Charlie Palmer’s annual Pigs & Pinot event is a well regarded and, if this year is any indication, well attended event. Which is why it is both surprising and completely unacceptable to receive the following email:
We are very sad to bring this news to you today. Demand for Pigs & Pinot this year was incredibly high, so high in fact, that our technology server was not equipped to handle the volume of ticket purchases made on the website yesterday at 12PM. This resulted in six times the amount of tickets allocated for online purchases to actually process prior to the system showing â€˜sold outâ€™. Furthermore, the system failed to process credit card transactions because of this overload and consequently you were not charged for your tickets.
We regretfully inform you that your ticket purchase was processed after all of the Pigs & Pinot tickets were sold out. Weâ€™ve racked our brains on how to accommodate all of the extra ticket holders, but unfortunately there just isnâ€™t enough event space to accommodate everyone this year. What this means is that we have to cancel your order for Pigs and Pinot 2010. Due to the processing error, your credit card was not charged, so no charges will appear on your credit card statement.
We understand what a disappointment this is and would like to offer you the first option to purchase two tickets for Pigs & Pinot 2011 when they become available later this year.
We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience or disappointment this may have caused (weâ€™re just as sad and disheartened as you are, trust us) and are available to take any questions or comments by phone at 707-431-2800.
There has been such an outpouring of support for Pigs & Pinot this year which we are incredibly grateful for as we continue our efforts to raise valuable funds for Share Our Strength, while highlighting exceptional local Sonoma County wine producers.
The Pigs & Pinot team
My wife purchased tickets at the stroke of noon and received confirmation no less than a minute after the tix went on sale. We find it hard to believe we were somewhere in the back of the pack given the timing.
More likely is that they had no way of discerning who attempted to purchase what when. Technical difficulties tend to come in bunches. Ticket assignment was, apparently, completely arbitrary.
Moreover, the offer to purchase tickets for next year has to be one of the worst customer service moves they could have taken given the circumstances. This makes no one happy, is completely crass (locking in lost revenue a year in advance) and the math doesn’t even add up. If you have 6 times more demand than tickets this year, how can you possibly offer an early sale to everyone who was passed over? Silly and false.
I for one won’t be taking Charlie up on the offer.
A superior solution would be to simply add a scaled down tasting event to the schedule to accommodate the folks who were arbitrarily excluded through no fault of their own.
In a down economy, to experience demand like this is a terrific honor. You should do everything in your power to nurture it.
Instead, it’s more of the same from an industry that is utterly tone deaf when faced with success. The answer is not to enhance exclusivity, it is to do everything possible to be inclusive.
You won’t be getting a second chance with the majority of these folks, and this year’s success will likely not be replicated due to this abysmal customer service.
As an industry we can do better. Much better.