I was hoping that I would have a little more to write about tonight’s….event.
Over the last two to three weeks the planner community has been a buzz over the event “Planner’s Night Out” hosted by Michael’s stores across the country. At least for my location, there were 6 seats total available to register for and the advertisement displayed a MAMBI Happy Planner. I hadn’t purchased a Happy Planner yet so, of course this was a viable reason to purchase one. I honestly didn’t expect it to be a class with a lot of flair or goodies or anything, but I was excited for my first opportunity to meet and make friends with local planner girls. I was genuinely looking forward to just a fun event out of my house.
The night, tonight, arrives and the posts from the east coast begin flooding my Facebook feed. The disappointment instantly started flooding me. Ladies were sharing photos of small tables with plain cardstock and old scissors, racks of just MAMBI planner supplies for sale with captions that this was all to their “event,” and that an associate just guided them to planner aisle and they were out in less than 10 minutes. I began instantly rethinking if it was even worth getting out of PJs for. While the negative outweighed the positive, there were a few posts of groups of ladies sitting at tables in the class room chatting and planning together. This instilled a little bit of hope, but I wasn’t totally sold on attending.
The time arrived and I decided that I would rather go and leave early, then potentially miss out on something fun and at least meet new people around me. I packed a small bag (not the big tote I was originally thinking because I totally overdo everything) and got my planners together, spruced up a bit, and headed out. There were several cars in the parking lot so it immediately looked promising, but the posts online still haunted me. I just grabbed my new Happy Planner and left everything else in my car (risky to leave my precious planners in the car, I know) and went into the store.
I didn’t see much of anything that pointed me in the right direction, but I headed back to where I knew the class room was. Before I even got the door, I saw two people in there working with what I thought was clay (turns out it was fondant) and knew that wasn’t the right place. I walked around the entire store feeling like a complete idiot looking for any sign of table or Happy Planner things (other than what is in the normal aisle) and found nothing. As I was about to head out, I noticed an associate and customer at the floral table. This, to my dismay, was the Planner’s Night Out.
The floral table wasn’t even cleared off enough to have more than one person at the counter to see what was laid out (lucky for her there was only just one person.) My social anxiety kicked in and I immediately felt like I was out of place. I called my husband to tell him what I discovered and how disappointed I was as I wondered back to the planner section. Here I did meet one other disappointed patron who had her planner bag and planners in her cart. I instantly felt her pain. We chatted briefly, but I was already feeling so awkward that I didn’t even get her name and just kind of wondered off (so fellow planner lover, if I came off rude I’m really sorry! I’m just socially awkward and shy.)
As I write this, other Tucson planners are saying they had more luck and fun at the Oracle location (about 40 minutes from me) and had I known sooner I probably would have headed out there. I have not lost hope. I have my first real planner meet-up in Gilbert with the Arizona Planner Society that I’m excited about. It is hosted by the awesome Jamie Marquez-Bratcher, who also runs Planner Girl Meetups which I wrote about in my previous post.
I hope Michael’s and MAMBI get some good feedback from this experience and come up with another event that is more thought out and engaged. Like I mentioned, I’m not looking for handouts or freebies, but just have a more consistent and thought out plan. This event might have been a good introduction for new planners, but it caught the attention of a lot of planners already established in the community and just failed to deliver.