Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Marquee Scandal

This is what I got about a week ago (at the end of a long list of forwards). Below the emails I've published the aftermath...

From: Paula Brosnahan
Sent: Thursday, 16 November 2006 11:57 AM
To: Georgina Hall; Catherine Somerville; Cameron Law; Vernon Rive
Subject: FW: Thank You From The Great Marquee Company

Check this out ... Steve's email may have been a little harsh, but really!!!! We're thinking we'll forward the email to Bride and Groom magazine!

From: Steve Hausman []
Sent: Thursday, 16 November 2006 11:39 AM
To: Paula Brosnahan
Subject: FW: Thank You From The Great Marquee Company
Well I did not think my email was that bad? But I could very easily get on the telephone and sort this cow out! But why bother.
Love you

-----Original Message-----From: Events Team []
Sent: Wednesday, 15 November 2006 6:30 p.m.
To: Steve Hausman
Subject: Thank You From The Great Marquee Company
Hi Steve,
Thanks for your reply. Your wedding sounded cheap, nasty and tacky anyway, so we only ever considered you time wasters. Our marquees are for upper class clients which unfortunately you are not. Why don't you stay within your class level and buy something from payless plastics instead.

Kindest Regards
Office Manager
The Great Marquee Company

----- Original Message -----
From: Steve Hausman
To: 'Events Team'
Sent: Wednesday, November 15, 2006 4:06 PM
Subject: RE: Quote #00002417; from The Great Marquee Company Ltd.
Hi Klaus
Paula and I went and viewed your marquee setup at Devonport the other weekend and unfortunately we did not like it. So this is just to let you know we will not require your services on 7 April 2007.Thanks for your assistance and we are sorry that it turned out this way although we are glad we looked at the marquee prior to booking as that would have been a huge disappointment.

Steve Hausman

-----Original Message-----
From: Events Team []
Sent: Monday, 2 October 2006 6:08 p.m.To: Steve HausmanSubject: Re: Quote #00002417; from The Great Marquee Company Ltd.
Hi Steve,
This email is confidential. If it is not intended for you please do not read, distribute or copy it or any attachments. Please notify the sender by return email and delete the original message and any attachments.Any views expressed in this email may be those of the individual sender and may not necessarily reflect the views of Auckland City Council.
(on their website)

This is not the view of The Great Marquee Company
If you are emailing us or visiting our website because of the recent (inappropriate) email communication between a customer and one of our staff.
We would like to advise that we regret the exchange. We have apologised to the customer concerned and this staff member's contract has been terminated and processes has been put in place to ensure it won't happen again.
We most certainly do not condone rudeness on the part of any of our staff or endorse the views in this particular response. With a long history in Auckland of supporting events with our marquee hire, we know that planning a wedding is one of the most stressful times in a person's life and we do what we can to make it easy.
You may be aware that the email that was forwarded by our customer has now reached some thousands of people. We do not believe it is fairly representative of the service that we usually provide, and perhaps more importantly it is generating many calls to the former customer which is stressful for him.

We would rather not comment any further but move on having learned from this situation. Again, we pass our apologies on to this customer.
Klaus Jorgensen
The Great Marquee Company

'Cheap and tacky' wedding email that went global
Sunday November 19, 2006
By Jonathan Marshall

A marquee company has apologised to a bride-to-be and her fiance after an employee sent them an abusive email describing their wedding plans as "cheap, nasty and tacky". The firm also claimed the couple was not suitable for their marquees, which were intended for "upper class clients" and advised them to goto budget firm Payless Plastics instead. Now, the shame-faced owners have apologised after the rude email went global. Thousands of Kiwis received the marquee email, and bridal message boards worldwide carried copies of the exchange. The marquee company's CEO, Klaus Jorgensen, said he had sacked the employee responsible - who turned out to be his wife Katrina, and she in turn said she was feeling "suicidal" because of the furore her email had caused.

Lawyer Paula Brosnahan, 33, and her fiance Steve Hausman, 36, who will marry in April next year, sought a quote from The Great Marquee Company for their Whangaparaoa cliff-top wedding. They viewed photos on the company's website and arranged an appointment to inspect a marquee in Devonport. But when the Mt Albert couple decided the marquee would not be suitable and sent a polite email to the company saying they would look elsewhere, they were shocked to receive a reply from the firm sayingtheir wedding wasn't posh enough for its tents. The couple, who met 17 years ago, had written a polite letter saying: "Paula and I went and viewed your marquee setup at Devonport ...unfortunately we did not like it ... thanks for your assistance and we are sorry that it turned out this way." Two hours later the firm's office manager, Katrina Jorgensen, replied to the couple: "Your wedding sounded cheap, nasty and tacky anyway, so
we only ever considered you time wasters. Our marquees are for upperclass clients which unfortunately you are not. Why don't you stay within your class levels and buy something from Payless Plastics instead."

Brosnahan told the Herald on Sunday that their wedding was far from a frugal affair. "We are spending $30,000 on this day, they don't know anything about our wedding so I can't see how they can label it cheap," said Brosnahan, who is a Resource Management Act specialist for law giant Chapman Tripp. She is currently acting for the Eden Park Trust Board in the stadium debate. Her fiance Steve Hausman, a builder, said he was appalled by thecompany's email and hurt by the remarks. "We have had all sorts of dramas and we didn't need this, I just got fired up. I am blown awayand have forwarded the email on ... it has ended up going to about 400people." Brosnahan said she sent the email to a Chapman Tripp colleague and asked him not to send it on. He replied: "It is too late." Company director Klaus Jorgensen said in a statement: "The Great Marquee Company is extremely sorry that one of our employees chose to enter into a highly inappropriate exchange of emails with a potential customer. The emails were not sent with the knowledge of the CEO nor does the company endorse or stand behind them." Klaus said he has "sacked" the company's office manager Katrina, who is his wife.

Katrina Jorgensen contacted the Herald on Sunday and said: "I'm suicidal ... I just don't know what to do. I am so apologetic and just want to say sorry to everyone." The New Zealand president of the Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia - of which The Great Marquee Company is a member - said the company's membership was in jeopardy. Dona White said the email exchange would be tabled at a committee meeting on Tuesday. "This is highly inappropriate and really quite bizarre, it is completelyunprofessional and they should not be involved in our organisation."

Lesley Walker, editor of Bride and Groom magazine, labelled the emailcommunication as "strange". "Their marquees are good, but their PR isn't."In the meantime, the couple has booked another marquee for $8000.


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