After arriving at the Monona Terrace, I was surprised to see the limited indications the ACS conference would be taking place in a few short days. Although I knew I volunteered for one of the earliest shifts available during the week of the ACS conference, I anticipated more obvious signals of the organization's presence at the facility. Instead, the Monona Terrace was nearly void of any ACS effects. No signs for the event were displayed, no ACS staff walked the halls, and no displays indicated the conference was little more than a day away. The lack of any obvious ACs presence at first had me concerned I had arrived on the wrong day, which prompted me to seek the nearest resource in the buildings. Walking through the building, I rifled through my phone calendar and email in a effort to confirm my schedule until I happened upon a small information desk. Behind it, an elderly woman flipped through a newspaper to busy herself at the absence of any activity around her. Still uncertain about my planning, I approached the desk and promptly asked the woman where ACS conference volunteers were supposed to meet. Looking up from her paper, she motioned down the hallway and advised me to look for people in a nearby conference room. Relieved she seemed to know what I was talking about, I followed her directions and began walking down the long hall running along the front of the building.
With the added help from the other volunteers the assembly of the ACS tote bags moved into high gear. In nearly 30 minutes we had worked through several cases of notepads, water bottles, and tote bags, which left a massive stack of tote-filled boxes at one end of the table. Realizing we were running out of products and space quickly, I set to work preparing more cases of items for the tote bags and reorganizing the growing stack of boxes containing our completed projects. It was clear our group was finding a groove, which made the menial work more tolerable and gave us motivation to set targets for our productivity.
Much to our surprise, the goal seemed achievable as we approached 11:00. With one hour left until the end of our shift, we had whittled the cases of tote bags down to five, and we showed little signs of slowing. In our rhythm, we continued systematically filling the totes as we closed in on the goal. Then, about 30 minutes before the end of the shift, we hit a snag. After nearly completing what had seemed to be an improbable task, we ran out of one of the essential needed for the tote bags and we couldn't locate another case of the item. In turn, our progress came to a screeching halt. We were at a dead stop, and there wasn't any indication that would change in the near future.
|I'm an expert tote bagger|