I've moved!!
NEW BLOG ADDRESS HERE: runaroundsara.blogspot.com

Friday, May 13, 2011

If you're complaining about me, you're still talking about me!

I've moved!!
NEW BLOG ADDRESS HERE:  runaroundsara.blogspot.com

Today I got my first blog complaint. Kinda. I’m not gonna lie, I’m a little excited. It means people are reading my blog!!

I got an e-mail from a Linda St. Laurent, a representative at Loco Sports, the company who put on the Margaritas 5K race on May 1st. She said she wanted to address some concerns I had about the race. I don’t remember being concerned about anything, but I read on. 

First, do me a favor and (if you haven’t already) check out my race report on the Margaritas 5K to see my thoughts about it. Go ahead, I’ll wait.  Done? K thanks.

Here is the e-mail I received today:
Hi Sara,
Someone passed along to me some comments from your blog regarding the Margaritas 5K race. 
I would like to address some of your concerns.
The Stonyfield 5K was held in conjunction with an Earth Day Fair. Hence all the vendors that were present. 
The race was conducted by LOCO, the fair was hosted by Stonyfield Farms.
There was a start line at the Margaritas race.  The cones were set on either side and there was a blue line connecting the 2.
A PA system was used by the race announcer at the start.  The commands he gave, "on your mark, get set, go" are the standard commands for a road race.
We do not reuse race shirts the next year.  There were only 11 left and most were given to some volunteers.
We take pride in having wonderful volunteers at all of our LOCO races and I am glad you had a good experience with them.
There was plenty of food and water for all runners after the race finished. 
 Margaritas provided a wonderful feast for everyone with music blasting throughout to create a festive atmosphere. 
From your pictures it looks like you had a great time after the race. 
 Sorry you felt "there really wasn't much to it".
Best of luck to you in your training for the triathlon.
Linda St. Laurent 
LOCO Sports

Is it is just me or is that a really passive aggressive e-mail? And slightly defensive? I understand that as a representative of Loco Sports, you want your racers to be happy with everything and you want them to keep coming back. It generates revenue for the company. I get that. But I think this e-mail was a little unnecessary.

I was aware that these were two totally different races, under different hosts and I didn’t expect them to be the same. I mentioned in my race report that having the multiple vendors at the Stonyfield race definitely spoiled me. It was my first 5K, I didn’t know what to expect and they blew me away. Despite the cold and rain, it had an amazing time. In my opinion, it was better than the Margaritas 5K. Loco, please don’t attack me, or feel bad about yourselves, for my opinion. You know the saying: Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one.

I do, however, apologize to Loco for stating there was no start line. There was definitely a start line. What I meant was there was no mat across the start line to record chip start time like there was for the finish chip time. I thought that was self explanatory in how I described it in my original post. Again, I apologize for the confusion.

I may be blond, but I do realize that “On your mark, get set, go” is the standard phrase for the beginning of a race. Being a pre-school teacher, it’s the standard phrase for the start of almost everything, so I’m pretty familiar with it. I was just rather surprised with the way it was presented by the announcer. Not much warning before go time. Again, my opinion.

I’m glad to hear that you do not re-use race shirts and that the volunteers get to have the leftovers. It’s a fun gift for volunteers, who by the way, I will say again, were amazing. They really were. I even met the race director and she was very nice. If not for the volunteers, these races wouldn’t happen and I’m very grateful for all they do to help out the racers. I thanked many of them for their services along the route. I even got a free hat from one of the volunteers. How cool is that?

I’m glad my pictures were entertaining. I did have a good time. In my opinion, good times are made by who you surround yourself with, not where you are. I was with great people. I had a great time.

See? Great time!
Not to beat a dead horse with a stick or anything, but because this was my second 5K race event, the only thing I had to compare it to was my first 5K race event. So in comparison, the Stonyfield 5K was better than the Margaritas 5K. In my opinion. As far as extras go, Stonyfield was stacked, so there “really wasn’t much to” Margaritas except for a T-shirt and a Mexican meal. Thank you for the meal by the way. But technically, I paid for it. A registration fee of $25 bought it for me.

I’m doing another 5K tomorrow, sponsored by the Junior Aid Society in Marblehead, MA. I’ll let you know how they do how it goes.


  1. I just want to say, I wanna cry. I just spent more time than I care to admit responding to this and it couldn't complete my request. When I went back, POOF! Gone..... I'll get crackin' and be back with you shortly.

  2. Ok, I would like to start by saying I cannot BELIEVE she sent this to you. Is she serious?! It reads like a 7 year old wrote it, a la "No, nu-uh. No I didn't, you did!"

