sucks. But, on the bright side, we learn to be better communicators because of interactions like that. Can you[all] imagine not really knowing what you were getting yourself into and then realizing CC is so not the place you want to be a volunteer? ....and probably contemplating what is worse: taking off or finishing your shifts? It must be very challenging to handle one's emotions respectfully. Not excusing anyone's behavior, but I can see how a volunteer shift in and around a vibe like that could wear on even a person with the best of intents.

All in all though, at this point, CC is necessary. Somewhat of a bridge or stepping stone for new burners.
Maybe I'll do a shift in there next time...I hear good moods inspire good moods :)

(lol...ohboy, it's gonna take me a bit to warm up to that idea....)
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Re: Some Volunteers at the Center Camp Cafe shouldn't volunt

Postby theCryptofishist » Sun Oct 02, 2011 9:17 pm

NessaZee wrote:In defense of the 'unburners', is it too unreasonable to think that CC may be a place where they feel comfortable? It's probably a toned-down taste of their everyday life. The vibe that they are used to. Experiencing a burn for the first time can be overwhelming. Yeah, it sucks that being in a place that feels like a shopping mall makes some people feel at home. It is what it is. Not having a place like that could easily scare off new burner blood. I see people post about how they don't really want 'certain types' of people to come back. I don't think that's how they really feel, I'd like to believe that it's reactionary emotions doing the talking. Every single person has the capacity for change/evolution if positive environments are provided. Quite a few (me included) see CC as a place which holds negative vibes. But, to some(mostly birgins), it's probably a way more positive environment than they are used to.

You've hit upon the official explanation for the damn thing.

I don't really carry any emotion about the place any more.
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