Concessions at the 2015 Platteville Dairy Days will be paid for in cash instead of tickets, and the vendors who sell concessions will be paying for their booths in advance.
The changes — one of which goes back to how food was paid for before a ticket system was implemented last year — are the result of a meeting between the Dairy Days committee and its vendors in May. The Dairy Days Board made the decision June 2.
“Anyone who has run a major event can attest that ‘doing the books’ for the event is not an easy job and we understand the many reasons that can delay payment and reporting but we also need to close out our books and pay our vendors in a timely fashion,” said board member Ed White in an article in the Platteville Regional Chamber newsletter.
Selling tickets for food items, instead of charging cash, in 2014 resulted in four of the five 4-H groups that staff concessions announcing they would not be participating in the 2015 Dairy Days.
A letter to The Journal signed by the Blockhouse Builders, Cornelia Badgers, Happy Clovers and Platteville Woodchucks 4-H clubs said using tickets to pay for food “appeared to cause a sizable decline in sales from the previous five years and adversely affected the fundraising efforts of the clubs. …
“Customers who were angry about the ticket system lodged their complaints with 4-H members who were trying to serve them. We were put in a difficult position of being the vendor having to defend a currency system that we didn’t support.”
The 4-H clubs — plus the Dairyland Diamonds, which did not sign the letter — staff concessions along with several of Platteville’s service clubs. The 4-H clubs’ stands are at Art Hall and at the truck and tractor pull on the Dale Rupp Memorial Track.
The letter said that the ticket system accompanied an “altered” percentage of vendor earnings that “forced 4-H to raise prices charged in order to cover our expenses.”
In addition, the letter said, “Customers became frustrated when they stood in line for tickets and then had to stand in line again to purchase food. Customers often ended up with too many or not enough tickets for the items they wanted. In addition, while the tickets were nonrefundable, many overspent their budget. This system confused the customers and caused lost sales as many became frustrated and walked away. Additionally, families were spending more time in lines and less time enjoying the activities.”
White said the fee system would “solve the two major issues that created the ticket system, the lack of timely payments and reporting from some vendors each year. Most vendors reported properly and on time … [but] most years we were waiting until January or February for the last vendor payment, nearly six months after the event.”
White said that “the majority of vendors” at the May meeting “liked the ticket system” but “could see it was more difficult for the public and a great deal of labor for the committee.”
The vendor fee will be based on 2014 vendor revenues, payable before setup. White said vendors reported sales ranging from “average” to, in some cases, “down in sales.”
“Since we know it to be an accurate number it solves the reporting issues of the past,” said White.