Be a Rink Darling

The communications arm of Starbucks claims the coffee purveyor strives to be the “Third Place” in our life when it comes to experience. But for those who love skating indoors, their “Third Place” is the rink. Home is considered first, work second, and then the rink.  For some of us, the rink and work are tied for 2nd, since we spend most of our time there. For those lucky owners who also have a living space at the rink, It’s a 3-way tie for first.

At my Starbucks at Electric & Main, the baristas have taken time to get to know me. And I try to help them out to by being a decent guest whenever I’m in the building.

As a customer of skating rinks, I encourage you to do the same. Become a rink darling to the team. That’s one way to help the rink thrive and stay open for years to come. And your rink owner will notice and appreciate you. It takes more than showing up and paying the admission fee. Fighting, leaving a mess, or destroying property will earn you a reputation that will ban you from the rink.

Here are 7 ways to elevate your status with rink operators.

  1. Buy your skates from the rink. Do not expect a skate pro to fit you for skates, and determine the best products for your budget so you can go buy them online for less. Techs are getting wise to this and have begun charging a small fee for a fitting. That’s to discourage this practice, or at least, compensate the skate tech for their time. Nearly all will deduct the sizing fee if you buy the skates from them. Additionally, you’ll be able to get them adjusted or fixed if there are any issues with your purchase. Buy online and you’re on your own if they don’t fit right or break.

2. Clean up after yourself in the snack bar. When you’re done eating, how about removing the trash from your table and dumping it in the nearest trash can. If there are ketchup or nacho cheese drippings left behind, let someone know so it can be cleaned up quickly. Granted, the employees should be walking around taking care of wiping tables. In reality, they are slammed making food behind the snack bar for hungry skaters. Help make their job a little easier.

3. Don’t hand the DJ a long list of songs to play and expect them all (or any of them) to get played. Each session is designed for a particular crowd. Friday nights will be vastly different from family matinées or Christian music night. Some of your favorite songs may not fit into the program. Accept it. If you don’t like the music being played, ask a manager about the different sessions and plan your visits then. The DJ needs to select music that entertains the greatest number of people in the building. Party moms who shell out 100s of dollars get priority on a Saturday afternoon which is why you’ll hear more Top 40 and family-friendly tunes.

2 Male DJs in the booth at a roller rink

4. Don’t sit on arcade games or on the skate wall.

5. Leaving skates or shoes lying around in aisles can cause a tripping hazard for others. Please tuck them under a bench, or better yet, invest in a locker.  

Skates in lying around in rink aisles is dangerous!

6. If you’re renting skates, return them with the laces tucked into the boots for quads, or close up the buckles for inlines. You’ll get faster service.

7. Be an extra set of eyes for managers and employees. If you see someone carrying a baby on skates, or a fight breaking out, notify a team member immediately. You do not need to get involved, just give them a heads up.

Keeping the rink safe and clean reduces liability and increases public trust. If you’ve ever had a rink close in your hometown and lost your “3rd Place” then you understand. It takes the whole skate community to keep rinks open and show the owners you appreciate their efforts. Thanks for doing your part.

Susan Geary
Susan is a roller rink consultant with experience gained as the former Editor of Rinksider Magazine. She's been a recreational indoor quad skater for 30+ years.

Most Popular

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.