Party nuts for hire

I am rerunning a few of my earlier posts over the next few weeks. This one, about missing out on fun corporate events now that we are retired, was from July, 2014.

spicy-party-nuts-pic2

My husband and I worked for the same company before we retired. It is not only one of the largest employers in our city; it is also a major sponsor of a number of charitable and civic organizations.

Over the years, we have been invited to attend numerous events as company representatives. Neither one of us was high up on the corporate food chain, but when the company “bought” a table at an event and needed to fill seats, they could always rely on us to say “YES!” Not only were we enthusiastic, we didn’t need much advanced notice; he owns a tux, I have a few fancy dresses of various lengths, and we didn’t need to hire a baby sitter.

As surrogate “important people,” we’ve been fortunate to attend some really fun parties; most involved good food and wine and, if we were lucky, a band and a big dance floor. I thought it surprising that the company had a difficult time finding attendees but I realized not everyone had our flexibility or the same idea of fun. We, on the other hand, were usually ready, willing and able to fill in when asked.

One of my favorite events is a major fundraiser in support of a local hospice program.  The annual gala is held at a local resort hotel and consists of a silent auction/reception, sit-down dinner, and dancing. The following day, attendees are treated to a regatta on the bay aboard a number of personal yachts donated for the day. We’ve been invited to attend six or seven times and have always enjoyed ourselves immensely.

The fundraiser is in mid-August… for the first time in many years we have not been invited.

boats

I’m not terribly surprised that these invitations will disappear now that we no longer work for the company, but I admit a sense of loss and regret. Yes, of course we could actually pay for our tickets, but most of these benefits have quite a high per-person price-tag, a cost that isn’t in our retirement budget.

Because we’d still like to enjoy the good life without actually paying for it, I am exploring the idea of starting second careers as professional event attendees. We’ve got a lot to offer and we won’t ask for anything in compensation beyond the cost of admission and, of course, the food, wine and festivities that go with it.

  • Last minute need to fill seats? Our closets contain a selection of clothes for a variety of occasions. With little notice we can dress up for a formal occasion, dress down for a barbeque, or anything in between.
  • Worried that some guests might be shy and feel left out? We can make pleasant conversation with anyone. We know a little about a wide range of subjects, and we will strictly avoid the topics of religion and politics.
  • Want to assure the band isn’t playing to an empty dance floor? We can “break the ice” by being the first ones out. We are decent dancers but not so good that we’d discourage other couples from joining us on the floor.
  • Need someone to start the bidding at an auction or to deliver the first “impromptu” tribute for a guest of honor? Just tell us what needs to be done and we can start the ball rolling.
  • Party over, need people to leave? We can subtly yet firmly encourage guests to pack up and go home. We can do it seamlessly and without anyone catching on.

My husband and I can dress well enough to blend in, but not so well that we stand out. We can guarantee that our pictures won’t appear in the society columns.

No worries about us eating or drinking too much. We won’t crowd the buffet table or embarrass our hosts employers by heaping mounds of food on our plates. We also won’t run up the bar bill excessively and make fools of ourselves by over-imbibing.

We are, after all, professionals.

Although my husband and I donate regularly to a number of favorite non-profits and charities, usually the most we get in return is a sheet of pre-printed address labels or maybe a tote bag. Being professional attendees will give us the opportunity to enjoy the same events as do those who give big and who regularly eat and drink better than we do.

I think it could work. I’m going to contact our former company’s corporate giving department to let them know we are available for hire. Maybe there’s still time to get tickets to the August fundraiser.

28 thoughts on “Party nuts for hire”

  1. oooooh – I love your idea!!

    Gilles and I often lament that we miss all the corporate events we used to attend when I was working. We considered them a privilege rather than an obligation … well, except the sporting events. I wasn’t fond of those and usually managed to wiggle out of them.

    Corporate Toronto … are you paying attention? I’m available! Yes, I’ll even sit through a baseball game – because I’m a team player like that 😉

    1. I never understood why those seats went unused. We were always ready, willing and able to attend! Our company had a special sky box at our football and baseball stadiums, which spoiled me completely… now it’s sky box or nothing for me at sporting events. You can have the eastern Canada franchise of my new event-attending company.

  2. I was a VP at my last company so I did a lot of this sort of thing. I was one of the few that enjoyed them. I miss them too. I am intrigued by the idea of starting a business to fill up those business tables (always a couple of empty seats!). I could run the east coast part of your company.

  3. I have to admit that when I read about events surrounding my previous employer, I get a pang of longing for not being able to partake in it anymore. There is something about the fact that you “belong” to an organization when festivities are held. But I do have the memories, as you do, of many nice ones from the past.

  4. Got me thinking about possible names for your new company using the more stereotypical qualifyers…dumb but fun ones: ‘Golden Gadabouts’ or ‘Senior Schmoozers’ or ‘Mature Minglers’ or ‘Retired Revelers’ or ??? Well,that should get the juices going on branding, eh? Byline: we wear golden gloves and have twinkle toes…
    Having fun with this…thanks!

  5. Love your idea of being professional attendees! Even if it was tongue in cheek, I think it would be a useful niche to fill.
    Rin

  6. I would totally rent you two out if I was throwing a party…and you are both welcome on our yacht anytime, anywhere…oh the places we would go!

    Looking forward to those Canada pics

  7. Haha,,what a great idea! How did you fare? And, how are you doing two years later? Still missing the fancy events? If you ever start a company of attendees for hire, let me know, I’ll sign on. I only have one nice dress (speaking of which, I wonder where it is right now, probably still in Belgium), but, if the events have different people attending, nobody would ever notice.

    1. I just received an invitation to the charity dinner and yachting event that I used to attend for free. It’s a great cause but I don’t think we’ll be paying $450 per seat 🙂 . You really don’t need more than one dress (or maybe a long one and a shorter one). Even if it’s the same crowd, I’m sure everyone is way more focused on what they are wearing rather than what I am.

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