To set the scene, a few weeks ago I was sent an invite to the 121 Mining Investment Las Vegas conference. I signed up online, started organizing meeting slots and so forth, all while under the impression it was both an in-person and online event. Two years of Covid, the plethora of similar events I attend on a near-weekly basis and the fact that the 121 literature didn’t make it clear the event was in-person only had me under that impression until yesterday Wednesday, when one Charlie Hastings of 121 sent over the following mail. Please note the bold type:
“Oh”, I thought. “Interesting. It’s not a hybrid conference and I know for a fact I have better things to do next week than fly to Las Vegas, Adele show or no Adele show.” I strongly suspected a communications breakdown had happened, therefore replied with this yesterday afternoon:
This morning 05:30am local time, Charlie replied:
“Hmm”, I thought. All these conferences for which I get sent invites and I’m supposed to keep track of which ones are webinars, which ones are hybrid and which ones are physical-only. What’s more, after two years of these gigs Zoom has become default. I wondered why I’d made the error, so checked back through the mail string of the 121 conference during the planning and acceptance stages. For sure 121 was always clear of it being an in-person event, that was never in question, but there wasn’t a single mention of the lack of webinar alternative. Not until Wednesday, when Charlie wrote me that reminder with extra bold type and from the looks of that bold-typed generic mail, maybe I wasn’t the only one confused. So…do I say something, or not? Or yes? Or no? Guess what? I said something:
There was a lack of communication here and while we can debate the reason for the mix-up, two years of Zoom and online webinars and so forth induces error. The marketplace for conferences has changed under Covid beyond all recognition, people organizing such events should know this and should be clear. At this end of the pipe, offers to attend conferences of this ilk hit the mailbox regularly, many in-person events are hybrid and even if it were 100% my fault, it had been too easy to make the mistake (and to reiterate, the bold-typed in the mail which started this exchange yesterday suggests others had gone the same route). So from useful week of meetings, 1-2-1 LV had turned into a time suck and all after successfully attending previous online events organized by 121, too. So lay the blame where you want, but it was a little annoying to scratch plans at the last minute. Anyway I got this reply from my new penpal, Charlie:
“Oh wow!”, I thought for the second time…
…I have just been punished for voicing an opinion! How pleasant of you, Charlie. Remind me not to offer up constructive criticism again, Charlie. However, a basic requirement for people in the communication sector is to know how to communicate so, before replying, I read through my previous mail to make double sure it hadn’t been sarcastic. It wasn’t sarcastic. He said I’d been sarcastic. Charlie doesn’t understand the word sarcastic. Now I know you can accuse me of all sorts of other things at other moments, but here laughing boy Charlie had shown a patent lack of English language acumen at the wrong time:
And within three minutes, Charlie answered:
“Aha!” I thought, “Charlie’s having fun now!” And hey there IKN regulars, you know the score. Some people like me and some people don’t but he’s still going to get a reply, isn’t he?
And mere minutes later Charlie wrote back:
A threat, Charlie? Ever heard the expression “When in hole, stop digging”, Charlie? A statement of what will happen is not a threat, it’s a heads-up. So to my final mail of this sorry string, which I also CC’d to a bunch of his colleagues, i.e. people I’d interacted with successfully in 2020 and 2021 before Charlie Hastings made his debut in my mailbox. For the record, all others at 121 have always been polite and helpful and shouldn’t see their efforts dragged down by the Charlies of this world:
That was eight hours ago, Charlie hasn’t written back yet. You can make you own mind up on the moral of this little story, perhaps “Don’t be a jackass with a jackass”, or “Try not to upset people who know the real meaning of words”, or maybe “People who work in customer services should provide services to customers”. You can even side with Charlie and call me a nastyman if you prefer. Up to you, I don’t mind.