Rudeness at Gen Con


Paizo General Discussion


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

First let me say that normally Paizo staff members are amazing, patient, and polite people with second to none customer service. So this one rude person is an extreme oddity. But this rare exception was an extremely rude exception. I don't know his name, but he was a skinny guy with long dark hair that was working the game token prize booth. When I took my tokens from my various games up to the booth on Saturday evening, he asked "Starfinder or Pathfinder" in a slightly annoyed tone, but at this point, oh well no biggie, maybe he's had a long day? I was taking just a few seconds to decide, because normally I pick Pathfinder, but since I'm switching to second edition I was probably going to go with Starfinder this time. Apparently me taking literally just a few seconds to think was unacceptable to him, because he almost instantly barked, "STARFINDER OR PATHFINDER?!" in a angry tone of voice. I started to become confused and flustered by his surprisingly hostile attitude, so I looked to my left at the Pathfinder and Starfinder prize options. Well this really made him mad, to which he once more barked almost yelling, "NO! DON'T LOOK OVER THERE! LOOK OVER HERE!". At this point my mindset had switched to angry from being so disrespectfully talked (more like yelled) down to. I'm a combat veteran with some minor ptsd issues, and had to use my mental processing abilities to focus on staying calm and not doing something that would have ruined his day and gotten me in trouble. I should have just taken my tokens back, walked away, and come back later when he wasn't there, maybe I should have reported him at that time. But like I said, I was using all of my focus on staying calm and not letting him trigger a reaction from me. So against what I was originally thinking of going with Starfinder, I stupidly said "Pathfinder", at which point the other guy sitting next to him handed me some Pathfinder boons. I then walked away to work on calming down from this hostile interaction, of what should have been a pleasant and fun token reward experience. I later talked to other people I had come to Gen Con with, and some people I had played with and they said that they had similar experiences with him, all agreeing that he was an unnecessarily rude jerk. Had this been an interaction at some other business or event, it may not of been so upsetting, but I've become accustomed to outstanding and polite interactions from Paizo staff and its events, so this was very disheartening. I have spent thousands of dollars on Paizo products and events, and countless hours on them as well. I don't expect any special treatment for this, but I would expect fair and polite treatment, as I do from almost all other Paizo staff and events. This interaction really put a negative feeling on what had so far been a very enjoyable and relaxing weekend of gaming. I'm sorry if the guy was just having a bad day, but it doesn't excuse the way he treated myself and other Paizo fans and customers.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Senior Developer

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That sounds like an unfortunate experience!

In reading your post (which features someone who looks a fair bit like me), it sounds like your interaction might have been with a volunteer through the Organized Play Foundation rather than with a member of Paizo staff. Volunteers were wearing purple (GMs), saffron-yellow (HQ), or blue (volunteer leads) t-shirts with the "skitter-goblin" figure printed on the front, whereas Paizo staff were wearing deep blue polo shirts.

No matter the person's identity, this is something worth reporting directly to the Organized Play Manager at organizedplay@paizo.com. Let her know these circumstances and the person's description (including the shirt design/color) to help better identify the person, and she can take action from there. The org play team will be back in the office in full next week, at which point Gen Con debriefing will begin.

EDIT: Emailing genconleads@gmail.com would also be good. Email one, and CC the other.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Sorry you had a bad experience at the prize table. You should email genconleads@gmail.com to let the fine people who put together the organized play. They will work to make sure other people at future conventions do not have the same negative interaction.

Also, as from your description of events it is not clear if you understand this or not, the people working the prize table are volunteers, not Paizo staff. My apologies if you do understand this; it is just not clear to me.

Again, I'm sorry you had a negative experience.

edit: ninja'd by 30 seconds; curse you John Compton!

Scarab Sages

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I too regret that you had this experience. The advice given would be your best bet in preventing this from happening at future events.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

I'm sorry, I didn't realize they were a volunteer and not official staff. That would make more sense, as volunteers are probably harder to screen and more prone to deviating from the typically great professionalism that I'm accustomed to by Paizo staff. I sadly can't remember the color of shirt they were wearing, any longer. To say which color it was was would just be an inaccurate guess.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Also, thanks for your responses and advice. I'm not the kind of person who likes getting people in trouble, and definitely don't like jeopardizing a person's livelihood. Had this interaction been limited to only myself, I may have just sat on it, but it sounds like many others were bothered as well.

On a side note, that skitter-goblin design was amazing and I now dream of a boon that would make it playable. :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

We ran into a guy that fits this description as well. His abrupt manner was especially disconcerting because he was not only short-tempered with us, but with the two children in our group.


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Definitely send feedback. A volunteer can be reassigned to a non-public role or politely asked to enjoy their free time next year.

If you can remember when you encountered this person, the slot or time and day can help identify them as well.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Brell Stormforge wrote:
I'm not the kind of person who likes getting people in trouble, and definitely don't like jeopardizing a person's livelihood.

By definition, no volunteer's livelihood is dependent on their ongoing ability to volunteer. However, Paizo's livelihood is dependent on us providing great experiences to our community, so please let us know as much as you can.

Thanks!


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
Brell Stormforge wrote:
I'm not the kind of person who likes getting people in trouble, and definitely don't like jeopardizing a person's livelihood.

