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Natural History Museum Skating Expedition

This is gonna be a quickie.

Last week I wrote about a Twitter exchange I had with the American Natural History Museum where they recommended checking out their Polar Rink. After the Twitter convo, I was excited to go ice skating, and even more pleased with the museum for replying to me personally, so, true to my promise, I decided to organize a group of friends for the skating expedition.

While checking out times and prices I saw something on the website about "synthetic" ice, but not looking into it too closely, I just assumed that it meant the ice was, you know, not a natural pond frozen over or something of the sort. What it ended up being was some sort of weird plastic surface, supposedly an experiment in sustainability...which doesn't even make sense because it's freakin' plastic. I wish they had at least taken the time to warn me. But whatever. That's not even the point.

My friends and I would have been able to look past the fact that we were skating on giant plastic puzzle pieces if you could actually skate on the damn thing. It was impossible. Even my friend Charlie, who is actually a really good skater, could hardly budge an inch without stumbling. You can read his thoughts on the experience here.

Most of all though, my beef with the AMNH is this: clearly this was a failed experimental rink. It got trashed by the CNN travel reporter who visited, and I'm sure we weren't the first group of patrons to be disappointed. A simple search on Twitter reveals countless of disgruntled would-be skaters, and if I had thought to do some research, I would have known that. I took the museum's recommendation at face value because, well, why in the hell would you try to promote something that  sucks? All that would do is generate negative word-of-mouth for your business/brand/non-profit/whatever. Seriously. That is just plain old common sense.

In this instance, I chose to trust the museum and they failed me. The experience ended up being a major let down for my friends, and a bit of an embarassment for me, and generated some more negative word-of-mouth for the museum from my friends, who are all bloggers and Twitter-holics. All of this could have been avoided if the museum had simply taken the time to listen to the conversations happening online and become self-aware of the negative customer reaction to its Polar Rink. Then they wouldn't have wasted my time, and their own, on a failed venture.


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Reader Comments (3)

That's a bummer. I remember that you were praising them when they replied to you via Twitter. Talk about a failed opportunity to draw more visitors!

December 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJulian Jones

Wish I'd seen this post BEFORE I trekked up to the UWS in the cold. It was cute and had a pretty backdrop but my (most likely) only ice-skating experience this season was pretty much a total bust.

December 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNikki

so when's the ice skating expedition to real ice going down? i'm blades of glory all up and down. fire and ice!

January 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdaniel g.

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