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Author Topic: Field Day and freeloaders  (Read 76728 times)
WB0CJB
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« on: February 10, 2016, 05:06:51 PM »

A club plans for its participation in FD and decides to have a potluck dinner that Saturday evening. Everyone is asked to bring a covered dish and the club provides for the meat (usually hamburgers, hot dogs, or pulled pork BBQ). The dinner is well attended by both members and non members, as well as the spouses/harmonics. Everyone enjoys the meal and the fellowship.

Here is the catch: There are usually some people who come to the dinner without bringing a covered dish or has helped in setting up or operating/logging at one of the stations. That person loads up his plate and sticks around to visit with some of his buddies after dinner. He then decides to go home and you don't see him anymore until the next year's FD. Pretty much that person shows up each year for free food.

If the club chooses to hand out dinner tickets to any and all who has set up or operated and has made at least 1 contact then the club is being childish. If everyone brings a covered dish donations could solicited for the cost of the meat. But then again the freeloaders get their belly full at the expense of the others.

The club treasury should not be expected to furnish the meal completely as it has expenses to take care of. If the club repeater goes down and a major repair is needed the treasury would be pretty much wiped out.

So the club could:

1 Forget about the dinner and just have a small dinner for the FD group doing the operation
2 Have the dinner and have to deal with the freeloaders as always
3 Bring in a food truck and have everyone order off the food truck
4 Have the dinner catered by the food truck at so much per plate per person

Anyone have this issue?
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AC2EU
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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2016, 05:25:10 PM »

Did you look into a local place supplying a buffet?  The local Lions club does that on the cheap occasionally.
Our radio club is fortunate to have a member who loves to cook for parties. All we have to do is buy the food and gas!
Everybody gets fed and there is usually over a couple of hundred in the donation jar at the end.

I'd say put out a donation jar for those who didn't bring food. Make it known what is expected of the attendees.
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NA4IT
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« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2016, 03:51:00 AM »

I'd say put out a donation jar for those who didn't bring food. Make it known what is expected of the attendees.

AND TELL THEM WHAT THE JAR IS FOR!
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KA4GFY
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« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2016, 12:49:10 PM »

Our club has had the same problem as well.  We have a few people who show up around dinnertime on Saturday, fill their plates, eat and leave.  One claims to be a club member, but no one in the club knows who he is.

We once had a ham who brought their teenage son with him.  The son consumed 2 cases of soft drinks by HIMSELF over the weekend and dad never offered to replace or pay for the soft drinks.  Needless to say, neither was welcomed back.

Just like NA4IT said, we put a jar out.  Put money in the jar and get a ticket from the Field Day chairman or treasurer.  No ticket, no food.

73,
Rich, KA4GFY   

 
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K6CPO
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« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2016, 10:52:02 PM »

My club budgets for food every year.  In the past it's been cooked by a couple of members, a father and son team, but last year we had to opt for pizza because they couldn't do it.  We've not had a problem with freeloaders, as you called them, because o lot of our members help out even if they don't operate.
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AB1LT
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« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2016, 05:27:35 AM »

If all the bad apples are doing is violating your principles, but not causing a tangible problem, just let it go and focus on the fun of the event.  Don't let a bad minority wreck it for the good majority.  Don't change a fun, casual time to a rigid, controlled, terms & conditions thing!  Pot lucks always have a few free loaders.  Some forgot, didn't know, or didn't have time.  Others truly are selfish freeloaders.  But the people that bring stuff almost always bring more than their share, so there is usually enough to go around.  Focus on the fun.
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N0IU
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« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2016, 05:09:54 AM »

So let me see if I understand the problem....

Your club gives away free food but then you have a problem when people have the gall, audacity and the nerve to actually come and eat it. Your club created the "problem" so it is up to your club to fix it.

You said:
The club treasury should not be expected to furnish the meal completely as it has expenses to take care of.

If your club can not afford to provide their portion of the meal, then the solution is really really simple.... STOP DOING IT!

