Way back in 2010, before the Red Sox went through hell and back again and the organization had both cultural significance and clout of success to pat itself on the back regularly, it patted well as the team announced expanded vegetarian offerings for fans.
By expanded offerings, they really meant an actual nod to vegetarians: veggie burgers and hot dogs would join salads and fruit cups, which—meatless though they are—
hardly constitute an actual effort to feed the veggie-minded.
This was a good thing, both from a business perspective and from a let’s-not-be-assholes perspective. All fans should have equal opportunity to spend outrageous sums of money on mediocre food. And the Sox received due accolade for the move, even winning an award for being a Vegetarian-Friendly Ballpark.
But holy shit if you actually want to try and find the damn things.
Now, to be upfront, I enjoy a traditional Fenway Frank as much as anybody—it’s the fiancée who prefers not to indulge in the hunt. But we were at our first game together in years and if she was going to take in a baseball game, she rightfully wanted to enjoy a hotdog on a spring day in the centerfield bleachers.
So just before the first inning, we took to the underground and headed for the Gate B-Gate C region, known as the Big Concourse.
We gazed out over the concession collection, and grazed by each, with no sign of a veggie-specific stand, or veggie offerings listed on any of the other stands’ signs. After about five minutes, we got in line at one of the more centralized stands to ask. A few minutes later, we were told that they were at the stand across the concourse. Still nothing. We bumped into an usher, who told us veggie dogs were sold at every stand. Knowing this not to be true but without solution, we walked to a separate stand and asked if it was, and upon being told it wasn’t, we were told to go to the information desk nearby.
At the information booth, we received an apology from the attendant for the conflicting information.
“We’re not very veggie-friendly,”
she said. But she placed a call for us and was able, at last, to locate the stand, telling us we’d have to walk to Gate D at the other side of the park.
At this point, irritated and hungry, we were about to give up. But as we left Gate D, we figured we might as well check out the nearby E, the only one we hadn’t yet at that point. Alas, there in the corner against the wall sat the veggie stand. With the game underway the line was empty, and we hustled to the front. After ordering we told the attendant briefly of our troubles.
“You’re about the 72nd person to say that today,” he said.
The Red Sox did not respond to request for comment, but I would love to ask why their staff had no sense for where the stand might be. I want to know if this has been a problem with their gluten-free food also. On the team’s website, a concession map wrongly lists the vegetarian section as a part of the Big Concourse, where we had wandered aimlessly for much of our journey.
It’s not that the offense here is all that egregious. Fenway isn’t dishing out meat and calling it veggie. And in the grand scheme, I’m still more offended by the way they treated Tito on the way out than this crap.
But if you’re going to sell a product, a specialized one based on a dietary restriction, you should at least let your staff know where their customers can buy it.