Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Party Bus to Wendover!

People like parties. Parties are usually fun, and fun is usually a good thing.

However, parties should never be mandatory. You can't really force someone to have fun.

Company parties can be fun. Company parties also can be mandatory. But, mandatory company parties are usually not fun.

Several years ago I was working at the local distribution site for a large national company. There were probably about twenty people employed at our location. (We warehoused and delivered the ingredients for a national pizza chain to a five state region.)

When January rolled around, the employees were informed that there was going to be a company Christmas party, a couple of weeks late. The local manager had arranged to rent a bus and take us all to Wendover, Nevada for our company party.

(I was living and working in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the time. For those of you who might be unfamiliar with the area, Wendover is a small town on the Nevada border, about an hour and a half west of Salt Lake City. Since it is in Nevada, many things are legal in Wendover that would not be legal in Salt Lake City. Because of this, many people from Salt Lake City make regular trips to Wendover.)

I had never been to Wendover before. Gambling doesn't excite me. I'd been to Las Vegas, and found the casinos to be boring enough to put me to sleep, but too loud for me to actually get any sleep.

I had no desire to get on the party bus and go to Wendover.

But then the boss made a declaration. He told us we were all going to get a Christmas bonus! But, we would only get the bonus if we got on the party bus and went to Wendover. (And, just for added fun, no one knew the amount of the bonus. It could be $5. It could be $500.)

So, I got on the party bus going to Wendover.

There's a party going on right here!
I arrived at the designated departure spot and got on the bus. I was single at the time, so I sat by myself. Most everyone else brought a spouse or a girlfriend or a boyfriend. By the time everyone boarded, the bus was pretty full.

Once the bus was in motion, the beer flowed freely. This was, after all, a party bus, and what is a party bus without beer? As far as I could tell, the only three people on the bus who weren't drinking beer were me, the bus driver, and one of the receptionists who happened to be pregnant.

What amazed me about the beer drinking was the sheer volume of beverage that was being drunk. It was a ninety-minute ride from Salt Lake City to Wendover, and during that time I watched as my boss pounded down six over-sized cans of beer! Now, I like me some cold carbonated beverages, and I've been told that I drink way too much of them. But, I don't think I could guzzle six over-sized cans in 90 minutes. That would be about like drinking two 2-liter bottles in an hour and a half.

And if I did drink that much, I sure as heck would be fighting back the need to pee my pants! (There was no potty on the party bus.) (It was a party bus, not a potty bus.)

And yet, almost everyone on the bus drank that much on the way to Wendover. We arrived, and as we got off the bus the boss gave each of us our Christmas bonus (it turned out to be $100), a $10 casino chip, and a voucher for a free meal at the casino buffet.

I watched as people staggered off of the bus. My immediate supervisor was so drunk that he could barely stand.

Once we got in the casino, I barely saw any of my co-workers. I went and ate my dinner at the buffet. (Free food is good food, especially in high volumes.) And then I parked myself near a big-screen television that was showing a wild-card round NFL playoff game. (I think I gave my $10 chip to a co-worker.)

Fortunately for me, I had arranged to meet a friend of mine and his wife and have them give me a ride home so I didn't have to get back on the party bus. For some reason my boss, who was now about as red-faced as half of the roulette wheel, was not happy that I had arranged my own ride home. I didn't care. I didn't really want to spend 90 minutes confined in a giant tin can with a bunch of drunk people who had just lost a bunch of money.

The next year the company party was held at a restaurant in Salt Lake City. Once again, attendance was mandatory, but no mention was made of a Christmas bonus. So, everyone spent the entire evening eating dinner and wondering how much our Christmas bonus would be, and when (or if) they would be given to us. It made for an awkward, uncomfortable evening. Eventually, people just started leaving to go home, and no Christmas bonuses were given to anyone.

I would have had more fun on the party bus.

No comments:

Post a Comment