I’ll Take My Barbies and Go Home

None of this happened to me, but it happened to a friend of mine and I’m angry for her (especially since I’ve been there).

She was asked to donate desserts for an industry event. It was not made clear that she would be one of at least two who donated. So, she staged and planned her display, which is a reflection of the kind of work she’d do for a wedding or corporate party,  to showcase her business in front of about a hundred wedding planners and caterers at a holiday party/fundraiser. She later found out that another baker would be there, too.

I volunteered to help her set up. We arrived to find that no one knew where the desserts were going to be. After lots of poor communication, we are told where to set up. Since we were so early, we set up everything and then leave for a snack.

Upon our return, we find that half her desserts have been put under the table. The other half were uncovered (getting unnecessarily stale or dusty when the party was still more than half an hour off). And, the covers from those trays were place on the floor instead of stacked somewhere cleaner. ew. Sam’s cookies were taking up the other half of my friend’s table. Since they weren’t labeled, “Sam’s cookies in case we run out of good desserts from our members who graciously donated their time and tasty treats to us,” the implication was that my friend made these cheap cookies. In addition, the other dessert vendor has set up an entire table with her products. Why didn’t that vendor have to share? Where was that vendor, anyway? Oh, that’s right. She dropped off her donation and left. She wasn’t even AT the event!

People kept talking to me instead of her. I kept saying, “These are her’s,” “This is her business,” and “I’m just here to help her out.”

When we asked the woman in charge of this mess for a table and cloth to put the cookies (and now, brownies, too), it was as if we asked for the soul of her grandchild on. She was smug and condescending to both of us for the rest of the event. We even went above-and-beyond and made the other two tables match as best we could so it looked intentional instead of half-assed.

The confusion came from the vast number of volunteered items: each caterer only provided one entree or side or salad, kind of like a professional pot luck. The lady who had picked up and dropped off the Sysco-esque brownies kept asking me what she was supposed to do. I told her three times who to ask for help. I guess I should have said, “I don’t work here!” She just stood there dumbfounded.

People, this is why you get a party/event coordinator. Put one person in charge of all the details (like the layout of the room) and position them where they can be found as all the volunteers start showing up with their donations. If caterers and bartenders and rentals and bakers and photographers were asked to donate, why not a coordinator? Oh, we’ll get to THAT.

After all was settled we both grabbed a much-needed drink and went to check in. Get this: my friend, who just battled for proper display of her $200+ donation was also asked to pay $20 entrance. Are you kidding? Ok, ok, it’s for a good cause and all. fine. But that should have been made clear up front. It is not standard to ask a vendor to both donate and pay.

We spent the next part of the evening avoiding the fake ass-kissing and pretending we weren’t offended when coordinators would ask about our services and then obviously NOT listen to any answers. (I swear some of those women can’t hold more than one phrase in their little minds.) No wonder none of them had helped with the event.

Then, at 8pm, after everyone had been drinking for 2 hours, after several songs of dancing and a much-too-loud DJ (Club “Woo Woo” Alll Riiiiigggghhht!), one of the hostesses took the microphone and would not continue until everyone was quiet to listen to her thank all the sponsors. Awkward! Why didn’t they do this before they served dinner? Again, a good coordinator would have set them straight on this. She read through the list so quickly I couldn’t understand several of the names. And for dessert, she only mentioned the other vendor…and not my friend. Furthermore, that organization does a printed list of the sponsors for each of their monthly meetings. So why wasn’t there a simple printed list with the 20 or so businesses listed for this? What. The. Hell?

I turned to her and said, “you ready to pack up?” She gave a “hell yes!” and like a flash we were out of there.

KICKER: I was considering joining the hosting organization. But now I see that they, ahem, (Be NICE, Lori. Santa is watching.) “aren’t a good fit for me.”

What, exactly, is with people who think they can afford to be snobs during a recession?

Two good things: A lot of people fawned over my friend’s display; it really is very beautiful. The snobs gave us the motivation to move forward with our plans for the future.