Not everyone is cut out for this job.

At first glance, it might seem easy to dress up in a mascot costume.  Sure, all you have to do is wave, 'look' happy, and you're done.  But it's actually harder than that!   One of our young adult daughters, Haily, is the Fred Meyer Bear in Richland.

First,  if the company you're working for has a mascot, and knows how they're supposed to be utilized, the process goes something like this.

*Candidates are chosen based partly upon their personality.  A friendly, open person is more likely to convey that message wearing a custume.  Grumpy people or those with attitude need not apply,  nor will a company choose someone who's the cranky champion of the staff.

*Must have high tolerance level, and not have a quick temper.  Imagine a mascot who turns and scares the h**l out of a child because they were standing behind them tugging on their tail!

*Must be in good physical condition.   Not surprisingly, those mascot suits are not exactly that cool, or warm in the winter either, and they often weight a lot.  The person must be able to stand, walk, and tolerate the costume for often hours at a time.  Haily is pretty fit and strong, but the custume, like many, is big and bulky.  And, often retail mascots will work in the costume besides holding another position or roles in the company, as does Haily, so you better be ready to be busy.

*Brains an important factor.  Prior to her making her first stint as Fred Bear,  Haily had to go through several hours of orientation.  The do's, don'ts and surprising legal requirements for such mascots.  They also receive coaching tips on how to approach people and react, especially children.   And, they are reminded again and again, the mascot NEVER talks - no matter what!    The mascot is an important part of the image of the company,  it's viewed as a significant responsibility.

So, the next time you see the Fred Meyer Bear, in Richland, or any other mascot, remember a lot of thought, hard work, and effort went into that person's performance.    It's no longer a case of drawing straws among employees, and the loser has to wear the mascot outfit.