This is a special edition of the Sarah on User Experience (SUX) series, as I’m not talking about an application or object. This time, I’m calling out unacceptable behaviors by sponsors at community events.

There was some behavior exhibited by one of the sponsors during the giveaway at Central Ohio Day of .NET that appalled me, and it made me realize that there are other events that have had some unacceptable behaviors from their sponsors.

During the giveaway, one of the representatives of a sponsor booed quite loudly at the mention of a competitor. The community appreciates the work that these companies do and the tools that the companies provide, but to see such a bad attitude from a sponsor was horrible. Maybe he thought he was funny or something, but bad sportsmanship like that doesn’t reflect well on the company. I hope these sponsors realize that we like tools, but we don’t like “tool”s.

I’ve had recruiting companies who’ve been willing to sponsor Cleveland Day of .NET if we provided them our attendee list and the attendees’ contact information. I could not do that, though. First of all, I’d need the attendees’ permission to give out their email addresses. Second of all, if you’re going to have a table at our event, you’ve got access to the attendees by being there in person. I have a hard time justifying the need for my attendees’ contact information. I can suggest an opt-in list for them, but I cannot give my attendees’ contact information away like that.

But the part that irritated me the most last year was having a company ask for the data, telling them “no”, and then they didn’t understand that “no” means “NO” means “NO!!!!” and tried deviously to see the registration list. My husband was working registration when one of them approached him for the list. He had already been warned about the numerous “no”s we’ve said and stood his ground too. That behavior is bad behavior and will not be tolerated. So let this be a lesson to recruiting firms in general – devious practices like that are looked down upon and will not be tolerated. There are plenty of honest recruiting agencies here, as I deal with recruiters from them quite often. So please, take your devious behaviors elsewhere.

Just because you’re helping the community does not give you the right to demonstrate bad behaviors at an event – that just shows the community what kind of people are employed by the company name, and bad behaviors typically earn bad publicity and give the company a bad rep.

Have you experienced any bad behaviors from sponsors with your events? I’m curious to hear other stories – so leave me a story in the Comments or drop me an email! I want to see what other behaviors have come out that deserve to be lumped in the SUX column.