Yesterday, I grabbed a quick lunch at Café on the Common
. Not only is the food good, but it’s a great place to eavesdrop. Hearing about Conner Prairie from visitors is the best customer research. Next to where I sat, a mother with two small boys reassured a friend’s little girl, obviously a first time visitor, “You’ll have a great time today,” she said. “I haven’t met a kid yet that doesn’t love this place.” She made my day.
I admit that I don’t get out of my office often enough much as I would like too. That’s why I’ve been intrigued by the show “Undercover Boss”, a reality show where executives “leave the comfort of their corner office for an undercover mission to examine the inner workings of their companies.”
What keeps me from donning a bonnet and apron, besides lack of time, is a fear of paling by comparison with our costumed staff.
I haven’t had the historical education about life in Indiana, the technical instruction in how to cook over an open hearth or thread a spinning wheel, or most importantly, the training in answering grandpa’s questions while mesmerizing his rambunctious grandchildren, or turning blasé seventh graders into interested adolescents.
Our best costumed staff, called “experience facilitators”, much like the best teachers, have years of learning and training. They are paid staff. Contrary to popular belief, volunteers are unusual and are only allowed to interact with guests once they put in the training time and show commitment.
Maybe someday I’ll sneak into the costume department and then out into 1836 Prairietown
for an Undercover Boss experience. It would be great to spend a day away from my computer and my cell phone.
Until then, I’ll just be grateful that we have staff that make Conner Prairie a fun learning experience for every kid, young or old.