Romania Insider stories: Of football and beer...logistics
Finally, a new National Football Stadium in Bucharest. Really a 'wow' building, I said to myself. I'm German and I've worked and lived in Bucharest for two years. I got myself a ticket for the opening event, Romania versus France. "Lucky man”, I thought to myself. I went there with another German friend who has been working and living in Bucharest for the last five years.
We got stuck in a traffic jam for a while, but finally we made it. The stadium looked great, it made a fantastic first impression. Full house, lovely decorations in the Romanian flag's colors and little Romania flags on each chair. A nice touch.
At about a quarter of an hour to kick off, my friend and I went on a quick beer hunt. We arrived at the service area floor, where shops are located, and ran into our second traffic jam of the evening, only this time without the cars. Lots of men standing in lots of queues, all for the chance to buy beer - without alcohol. But that didn't really matter on that night, we said to ourselves.
As we didn't have much time, we went closer to see whether we’d have a chance to get a beer anytime soon. Chaos and confusion, a waiting and ordering system seemingly devoid of any logic, and, worst of all, beer being served by people who either didn't know or didn't care that pouring beer quickly and vertically from a can fills the glass with foam, not beer. A situation like this in a German stadium would have triggered a revolution!
We left this sorry scene, but we took a last look and saw that the storage freezers were almost empty, but, we thought, 45 minutes would be ample time to replenish them – all of them!
With the first half almost over, a quick run to the service area, but...nothing had changed! Nobody had told the staff how to speed up the process, or how to pour beer from a can into a plastic glass! But what was much worse was that they were nearly out of stock – the worst situation for any retailer, but especially when there are roughly 60,000 thirsty men as potential customers.
As they stopped selling, people just disappeared back to from where they had come – nobody said a word! 60,000 men , a football event and the beer is out of stock after the first half!
We saw boys using their skateboards to carry little pallets ( 24 cans each ) of coke and beer – what a logistics service for the opening event of a national stadium…… no beer and skateboards as “delivery trucks”.
On this evening, somebody could have gotten rich - with all the beer they didn’t sell !
Three months later. Steaua against Cluj. Again I got a ticket, 60 RON in the VIP area. Stadium was two thirds full. At the service area they had beer, bottled and with alcohol and better trained service guys who knew how to pour beer. When the first half was almost over I went there again for a beer - but…..OUT OF STOCK ! Déjà vu! No beer, no Coke, nothing!
What happened? Lovely capital city, lovely country, lovely people, an amazing national stadium but no beer - and again, nobody tried to protest. What’s up with Romanian football fans? What’s up with Romanian retailer/service companies? What’s up with Romanian logistics service providers?
“Logistics is not everything but everything is nothing without logistics,” we say in Germany.
I will try again to see whether the combination of football and logistics will find a “happy end” in the new National Romanian Football Stadium – it’ll be well deserved by the football fans, they are so uncomplaining and patient! Va rog !
By Frank Hassler, guest writer
Frank Hassler (in picture) is logistics manager in a Romanian food company. He has been living in and enjoying Bucharest for the last two years.
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