    Maybe she only read a snippet of your blog? That is the only excuse I can conjure up to even begin to explain this response.

    I have never and hopefully WILL never run a 5K, but I feel you may have other plans based on the Corrib idea. :) But the start line? I totally got what you were saying. If you are at the back when the announcer frantically yells "Go go go go go!!!!!" and your start time is the same as everyone else, obviously your end time will be inaccurate.

    As for the T-shirts, CLEARLY you were not saying they use the same ones every year. Gross. "Thank you for participating in our 5K. Can I have the shirt back now. Our budget is tight and we are going to need them next year." I THINK what you were saying is that since there is no distinguishing information aside from the name "Margarita's", they likely use the same logo, possibly the same colors, year after year. They probably have a bitchin' deal with the screen printers dating back to 1970 when those colors were actually cool.

    Now, I love me some margaritas, and would probably love one right now (yes, at 8:23 a.m.) but I agree having one directly after a 5K is borderline nasty. Maybe those folks were trying to get their $25 worth. I know how much it costs to make a burrito. It ain't much. And Lord knows those T-shirts weren't worth so much as $3 a piece.

    And c'mon, Sara. Durr. How could you NOT REALIZE these 2 5K's were sponsored by different companies?? The blazing banners didn't give it away?! You're lucky good ol' Linda was here to explain it to you. I don't know what we would all do without her. The world is so bright and shiny and scary!!!! *blinkblinkblink*

    I feel like I might go the equally passive aggressive route and go ahead and pass it on to her superiors. With customer service like that, who needs competition to bring down sales?

  3. Ok, see, we are on the same page. Thank you. I'm glad I'm not the only one who felt this email was ridiculous.

    One day, Em. One day you'll do a 5K with me!! :)

  4. I know, I'm late to the party. Or should I say fiesta? But better late than never, right?

    I think Linda needs an overview on how customer service works in the social media world.

    #1 ACKNOWLEDGE THE CUSTOMER'S FEELINGS - "Sara, we understand you felt that the Margaritas 5k didn't compare well to the previous race you participated in." (This makes Sara feel like you understand her and that you actually READ the words she typed.)

    #2 APOLOGIZE - "We're sorry the race did not meet your expectations". (Sometimes sorry is the hardest word to say, but in customer service, it's the most important word!)

    #3 ASK FOR ADDITIONAL FEEDBACK AND SUGGESTIONS - "Could you offer some suggestions on how we could improve the Margaritas race next year? What types/ colors of t-shirts do you prefer? How could we make the fiesta better?" (This makes Sara feel important and loved)

    #4 PROMISE TO MAKE CHANGES - "Your feedback is very important to us. We will definitely consider your suggestions - along with the others we receive - and make the necessary changes so that everyone has a positive experience with upcoming races." (This makes Sara feel like she has a voice and her opinion matters.)

    #5 INVITE THE CUSTOMER BACK - "We would love to have you join us at the Margarita 5K next year. Please be sure to invite your friends to join us." (This makes Sara want to share upcoming Loco races with 200+ facebook friends and the 300+ friends she networks with through a local activity adventure group. Hmmm...you know that just might be good for business...)

    #6 OFFER A CONCESSION - "Since you didn't have a 100% positive experience, we'd like to make it up to you. Stop by for a free t-shirt or email us for a coupon for $5 off your next registration." (This one is optional, but always advised. If you've read Sara's blog, you know she's all about the free stuff. Give her something for her trouble. She'll like you. And if she likes you, she'll tell her friends she likes you. And if her friends like you....)

    #7 BE TRANSPARENT!!!!!! This one is critical in the new social media world. DON'T read Sara's blog and email her privately. Instead, comment on her blog and identify yourself. "Hi Sara, my name is Linda and I represent Loco. I just read your post about the Margaritas 5k and.....[insert everything I wrote in tips 1-6 above]"

    Sara has a lot of people reading her blog. If you leave a comment, a lot of people are going to read it. If you use my tips above, your company will be portrayed as compassionate and caring - in a public environment. Seriously, what could be better for company branding?

  5. Wow, Jen, I'm impressed. You almost had me, but thenI remembered that you don't actually work for Loco!

    This type of response would have definitely gotten a better reaction out of me. Instead of "Look what this crazy rep from Loco said to me" I probably would have boasted "Look how awesome Loco is!!" So you're right. Better reviews...better business.

    Wonder if they're still reading. :) They need your tips! At least Linda does!!

    Thanks girl!