If the people who bring a covered dish feel they are being taken advantage of by having people take as much as they want without paying for it.... STOP DOING IT!

If providing a meal is such an extreme financial burden on the club as you claim it could be:

If the club repeater goes down and a major repair is needed the treasury would be pretty much wiped out.

then why not have the club buy the hot dogs, hamburgers, pulled pork, potato salad, cole slaw, chips, soft drinks and whatever y'all eat down there and charge for the meal. You should be able to buy the food from Sams or Costco and provide a meal for $6-7 per person which is what they would pay at McDonalds anyway.

With all due respect, it sounds like your club is in over its head financially. You should not have put up a repeater if you can't afford to maintain it and you certainly should not be providing food for free if your treasury is that close to going into the red.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2016, 05:38:02 AM by N0IU » Logged
K5TED
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Posts: 243




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« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2016, 02:55:10 PM »

If you have 'strangers' who claim to be club members, then either they are indeed strangers, or are people who have joined the club, paid dues and just aren't 'clubbers', but do like to support the repeater.

On the other hand, some clubs encourage non-members and new hams to visit the Field Day with full rights and access, just to become acquainted with the locals.

But, we're addressing 'freeloaders'..

Designate a Field Day Marshal(s) who is in charge of walking around with a gaily decorated clipboard(or gaily decorate the Marshal), welcoming participants and having them sign the guestbook. If a person is a non-member, offer an invitation to join the club on the spot as an entry level or guest member in exchange for a nominal Field Day contribution. This can foster conversation, and weed out the freeloaders. They get a green wristband entitling them to food.

If this person later joins as a full member, paying the full annual dues, they should receive a Club Card in the mail. Cards are cheap, but 'official', and something a guy/gal will stick in his/her wallet in perpetuity. People like cards.

If they don't want to join, then give them/offer them a Guest Sticker and a bottle of water. If they have a callsign, write it on the sticker.

If they are indeed active contributing full members, whose callsigns/names you should know and have a list available from their regular financial contributions and by means of good treasury practices, or by means of an issued Club Card, have them sign the Guestbook. They get a green wristband entitling them to food.

Encourage club members to engage people with Guest Stickers during Field Day. Lead the Guest over to one of the station setups to have a look. Answer questions. Ask questions. This may serve to scare some Guests away, but may also bring them into the community. Never ignore people who appear as strangers or are not club members. Engage them in the Field Day.

Drinks are another story altogether, and often overindulged in. Soft drink cans and bottled water are roughly 60 cents each. Have people drop in 50 cents to defray the cost. Eat the rest. People like to imbibe.

What about the kids? Kids under 12 eat free, get a free water, 50 cents for dessert, and pay for drinks after the first free water bottle. If they are allergic to water, they pay for soda or other colored, sweetened beverage. Kids are usually cheap to feed for free.

If they personally are non-members(no coattail riding on Dad's membership), kids 12-17 have to recite at least one question and correct answer from the current question pool to attain Free Food. Out loud. They can use a cheat sheet. If they recite from memory, they get free dessert. Otherwise, Pay The Marshal.

If you catch someone attempting to crash the foodline with a green Marksalot stripe around their wrists, or a tattered wristband from the previous night's foray to the dance club, then you're on your own. I can't recommend anything..

Or just forget about rules and have a free-for-all.

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N8AUC
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« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2016, 09:46:51 AM »

Seriously?
Why are you worried about this? If you want a closed, uber-competitive contest type Field Day operation, then don't invite anyone except the actual operators, and only provision for the actual operators. Make it well known that non-participants are not welcome. If you want to backpack into the woods or up a mountain to a remote spot and operate, then do that. You're not likely to get many visitors that way. Both of which pretty much eliminate the "freeloader problem", if that's what you think you have.

But frankly, I think you guys are completely missing one of the major reasons we have Field Day. Is it a contest? Sure. It is an emergency communications thing? Sure. But it's a chance to show off what we do to the general public. That's why you get bonus points for setting up in a public location. The general public includes those club members who might not be all that "into HF" yet. Newer hams, who may or may not be curious, with their freshly minted tech licenses. Get some of those folks, sit them down at an HF rig, and let them play radio. Let them have some fun. If they're alive, and they had fun, before too long they'll be upgrading their licenses. Because a luxury once tasted, soon becomes a necessity.

