Saturday, August 20, 2011

a bust of a night

So, I've attended a fair number of free concerts/parties/food trucks/alcohol promotions. From the great (i.e., Good Units parties), to the middling, I thought I played by the rules. I know not to expect to even get in to an event without a confirmation of my RSVP, and actually appreciate it when an event organizer will flat out tell you not to come, because the event was mistakenly made public (usually via one of our friendly neighborhood blogs, like, Those emails often go: seriously, tell us who you know, cause otherwise you ain't getting in. 

I know you get what you pay for, and that it's kind of ridiculous to complain about something that costs zero dollars, Thursday night was a total bust, and I was a bit put out.

The Aliomi event at the Hotel Chantelle was a situation as described above; I received an e-mail response the day of explaining that I should not come if I was not on the legitimate guest list (which I knew I was not). That's fine.

I arrived at the Jack Daniel's Taste of Summer event (to which I did have a legit RSVP) at 7p, and was told that the bar was at capacity and to try later (the bouncer misinformed me about how late the event was running, but I guess it's my own damn fault for believing anything contrary to the info on the printout). Again, I was disappointed, but accept that at things like this there is no "fashionably late", as they often reach capacity, and this one had started at 6pm. 

Okay, frustrating. No matter! The Mehkong event at Riff Raff's was beginning at 9:30p, and this gave me plenty of time to get across town, nurse a coffee, and still get to the event 30 minutes early in case there was a line at the door. I would not make the same mistake twice! I arrived, and was within the first 15 people on the slowly forming line, at which point I spoke to the bouncer to ask when we would be let in. Waiting for a friend to arrive, I read my book and eavesdropped on my fellow cheapskates. At 9:40ish, The List appeared. At 9:45, I gathered from the angry and disappointed sounds of the group in front of me that they hadn't been let in. I found this a little odd, but thought maybe they had RSVP'ed too late/not at all. I was pretty sure I would be okay, since I had received confirmation of my RSVP (with the vague caution that they had received 'an overwhelming response' and that 'entry would not be guaranteed'--fine, that's why I arrived early). To make an increasingly long story short, I was not on the list, and neither were most of the other people waiting on line. As everyone offered to pull up confirmations on their smartphones, and asked 1) where The List came from if not RSVPs 2) what he would do if no one in line was on it 3) if there was someone actually running this event to talk to, etc., it become apparent that whatever 'list' this guy was holding had absolutely no bearing on admission. Heavily done up girls waltzed right past the line into the bar, mumbling something...god knows what, and The List was given a half-heartedly glance maybe once or twice.

I realize this situation is hardly unheard of; I don't go clubbing often (and not to exclusive places), but I've seen enough movies/TV to know that the 'hot girls' always get past the velvet rope. I just wish that everyone who RSVPed had been given a heads up that it was going to be that type of thing, and that RSVP status was a sham/it didn't matter how early you arrived/empty the place was. In the response e-mail, explicitly say that a dress code will be enforced, not just some vague thing about 'discretion'. And guy, why even go through the pretense of holding a list if you're letting people in just on sight? I don't expect an unpaid-for RSVP and unrevealing clothing to get me to the front of any line, but that's why I arrive early: to BEAT the line. And having spoke to the bouncer when I arrived at 9, the very least he could have done was taken a look at my sneakers and told me to not bother waiting around.

Ultimately, it's my understanding that events like these exist to advertise a new product and create goodwill for and a positive buzz around it. Misleading (a lot of) people and pissing them off seems like a poor way to do this. I know I now have a negative association with both Mehkong and Riff Raff's.

Ranting is not the point of this blog, but I needed to vent about the worst-run event I've (unsuccessfully) attended, especially when so many of the other ones have been great. Oh, the silver lining: I ran into another girl (who was much more pissed than I) on the bus later that night. We bitched a bit, and she told me about another source for free events: I hope you benefit from my travails.

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