When large groups of people get together, often the smallest things can be a source for complaints. And as the planner, you’re charged with handling it all—performing near-miracles, in some instances—all while keeping your cool and projecting a smile, of course. We performed an informal poll to discover some of the most common complaints event planners hear (and the tongue-in-cheek responses they might think of), plus rounded up a few of the extra-special ones to give you a laugh.
Chicken as an entree, again?
How exactly are we supposed to make 4,000 people happy serving something else?
It’s too hot/cold in here.
That’s why we tell you to dress in layers, people.
My feet hurt.
Yup, we probably have walked more than you.
Oh, were you getting calls during your three hours of sleep too?
I could do your job better/you have such a dream job.
You really have no idea.
The Wi-Fi doesn’t work.
Do I look like a tech wizard?
You’ve run out of coffee/there’s no Diet Coke.
There’s a Starbucks across the street.
Where are the bathrooms?
Do you see the giant arrow pointing to the restrooms?
The line is too long.
Patience is a virtue, my friend.
My phone is dead; where do I charge it?
With your charger, which plugs into an outlet in the wall.
Complaints That Take the Cake
“I was doing an exhibit at an older convention center in Europe and the exhibit hall floor wasn't level. We had an art gallery in our exhibit of famous prints produced on our company's product (wide-format inkjet printers printing on canvas), and the framed art was hung on the hard-wall panels that were slanting due to the floor problem. My boss showed up and asked me if I couldn't get them to shim up the floor (pour concrete) to level it under our exhibit." —Candy Adams, The Booth Mom
“I had one group that wanted to do a ski meeting in March. When we finally got down to the final stages of contracting, the planner decided to go elsewhere because she was afraid it might snow.” —Steve Collins, Resort Meeting Source LLC
“For a conference of 2,000 attendees over five days, from an audience of approximately 80 percent males, the craziest complaint was ‘too much white space on the dinner plates.’” —Barbara McManus, CMP Emeritus
“For the first time in 11 years of using the same product with the same group, I got a complaint that the small metal bulldog clips holding the sponsored lanyard to the plastic name badge were too noisy. My vendor, who had never heard of the noise issue, was able to find a suitable alternative plastic clip, albeit at a higher price point. Go figure.” —Tom Anderson, CMP, Technology Services Industry Association