I was recently invited to attend a dinner hosted by the California Olive Committee, well at least I thought I had been.  The public relations firm handling the event was quite possibly the most unprofessional and unorganized bunch I have ever come across and unfortunately it reflected poorly on the California Olive Committee.  Here’s what happened and I have to say that it left a bad taste in my mouth.

2:28 p.m.: Received an invite with a personal note as follows:

Hi Michael , 

Would love for you to join us next Wednesday night!

-Signature <name removed>on behalf of the California Olive Committee

I thought okay, the event is next week so why not go?  I write back the following at 3:51 p.m.:

 Hi <name removed>

I would love to attend — my office is a block away.  One question though — given my food allergies (gluten and shellfish) will there be a problem?  I don’t expect to be able to eat everything (totally used to that) but just wanted to make sure that there would be some options.  Just thought I would ask.


I received no response until 7:53 p.m. the same evening (I had actually not expected to hear back until after the weekend) and it was a form letter thanking me for my interest in attending but stating that there were no spaces left.  Huh?  Now I fully understand that space if often limited but let’s face it – I was likely a late invite asked to fill a space that opened (and that is absolutely fine).  But, if you are going to invite a person in any capacity you should give them more than an hour or so before giving away their space.  I responded questioning how it is possible to be invited and uninvited in about an hour and have only received radio silence since.

I am also thinking that because my response detailed my food allergies that perhaps it set off an alarm with the organizers but you know what…just say so.  I am always upfront about my food allergies and if there was a problem I would have hoped that the organizers would have addressed them rather than just sending a cold, generic “thanks for your interest” type e-mail.  There are protocols for handling events of any scale and clearly the folks I dealt with could use a refresher course.

So California Olive Committee, while I do love your olives, I also thought you would like to know how you are being represented by those contacting people on your behalf.

Note: Just found out a dear friend and fellow blogger was also invited and shares the exact same food allergies as I do and also got a generic thanks for your interest response.  Beginning to think they just could not be bothered by food allergic guests.

Update 6/27:  Nearly three days later, finally heard back from the PR company that they had an internal communication issue that resulted in more invites going out than dinner spaces.  They did try to apologize but I am afraid it is too little too late.  Enough time wasted on this…moving on.

21 responses on “How Not To Send An Invitation.

  1. Roberta says:

    Just plain rude on their part.

  2. Alex says:

    It is a shame when someone is acting on behalf of someone else and represents them so poorly.

  3. Debbie says:

    Shocking what some people think is acceptable behavior. Thank you for all that you do to raise awareness for Celiacs and food allergy sufferers.

  4. Josie says:

    I always find it amazing what people think they can get away with. Sounds like they just could not be bothered.

  5. Danielle says:

    I could not believe what I just read. Just another sad commentary on lack of social skills nowadays.

  6. Jake says:

    This sounds like a blow to all food allergic diners. Not cool.

  7. Laura says:

    Thank you for taking a stand against poor manners and what can only be described as the discrimination we food allergic sometimes face.

  8. Alice says:

    Wow, all I can say is wow. Talk about lack of social skills.

  9. Kathleen says:

    I hope you at the very least get an explanation and apology from them.

  10. Cathy says:

    Talk about rude. They need a lesson in etiquette.

  11. Allison says:

    As a person with multiple food allergies as well, I take offense to the way this was handled and suspect that it was your allergies that was the problem.

  12. Tori says:

    Why on earth would someone send out more invitations than spaces — at least initially? It is social skills 101.

  13. Jane says:

    Talk about poor planning. Also thinking there is something up with the food allergy issue.

  14. Jen says:

    When will people become accountable for their actions? I hope you get a response from both the organization and the agency.

  15. Steve says:

    Sounds like poor planning. Did they not get the “gluten-free” in your name :-).

  16. Matt says:

    That really stinks. Shame it reflects poorly on the olive committee.

  17. Mary says:

    More invitations than spaces? Sounds fishy.

  18. Kate says:


  19. Nicole says:

    Good on you for calling them on it.

  20. Amanda says:

    Good for you for taking a stand against poor social skills. Spain, Italy, and Greece all have fabulous olives :-).

  21. Erica says:

    Glad you at least got some kind of response…such as it is.

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