A few years back, in 2006, an office manager at a marquee hire company in Auckland made a fatal mistake. She forgot the golden rule – that every customer is king, and every customer could make or break you; even just potential ones. In today’s world of the Internet and social media – that’s a mistake you just cannot afford to make…

From the New Zealand Herald Online, Sunday Nov 19, 2006:

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 go to 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 couple, 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 the Mt Albert couple decided the marquee would not be suitable and sent a polite email to the company saying they would look elsewhere. Two hours later the firm’s office manager replied with this: “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 levels and buy something from Payless Plastics instead.”

The company director Klaus 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.”

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 and that the email exchange would be tabled at a committee meeting. “This is highly inappropriate and really quite bizarre, it is completely unprofessional and they should not be involved in our organisation.”

Not a good look…

At Schupepe Tents, we’ve been in the catering industry for over 25 years, and we pride ourselves in the knowledge that every single event or function we have catered for, has been treated with the same level of skill, energy and passion – from low-key private parties to full scale, themed weddings. We love what we do, and so we do it the best that we can – for every customer.