Taste of Decatur: How not to organize an event 101 updated 4/26

April 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.

Other posts on this are at Decatur Metro, in Decatur, Decatur News Online and Random Oenophile.

inDecatur has had several updates regarding this, so head there for more info. There is also now a post on the AJC’s Food and More blog too.


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Amanda. Amanda said: new blog post! Taste of Decatur: How not to organize an event 101: Today, more and more is coming to light about t… http://bit.ly/a3PcHy […]

  2. I’m glad I didn’t just hallucinate this whole thing or overreact to the weirdness. (My account: http://www.decaturmetro.com/2010/04/25/taste-of-decatur-not-so-tasty/

  3. Oh, and reposting from my LiveJournal (http://wiebke.livejournal.com/2520893.html):

    I love the fact that now, when you have a bad customer experience, you can share it and find out, hey, you weren’t the only one.

    My experience Saturday at the Taste of Decatur “festival”:

    Taste of Decatur Not So Tasty

    And here are multiple blogs backing me up:

    Taste of Decatur Was a FUBAR from the Get-Go to the Letdown

    A Rant on Taste of Decatur

    Taste of Decatur: How not to organize an event 101

    And here’s a news article:

    Event Leaves Bad Taste in Decatur’s Mouth

  4. Nice write-up, Amanda, and thanks for the link! I definitely agree that the restaurants who stepped up even with no clue as to what was happening deserve appreciation, specifically Iberian Pig, Sammiches n Stuff, and Carpe Diem. Between the three of them, we got our $5 each back. I’m still wondering if the discount cards are going to come through or if they’re just going to sell our names and addresses. 😛


  5. Oh, and one more thing… Those of us in the Decatur community are trying to make sure that it’s clear that this mess isn’t at all associated with the wonderful “Garden of Eatin: A Taste of Decatur” festival put on by Decatur Cooperative Ministries. It would suck if that legitimate and wonderful event is hurt because people confuse the two.



  6. The person/entity that perpetrated the “Taste of Decatur” on our community last weekend has now changed the name of that website to “Tour of Decatur”. Be warned…the URL is still the same (www.tasteofdecatur.com) so it’s the same person/entity who is planning another questionable event. Also, this Total Access Guide (aka TAG/MAG aka The TAG Firm) and its front man Stanley Ellis doesn’t seem to have any physical address. Go ahead…try to find one. As the saying goes: fool me once shame on you…fool me twice…I’m an idiot.

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