‘Most demeaning, humiliating experience of my life’

Jose Lambiet of the PALM BEACH POST reports on a delightful idea the Miami Dolphins recently concocted to generate revenue while also filling out Don Shula’s birthday party with two-legged props:

Don Shula Birthday Party: Season Ticket Holders Got The Steerage

(Dolphins sent season tix holders to steerage for Shula bday party)

Many of the 80 season ticket holders randomly “invited” to pay $80-per to attend former coach Don Shula’s 80th birthday party Saturday night at Land Shark Stadium are complaining bitterly about the way they were treated at the banquet.

Shula, dozens of his former players, rapper Fergie, new Fins owner Stephen Ross, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and other VIPs got the silver spoon treatment.

And the 80 “invited” fans, meanwhile, got partly-cooked hot dogs, dried chicken and soda, all served on plastic plates with plastic forks, Sorentrue said.

They also were bestowed the honor of watching the VIPs munch on their fine foods from a balcony — this, after waiting outside in the cold for all VIPs to get in.

“I’m actually considering cancelling my ($1,700-a-year) season tickets,” 12-year season ticket holder Fred Sorentrue said.

How ungrateful of Sorentrue. Who wouldn’t pay $80 to watch (from a heavily guard, roped-off location) Fergie serenading a bewildered Shula whilst savoring personal proximity to dozens of other local South Florida celebrities. (Give it up for Hank Goldberg!)

The event description from Lambiet hooked me, but accounts from commenters who actually paid $80 to watch Tony Sparano inhale enough langoustines to greenlight another season of Deadliest Catch are truly wondrous.

Unearthed gems:

I was there as one of 80 for 80. I was basically shocked at what happened. We never were given anything about the party till 3 days before via e-mail nothing was said about a balcony at all. I was charged $160 for two people.

We wore nice suits with dolphin lapel pins and were told to stay by the orange carpet ropes. Not too bad to start, but at 6 we were escorted to a place I was not pleased with, served cold hot dogs and chicken fingers. Beer was OK. But we watched like lepers as our heroes had a ball. I could not beleive anyone was not noticing our treatment.

I have dined with much more famous people then anyone there, know my manners and should have been at a table with the crowd. But we stayed enjoyed the show and I did meet Earl Morall before we were told to leave the carpet and go to the balcony to our hightop.

Another:

I “won” the ability to buy tickets to the event. I did not receive tickets in the mail as promised. I had to contact my rep. right up until Saturday afternoon. Once I arrived at the event in my cocktal dress, I was told to stand outside in the cold to watch the actual guests arrive. We were then herded like cattle through the back so as not to have any contact the others.

Our accomodations included balcony seats at high top bar tables overlookin the grand ballroom display. Our advertised “dinner buffet and dessrt” included hot dogs,potato chips, cole slaw, potato salad and a chocolate chip cookie.

This was the most demeaning and humiliating experience of my life. I have been a real guest and event coordinator for many exclusive events for celebrites, sports figures and politians. My wait staff was always treated with more dignity than the “80 for the 80th” were that evening.
My disappoint in the Dolphins organization is beyond words. I look forward to hearing an apology. I won’t however be holding my breath.

Another:

I too was at this “great event”. We had high expectations for a great time. Standing in the cold, watching the “nice” people pull up in their fancy cars and having the “greeter” kiss their ass as the walked by us “common folks”. Very few of the former greats even acknowledged us. Larry Czonka looked at us like we had the plague.

Once inside the dissapointment continued. Cold food that was supposed to be hot, the hot dogs looked to be left over from the previous weeks game. $ 8.00 for a 12oz beer(at the games you get 16ozs for the same price)
I was an invited guest( I also have 100 level season tickets but didnt make the 80 for 80 list) When I mentioned it was a long way to drive for a free hot dog, that was when I found out my friend paid $ 160.00 for us to attend! What a waste of money!!!

SHAME ON THE DOLPHIN ORGANIZATION FOR RIPPING OFF LOYAL FANS. YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THE WAY WE WERE TREATED!
Had we known we were to be segregated like we were, we would have never went.

I’m a little perplexed at the profound disconnect of the expectations of fans who were sequestered in a holding pen attended the event and their subsequent experiences.

While, like all of us, I have some sympathy for the fans who didn’t realize they’d be treated that way, it’s hard for me to get too worked up over the same folks who didn’t exit the premises immediately upon learning what they were in store for.

If you’ve ever gone to a club in Vegas, Hollywood or South Beach, you know that the above descriptions are tame compared to the ego-immolation happening outside the front door of the hottest new nightclubs in those cities.

In other words, if you don’t have Rachel Uchitel in your address book, suck it up and move on.