On My Professional Society, Part 2

Part 1 is here.

Last year, like most years, I attended the January AAS meeting. Last year, the meeting ended with the famous Fiasco in Seattle. I suppose I should have learned my lesson, but instead, I paid $325 to register, $400 or so in airfare, and $160 or so a night at a hotel to attend this January's AAS. Today, while chatting with some folks in the main exhibit hall in the middle of the day in the middle of the week, the Austin Convention Center staff turned the lights out on us. A friendly woman walked over and told us we had to leave. Apparently, they had some "exhibitor appreciation" food set up somewhere, and didn't want the riff raff in the exhibit hall while the exhibitors were chowing down. They also gave us some excuse about needing to set up the afternoon coffee break. They were originally intending to lock us out of the hall for 2 hours, but I guess got enough grief from enough people that they let folks back in early. I decided that I was better off going back to the hotel and doing work on my laptop rather than standing around and reinforcing my annoyance by griping with everyone else.

So once again, a large convention center has decided that even though our meeting schedule tells us that the exhibit hall is open from 9:30am - 6:30pm, they can arbitrarily tell us to leave and too bad to everyone who spent all that money to come here to attend a meeting. After last year's fiasco, I expect nothing less of the AAS but for them to pretend this never happened. I do hope that next year when they see yet another dip in the attendance rate, they wonder why people stayed away. I think I've gone to something like 10 January AAS meetings in a row, and I can tell you now that unless someone comes up with an incredibly compelling reason for me to go in 2009, I will not be making it 11 in a row. It seems to me that I haven't renewed my membership for 2008, yet, either. I wonder if I'll be in any hurry to send them a check.


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