Present: Alex, Graeme, Nick B, Bill, Ryan, Swithun, Shannon
Bill will write up volunteer agreement using old one as guide.
NB asked if this will be like instruction manual. Yes.
Shannon said that it has to have a legal aspect to cover our ass, especially for new volunteers.
Ryan expanded on this, mentioning health and safety, fire exits and procedure. We need a form for signing, and we have to store these forms.
Shannon said we could use a drawer in the kitchen for this.
NB chipped in that at his work, they use a book for recording the signing of similar forms. People liked the idea of a book instead of lots of forms. We will collect name, number and email of volunteers. This will be handy for contacting them and recording how many volunteers we have/get through.
Ryan and Shannon said that the guide should explain a bit about the cafe and include some basic kitchen information.
Night Manager agreement
Shannon had started rewriting such a document, but NMing has changed since then.
Ryan asked if we want to call it a contract? No seemed to be the consensus.
Shannon will get onto this, as it is already her Kitchen WG action point.
Alex wanted it to emphasise powers as well as responsibilities. You can throw people out when they are misbehaving.
There is a Night Forum on the BB, but as NB pointed out, it isn't used often enough.
Ryan said that NMs have the same power as KMs, except that they don't get paid, though they do get tips and a free food token. On the downside, NMs do have to sit through acts/events that they might not like. NMs shouldn't be arbitors of taste for the whole cafe. Bill wondered if we needed to mention this.
Although we are allowed by law to stay open until 2 and have everyone out by 3, NMs are only obliged to keep the cafe open until 11pm (when they can expect to get out themselves by 12.30) if there is an act on and enough volunteers. Acts can arrange in advance to run later, but without such an agreement, it is assumed that they will finish by 11.
Ryan wanted it mentioned that NMs should be extra nice (nicer than they are to customers) to performers. Give them drinks and some food. It doesn't have to be a burrito each, but something like a plate of nachos for a band.
Graeme asked about corkage. Shannon said that at one time it was the case that bands always got corkage. But now it is a discretionary matter. If it has been arranged with a KM, someone from Events WG or if the NM really likes the band, then they can get the corkage. It was thought that corkage was a nice gesture.
Stuff on table tops
At the last big volunteers meeting, it was decided that we would have a note kept on the tables explaining what the Forest was and what sort of things went on in it and how people could get involved.
Ryan said that we could find some of the sort of things they have in BK or Bean Scene for holding notes/menus on the tables.
Shannon said that there is a file on the office computer explaining what the Forest is. Ryan added that there is lots of disparate information floating around that can be used.
Bill seemed to be in a minority in wanting a very short note. Alex thought it would be good to have some nonsense added. Swithun wanted to make sure that the note would say 'pay corkage' in big letters.
NB will do this.
Morale boosting meal
As an alternative to loud boozeup parties, it was suggested at the last big volunteer meeting by Shannon to hold a big communal meal. This would be a Sunday afternoon thing. The idea was that people would bring their own food and people would make a donation so that money was raised for a good cause. This would help build links between the Forest and the community.
The details make it a bit more complicated. Alex asked whether the kitchen would be closed during these meals. Not necessarily - customers wanting Forest food/coffee could still buy stuff from the kitchen.
The volunteers party and a meal could be run alternate months, which seems like a good idea. Once a month for the party is a bit too often. Also, the parties are abused by freeloaders who don't contribute anything to the Forest.
Ryan is concerned about the money involved in such a meal. Will the Forest lose money, have to pay for the food, not take the donations/profits? Either people buy the food themselves and reimburse themselves from the donations. Or the Forest buys the food and takes some of the donations. Although it is not usual for other organisations to make money in the Forest space, if it was not too often and at definite times, this exception could be allowed and a good thing.
Nick B said we should have a trial meal on the 25th March. Shannon said that Forest food would be used and we would worry about the money some other time. Bill was still wondering who would cook.
It also came out during this discussion that people can't come into the Forest and shake tins for their causes.
It seems to have been decided that the next party, held on the 6th April would feature karaoke. Swithun will look into prices for the equipment needed.
There will be a Japanese theme to this - Jane and Dai are working on this already.
Ryan thought we should have another meeting to plan this party and get a poster made (Jane?).
Some people are afraid to come
Apparently Bill has some most excellent friends who are really wussy and afraid to come to the Forest. Maybe if the volunteers and KMs treated the customers with more respect or as humans, then we would not frighten Bill's friends away.
It was agreed that we do get some really annoying customers who are probably the reason why other customers get treated badly.
This lead to a discussion on the paradox of treating customers well. It can be argued (by Ryan) that the faux sincerity one encounters in other establishments is offensive. Being genuinely rude can be the best way to treat customers as humans.
Some customers are confused by the fact that in the Forest, money doesn't buy respect. Volunteers have no external incentive to treat customers well, and they are not all motivated by a desire to be nice to people. Volunteers volunteer for many different reasons, and keeping the Forest open only indirectly depends on being nice to customers..
It was agreed again that there are some really annoying customers - they ask Alex what they should eat and then ignore his suggestions, or they ask Shannon for things that aren't on the menu. Swithun felt left out because no one has complained when he has been working.