So Susan Morris, the Conference Manager for A Voice for Men’s allegedly upcoming “Men’s Issues” conference this year. has posted a rather puzzling statement attempting to answer questions she’s been getting from AVFM readers “concerning there being fewer speakers on the programme this year and the ticket price being higher.”
Morris — described on the site as “a British woman, an experienced general and event manager in public service” — assures potential conference goers that, “contrary to the headline which I saw somewhere, the ticket price has not been set at $649!”
And that’s true. If you go to the conference’s website, you can see that, in fact, full price tickets to the event are only $645.
That is FOUR WHOLE DOLLARS LESS than the amount reported by the scurrilous press. And … by Morris herself, later in her post.
But hey, she suggests, only suckers will be paying the full $649.
The Early Bird Discount ensures that if you purchase your ticket by the 30th of April, you will only pay $399. Buy it between 1 May and 30 June and you’ll still get it at a good discount, at the price of $449. The price will increase in $50 steps until it gets to the buy-at-the-door price of $649 and we expect very few, if any, to do so. In fact, that price has been set to deter people from doing so, so that they don’t hold up those people who have been entered into the pre-registration system and only need to book in.
Morris also insists that
Contrary to the efforts made by our detractors to blacken our name, the ticket price is not aimed at making a profit but breaking even would be nice.
Yeah, it’s not like AVFM founder and chief donation-receiver Paul Elam ever said that he hoped to make some actual profit from the conference. You know, except for that time he said he “hope[d] to make some actual profit” from the conference.
So what’s to blame for the higher price? Apparently, it’s largely due to, er, time-traveling protesters from Detroit?
Last year, you may recall, a group of Detroit-area activists held a protest several weeks before AFVM’s conference was scheduled to happen in that city. There were no protesters at the event itself.
This year, the conference is being held in Elam’s hometown of Houston. But evidently — at least in the fevered imaginations of AVFM’s brain trust — that won’t stop last year’s protesters from driving 1300 miles from Detroit to Houston to protest this year’s event. At least that’s what Morris seems to be suggesting:
The protesters from last year have already vowed to shut us down this year and though we know they will not achieve their aim, they will still be protesting (as is their right, of course). Security and safety of our attendees, speakers and volunteer staff will always be of prime importance and so, to avoid a repeat of last year’s emergency appeal for funding, we have built into the costs additional but reasonable security cover.
Aside from “security cover” from time-travelling protesters, what will attendees get for their $649 — sorry, $645 — that no one is really expected to pay?
“Last year,” Morris writes
in our naivety and enthusiasm, we overbooked the number of speakers for the two day event. During the conference it became clear that the programme was too full and did not allow sufficient time for decent length talks followed by full question and answer sessions. This year we have arranged ten speakers.
And this year we will ensure that we start each session on time.
Longer lunch breaks! And afternoon breaks!
We have extended the afternoon break and the lunch time and we will be opening the doors each day at 8am. So, provided you arrive early, you will have over eight hours across the two days to mingle with other attendees and to network. And that’s not including the time spent at the evening events, socialising and networking with other like-minded people over dinner or pizza.
Dinner is an additional $20; Pizza is $15. But the time you spend eating is ABSOLUTELY FREE.
A larger number of unpaid staffers than you would think would be even remotely necessary for an event of its size!
Another factor which people tend to forget is the cost of flying in the speakers and volunteer staff and accommodating them all. Between speakers, panel discussion members and staff, we’ll have some forty five people there.
Free taxi service!
We’re arranging an optional taxi service to collect you from your hotel and take you to the venue and then to return you afterwards.
Wait, scratch that, the Taxi service will cost you an additional $15!
But talking to the cabbie is INCLUDED IN YOUR TICKET PRICE.
And finally, FREE ACCESS to an actual BRITISH WOMAN — namely conference manager Susan Morris herself.
I shall be flying in to Houston from the UK. It will be my first flight, a long one around ten hours and I can’t say I’m looking forward to it. But the end result will be worth it. I am looking forward to meeting as many of you as I can.
Because why not fly your conference manager all the way from the UK at the conference-goers’ expense? Sure, makes perfect sense!
I wonder if a single person has bought a ticket for the conference yet.