I don't know what it is about chocolate that attracts all the scam artists. The first and last chocolate show I attended in Vancouver was a flop. Patrons were complaining about the entrance fees, and lack of vendors, but one of the major complaints was the scotch. One of the vendors had nothing to do with chocolate but was selling scotch, which he paired with chocolate. The show was coupled with a festival which was poorly run, for instance the organizer would call me up a week afte the festival started and tell me that "a photographer" would be at my shop that day, and I was to compensate him and his party of 4 with chocolate high tea @$25.00 p/p. I declined, and later found out from others that the "photographer" used his cell phone camera. Then there was the last minute call telling me to compensate a " well known blogger" with 2 of the same high tea packages because the blogger wanted to take his mother. This was to promote the festival--two weeks after it was launched. Rather than deal with the organizer, I e-mailed the blogger directly and told him I would be delighted, but he must state on his blog that it partly funded by me----I never heard back....
I'm also wary of "Competitions", in which small shops and producers are solicited to compete. I have "learned my lesson" and now will only compete IF the judging is open to the public-live--AND blind. y va
To Marisa and the entire ChocolateLife community:
In the almost exactly 5 years since I started TheChocolateLife, I have only had to remove one post, and the few posts that I have redacted are because portions of them violated the terms and spirit of the community guidelines.
Removing and redacting posts is something I am extremely reluctant to even consider doing as I open myself to criticism of censorship. The last thing I want is for members to think I quash opinions I do not agree with. Those who know me -- and who've followed some of the more inflammatory discussions that have appeared on the site over the past five years -- know that I go above and beyond in my desire to be a fair moderator - tolerating things that I probably should not. There are stretches when I spend more time behind the scenes than I do out in front.
In the only other instance where I removed a post I did so only because, after review, I felt that there were potential legal ramifications affecting me personally that I was unwilling to be exposed to. I am deleting the text of Marisa's post for exactly those same reasons. After review and thinking about this overnight, I feel the potential for legal exposure that I am unwilling to risk.
There are many things I could say -- but I feel it prudent not to inject myself into the matter, thereby achieving what I hope to avoid.
Interestingly, several members of TheChocolateLife community are involved in disputes involving money with people who also just happen to be members of TheChocolateLife community. Fortunately, those aggrieved members chose to get in contact with me privately to discuss the issues so that I was aware of them - and to seek counsel on how to proceed and resolve the matters amicably.
Marisa, I am disappointed that you have been a member of the community for nearly a year and that this is your first public contribution. If you would care to message me PRIVATELY I would be happy to hear what you have to say. I cannot promise any sort of relief or mediation, of course, but I am happy to listen (or read) what you have to say.
I was a vendor this past November at the Chicago Fine Chocolate Show at Navy Pier. It was nice to meet you there Clay! The three day event was well worth my time and I did get a return on my investment. I will defintely participate in the 2013 show in October.