Frequently Asked Questions
Why do you carry cheese balls around? To make people smile and to make them feel valuable.
How did you come up with the idea? I had a crazy fun experience in an airport as I was bringing some cheese balls home to my nephews and niece. To see the whole story, click here.
How long have you been doing this? My first container went “live” in March of 2008.
How many cheese ball containers have you gone through? As of January 2012, I’ve gone through 97 containers. If you do the math, that’s about 97,000 cheese balls. However, there have been times when I’ve had to cut a container short because it’s fresh factor was compromised or it reached its expiration date.
Do you wear them to work? Yes, but my line of work is different than most. I am a full time speaker, primarily for youth, and my cheese balls serve as a great connecting point and conversation starter for what I do. Check outwww.mollysanborn.com to learn more about my speaking.
What’s the craziest place you’ve worn your back pack? It’s hard to pick so I’ll let you decide! Motorcycling, downhill skiing, rollerblading, roller-skating, zip lining, swimming, my wedding, Target Field, Progressive Field, the Metrodome, planes, trains and automobiles, Venice Beach, California, Niagara Falls, the beaches of Kenai, Alaska, the streets of Toronto, Canada, and the market in Antigua, Guatemala, to name a few.
Have you ever been denied access somewhere because of them? I was denied access to a concert at a club, but the bouncer kept an eye on them for me. I was also not allowed to bring them into Nashville’s Hockey Arena, but they let me “check” them at the desk. Honestly though, it seems I get a lot of special privileges wearing them, and often they are allowed in places that would otherwise claim a strict “no food” policy. I think it’s because people look at my cheese ball backpack more as an art piece or an oversized purse 🙂 . I’ve been given free desserts at restaurants, been brought cookies from First Class when flying and have received discounts when shopping.
Has anyone ever gotten mad at you or reacted poorly? I can only remember 2 incidents in the last 3 years. The first one happened on a flight out to Washington. The flight attendants invited me to hand out cheese balls to the entire plane, and of course I readily agreed. After going in and out of my window seat a few times, I apologized to the older gentleman seated on the aisle, and as a gesture, I offered him a cheese ball. He replied in a gruff, impatient voice, “Eating a cheese ball is the last thing that I would do”. The other incident happened at Wells Fargo. As I was leaving, the manager stopped me to quench her curiosity. As I shared my tag line, “bringing joy to the world…” a very disgruntled stranger butted in and said, “You know, there’s a lot more needs you could meet in this world than handing out junk food.” After a deep breath and a pause to make sure I was composed, I replied by telling him, “I completely agree and do my best to not only meet those tangible needs but to encourage others to do so.” He calmed down and looked a little embarrassed for his misdirected outburst.
What would make you want to be so nice to people you don’t even know? If you saw the looks on people’s faces when they see and experience the cheese balls, you’d know why I do it! A smile is contagious and if I can encourage someone else to pass it on, then I am quite satisfied. I hope to have a ripple effect.
Are you doing this for a specific cause or charity? Though I’ve been offered money numerous times in exchange for cheese balls, I always turn it down. As far as causes… I hope that my friendly gestures and random acts of kindness causepeople to reflect on what their source of joy is. Lots of things make me laugh, but my lasting source of joy is my relationship with Jesus Christ. In my interactions with people, I am often given the opportunity to share about my faith. When invited, I love to share about the Giver of genuine joy, peace and hope. If you followed me around, you’d quickly learn that I treat each encounter uniquely. There is no agenda, but to laugh, listen and inspire.
How long does it take you to empty a container? On average, 2.5 weeks. However, there have been a few times when I have emptied an entire container while speaking at a junior high weekend retreat. Middle school kids are my biggest fans and quickest cheese ball consumers!
How many places have you brought your cheese balls? My cheese balls have been to 30 of the 50 states and 4 countries.
Did you wear them at your wedding? Yes, but not down the aisle. There are some boundaries ;-).
Do you wear them everywhere you go? I wear the cheese balls almosteverywhere I go. Sometimes there are places or situations in which it would be inappropriate such as a funeral or a cheese balls anonymous support group. Also, if I am sick or can’t give gawkers the time and explanation they deserve, then I’ll leave them behind. I wear them about 80% of the places I go.
Doesn’t airport security give you trouble for flying with them? Airport security guards are some of my biggest fans. It’s a pleasure to bring some fun to their routine. I always enjoy explaining myself. Since I fly often and bring them on all my trips, there are always a few airport personnel at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport that recognize me each time I fly!
Do you wear them around your house? No. Don’t you think I deserve a break? 🙂
Where can I get my own dispenser? At this time there is only one cheese ball dispenser that exists (mine), but stay tuned because they may be available for purchase sometime in the future. Best of luck if you try to make your own, because my plans are a secret 😉 .
Do you ever get sick of wearing them? I admit that sometimes I am not feeling up to the demands that come with being the Cheese Ball Chick. As you can imagine, it requires lots of conversations, answering the same questions over and over again, and always being “on”. But the benefits far outweigh any inconveniences, and I really do find it a joy to wear them. There have been a few times that I’ve begrudgingly put them on out of duty only to end up having a fun and unique experience that left me smiling and grateful.
What does your husband think of you doing this? Let me start off by saying that I can’t imagine a more perfect man for me. Craig is so patient, easy going, gracious and supportive. I guess it helps that I wore them on our first date, so he knew what he was getting into! On the few occasions that I’ve second guessed wearing them out somewhere, he’s been the one to encourage me to bring them along. He even assured me that he wouldn’t mind if I brought them on our honeymoon to Cancun. I wanted to start our marriage off right so I did NOT take him up on that offer. I wanted h