Grillpartys von Wohltätigkeitsorganisationen haben in Australien eine lange Tradition – wobei die Großzügigkeit der dort ansässigen Unternehmen eine Schlüsselrolle spielt.
Peter Flynn on selling sausages for a good cause
I’ve volunteered to work on a Saturday afternoon at a great Australian fundraiser this month: the sausage sizzle. In the course of the day, we will raise about A$ 1,500 selling barbecued beef sausages in bread rolls topped, if you want, with fried onions, tomato sauce and mustard. The worthy cause this time will be breast cancer research, because one of my friends is a 20-year survivor of the disease, and she has been a supporter of the Cancer Council ever since she recovered. But it could be any charity, community group or sporting club, because across the country, the humble sausage sizzle has become an institution and a top fundraising event.
You may be confident that most people cannot resist the smell of barbecued onions. The prized location these days, though, is just outside the entrance to any of the hundreds of Bunnings hardware stores. These are mega-warehouses that attract thousands of customers on Saturdays and Sundays. For the event, the company provides almost everything from the tent, barbecue and gas to the tables and a sink — though not the sausages and bread rolls themselves. Places are booked up to six months in advance.
My daughter’s soccer club was once lucky enough to organize a sausage sizzle on Father’s Day, selling 100 sausages an hour between eight in the morning and four in the afternoon, along with hundreds of cans of soft drink or bottled water. Even though prices are fixed at A$ 2.50 for the sausage sizzle and A$ 1.50 for the drinks, the profit margins are huge, thanks to a lot of the food being donated or discounted by local butchers and supermarkets.
In a social-media sensation last year, a bogan tradesman took his entire wedding party to Bunnings for the sausage sizzle. The store manager then gifted the couple a new vacuum cleaner. Another devotee is known regularly to send his drone to fetch him a sausage.
In more recent years, the “democracy sausage sizzle” has become part of elections, with compulsory voting here causing long queues at polling booths. Another big day will be outside betting shops on Melbourne Cup Day (always the first Tuesday in November), when having a gamble is almost as compulsory as voting.
No matter what the location is, the procedure is the same for us old hands. Four people per shift is the optimal number: one taking the orders and money, one cooking and two putting the sausages into the rolls wrapped in a paper serviette. People help themselves to the sauce and mustard.
Customers come mainly in two varieties: those who want fried onions (adults generally) and those who don’t (usually little kids). Occasionally, they want the sausage only, with no bread (that could be for the dog), and sometimes they want only the onion in a roll but no sausage (“failed vegetarians”, I call them). Us workers, though, won’t want to see a sausage sizzle for another six months.
PETER FLYNN is a public-relations consultant and social commentator who lives in Perth, Western Australia.