By definition, no volunteer's livelihood is dependent on their ongoing ability to volunteer. However, Paizo's livelihood is dependent on us providing great experiences to our community, so please let us know as much as you can.

Thanks!

I've recounted the event as accurately as I can recall. I hadn't even spoken any words when he began being rude, so I can't blame myself for accidentally offending him. It was Saturday evening, right after finishing my last Starfinder game that began at 2pm. I can't remember exactly the time it ended, I would guess around 5pm, maybe later. He was a young guy, guessing in his 20s, skinny, long fairly straight dark hair. I really wish I knew his name or even remembered his shirt color, but anytime I attempt to remember it, I'm not sure that I'm remembering the color accurately and would hate to accuse the wrong person by saying an inaccurate shirt color. If it had only been myself I might just think I must have personally annoyed or offended him in some way, but then others confirmed that he was mean for no reason, to them as well. I don't think he'll be able to singlehandedly damage Paizo's reputation, because anyone that has done business with them for any period of time knows that its customer service and treatment is unparalleled in its greatness.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
Mark Strecker wrote:
We ran into a guy that fits this description as well. His abrupt manner was especially disconcerting because he was not only short-tempered with us, but with the two children in our group.

That's very sad and unfortunate to hear. I've been playing for enough years that it won't stop me, but for kids who are still developing feelings toward playing tabletop rpgs, it could be upsetting and make them reluctant toward continuing to play. :(


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Brell Stormforge wrote:
Mark Strecker wrote:
We ran into a guy that fits this description as well. His abrupt manner was especially disconcerting because he was not only short-tempered with us, but with the two children in our group.
That's very sad and unfortunate to hear. I've been playing for enough years that it won't stop me, but for kids who are still developing feelings toward playing tabletop rpgs, it could be upsetting and make them reluctant toward continuing to play. :(

Children are incredibly resilient, one short or rude guy won't dampen their enthusiasm for fighting dragons.

It still sucks and still pisses off us parents but most kids will forget it and move on in under five minutes or as soon as they see their tokens. :-)

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Brell, on behalf of the entire volunteer team I sincerely apologize for your experience. Clearly that is not what we hope for when we assign volunteers to our team. Being tired is no excuse for treating someone poorly. I don’t do investigations of this nature in public forums, but I would like to discuss this issue further. It is extremely important that we identify the individual you are referencing so that we can discuss their behavior and prevent this from happening in the future. Please take a moment to email us at genconleads@gmail.com and I invite anyone else who had a similar experience to do the same so the organizing committee can take appropriate action.

Bob Jonquet
Premier Event Coordinator


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
TwilightKnight wrote:

Brell, on behalf of the entire volunteer team I sincerely apologize for your experience. Clearly that is not what we hope for when we assign volunteers to our team. Being tired is no excuse for treating someone poorly. I don’t do investigations of this nature in public forums, but I would like to discuss this issue further. It is extremely important that we identify the individual you are referencing so that we can discuss their behavior and prevent this from happening in the future. Please take a moment to email us at genconleads@gmail.com and I invite anyone else who had a similar experience to do the same so the organizing committee can take appropriate action.

Bob Jonquet
Premier Event Coordinator

I sent you an email at that address. Thanks for your help.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Just as an aside it may be good idea to change the title of the thread if indeed it was not someone from Paizo.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
Elorebaen wrote:
Just as an aside it may be good idea to change the title of the thread if indeed it was not someone from Paizo.

I would love to change it to say "volunteer" but I can't seem to find an edit option.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

You can only edit a post for up to 1 hour.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

The Paizo folks have no time limit on editing.

Silver Crusade

I kinda remember the same guy. He was a bit curt with me as well. I just figured it was a long day for him and took a Starfinder boon since there weren't any Pathfinder 2 boons yet.


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captain yesterday wrote:

Children are incredibly resilient, one short or rude guy won't dampen their enthusiasm for fighting dragons.

It still sucks and still pisses off us parents but most kids will forget it and move on in under five minutes or as soon as they see their tokens. :-)

As a fellow parent, I agree the children will quickly forget the specific incident, but I always want to impress on my kids the general principle of "that's not the way anybody should treat anybody."

I don't want my kids volunteering at an event in the future and feeling like they can berate people because that's what they remember growing up.

I'm glad that Paizo takes it seriously, but I hope that won't be coupled with disproportionately punitive measures. Because going nuclear on people isn't the way anybody should treat anybody either.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Watery Soup wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:

Children are incredibly resilient, one short or rude guy won't dampen their enthusiasm for fighting dragons.

It still sucks and still pisses off us parents but most kids will forget it and move on in under five minutes or as soon as they see their tokens. :-)

As a fellow parent, I agree the children will quickly forget the specific incident, but I always want to impress on my kids the general principle of "that's not the way anybody should treat anybody."

I don't want my kids volunteering at an event in the future and feeling like they can berate people because that's what they remember growing up.

I'm glad that Paizo takes it seriously, but I hope that won't be coupled with disproportionately punitive measures. Because going nuclear on people isn't the way anybody should treat anybody either.

Absolutely! Definitely a teachable moment.

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