Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Sans Swag Bag

My work-life is on overload - let's just start there for a little context, shall we?  Big case, lots of parties (involved in the litigation... not of the cocktail variety), lots of documents = late nights and weekends for me.  No QT with Evs, no CT with the girls, no SYTYCD, no Top Chef, no just-because wine on Tuesdays, no doggie park Saturdays.  I lay this foundation not to whine (well, maybe a little) but to ennunciate just how precious little spare time I have these days (except, random aside, I do get to head to NYC for the weekend - whoopee!!!).  Not that it matters... if you had nothing to do yesterday but sit in your PJs and pop bonbons in your mouth during Oprah's commercial breaks, it would still have been a waste of your time to go to This Event.

{insert wavy screen and time-machine music here}

Three weeks ago, before life was turned topsy-turvy by Evil Case, lovely HDH sent me this invitation:

The book sounded a little cheesy - maybe something I would have bought as a Senior in college... the Sex & the City version of Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office - but Williams received decent reviews from the press and even a thumbs up from the Cohen brothers so we figured the book might actually have some high-points.  Mainly, it was the promise of the $500 swag bag that was intriguing ("full of stuff you'll want to use" exclaims the invite!). And can you blame us?  The PR for this event played to the most basic of human desires: Totally Awesome Shit for Free.

Now, I wasn't born yesterday.  I understand that swag bags usually include a couple of cool items and are then padded out with lots of coupons.  But a night out with a good friend that includes free adult beverages and a goody bag? Sign me up!

And sign up we did.  We were "lucky" enough to snag 2 of the 110 spots available for last nights event.  Three weeks go by in which I am bombarded with emails, reminding me about the "networking event of the season" and giving me a "glimpse into my VIP gift bag."  Okay, (a) annoying, and (b) if you are so hell bent on boosting the careers of women everywhere, maybe don't send them emails bearing the subject line "GIRLS ON TOP LIVE!" during business hours.  Anyhoo, eventually, Wednesday, October 28 - the day of "stellar contacts, strong drinks, and free swag" - arrives. Given the current state of our office, I wasn't sure if I'd even be able to sneak away for a bit but, once again, "lucky" me! - I got the go-ahead to take a break for an hour.

It was pretty clear from the get-go why The Limited (which, really?  The Limited?) had hitched their horse to the Girl On Top Wagon - women were crawling all over that store to get their 40% off the new "business chic" line.  What remains unclear is why Williams - claiming to be the new, fashionable career guru - placed her brand in the clumsy hands of whichever PR company dreamed up this disaster...

Zero "lots of 'em" cocktails.  Unless I missed the memo that mini bottles of water now contain alcohol.

Zero swag.  "They were for the first 110 people only - sorry!"  Okay bitches.  This is where the phrase "while they last!" or "supplies limited" should have come into play on your marketing materials.  You do not promise everyone goody bags and then only hand them out to a select number.  That's a sure-fire way to have a lot of pissed off, grabby women on your hands.  {Note: Yep, I went back and checked each and every email and promo ad for the event... no asterisks, no fine print... nothin' to indicate that you might miss out on the bags if you weren't first in line.} Also, newsflash: you said only 110 spots were even available for this evening... looks like someone didn't do their math.

Zero room in the dressing areas.

Lots of zeros... but you know what there were plenty of?  Sales people.  Pushy Ass Sales People.  If someone interrupted my conversation one more time to ask if I'd seen the latest selection of cocktail jewelry, I was going to lynch them with my necklace.  Yes, I realize that it was a big event for the store, but you're already offering a 40% discount... if people need persuasion with a discount like that, then maybe there is something lacking in your product.  {Note #2: I was pleasantly surprised by some of the store's new things. In fact I  snagged a cute cocktail ring and belt and was very impressed with the accessories section. I did feel everything was overpriced for a brand that I put in the same category as Express.  Tights for $20?  Even J.Crew's are cheaper.  I wouldn't have paid full price for anything.}

In sum, I left last night's "Girl On Top: Live Event!" feeling 100% scammed.  Don't promote an event for Smart Women and expect them to show up Stupid.  I wonder if one of William's "Rules" is "Don't Promise What You Can't Give."  If not, its one she might want to brush up on.


  1. Sounds like you could have used some torches and pitchforks.

    I have an unrelated question, if you'll indulge me. With all of this late-working, what do you do with the pup? Does your husband just rarely have to work late, or does she go to doggy daycare, or something else? I'm sure you don't just leave her to languish in the house for hours on end...I'm looking for creative things to do with our dog. Or, creative ways to make myself feel less guilty about leaving the dog for longer than we probably should.

  2. That sounds horrible. I do like the Limited though. I get lots of work stuff there, and people always want to know where I got whatever skirt, purse, shift etc that I am wearing. However, in situtations like that I would rather pay full price than deal with the crowds/hassle. It's the Walmart Target differential. Or the reason why I do not ship Black Friday. Haha, or the reason why I am broke?

  3. Damn, apparently the "Girls on Top" didn't get the memo that over-worked and stress-out Kate is NOT to be messed with.

    I assume you are forwarding them the link to this post? (That's right, Girls on Top and the Limited: We are holding this against you unless you give Kate free shit!)

  4. Ack! I work in PR and that is all just sooo many "no no's" it's not even funny. This hurts my poor little event planning, swag bag creating heart. Sorry it was such a bust.

  5. I agree with Maggie, forward on and demand free swag! That event sounds ridiculous and even if I had nothing going on and went to that I would've been pissed. Few things anger me as quickly as a bait & switch. Grrr. Well, hopefully we'll see these fab new accessories of yours over at " the bathroom" soon.

  6. I am leaving my first comment EVER (yes, I'm a lurker) to wholeheartedly agree with Kate! It was such a huge disappointment. Thanks for wasting our time Girl on Top! I did snag a really cute cardigan...but still! And give me some free sh*t too please. K, thanks.



  7. Well, I have to say that I laughed out loud at this post. You are such a good, funny writer. But at the same time, I am so frustrated for you! That is so annoying. (By the way, I used to do business litigation and I can symphathize with the late nights and lots of documents to review; now I am doing more transactional work.)

  8. Oh my. What a waste. I'm glad you posted about it. I hope they find your post and then feel bad about it. So sorry that you're so stressed out. I hope, for your case, that case settles.

    Did you get the bangs?!?!

  9. Ugh! I RSVP'd for the Houston event but ended up leaving town and not going. My girlfriend went. Ours did have drinks, but she said the bags sucked.

    Another sucky swag bag beware: Shecky's Girls Night Out! I think I did a post on them after last year's event.


happy little comments!