Thursday, March 24, 2011

Whine Country

Coincidentally enough, this photo of this pout-y version of myself was taken in "Wine Country" (Solvang, CA). 

But I'm talking about wHining... you know, that thing that kids and girlfriends do.

Increasingly, I have seen more and more people posting negative comments on companies' Facebook pages, news stories, and everywhere else that allows for "social media" input.

There's nothing wrong with unpopular opinions or alerting a company if something is wrong, but sometimes, I think the postings get out of hand.  It's as though everyone who did not have the guts to contact the company personally (via phone or e-mail) suddenly came out and unleashed their rage (doesn't matter if the rage came from the product or their bosses, dogs, or whatever) in forums that could mar companies' reputations.

And a lot of these demands that people are making are just plain unreasonable.

Case in point: in the days following LA Marathon, I saw several comments on their Facebook page demanding a refund, free stuff, or a discount for next year... just because of the bad weather.  In spite of my difficulties that day, I posted the following response:

My LA Marathon finishing shot.

This is going to be an unpopular opinion, but I'm a little bit appalled by all the comments demanding free stuff/refunds just because of the poor weather. When you register for this (and most other) race/s, part of what you agree to is that... they are not responsible if they need to cancel/curtail/etc. events due to natural disasters, etc.
I don't think anyone knew how severe a storm this was going to be, and a lot of the shortcomings that day (gear check) resulted from volunteers who didn't want to get caught up in that storm. Santa Monica is notorious for bad traffic, compounded by the rain, so that part is expected.
Anyone who signed up for Pasadena Marathon 2008 knows that races can get canceled and your $$$ not refunded at all.
Just move the family reunion area closer to the finish line to prevent that crowding at the end.
As disappointed as I was to see Pasadena Marathon canceled in 2008 with my registration fees lost, I was able to see things from the race organizers' points-of-view.  The race was canceled due to three major fires making the air quality unsafe to run the night before the race.  They had already spent the money on closing streets, shirts, renting space, food, etc. etc.  And, as I said above, I clicked the "I Agree" button when I registered, which covered natural disasters for them.

The LA Marathon staff did not show any gross negligence (lacking water stations, etc.).  That kind of rain and wind was just off the scale of possibilities for the area, and even when things took a turn for the worse, they did what they could by opening warming areas, etc.  Yes, there were about 20,000 cold, wet runners.  That sheer amount just became hard to manage in those unpredictable conditions.  Yes, the race was on the expensive side, but those fees went to that "Stadium to the Sea" course that really did hit so many Los Angeles landmarks and ended in a notriously expensive area (Santa Monica, CA).  Plus, their goody bags were substantial.

I know that as consumers and Internet users, we are supposed to be able to filter through all those complaints and make our own decisions about which products we buy (such as a race), but I can truly say that some people are just whiners.  (I guess that would include me, but hey, this is my blog...)


  1. A refund for bad weather? Folks in LA sure are high maintenance ;-)

    Enjoyed this post!

  2. Good grief! I guess this is to be expected. Some people are just nuts.

  3. Well said. I agree. I didn't run this year, but I've had my share of paying for races I didn't end up running. It's par for the course. Running is an expensive hobby, but you have to roll with the punches. That's what makes it such a great sport!

  4. Go you for trucking through! Thanks for sharing your experience along the way, too!

  5. I 100% AGREE WITH YOU. i mean, i whine a lot. A LOT. but in the end i'd NEVER do what those people are doing/did because, at the end of the day, i'm just upset. there's nothing inherently wrong with the company / race / product.

  6. Not only did the organizers do an outstanding job, but (since I was with the toward the back of the packers) I can vouch for the extra professional help that was brought on to try to insure the health and well being of the runners. In four miles I saw as many sets of paramedics on bicycles, at least 8 ambulances and race officials on the course with radios checking on the welfare of the runners. All of this cost money - kudos for the organizers for not looking at their pocketbook first!