My 20 Year High School Reunion

June 20, 2012

First of all, I was on the planning committee for the 10th. I was pregnant. I volunteered because I still lived in the area. We hired a reunion company.

The way a reunion company works is this: they put up the money needed to hold the event. This money covers labor, tracking down and inviting classmates, signing contracts with venues and vendors. What determines the final cost of tickets is the number in attendance. The more that attend, the less the tickets cost. Simple math.

I remember asking classmates where they wanted the venue: a hotel near the city where our proms were usually held, or the local fire station–a place where I had my 300+ wedding reception and where I know some classmates also had their wedding receptions.

The response: “If I’m going to make the effort to come, I want it at a fancy place.”

But all those people who wanted a fancy place, did not realize fancy = $$$.

I think maybe 80 people came. We’re a class of 500+.

I can understand that 10 years after high school some were still thinking and acting like they were in high school and many were only 5 or 6 years into their careers and therefore money can be tight.

With this economy money is tight 20 years later.

So the call was put out for suggestions and volunteers. It was generally decided that the reunion companies are not worth the money and we needed to find ways to keep the costs down. We would try word of mouth.

Oh, everyone had fabulous ideas and knew a guy who knows a guy who owns a bar. Seriously? And who was going to put up the money for a contract like that? A suggestion was made that we “have a family friendly picnic event at a local park and it be potluck.” Sure, let me fly across country with my family and I’ll pack potato salad in my carry-on luggage.

So a venue was found and one person was willing to sign the contract as long as within three weeks she would be paid back. A call went out for people to front the money with the knowledge their payment would go toward their tickets.

The organizers felt they could get the tickets down to $80. Only 27 people of had purchased tickets as of three weeks ago. Suddenly complainers were coming out of the woodwork, bashing the organizers and complaining about the cost of tickets. Again, no one realizes that the more people who attend, the less the tickets will cost. People were complaining that classmates they speak to didn’t know about the reunion–what part of word of mouth is hard to understand? Each of us were asked to spread the word.

The temper tantrums and blatant attacks on the reunion FB page shows that many have not left high school. And I think that is why everyone is balking at the price tag.

I didn’t go to either of my proms and the one I went to my date purchased the tickets. But weren’t prom tickets usually about $35 a couple? This is because they are guaranteed anywhere from 100-200 couples. Guaranteed. Not to mention the fundraising that goes on from the start of freshman year.

AND mom and dad usually bought the tickets and the gowns and rented the tuxes. So if we’re still thinking and acting like high schoolers, $80 for one person is going to seem like a ginormous expense.

Incidentally, myself and one other person suggested the fire station again. No one else liked the idea. If that idea had been taken seriously, we’d still be having a reunion. A proper reunion.

You see, the committee has thrown in the towel with all the abuse and the dismal numbers of those who have purchased tickets. The reunion has been canceled and we’re back to “I know a guy who knows a guy who owns a bar and we can all just meet up there, each person paying their own way.” Hmm… I don’t drink but I know people who can rack up quite a bar tab … and depending on what you order to eat, if you so choose to eat at the bar … well I can see paying upwards of $80 a couple. So that’s at least $80 for two people instead of per person at the fancier venue.

And you sacrifice not being able to hear yourself talking to your long-lost friend and sharing the space with the general public.

I don’t plan on attending. I just want my deposit back. It’s not worth it.

Now I don’t know the financial situation of others. I just think no one is being realistic. It is such a skewed sense of cost vs. value. (And, seriously, I’m not surprised because I have classmates who would like to have their student loans–for second degrees in fields that will actually get them a job because their first degrees that were paid for by mom and dad were in theater, music, and psychology and couldn’t get jobs to save their lives–forgiven because life is just so unfair…) BTW, I’m not just irked about this reunion–I’ve recently had a scout “value” issue too.

I can’t believe people expect prom ticket prices–the only way that would happen is if you could get all 500 class members to attend with their spouses but no one will commit without having a final cost and you can’t get a final cost until you get a final head count. It is so circular and juvenile.

The committee did an amazing job in a losing battle. Maybe in 5 years they should just rent the fire station and be done with it…

The Chief said, “Needed to get something off your chest, did you?”


One comment

  1. […] I just spent a weekend with my mother visiting my alma mater. It had been 17 years since she had been back; 21 years since our first spring trip to the campus to interview for scholarships. The reunion itself is for another post and might be an interesting follow-up to one of my most shared posts and Pinterest repins (My 20 Year High School Reunion). […]

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