A few nights before his sons Bar Mitzvah party, my Rabbi called me and my sister and asked for our help. The party was going to be in the shul's ballroom, which was big, but not big enough to fit all the guests, as well as their coats. So the Rabbi wanted us to be in charge of coats, or well, create a form of coat check in the shul's lobby. I agreed and asked a friend of mine to help with me (my sister had other plans).
The night of the bar mitzvah came. My friend and I arrived a little bit early (so we could set up). Our early was actually too late! It was a mad house. Party City didn't have the special 'tickets' for the hangers, so we were using the little carnival/raffle tickets. Those things are really annoying. Anyway, we tried our best to manage in the beginning. We were trying hard to quickly tape the tickets and hang coats. Once we got the table to block the entrance (to prevent people from walking in on their own and completely screwing up the system), we began to work faster, and in a team. She numbered the tickets and I hung the coats, and kept in mind where the group number coats were being hung. Then, came a couple (we knew from the shul), with their 10-year-old son. The family checked in their coats. A few minutes after they went to the ballroom, the 10 year-old returned, and decided he was bored and he wanted to help us, because the "job seemed fun."
We didn't mind the idea of him helping, problem was, he wasn't helping us, he was actually annoying us! He kept trying to tell us stories about his day (which we wouldn't mind, if we didn't have a line of about 15 people waiting to check in their coats). Finally, I lost it, and I promised I'd give him atleast $5 if he helps us significantly (what better way to get a kid that age to do something, but promise him payment?). So he helped us, made it alot easier (and more entertaining). We were exhausted by the end of the evening. We had no break at all. Not only that, but we ended up temporarily running out of hangers (and we had to send the boy down to find the guy who would know where we could find new ones).
We thought that when the people stop coming, we'd have a few minutes to relax and chat, but those few minutes never came. We realized that we underestimated the Rabbi's popularity. When things "slowed down" we found a jar and lables and wrote "tips" on it. At the end of the evening, when everyone was starting to collect their coats and go home, we saw the money jar slowly filling up with dollar bills. One lady I knew from camp, made a remark (wow, this job isn't easy at all), and added $2 right infront of us.
When we were finished, we had collected alot of money in tips, and the rabbi paid us (even though we tried to convince him the payment was unnecessary). Though we were exhausted, we had fun. We also developed a new found respect for coat check people.
From now on, I will try my best, to remember to bring cash to every wedding I go to, so that I have no excuses NOT to tip the coat check person (people). Please remember to tip them as well. I promise, the job is not as easy as it looks.