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Reflections

'I work full time at the bank and it's not bad money, but I love the stadium.'

February 21, 1988

"PEANUTS!!" "CRACKER JACK!!" Baseball and football fans at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium are often surprised when they turn to see who possesses the voice that reverberates from field level to the furthermost seats of general admission. The voice is so loud it can often be heard over television and radio broadcasts of stadium games. The source of this din comes from Aaron Barish, a 20-year-old who has been selling peanuts and other ballgame fare for the past five years. Barish holds a full-time job as a head vault teller at Bank of America, and he attends San Diego State University two nights a week as a business major. But his enthusiasm for his vending job and his love of baseball have made the stadium his second home and have won him several friends among the fans, especially the season ticket holders on field level, where he vends. Times staff writer Caroline Lemke interviewed Barish, and Dave Gatley photographed him.

In February of '83, a neighbor who worked down at the stadium told me they were hiring. She said I probably wouldn't get hired, but I went down anyway. The only question I was asked when I got hired was "Do you mind being out in front of all the people?" I said no. I loved baseball and I started vending and I've been addicted ever since.

I work baseball and football season, but for football I don't work outside. I don't care for the fans--it's not as fun a job. The baseball fans are lighter, they're out there to enjoy the game. They're not out for their team, kill, kill, kill. At Chargers games, people go out there and they drink a little bit. You're always in somebody's way at a Chargers game.

If I did it for the money, I wouldn't be there. It's fun because you get to talk to people, and where I work down on field level you get to know people because they are mostly season ticket holders or mini-season ticket holders, or people from other teams. Their wives and family are down there. So I talk to them and get to see them all the time. Even on Friday nights when I have off from the bank, I go down to the game and I can't sit because I'm so used to walking around, so I'll go around and talk to my customers. It's fun to do that.

You have to not mind to get out in public and personally know the people. They see me, I'll be talking to somebody, and I'll say what I do and they say, "You're the loud guy?" And I say, "Oh, no!"

I'm out there to enjoy myself and also to make friends. And that's what I've done.

You've got to be unique. But to me, I like associating with people. I'll sell something, but I don't believe in jamming something down somebody's throat.

But being as loud as I am, when I'm loud, people look so I get their attention. Because I am a little short person, they don't expect it. They think I should be somebody who's big and got a belly to yell like that. But you don't want to be obnoxious. I've got a fan who doesn't like me to yell by him, because he says it bothers his ears. So by him I won't yell. There are a couple of people who don't like it, so I don't. But I know where they are and I know what days they come. One lady sits in Field (section) 32, and she's there on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, so I don't yell over there.

The people are used to me because I've been down there for a while. People know when I'm coming. You can't make it easier. You want to service everybody, you want to see everybody. To me, they're my friends. They're not John Doe off the street that I'm selling to.

I love doing it. I wouldn't give it up. I work full time at the bank and it's not bad money, but I love the stadium. It's something you can't take away from me. If somebody offered me a full-time job where I would have to give up the stadium, I'd really have to think about it. Because it's a part of me that I'd miss. I'd have an empty place.

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