Our club treats Field Day as an educational club outing. Everyone is invited. We usually have dinner meetings anyways, so we hold the June club meeting just after dinner on Saturday evening. The club springs for the food and the beverages, we raffle off a door prize or two, and then settle in to playing more radio, or visiting with folks for a while. Around sundown, most of the "non-participants" head for home. But the camaraderie and the fellowship is well worth it. And we don't consider anyone who comes out to Field Day a "freeloader". People who come to our Field Day once, soon begin to look forward to it as the annual event it is. Then they start coming out to help setup or tear down. Next thing you know, they're bringing gear and operating all night. This almost becomes an outreach activity. Will you have the occasional person who just shows up to mooch food? Yes, you will sometimes. If you treat them right, those "freeloaders" end up becoming "contributors". But it's a small price to pay to ensure the future health of your club in particular, and ham radio in general.

73 de N8AUC
Eric
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AC2EU
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« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2016, 11:54:44 AM »

Seriously?
Why are you worried about this? If you want a closed, uber-competitive contest type Field Day operation, then don't invite anyone except the actual operators, and only provision for the actual operators. Make it well known that non-participants are not welcome. If you want to backpack into the woods or up a mountain to a remote spot and operate, then do that. You're not likely to get many visitors that way. Both of which pretty much eliminate the "freeloader problem", if that's what you think you have.

But frankly, I think you guys are completely missing one of the major reasons we have Field Day. Is it a contest? Sure. It is an emergency communications thing? Sure. But it's a chance to show off what we do to the general public. That's why you get bonus points for setting up in a public location. The general public includes those club members who might not be all that "into HF" yet. Newer hams, who may or may not be curious, with their freshly minted tech licenses. Get some of those folks, sit them down at an HF rig, and let them play radio. Let them have some fun. If they're alive, and they had fun, before too long they'll be upgrading their licenses. Because a luxury once tasted, soon becomes a necessity.

Our club treats Field Day as an educational club outing. Everyone is invited. We usually have dinner meetings anyways, so we hold the June club meeting just after dinner on Saturday evening. The club springs for the food and the beverages, we raffle off a door prize or two, and then settle in to playing more radio, or visiting with folks for a while. Around sundown, most of the "non-participants" head for home. But the camaraderie and the fellowship is well worth it. And we don't consider anyone who comes out to Field Day a "freeloader". People who come to our Field Day once, soon begin to look forward to it as the annual event it is. Then they start coming out to help setup or tear down. Next thing you know, they're bringing gear and operating all night. This almost becomes an outreach activity. Will you have the occasional person who just shows up to mooch food? Yes, you will sometimes. If you treat them right, those "freeloaders" end up becoming "contributors". But it's a small price to pay to ensure the future health of your club in particular, and ham radio in general.

73 de N8AUC
Eric


I couldn't have said it better myself and the donation jar does help defray some of the expenses.

Our club leadership did an uber-competative FD last year. Participation was way, way down. The atmosphere was tense and not very much fun, IMO.
I mean, how many people are into pounding brass for 3 to 6 hours at a clip?  You lose a lot of would-be participants that way being a CW elitist club which turns people off.  In fact it was so tense, I just helped set up and left when I found out how intense it was.

Previous years had always been open to all levels of proficiency, the old timers would tell stories and the kids got to play radio a little bit, etc.  We didn't do too bad in the national ratings even with the relaxed format. The "marshal" would greet people and invite them to operate. It was a very fun showcase and we are returning to it this year!
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K0IZ
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« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2016, 06:03:02 AM »

Here's how we do it:  WØERH

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l52_9PV4zVU
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W9FIB
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Posts: 2531




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« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2016, 12:11:08 PM »

Seriously?
Why are you worried about this? If you want a closed, uber-competitive contest type Field Day operation, then don't invite anyone except the actual operators, and only provision for the actual operators. Make it well known that non-participants are not welcome. If you want to backpack into the woods or up a mountain to a remote spot and operate, then do that. You're not likely to get many visitors that way. Both of which pretty much eliminate the "freeloader problem", if that's what you think you have.

