[Update] Bob Pascal, an executive with Centerplate was just on with the Big Dog Steve Duemig (620 WDAE). First, he assured that despite the report from ESPN, all of the concession stands at Tropicana Field “meet all inspection standards in the state of Florida.” He also spent a good deal of time talking about Centerplate’s Quality Assurance standards.
Pascal said there are methods of measuring sales beyond counting cups and was adamant that “these [used] cups were not served [to fans]“…It is unclear how he knows this, but that is their story.
[10:00am] Last week, ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” investigated health department inspection reports from from 107 stadiums and arenas that host MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL teams. Of those reports, Tropicana Field was one of only two stadiums/arenas in which 100% of the vendors were cited with “critical violations.”
Even though the violations were deemed “critical,” one executive that oversees the concession stands at The Trop claims that the violations were “simply recommendations.”
After the report came out, we spoke with one person that worked in a concession stand during a recent Rays game. She told us a story that goes well-beyond “critical violation” and may make you think twice the next time you are about to order a beer at a Rays game.
Rays Index: You said that afer a recent game, there was a problem with the number of beers sold at a concession stand you were working at. Can you explain exactly what the problem was?
Concession Worker: At the end of the night, the person that oversees all the concession stands comes around counts the number of cups, trays, food items, etc and that is compared to the number sold (according to the cash register records) and whatever inventory count was at the beginning of the night. Apparently, the number of beers sold and the number of cups left at the end of the night did not match.
RI: What exactly did your supervisor ask you guys to do to fix this problem? And what exactly did you guys end up doing?
CW: One of the workers came back with some used cups and began washing them. When I asked her what she was doing, she stated that the “supervisor” told her to rinse off the cups and put them with the unused ones, because our “spoils” were too high in this concession stand.
RI: Just to be clear, were these cups that had already been used by previous customers?
CW: YES! This is what was so appauling! We each had like a box underneath our registers for trash and such. These were cups people had left behind for us to throw away.
Well, that seems pretty damn disgusting. Is it illegal or against the health code? We don’t know. Can these plastic cups be sufficiently cleaned? Glasses at restaurants are re-used. Then again, we’d like to think that those glasses were never in the trash.
Ultimately, most (all?) fans expect a new cup when being served at a sporting event. And to us, that seems like a reasonable expectation.
We contacted the Rays with this story and asked them
if they were making any extra efforts in light of the recent ESPN report and whether they wanted to comment on this story. The Rays gave us no indication that anything would be done and simply referred us to Centerplate, the company contracted to run the concession stands at Tropicana Field. When we asked the Rays if they were refusing to comment on the issue, they responded with one word: “correct.”
Do the Rays care that items might be pulled from the trash and served to customers or that a concession supervisor might be cooking the books? We don’t know. And next time you order food or beer at The Trop, neither will you.