Just An Online Minute... Did Consumer Reports Predict Consumerist Party Crashing?

The Consumerist + Consumer Reports Consumption Party, Vintage Irving, New York
November 23, 2009

The holidays are upon us, and what that means for those of us in marketing, media and advertising is email subject lines that are clever and stuff.  Oh you know what I'm talking about - stuff like "The 12 Days of Email" or "all I want for Christmas is job security" or "Happy Chrismahannufestigivingness from your friends at the socially responsible non denominational agency that can do anything for you." I will try my best, dear friends, to not fall into this trap, but I'm human, I'm a sucker for packaging, and nothing makes me happier than being able to squeeze some sort of Grinch, mistletoe, stuffing, and overeating reference into Just An Online Minute.  With that, as the holiday stress, pressure, and depression from lack of funds rolls in, doesn't it makes sense that the inaugural party would be thrown by Consumerist and Consumer Reports?

I like to alter my walk home to mix it up.  Pre 9-11, my family and I would say "to confuse the terrorists" when we'd alter our commute paths, but saying that now just seems tacky.  I began altering my walk when suddenly I'd show up in front of my door unable to recall how I got there.  How do I not get hit by vehicles in my zombie commute?  Anyway, sometimes my route takes my feet past Vintage Irving, which always looks warm and cozy as people sip their red and white vino and munch on small plates (of food, not the actual plates themselves, weirdos!).  I usually look inside wistfully, as people hang out together while I'm probably running home to change for an event.  But last night as I peered in, I was actually scoping out the scene before entering, because this time I would be sipping vino with pals!

As I entered the warm room, I saw two foamcore or posterboards on easels.  From my vantage point, they looked to be graphs of some sort -- and my heart dropped a little.  "Ack, not a presentation party!" my inner monologue griped. 

As I checked in with Rachel Konik from the Rosen Group, I spotted Nick McGlynn, Photographer dude, across the room chatting with Mary Pilon, who writes about money for the WSJ, and Gisele Benatar from Consumer Reports.  Turns out, for once -- and actually probably the only time I have ever seen this happen  -- Nick's camera stayed in his bag.  This worked out great for me later, when I needed someone to help me climb up onto a ledge.  All in a night's work, people

In addition to reuniting with AttentionPR's John McCartney for the first time since the IFC Panel at the Paley Center, I was happy to see elusive writer/editor type David "you can call me Dave" Hirschman, who was no doubt engaged in some sort of consumer-spending conversation with Keith O'Brien form Attention PR.  Also enjoying the fruits of Vintage's vines was Matt Fields from Consumer Reports, who was happy to hear that the food and drink were well-received. I hear that in the past he has been criticized for bad cookies. 

While dodging balls of meat speared with toothpicks, I caught a blinking red blob out of the corner of my eye.  It was the scrolling LED of "GitEmSteveDave," the user name of the LED wearer.  Hey, different strokes for different folks!

There were two mysterious hipsters revolving around the room and revisiting the cheese table.  They were the first people I approached, one mumbling about his face being messed-up from some sort of transit mishap, the other, well, the other just eating.  Whether or not they were yanking my chain, they admitted to crashing the party.  Apparently they discovered they could enter the Consumerist party if they used the restroom in the shared hallway from the other vintage dining room (or from another bar? I'm still confused).  Either way, they were eyeballing the T-shirts, stuck around for the speech-giving, and even congratulated Ben Popken of Consumerist with "That was good.  I mean, I HATE getting giftcards!"

Oh right, giftcards -- that was a result of The Consumerist giving out "Anti-Gift Cards" in response to reports showing consumers hate that there are hidden fees and expirations with traditional gift cards.  With the Anti-Gift Card, you just add cash because, so far, cash doesn't expire or carry a hidden fee and it is "Backed by the full faith and credit of the United States (Gift cards are backed by banks or retailers that can go bankrupt)."  They're clever and snarky and you can't argue that, this year especially, cash money is the best gift of all.

Just before I left, I found Ryan Lawler, previously of Contentinople, currently of GigaOM/NewTeeVee, loading up a plate of stinky cheese (no match to Hirschman's consumption of a good 20 crab cakes).   I'd say this would be a great time to wish you all a wonderful couple of days off (I hope).  I don't care how you spend it, I just hope it finds you happy, healthy, and potentially full of stuffing!  When we reconnect next week, get ready, because the holiday parties are piling up, and it's going to be go-go-go for at least two weeks straight.

Photos are up on Flickr!

Send invitations to kelly@mediapost.com!

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