Monday, May 07, 2007

Sundays are for Crying

I had such a tough tough weekend. Here is an email that I sent to the people in charge of the conference I was a vendor at.

Katy and all
I just want all of you to know how hurt I am by what happened at the conference last night and today. I am not sure what you heard from Jody, but last night Katy showed me the spot where I could set up. I had spoken with Kathy B about unloading on Friday night and she said I would be able to come any time between 1-5. I tried to leave on Friday morning in time to get there by 3 (I live at least 5 hours north of the Blaine Sports Center). I was late leaving, got caught in traffic and had difficulty with my 9 year old son on the trip down there. By the time I arrived at 4:30, I was pretty well fried. Katy showed me where she thought I was supposed to set up in the vendor room (she called someone, but I am not sure who? Jody?). We looked at the two corner spots by the outside door and only one spot had electricity which I had paid extra for. It was at this point that I clearly made a mistake. I did not look at my info where it plainly said that I had paid for one space and one table (neither of the 2 spots had one table and one space), so I took 2 tables. I rearranged and started setting up because Katy said that they had told her that we could be in the building till 8 pm. (I only ended up staying till 6). After I had gotten part way set up, Jody came in and started complaining that I had taken 2 tables instead of a table and a space and that I was setting up in the wrong space. I offered to give her the table back, but she kept complaining. I then told her that I had had such a hard day, that I would prefer to pack up my stuff, get a refund and go home, but she said to just keep the table. I left soon after that and finished setting up in the morning. The next morning, it was very apparent that the spaces were too small, the room was too far away, and there was not addequate signs to tell people where the vendors were. Many of the vendors were very upset that the non-profits were out front and had more room. But it kinda made sense since they paid LESS. By mid morning, I had had one sale. It was to another vendor who had called me last week and I brought her items with me. It was at this point that someone on staff came and told me that I would need to pay $67 for another table since I had taken too much room or taken another table, I am not sure which. I said I would not pay for another table, but that I would be happy to pack up and leave and get a refund immediatly as I had had virtually no sales. I do have to say this person was very calm and not unkind, but she said she would go and talk to the president. She came back and said the president was in a meeting (in the mean time my 9 year old son thought that George W was going to be coming to talk to me and that I might be taken to prison because I wasn't willing to pay the extra vendor fee). No one ever came back to talk to me to clear the air about what had taken place. I do not think that many of you understand what it is like to be a vendor. I have worked with many of you both as a vendor and a trainer and I have made every attempt to be Courteous, on time, entertaining, and add value to all of the conferences that I have attended. I do not enjoy conflict and feel sick about how I was treated and how I am probably being viewed by your organization. I do apologize for taking an extra table, however, I did offer to give it back, both Friday night and Saturday morning. I apologize for bringing so much stuff to sell. I do think that bringing a lot is an advantage for your core customer (child care providers) for several reasons. They have a chance to see the items in person, they do not have to pay shipping, and they can compare prices more easily. I have had to work with Jody when she was running things with the Anoka conference and she has always been very difficult. You are hurting your organization to have someone like her working with the providers and the vendors. Please consider removing her from this position. I feel very badly about hurting the relationship that I have built up with Kathy B, the chance to get to know Katy better and the others that I saw at the Wisdom conference. I have considered your organization an ally and friend and would like to continue that relationship in the future.

Joan Berntson
Back 2 Basics 4 Kids

Then on Sunday, I got an email from one of my online instructors saying that my final project needed to be re-done. I cried for a half an hour and then just re-did it. I was going to say, whatever and walk away from it all, but I am glad I re-worked it. Went and saw Serenity in Duluth on Sunday night and we had a great time. She was having an art show for her art class and it was good to see that and spend some time with her.

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