BTRIPP (btripp) wrote,
BTRIPP
btripp

What the HECK were they thinking ...

I just got back in from an evening that was supposed to have been featuring a networking event. This was the monthly shindig for the Chicago Interactive Social Club ... a strange group that doesn't do much in terms of programming, but predictably has hundreds of folks show up for the events (which generally feature free food and some degree of free drinks). Usually these happen at restaurants that have sizable party rooms that will hold the crowd ... however, tonight it was set up at a recording studio. When I saw the info, I figured "hey, big soundstage, no problem" ... but that didn't seem to be the case. They did suggest to arrive early, and I was in line outside the building by 5:30 for a 6pm start, but I (even being the 15-20th in the line outside the building) never even saw the facility, after waiting for an hour outside. It turned out that the place had an "official capacity" of just over a hundred ... and it seems that they hit that before I got to the front of the line.

It was pretty much a mess from the get-go ... they eventually pulled everybody who was a "VIP" out of the main line and into a new line on the other side of the doorway, and started to let some of those in 5 at a time. But, as the time rolled on, there were now two huge lines (as new arrivals started adding onto the VIP line) and the guy manning the door announced at about 6:30 that people would be let in as people who were already inside left. Since those inside were enjoying an open bar and appetizers, the odds of them leaving any time soon seemed nil. However, outside there were 300-500 people stacked up, waiting to get in.

You know, I used to be a CMP (Certified Meeting Professional), and the idea of having an open RSVP process for an event where you can only get 100 in is insane, especially if you're promising an open bar (and food) for three hours. What were they thinking? If they had any idea that the venue was that small they should have at least gone to a ticket system (such as EventBrite), and specified a set number of spaces!

As it turned out, I was at the very front of the line when the doorman said that nobody was getting in until somebody else left. I'd been standing out in the cold for an hour at that point, and figured that the was sufficient weirdness happening that even if I did get in, the situation was going to end up being unpleasant. Unfortunately, I was supposed to be picking up Daughter #1 up in Lincoln Square around 10pm (which would have been an easy enough shot if I'd been leaving the event at 9pm), and at that point it would only be frustrating to try to go home at that point. So, I walked over to the Starbucks and State and Ohio, and settled in with the book I'd brought with me, waiting for 9pm to hop on the El.

Not exactly what I'd been planning when I left my office this afternoon.


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