Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Service of Comping—Yes, or No?

Thursday, May 9th, 2024

You be the judge in these instances which could go either way: To comp or not?

You have costly theater or concert tickets and your companion can’t come at the last minute. If you ask a friend or acquaintance to take his/her place, do you expect the person to pay for their seat or should they get a freebie?

You’re producing a networking event, with speaker, in elegant surroundings, serving Dom Pérignon and catered nibbles. Based on RSVPs in hand, you’re concerned that not enough people will come to duly honor the speaker, so you plead with some members to attend. They normally pay for membership as well as for each event. Do you comp or charge the ones who are doing you a favor by attending?

Your kitchen was slow in food prep and the waitstaff was thrown off its game. Service plummeted. As a restaurateur do you offer free desserts/after dinner drinks to the guests who were impacted, simply apologize or don’t mention anything?

Where do you stand on comping others or being comped? Can you share other examples?

Service of the Season to be Frazzled

Monday, December 11th, 2023

Packed schedules become more so during the holidays. When irritating things happen that usually don’t, isn’t it grand when they turn out better than expected?

On the same day two friends shared examples of uh-oh’s that ended well.

The Keys to Kindness

One friend is shuttling back and forth between her home and her daughter’s for a week to dog sit while the family is out of town. She spends the night with the dog at the pooch’s home—she has two cats and they don’t get along. Early one morning she arrived home after settling the dog and she couldn’t find her keys. To get in she woke a neighbor who had a second set.

She subsequently wrote: “I just got a call from the library. Someone found my keys on the sidewalk between our two houses and my library card is on the key chain, so that good person turned them in. I will pick them up at the front desk!”

The Bus Left Without Me

A friend arrived just in time to catch a bus that was taking a group on a museum tour and lunch only to discover it had left without her. As she had paid for the day she scrambled to get to the first stop on her own all the time wondering why the bus hadn’t waited for her and her plus one. Although they’d cashed her check, they may have been omitted from the list, she worried.

Once she caught up with the group she complained to the event organizer, eventually forgot about the anxiety she’d experienced and had a grand time.

She wrote a few days later: “The woman who organized the museum/lunch just dropped off a bottle of wine and Godiva chocolates as apology gifts with hopes that we will continue to attend the organization’s events.”

It’s so easy to be distracted during the holidays, increasing the chances that untoward things will happen. Have others saved your bacon or made memorable apologies for mistakes?

This was not the gift mentioned in the story.

Service of Sensible Measures: How to React to a Crisis

Thursday, March 12th, 2020

Grand Central Terminal that’s losing its reputation as a crowded place.

Coronavirus has increasing nasty, damaging ramifications: Its super-contagious nature; the threat of quarantining people for 14 days if exposed or sick; the potential long-lasting crushing economic consequences; the seminal changes to education as more and more colleges are closing dorms for weeks after spring break and moving students online for instruction if they haven’t already done so and for the near future sports, entertainment and expos–to the trade or consumers–won’t be the same. What about young children and their working parents should the kids be forced to stay home? Will imports/exports be stopped? One of the worst aspects: the fuzzy, ad hoc nature of the strategy to contain the virus.

Will we remain helpless, grasping at straws, improvising in a scattershot way for the year we must wait for a vaccine? Can someone please facilitate production and delivery of test kits for the virus, hand sanitizer and face masks? Manhattan is also bereft of the latter two.

Any good ideas, Mr. President and team?

In my apartment building tenants must pick up takeout food in the lobby as delivery people are not allowed upstairs. A week ago the manager installed a hand sanitizer dispenser in the vestibule by the elevators.

You’ve heard the expression “As busy as Grand Central Station?” If this keeps up, it will be meaningless. Please see the photo I took yesterday at the top of the post.  And doors to the terminal and the Rite Aid drugstore inside are left open [photos below left and right] so people don’t have another handle on which to spread or from which to catch germs. The doors normally are not left open but nothing’s normal.

Doors to Grand Central not usually left open

Some friends called off vacations, [while one left for India as scheduled and I wonder what her return in a few days will be like], and others, planning to cover industry events, aren’t going because their meetings or trade shows have been deep-sixed or their employers withdrew their OK for travel/attendance. Venues such as hospital and church community rooms have pulled the plug on professional or educational gatherings for now yet a trade show in Manhattan next week so far is expected to go forward. A friend who pooh-poohs 99 percent of every danger said he was working at home for the next few days to avoid the train commute.

And for me? I’ve always used my knuckle to select my floor in an elevator but I’ve never before washed my hands as much. I bought a large container of peanut butter should I be quarantined or ill so I don’t have to bother anyone if I run out of other food. [Truth: I’ll probably finish the jar long before the crisis is over.] I picked up an extra bottle of prescription meds in the event there’s a delivery glitch in the near future and the last 2 bottles of CVS-brand hand sanitizer. I gave one away. I’m not doing laundry in the communal laundry room at my apartment and I’m hand-washing as much as I can.

I wasn’t soothed by the NY Metropolitan Transit Authorities’ warning–without proposing viable alternatives–that citizens avoid taking crowded subway or buses. Jeanne to the MTA: This is NYC. Everything’s crowded pretty much. I worry that the system will be shut down.

I’m tempted by the $50 Broadway theater tickets to fill otherwise sold-out shows left with last minute seats because of significant cancellations by ticket holders–but hesitate to take advantage of the bargain and think all the shows may eventually be closed. Tickets are supposed to go on sale today at noon. According to amny.com, “Tickets for “To Kill a Mockingbird”, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and “West Side Story” are available through telecharge.com. “The Lehman Trilogy” and “The Book of Mormon” are available through ticketmaster.com.

I don’t have the stomach to calculate my financial losses spinning out of control.

Have you altered your life or plans in recognition of the virus or been forced to? Are you concerned about the financial ramifications or do you figure everything will return to “normal” shortly? Have you experienced anything like this—a triple-whammy of health, lifestyle and financial menace all at once? War perhaps? Do you feel that someone responsible has her/his arms around this? What will you do with your time if restricted to your home for 14 days? Am I overstating the situation?

Service of Reunions

Monday, May 1st, 2017

I’m not a big fan of school or college reunions although I loved my time at the institutions.

You can count on one hand the number I’ve attended. I know the amount of work and time involved with determining the topics, gathering the right speakers, planning the dinners and satellite events and marketing them all to gather a crowd.

I attended select parts of a recent one.

I can understand why Truman Capote wrote “Answered Prayers,” the tell-all book that destroyed his relationship with best friends such as Babe Paley and Gloria Vanderbilt. He was angry. So was I. 

However apart from the obvious differences between us, such as audience size and prominence, the first draft of this post, [torn up now], and Truman’s book differ in that mine wasn’t about others’ secrets; it covered snarky or off-the-wall comments of former classmates. And it didn’t give sufficient credit to the generosity of the couple who throw elegant dinner parties for class members and their partners to celebrate these occasions or the speakers at the discussion I attended.

Andrea Thompson, in an article on livescience.com, wrote “Bad Memories Stick Better Than Good.” She quoted Elizabeth Kensinger, Boston College, who reviewed research on emotional memories. “‘It really does matter whether [an event is] positive or negative in that most of the time, if not all of the time, negative events tend to be remembered in a more accurate fashion than positive events,’ Kensinger said.”

What inspires people to say thoughtless, nasty things at events such as reunions? Do you attend them? Do you remember the bad parts more than the good or is it all good?

 

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