Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Stick giveaway was a joke

One word about the stick giveaway: Travesty.

I understand you have to give sticks away after the game. I understand you have to do so outside because the Coliseum concourse is horrendously narrow. I also know there was a sellout. I get that.

But why were there so few places to get them? My son and I left the arena less then 10 minutes after the winning goal was scored. No signs or anything directing people as to where they could get their sticks. We had to look for the crowd. We found one, but within a minute or so the group dispersed because they - surprise! - ran out of sticks.

So we all went to the main entrance to find a truck parked with its gate open and a horde of people crowded around it, clamoring for sticks. No lines. No organization whatsoever. As my son and I approached the throng, a man and woman emerged from the mass of humanity, stickless. The woman looked at my son -- freezing, by the way -- and said, "Don't bring him in there. He'll be crushed."

I looked around for another way to get close to the truck but there was none. So we started to walk around the arena, looking for another source of the sticks. We walked about 100 yards when my son said he just wanted to go home. "I already have a stick, daddy." He wanted to give this one to his mom so she could play in the driveway with us.

On the way back to the car, an Islanders representative was handing out his business card, telling people to call customer service and "that everyone would get a stick." Here is a statement by the Islanders, promising sticks for everyone who contacts them, explaining that they just ran out.

OK, so you ordered too few sticks - it happens. But the manner in which the giveaway was handled was frankly embarrassing. Why not have 10 locations around the arena with smaller numbers of sticks so fans can find them quickly and easily and get them in a more orderly fashion -- and get out of the cold?

Or how about enforcing the one stick for each kid 14 and under rule? I saw a dozen adults and children with multiple sticks, including one woman with five sticks and no kids with her at all. I saw dozens more kids who were way older than 14 (unless the Mitchell Report is correct and there really is an HGH problem in our schools), with one or sometimes two sticks. And you wonder why you ran out? The whole thing was a joke.

And while the Islanders managed the giveaway poorly, I'm more upset with the adults who took advantage of the situation, grabbing multiple sticks (you know who you are). Looking at them rushing up to the truck, you would think they were starving villagers getting bags of rice from UNICEF. These were $10 Mylec sticks. If you could drop a couple hunge to see an NHL game, you can afford a street hockey stick. I hope you can sleep at night.

Anyway, I've sent my email to get my free stick. As, I'm sure, have many others who grabbed a few sticks already and are looking for more, knowing there's no way for the Islanders to know who got what. I guess that's just human nature. And that's sad.


islesblogger said...

Been there, there was a time when surprise - I was at that age to receive something for free and when it was my turn, there were none.

Not really surprised to see the disorganization in that department. It seems the more value the giveaway has, the more people become blatantly obsessed with getting the most. It's sick, it's part of human nature (like you said) and it also makes me embarrassed to breathe the same air as those folks.

Great post!

Michael Schuerlein

crazyjoedavola said...

Sounds like a ton of fun. Ice scraper night last year nearly turned into a bloodbath. Fans take some blame on this as well. If you could resist throwing the friggin things on the ice during the game, then the stampede wouldn't happen. We could get the giveaways before the game.

Kind of reminds me of Costco. Try to get a bag of chicken nuggets during the weekend. You have to fight through the crowd of people waiting for the free samples of cream puffs and strangely inedible ravioli.

Oh, and nice job by the officiating at this game. Swallow the whistle for the entire game, until it is actually on the line. Hey at least Fedotenko wasnt decaptitated right?

Outsider said...

Several years ago, I was at a Mets game when they were giving out Beanie Babies. I actually saw a woman trying to enter the stadium with a doll wrapped in a blanket so she could get the Beanie Baby for her "kid." What a world.