Monday, February 14, 2011

Operation Baby Shower

Im not pinpointing this to anyone, so please if youve thought this in your head, dont take offense (because I have really had someone get upset once when they swore a blog was about them but it REALLY wasnt ... and I almost felt bad because I really didnt know that person even read my blog LET alone would take the "stupid" things I talked about - referring to things that I did that were dumb and why do girls do that ? - and make it about them. 
But then I realized I didnt care, so that helped, plus made me deserving of the "fat bitch" name calling .... but I digress ....) 

This is the email I recieved today:
Hello Anne cone,
My name is Ken Swarner and I am the publisher of The Ranger & NW Airlifter newspapers. I wanted to send you a note today to apologize for yesterday's lines, and to offer my apologies to those upset with the event. We have received a dozen or so complaints. I want you to know that I take every one of them to heart.
We were too focused on preventing fraud that we lost touch with the hundreds of well-meaning and honest attendees. I am so sorry you had to wait as long as you did to get in, and that we failed to anticipate the wait and thus did not have seating outside or food vendors.
I also received feedback that there were not enough gifts as advertised. We publicized that there would be a lot of gifts. That was not hyperbole, we really thought we hit that mark. Here is the list of what was given to all attendees:
Denny's: Coupons for a free kids meal, and free kids cups,
Linquist Dental: Coupon for a free "first baby's" dental check-up;
Kiddie Kandids: A photo album, plus prize wheel spins for portrait discounts,
AUSA: Baby clothes, baby products, and kids' toys;
Harborstone Credit Union: Baby spoons and spit-up rags;
Farmer's Insurance: Free digital baby IDs;
Spa Vita Bella: Free waxing,
Dupont Children's Dental, Toothbrushes,
Yelm Vision Clinic: Free "first baby" eye exam for everyone,
Studio 128: Free first dance class,
America's Credit Union: Bibs;
Costco: Free snacks and face wipes;
Farellis Pizza: Onesies,
Little Gym: Free introductory visit;
Mary K: Free satin hands treatment;
The Ranger/NW Airlifter: Formula, children's vitamins, Boogie Wipes, 80-ct Care Bear wipes, mobiles;
The Ram: Free appetizer coupons;
Little Winners: Goodie bags;
Indigo Portraits: $100 gift cards for everyone (no strings attached - no additional purchase);
Anytime Fitness: Prize wheel for baby products (everyone a winner);
Sterling Savings: Baby clothes;
Psychics: Five psychics giving personal consultations ($50 value);
Massage Therapist: 5-min seated massages.
Honestly, we thought we hit a home run with those, but apparently, we did not, and for that, PLEASE except my apologies. We wanted to honor you, and we didn't.
In addition, we advertised raffles, which some attendees thought were ruses by the vendors. I can't look into their souls and see their intentions, but we asked them to come and at the least offer up prizes to win as a show of support to you. I am so sorry that didn't come off that way. We had 26 vendors offer one or more raffle prizes.
Finally we had some vendors who only felt they could afford to give coupons, such as the Hands On Children's Museum in Olympia who handed out 2 for 1 to visit their museum.
We have learned a lot with this event. It was double the attendance of our "successful" Valentines Day party in 2010. BUT, despite this event's problems, I pledge to you, my commitment is to get better at supporting you, and we will continue to develop support events that help you in your daily lives. We will get better at line management and sign-ins, we will fundraise better, and we will exceed your expectations. I encourage you to stay tuned to our promotion page on our website for announcements - in fact, right now we have two contests each offering a night's stay for four at the Great Wolf Lodge. You can find our promotion's page here:
We were deeply disappointed that the Huggies Corporation, after promising us coupons for a free box of diapers to hand out to all attendees yesterday, failed to deliver on that promise despite a two-monoth lead time. IF, those coupons do arrive, we will make arrangements, somehow, someway, to get them to as many of you that we can.
In addition, we have added all of you to the list to receive the new, FREE email copy of JBLM Spouses magazine debuting this week. We hope it connects you with your JBLM and greater South Sound communities. It was developed with the help of a "military spouses'" council, and we are excited to get your feedback. If you don't want to receive the magazine in the future, just hit the unsubscribe at the bottom of the email when you receive the magazine.
In closing, I want to thank those who gave their negative feedback. It is the only way we can get better at what we do. The personal attacks were born out of frustration I am sure, and believe me, we harbor no ill-feelings. Keep telling us what you really think, and we will continue to get better at supporting you and your family. You may email me direct at at any time.
Again, please accept my apologies. God's blessings to you all.
Ken Swarner

