Author Topic: Complaining about free events  (Read 5336 times)

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Last_Dance

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Complaining about free events
« on: November 06, 2012, 04:35:12 PM »
Every year the company my BF works for organizes a Christmas concert for clients and potential clients: everyone in his office must personally issue invitations to his or her own clients. Bringing friends and family is encouraged as long as we are told in advance how many seats they'll require: the company usually rents a theater and there are only so many seats available (and that's without getting into safety issues).

This year we had two international artists playing an opera* recital - not to everybody's taste, I'll admit it, but it was specified in the invitation. It's entirely possible some people had never heard a single opera aria* in their life, but still they would have known it was opera and not, say, waltz or rock'n'roll.

Well, after the concert a few people walked up to their contact and complained about the show. Not that there were any problems with the performance, they just didn't like the music.
Maybe I'm being too sensitive, but I found that pretty rude.

Yes, the concert is, in the end, a marketing ploy. The audience might not have paid for a ticket but did, in a sense, pay for the concert by making business with the company. But the company doesn't have to organize the Christmas concert: it's just an added bonus.

If they didn't think they would enjoy it (again, the invitation said it was opera*), they didn't have to come. And if they thought they'd enjoy it but then didn't, I can't understand why they'd go and complain, especially because those who issue invitations are not the ones who organize the concert. 

* = it wasn't actually opera, just trying to disguise the event in question.
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NyaChan

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Re: Complaining about free events
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2012, 04:46:25 PM »
Well, I would keep in mind that some of those people may not have realized that they didn't like that genre until they saw the show.  I would also note that their comments could be helpful - I mean, the whole point of the Christmas show is to provide entertainment to clients to make them happy and want to work with the company right?  If they leave the show unhappy, the whole purpose of putting it on has been ruined.  Now you guys know that X number of people don't like this sort of thing and that the Christmas show will be more successful with a change in genre. 

Now the way they expressed their dislike may have been rude of course, but I don't think it is rude in general to express in a polite way that a show was not to one's taste.

dawbs

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Re: Complaining about free events
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2012, 04:57:48 PM »
I think this gets a bit trickier when it's a work relationship.

I'll own that I get annoyed when my employer and other business that work with my employer spend booku bucks on something I detest--because said-employer is telling me that they don't have money for raises and is citing the cost of these other businesses as part of the reason.

There's also the problem that 'not going' isn't ALWAYS really an option for anything work related.
In *theory*, it's voluntary.  In practice, a vendor's boss may not find it voluntary, a boss may not find it voluntary, etc.

WillyNilly

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Re: Complaining about free events
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2012, 05:02:52 PM »
Hmmm, was it the style or the content they objected to.  For example opera might be not everyone's cup of tea but bearable.  But overtly religious opera (I don't even know if that's a thing, but since we aren't really talking about opera, follow me  ;) ) could be significantly more annoying.  For example is the show billed as "Christmas" or as "Holiday"?  If something is billed as holiday but then only focus' on Christmas or is overly religious (many people consider Christmas to be a secular holiday at this point), I could see how a person would be annoyed by that and then the minor annoyance of the style of music would be amplified; alone the style would have been bearable.

bloo

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Re: Complaining about free events
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2012, 05:12:32 PM »
I like NyaChan's point about feedback and what Dawbs said about the trickier aspects of work relationships.

In general, it's rude to dismiss something provided for you with "I didn't like that..." or whatever. Whomever had to be on the receiving end of it can, at least, use that as feedback for next year.

I remember going to a religious meeting (a bible study) and once a month we had a 'goodie night'. I decided to make a monstrous amount of sushi. Why I don't know, but another group crashed our bible study (perfectly fine for this to happen) on that night so it worked out great that we had extra food.

One of my friends said later, "Oh you made the sushi? I didn't like it."

Me:  :o then ;D and, "Sorry you didn't like it!"

It didn't matter because he left more for everyone else and it was the first item gone from our little potluck. I kinda thought it was pointless for him to tell me that but on the upside, when we had his family over for dinner, I knew not to serve sushi.

I am not a fan of country music or any other offshoot of the genre. If I accepted an invitation knowing that would be played or performed, I'd suck it up, depending on the company. With my friends I'd have no problem complaining...all in good fun because they'd have a good time teasing me about the music, but with people I don't know so well, I'd try not to let people know my feelings about certain things unless asked. I wouldn't volunteer how much I didn't enjoy myself and I'd try to temper my true feelings if I really didn't enjoy an experience.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2012, 05:16:35 PM by bloo »

yokozbornak

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Re: Complaining about free events
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2012, 05:53:55 PM »
A friend's company does a similar concert every year, and we were once invited to a performance of The Nutcracker.  While I thoroughly enjoyed it, I wouldn't have said anything even if I didn't because it was a nice night out, it was free, and I wouldn't want to hurt my friends feelings.  If I were the company, however, I would be interested in knowing how the audience felt especially those who were clients because if I am shelling out a large amount of cash to make clients happy, I want to make sure that my money is well spent.

