Thursday, March 26


so smartdate was a joke. a nasty burger with bad onions. and ridiculous as it may sound i did expect more than that. i expected a drink on the side. maybe some fries. at least SOME fodder for the next column.

so i emailed the evasive ms jenny (owner, i think...the person that signs the group emails with a happy exclamation mark after each happy email) this morning at 09:33 explaining to her our unfortunate experience.

it is 15:00 and still no response. no apology. no acknowledgment of email. no talk of refund. and, might i add again, no apology.

so in lieu of that. herewith my letter to ms jenny so that you may know the horror and NEVER make the same mistake.

Dear Jenny

I've been told this is your direct email and I certainly hope it is. Three of my friends and I attended a smartdate event last night. It was not a pleasant experience.

1. We paid R150 each for a night of meeting 'at least five men' of between 27 to 39. What we got was four men, two of which were 25.

2. When we arrived, the two facilitators neither introduced themselves or made any effort to make us feel welcome or at ease, simply telling us to got to the bar and order a drink and mingle. I do that on any given saturday without paying R150. When we mentioned that we were uncomfortable with the setting and a bit shy, we were told quite gruffly that 'no-one will be looking at you anyway' and that we couldn't sit next to each other.

3. 8 pm had come and gone, and people were milling around at the bar, two people sat by themselves at a table and another small group of three women and two men had already started chatting (again, can do this at a bar) when it became clear that no more men were going to show up. The facilitators didn't say anything until we started looking around aimlessly wondering when everything was going to start. Only then did they decide to rustle something up as a plausible 'speed date event'.

4. The session itself went as best it could but it was left dangling as there was no clear indication of when it came to an end. There was some mix up with the numbers and while two women had their final sessions, the two facilitators moved in and started chatting to the men instead of sending them to where we were all sitting. The older lady literally sat for 40 minutes chatting to one of the gentlemen and the younger lady never came back to talk to us.

5. After finishing our drinks and chatting to each other (women on one end of the restaurant and men on the other, being chatted to by the facilitators who were making no effort whatsoever to make us feel comfortable or integrate the two groups or basically rescue a very bad evening) it started becoming clear that the the evening was over.

6. The older facilitator eventually managed to tear herself away from the gentlemen and tell three of the women that the evening was over and that they could go home. Before she left, however, she made it clear by speaking in a very loud voice to a gentleman that worked in the restaurant that she was displeased with us because we weren't mingling.

7. Before she walked out she let us know that we could keep the pens.

This was truly a bizarre evening. Apart from the fact that the only drinks we were 'allowed' for our R150 was an apple schnapps (something I last drank when I was 16) and a sherry (something I never drink) I would have expected much more from my evening and money than an open-plan, badly organised, badly facilitated event.

Another point is that this event was moved three times (and the first time at the last minute) and when my one friend asked if she could get back to the organisers (after changing her schedule around to accommodate smartdate's bad planning) she was informed that the company would require 24 hr notice.

Fortunately, we were assured that we would be able to attend another meeting.

I look forward to your response.


kyknoord said...

What are the odds? The latest episode of aLp features - you guessed it - speed dating. Still, I think the girl in the strip had more fun than you.

dorothy said...

HA! speed dating with alien would've rocked the casbah!