 Im just so sad that there are wives out there who wrote to complain and be negative about the baby shower that was thrown. Dont get me wrong, the event wasnt handled the greatest and I can absolutely see giving feedback to the event holder. But to write to these people (who dont HAVE to do this by the way) and complain that "you didnt get enough gifts for YOUR time"? Im sorry, was this a job that you clocked in for? Were you drafted to go somewhere that you werent free to get into your car and leave if you chose? Because I must have missed that part.

Its a shame that some people have to take something that was meant to be positive and (for lack of a better word) shit all over it. Its sad that these people spent their time and energy planning something like this, only to have everyone say "Well, you tried but its not GOOD enough, we deserve MORE". And what, exactly, do you deserve more for? Having a baby - by choice mind you? Being a military wife - ALSO by choice?

These people did things out of the goodness of their hearts. Did we all walk away with a new car and a carseat to match? No, we didnt. Was the line INSANE, and could they learn from that at their next event? Of course! Is there anything wrong with saying that? No way! But to write and complain as if they owe us something? Horrible, horrible, horrible - and if thats me being opinionated, then so be it. I cannot believe that anyone would write PERSONAL ATTACKS on people who did something so wonderful. Shame, shame, shame on you ungrateful people. Thats the worst case of humanity I have seen in a long time.

Dear Ken,

I am disappointed and disheartened that a few of my fellow military wives have given us a bad name by daring to complain about something that was done for us all in good spirit and good heart.

Not every problem is foreseeable, and I do agree that the line was long - it was probably difficult for some pregnant women to stand for that long. I disagree, however, about it being "unfair". No one held these women in line, and no one made them stand for any amount of time. This event wasn't a draft, it was a choice, and we were all free to leave as we saw fit.

I can only assume I speak for many of my fellow grateful wives who appreciate the recognition of US that went into this event. Our husbands give so much to this country, and you folks have now recognized the "silent ranks" TWICE, with two amazing events. I was also present at last year's operation love - my husband was deployed and it gave me somewhere to go to get away from the loneliness, and to feel appreciated on that day.

And then operation baby shower, where you gave me somewhere to join with other wives in celebrating our post-deployment gift! Events like this are put on not because you HAVE to, or because you feel sorry for us, but because you want to celebrate the "force behind the force" ... and I cant tell you how thankful I am to every one of you that put in time and energy to make the day special for us all.

I have seen a small percentage of my fellow wives feel that they were "entitled" to something that day - I'm not sure what they expected to be handed, but I can hope that those who are vocal in their negativity will not overshadow those of us who are truly grateful for the hard work that went into this project.

I hope that these events will continue. There is a difference between constructive feedback (there are always things to learn), and feeling as if you are "owed something" for your time. The latter is an awful way to go through life, and I want to state one last time that there are many of us that were pleased to have such an event thrown in our honor.

Thank you again,

Anne Cone


  1. Wow. The fact that some wives would write in and ATTACK the people who put on the event just makes my heart hurt. I want to send NW Guardian a letter too, even though I didn't attend, to apologize for the behavior of some Army wives. Disgusting. =(

    Your letter was amazingly said, btw. I'm glad you wrote him back.

  2. I can't believe that!So sad that after their hard work and effort they would just get basically scolded at for not doing enough! Thank you Anne for you response!