But frankly, I think you guys are completely missing one of the major reasons we have Field Day. Is it a contest? Sure. It is an emergency communications thing? Sure. But it's a chance to show off what we do to the general public. That's why you get bonus points for setting up in a public location. The general public includes those club members who might not be all that "into HF" yet. Newer hams, who may or may not be curious, with their freshly minted tech licenses. Get some of those folks, sit them down at an HF rig, and let them play radio. Let them have some fun. If they're alive, and they had fun, before too long they'll be upgrading their licenses. Because a luxury once tasted, soon becomes a necessity.

Our club treats Field Day as an educational club outing. Everyone is invited. We usually have dinner meetings anyways, so we hold the June club meeting just after dinner on Saturday evening. The club springs for the food and the beverages, we raffle off a door prize or two, and then settle in to playing more radio, or visiting with folks for a while. Around sundown, most of the "non-participants" head for home. But the camaraderie and the fellowship is well worth it. And we don't consider anyone who comes out to Field Day a "freeloader". People who come to our Field Day once, soon begin to look forward to it as the annual event it is. Then they start coming out to help setup or tear down. Next thing you know, they're bringing gear and operating all night. This almost becomes an outreach activity. Will you have the occasional person who just shows up to mooch food? Yes, you will sometimes. If you treat them right, those "freeloaders" end up becoming "contributors". But it's a small price to pay to ensure the future health of your club in particular, and ham radio in general.

73 de N8AUC
Eric


Very well put Eric!
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73, Stan
Wisdom is knowledge you gain after you know it all.
W1XWX
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« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2016, 04:08:47 PM »

Field Day is a social event, not a contest; and should be used to educate newcomers to the hobby and or to introduce amateur radio to the community at large. The simple solution is to charge all members a small diner fee, and provide drinks and snacks to the general public. If someone shows up for dinner you don't know or is not a member feed them for free and go on down the road-- Smiley

73
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KD8TUT
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Posts: 522




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« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2016, 06:28:50 PM »

A club plans for its participation in FD and decides to have a potluck dinner that Saturday evening. Everyone is asked to bring a covered dish and the club provides for the meat (usually hamburgers, hot dogs, or pulled pork BBQ). The dinner is well attended by both members and non members, as well as the spouses/harmonics. Everyone enjoys the meal and the fellowship.

Here is the catch: There are usually some people who come to the dinner without bringing a covered dish or has helped in setting up or operating/logging at one of the stations. That person loads up his plate and sticks around to visit with some of his buddies after dinner. He then decides to go home and you don't see him anymore until the next year's FD. Pretty much that person shows up each year for free food.

If the club chooses to hand out dinner tickets to any and all who has set up or operated and has made at least 1 contact then the club is being childish. If everyone brings a covered dish donations could solicited for the cost of the meat. But then again the freeloaders get their belly full at the expense of the others.

The club treasury should not be expected to furnish the meal completely as it has expenses to take care of. If the club repeater goes down and a major repair is needed the treasury would be pretty much wiped out.

So the club could:

1 Forget about the dinner and just have a small dinner for the FD group doing the operation
2 Have the dinner and have to deal with the freeloaders as always
3 Bring in a food truck and have everyone order off the food truck
4 Have the dinner catered by the food truck at so much per plate per person

Anyone have this issue?

Put a donation jar out for the food when serving, encourage people to donate if they did not bring a dish.

Then welcome *everyone*.
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Putting a Shatnerologist in a room full of ordinary people is like putting a velociraptor in a room full of wiener dogs.
W1VT
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« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2016, 08:07:37 AM »

I just heard about one group that has a raffle to pay for the "free" food. Food is free, but you need to pay for raffle tickets to win prizes.

Zack W1VT
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