Thursday, August 14, 2014

My Week With Stupid People

So, I am responsible for planning a national conference for this October 16 & 17th. We have made good progress, I have a strong agenda, great speakers (over 70 of them) and for the first time ever the majority of the workshop materials were submitted by the due date (1 August.)

Then there was this weeks's encounters with morons.

Tuesday morning I was on a call unrelated to the Conference and someone proudly announced that the White House is planning to sending representatives to the Conference to conduct a listening session to gather input for a conference they are planning sometime next year.  This was news to me, and I am THE person responsible for the Conference - I am personally responsible for the agenda.  One of my planning committee members had suggested it to the White House and then left town on vacation without emailing or calling me.  I am thrilled at the honor, but shocked that someone would add something to my program without asking if I had room in an agenda that has been packed to the brim since April.  I was mildly unpleasant to a couple of people.

Today's idiot encounter.
The Conference meeting space will hold 140 people, fire code that is the maximum number of chairs we can place in the largest room at the venue.  We have known this since January.  When we opened registration we set a cap of 125, a month ago we raised that to 132, and last week I raised it to 140. This week I noticed that the cap was back down to 132.  I figured it was an IT backup issue so I emailed asking for it to be raised back to 140 and the moron storm erupted.  Staff had lowered it (without talking to me) to 132 to allow for walk in registrations. We are nearing a sell-out 8 weeks before the program date(121 as of this afternoon,) and they want to hold seats for people who might or might not show up at the last minute.  I responded that I thought this unwise. I then received an email saying that when they thought about it we have not factored in last minute cancellation and no-shows. Could I please find statistics on what the average cancellation rate is for similar conferences (2% by the way.)  So we went from we need to hold back seats for walk in registrations to we need to figure out how much we can oversell the conference to factor in no shows. So if we go to the original cap of 140, and we have the predicted 2% no show rate, we have 3-4 seats for walk ins that may or may not happen.  Kind of back to what I asked for originally.  But it 2 1/2 hours of my life, that I will never get back went into getting back to the original point (and I have six people that I know of that are registered for the conference, but only showing up for their session and leaving - if anyone listened to me or read my emails they would know I have six people on the list who are not really attending.)

I only spent a few seconds pounding my head against the wall.  I have been home nearly an hour, and I have not started drinking.  A good sign of self control.

And I am thinking of working with these people for a repeat program in 2015.  Who is the idiot?


  1. Ohhhhh! Poor Poopsie!!! Let me know if you want me to beat someone up for you.

  2. Being home an hour and not drinking yet is either a sign of remarkable self-control or remarkable masochistic pick. ;-)

  3. Anonymous8/15/2014

    I am the chairman of a local fundraiser. I say local, it draws people from the entire easy coast. Same crap. Fire marshals, capacity, all of it. ARGH! Why have done this for 8 years?!?!?!?!

    Peace <3

  4. Ignorance drives me crazy as well. It gets me going like nothing else.