Greetings, friends in food. I've missed you! Things have been busy in Amandaland in recent weeks, hence the abrupt pause in crawls. Sorry about the lack of warning on that one, but I have been busily interviewing for and starting a new job as of late, and that's been taking most of my focus.
I am, however, pleased to announce the April event with some major changes. By popular demand, we are crawling for coffee in April. Enjoyable hot or cold, we're thinking that however the weather decides to behave on April 15, it will be all good!
We did learn a major lesson from the Hot Chocolate crawl, though. When crawling on a particularly popular theme, we really, truly cannot manage too large a group without RSVPs. The Chocolate Crawl saw such a large turnout that I couldn't get an accurate head count (which we try to get when we can). Folks were arriving steadily throughout a half hour period straddling the meetup time, and I found myself sending forth foodies in several waves. This was terribly exciting for me personally as someone who's put a lot of effort into this event and who derives much satisfaction in seeing so many folks happily discover new foods and new friends.
But it really didn't work well. I got complaints from a location about the large group that wasn't leaving at their request so they could close, and the crowds at several of the locations were really not safe. At the first location I was at, my internal monologue was something along the lines of "crap, this would be so not good if the fire warden showed up." Consequently, I'm going to be instituting a couple of rules:
1. RSVP only - About a week before the event, I'm going to post a form right here on the blog for you to submit an email address and number of attendees. The evening before the event, I will send an email with the meeting location to the first 60 respondents. This counts +1s, so if the first 60 all RSVP with a +1, only the first 30 email addresses will be sent the location.
2. Punctuality is mandatory - If the posted meeting time is 1 p.m., please plan on arriving at noon-forty-five. Generally, I understand that merde happens from time to time, and in the past I always try to stick around for folks who are waiting on their crawl companions to meet them at a starting point. But this impedes my ability to be a good hostess to other crawlers and speak to any hosting establishments who have a question, concern or complaint with our event. Plus I spent half an hour after the scheduled meeting time in January setting Hot Chocolate crawl teams up. Half an hour. On one of the only properly cold days this winter. So if you do not arrive on time, I will not be onsite any longer to shepherd you on to the route.
3. Common courtesy to staff of hosting establishments - When crawlers do things like refuse to leave after they've been repeatedly asked to do so, it places me in a position which makes it tough to visit that hosting location again on future crawls. Be considerate of staff or you will be asked to leave the event.
With that in mind, I truly look forward to hosting my final crawl with the event. I hope to enjoy future crawls under new management, but for now, this is the last one I will be running.