Taste of Decatur: How not to organize an event 101 updated 4/26April 25, 2010
Today, more and more is coming to light about this…disaster.
I noticed an email from Living Social about this Taste of Decatur on Thursday morning, and made nothing of it, until my friend Emma texted me a couple hours later about the event itself. We both ended up buying tickets through Living Social since they were $5.
At the time, the website for Taste of Decatur listed basically every restaurant you could think of in Decatur as a participant. I started to suspect something when I checked it again on Friday night and this list had dramatically thinned out. What was once A-Z of restaurants was now C-S. I was drawn to purchase tickets because the website gave off the impression that there would be samplings along the lines of most other Taste of events, but with a twist, as well as 50% off food purchases or buy one, get one free entrees, depending on the restaurant. It also claimed that several shops in the area would have giveaways and discounts. In the end only one shop was on the list, RockIt, which eventually became the ticket will call.
But now, there were just a couple places even offering tastings, and the rest were just specials…not exactly what I was thinking. In the end, very few deals were even close to 50% off, kind of preventing you from tasting THAT much. We both still decided we would go, even though the weather was awful.
We showed up around 3, after searching on Twitter I found that the “will call” was in RockIt. We filled out something online for a discount card, which as I’ve found reading other articles is available online for free anyway. This guy kept apologizing about not being able to email people because Living Social wouldn’t give them that information blah blah blah. Had it actually been nice and sunny outside, would this still have been a disaster? More than likely.
What I found most fascinating is that Taste of Decatur did not ever update on Twitter yesterday through the event until practically 5pm with NOTHING USEFUL. Nobody ever seemed to actually represent this so called festival. The lack of communication and marketing is pretty appalling.
With hamburger looking stamps on our hands, we went to Mac McGee’s Irish Pub. Even though the list of participants said we had to purchase entrees in order to get 50% off appetizers, the totally awesome bartender gave us 50% off them anyway. The chips and curry were awesome and if anything, we’re definitely going back there. We headed to the sandwich place that was actually offering tastings and tried some stuff, and since it was then 4pm, we went to The Iberian Pig.
Even there, they were totally confused. We were originally told we got a free tapas plate per table, and only after trying to pick one we were told it was the bacon wrapped dates. In any case we got a couple others since we weren’t exactly trying that much.
From there, we went to The Chocolate Bar…only to find it not even open. Even when Joe and I were on our way out of Decatur after 6, it was still closed. They were actually listed as having drink specials, but they weren’t even open.
We went to Leon’s Full Service, where our server didn’t even know what we were talking about regarding Taste of Decatur specials for the day.
At that point we were done with whatever this “festival” had to offer and went to The Yogurt Tap, totally uninvolved from this disaster from this point forward, and enjoyed some froyo.
For the businesses who did participate even with having no damn clue about what was going on, you are awesome. Especially the bartender at Mac McGee’s. I think Emma wanted to say there all day and listen to him talk with his Irish accent.
I wasn’t even going to bother posting about this, until I got an email from Living Social saying that all people who bought tickets would be refunded, along with getting $5 toward a future purchase from them.
I’m sure some people would outright refuse to do business with Living Social from this point forward, but my guess is that they probably had no idea what was going on just like the rest of us. The problem is whoever actually is behind this event. They suck at organization, and they are the ones who actually left us in the dark, even now. I will wait to see if there is any sort of apology/explanation, or basically anything that doesn’t just blame Living Social for something that is not their fault at all.
Now apparently he is working on something called “Tour of Decatur” and this “Taste of Decatur” was just the beginning. Funny when half the businesses seemed clueless. I look forward to receiving this discount card and seeing if any of the restaurants that had originally been listed are now a part, or if they just used every restaurant in Decatur to attract people.
I wouldn’t call anyone who showed up a sucker, that’s just a jackass thing to do. I would bet the majority of people were drawn in because it had the shell impression that local businesses were involved and would be benefiting from this event. If you want to make the claim that complaining about $5 that ended up refunded is stupid, go right ahead, but even free events have more organization than this did.