Last_Dance

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Re: Complaining about free events
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2012, 05:01:24 AM »
Hmmm, was it the style or the content they objected to.  For example opera might be not everyone's cup of tea but bearable.  But overtly religious opera (I don't even know if that's a thing, but since we aren't really talking about opera, follow me  ;) ) could be significantly more annoying.  For example is the show billed as "Christmas" or as "Holiday"?  If something is billed as holiday but then only focus' on Christmas or is overly religious (many people consider Christmas to be a secular holiday at this point), I could see how a person would be annoyed by that and then the minor annoyance of the style of music would be amplified; alone the style would have been bearable.

I don't think it was that: last year we had a gospel choir and everybody loved it, while this year the music wasn't religious at all (first half instruental music, second half mostly love songs).


There's also the problem that 'not going' isn't ALWAYS really an option for anything work related.
In *theory*, it's voluntary.  In practice, a vendor's boss may not find it voluntary, a boss may not find it voluntary, etc.

I'm not sure I can explain it without going into details - perhaps I should have said "costumers" rather than "clients". Anyway, my BF works with private citizens, not other companies or firms, so partecipation was entirely voluntary.
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VorFemme

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Re: Complaining about free events
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2012, 10:17:24 AM »
"Customers" and "clients" are a bit different - both pay you, but customers tend to get goods and clients tend to get services...at least in modern parlance.

The original Latin (I don't read Latin but I do read books written by pedants) had a very different flavor to the word "client" - apparently clients were more along the lines of hangers-on to a man with more fame, authority, wealth (generally), and political clout.  The meaning of so many words has evolved over the generations since they were co-opted into other languages, other cultures, and very different socio-political structures.

But the original people seeking clients were known to pay for free entertainments - they were called "circuses" - based on the locations where they were held.  Amazing how some things haven't changed....I'm sure that there were complaints about the entertainments back then, the refreshments, and the weather on the day that the event was held probably came in for comment, too.  Somebody should have picked a day with better weather.....
« Last Edit: November 07, 2012, 10:20:23 AM by VorFemme »
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audrey1962

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Re: Complaining about free events
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2012, 10:38:46 AM »
Since you have defined the complaining attendees as customers, I do not think they were rude as this was not a social interaction but a business one. They were providing feedback, just as they would about any other aspect of the business.

baglady

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Re: Complaining about free events
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2012, 11:22:31 AM »
Since you have defined the complaining attendees as customers, I do not think they were rude as this was not a social interaction but a business one. They were providing feedback, just as they would about any other aspect of the business.

I disagree. The company may have a business relationship with its customers, but the concert was a gift to the customers to show them appreciation. And it's rude to complain about a gift to the giver. If I don't like the gift my office secret Santa gives me, it would be rude of me to tell him that to his face. The fact that our relationship is "business" and not social wouldn't excuse it.

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audrey1962

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Re: Complaining about free events
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2012, 11:29:19 AM »
Since you have defined the complaining attendees as customers, I do not think they were rude as this was not a social interaction but a business one. They were providing feedback, just as they would about any other aspect of the business.

I disagree. The company may have a business relationship with its customers, but the concert was a gift to the customers to show them appreciation. And it's rude to complain about a gift to the giver. If I don't like the gift my office secret Santa gives me, it would be rude of me to tell him that to his face. The fact that our relationship is "business" and not social wouldn't excuse it.

You've raised some good points. I was reacting to the the customer comment and to this: "Yes, the concert is, in the end, a marketing ploy." That made me think it wasn't a gift, but a marketing event. However, I admit, I'm having trouble understanding the OP and what type of event it is.

White Lotus

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Re: Complaining about free events
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2012, 01:29:42 PM »
So...some people didn't like the entertainment.  It is still a nice gesture, and they did not have to come.  A business connection supports a modern dance company and sends out tickets as gifts.  Sometimes we go, sometimes we give the tickets away, depending on if we agree it might be fun. Sometimes the show is great.  Usually, it is simply not our style. Occasionally, it is just plain awful.  Do we say so? No. Gift is giver's choice.  Nice of connection to do it, nice of your company to do it.
OTOH, collecting feedback is good because you want your customers to have a good time and think well of your business throughout the year.  But be subtle, just like you were talking to a friend.  A survey sort of thing or official feedback website would turn me off.  That would scream "marketing" to me, and I would not like it.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Complaining about free events
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2012, 05:36:40 PM »
I think the level of rudeness depends on how the feedback is given.

Rude scenario
Employee:  hello, client glad you could join us.
Client: I wish I hadn't as I haven't enjoyed this at all.

Non-rude
Employee: hello, Client. Are you enjoying the concert.
Client: I appreciate the invitation but I'll admit I enjoyed last years concert more. 

Flora Louise

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Re: Complaining about free events
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2012, 05:38:07 PM »
I say rude, OP. I just don't think you can ever criticize hospitality.
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Surianne

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Re: Complaining about free events
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2012, 06:17:39 PM »
I think the level of rudeness depends on how the feedback is given.

Rude scenario
Employee:  hello, client glad you could join us.
Client: I wish I hadn't as I haven't enjoyed this at all.

Non-rude
Employee: hello, Client. Are you enjoying the concert.
Client: I appreciate the invitation but I'll admit I enjoyed last years concert more.

I agree.  I'd think the business would appreciate the feedback in scenario #2.  Best to know what your customers/clients like, so you can decide what to do next year.