Lots of people (even my mother!) have been asking me lately if I'll be volunteering for the Buskers festival this year. I volunteered, usually as a driver, for about 5 years for that august organization. But no. I have "retired" from that role. I no longer volunteer for those people. In fact, because of how the fine folks at ESP Productions (producers of the Buskers Festival) and the Tall Ships festival treated me last year, I have pretty much given up on volunteering for anything.
Briefly, as I wrote at length about this last Fall, I offered my humble services as a driver to the Buskers Festival in 2007. Drivers are hard to come by and tend to be treated a bit better than other volunteers. They never replied to the proposed shift schedule I faxed them (I have a job and can't work days, except weekends). I waited. And waited. And, rather anticlimactically, I waited some more. I heard nothing from them. I began to e-mail them asking them what shifts they wanted me for. I found a phone number for the volunteer co-ordinator and called her. No e-mail or phone call was returned.
Finally, a few days before the festival last year, I went to the offices of ESP Productions and confronted them. In a mealy-mouthed kind of way, they told me that they had no shifts for me, that I had been "too late" in getting my schedule to them, that they didn't need me. I was disappointed that they wouldn't need me, and out-and-out angry that they had kept putting me off. I wrote them and asked them to drop my contact information from their database. They told me that this had been done. That should have been the end of the story.
In May of this year, they sent out a mass e-mail, asking for volunteers for this year's festival. Ticked, I wrote this year's co-ordinator and asked her to drop me from the database, and explained why I didn't want to work for them any more. Very sorry, she said she had dropped me, once again, from the database.
A few weeks after that, she went back to the 2006 contact database and sent out another e-mail, pleading for volunteers. Guess what? I got a copy of that e-mail. This one, I just ignored.
I hate disorganization. I hate having my time wasted. And I hate it when I am disrespected and even lied to and put off. The fact that they have someone working for them this year (and in years past) who was the subject of a manslaughter charge in 2005 also doesn't sit well with me. I just don't want to be involved with these people. As Bo Jackson once said about someone else, their crackers do not settle well in my soup.
So, no, I am not volunteering for those people again. And, yes, it is a shame, because I had very much enjoyed meeting the actual buskers, the performers, who would come to Halifax every summer from around the world. Some of the nicest people I ever met. A damn shame.
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