Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bad taste from Ketner's Mill Fair

Bad taste at this year's Ketner's Mill Fair.
For over a quarter of a century, members of my fiber arts guild, the Riverbend Fiber Arts Guild, have provided free demonstrations on carding and spinning fiber at the Ketner's Mill Country Fair. Guild members pack up their spinning wheels, rovings, tools and samples to travel to the McDonald farm in Whitwell, TN (for some, it's over 60 miles one way) to arrive in the cold, damp and misty morning to set up their stations before fair visitors arrive. Over the past two years, members even added to the merriment and fair-like atmosphere by transporting their alpacas and angora rabbits to the fair. This is part of the guild's outreach program to educate the public on the fiber arts and the yarn that is produced from the downy soft fleece of these animals. As was advertised on this web site as well as the guild's site, we planned to participate again this year. But, shortly after our arrival, we were subjected to an unprofessional and unwarranted confrontation.

Unfortunately, the wonderful woman who helped found and formerly directed the event (and who was our guild's contact for 25+ years) is no longer involved. This year, a woman coordinating activities was carrying a personal grudge against one of our guild members. This woman insisted that the farm's owner tell the guild member to leave. The owner, upon confronting our member, said he didn't know nor want to know the reason, but said that his employee was so distraught and upset that she [his employee] could not function and perform her assigned tasks.

If that wasn't enough, this disgruntled woman continued her disruptive, childish behavior throughout the day with persistent nagging and complaining to the guild's president about the guild's tent, the space for the demonstrators and other inconsequential issues. This petty and annoying behavior only underlined this employee's lack of people skills, professionalism and common courtesy that one would think important in a job that interfaces with the public.

So, what do you think of a nearly-60-year-old woman behaving like this at a public event at which she is employed? Of the thousands of people attending the event, can you imagine that the presence of one person could elicit such immaturity, emotional instability and unprofessionalism?
  • Should an apology be made to the guild for the havoc and ill will she inflicted? 
  • Should an apology be made to the guild member for the public embarrassment to which she was subjected? 
  • Perhaps this employee should be "told to leave" a job for which she is obviously unqualified. Would you want an employee so unstable representing your business or handling sales of your product? 
  • Comments?
Although the BBQ, fried pies and kettle corn might be tasty, this year's Ketner's Mill experience left a bad taste in my mouth, as well as the mouths of several of my fellow guild members. There is a new fiber festival that is making its debut this November near Cleveland, TN. My guild has been invited. Perhaps the guild should give all its support to a venue where guild members are treated with courtesy, respect and are appreciated for what they bring to the plate.
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