Cringe is not an expression that my generation uses frequently. Generation Z, on the other hand, uses it daily. Most often, they use it to describe the behaviour of our generation that makes them cringe when seeing our odd habits and daily activities. It seems unacceptable to even think in this context for our generation. Nevertheless, I wrote about the cringe embarrassments I found myself in this week as we organised Conventa, our premier event.
Cringe situation 1: When an older journalist continuously asks for a printed programme
After spending tremendous effort and time digitalising our entire event, I saw a journalist who insisted on having a printed event programme. My colleagues spent a few minutes convincing him that we have a super cool mobile app, yet he remained unconvinced. Even after we said that the app helps reduce our carbon footprint, our suggestion fell on deaf ears. We then showed him the beautifully designed programme on a digital screen, which he could not see because of his poor eyesight. Finally, my colleague activated the app on his phone, and the journalist experienced a eureka moment. Or not?
Cringe situation 2: When you get told off by an angry supplier who forgot you are, in fact, the client
Imagine you receive a phone call from a supplier (venue provider) who raised the expenses of your event by 44,7 % before the event. They start the conversation by explaining the rise in venue prices is a result of skyrocketing energy prices, which have soared by 500%. That sounds catastrophic, and you may almost feel a tad of sympathy for the partner. In reality, the inflation rate rose only by 10%. When you explain that to them, they start threatening, extorting and insulting you to boost their ego. They even threaten that the conversation is being recorded. Who is the client, and who is the supplier? Who is the madman, and who is the fool?
Cringe situation 3: When the same supplier has to come to your best event thus far
You see that same supplier with his colleagues at your event, which was a tremendous success. You look into the eyes of the suppliers’ team, who realise their venue will probably never host such an event again. This cringe situation happened because of an egotrip of their manager. It is unclear whether the manager is a sociopath, psychopath or just a person with an antisocial personality disorder. One thing is clear: the manager is short-sighted, greedy and egocentric.
Cringe situation 4: When you get asked ask why the menu does not include more meat
Before the event, you explain to the attendees that, due to your sustainable aspirations, the balance between plant-based dishes and meat dishes is 70:30. The catering service prepares a fantastic selection of dishes. For the premier time, attendees can enjoy an innovative plant-based steak with an uncanny resemblance and taste compared to meat. Still, one attendee claims you breached his personal rights. What answer should you give him? He is not convinced when you show him the carbon footprint numbers. The solution? Invite him to read the Common Sensitarian Diet Manifesto (https://common-sensitarian.com/).
Cringe situation 5: When exhibitors share plastic memorabilia with attendees
Despite our strict ban on plastic, we found an exhibitor that continues to share plastic souvenirs at the event. These include everything from anti-stress plastic balls to branded plastic bags. No sensible argument can deter them. Alas, most such products end up in the bin. Wouldn’t it be more rational and practical to offer a gift that supports your local environment? Every potential client will certainly be happier to receive an authentic bottle of olive oil than a plastic ice scraper. Or does it depend on the season?