When Clubs Don't Behave

First, a bit of history. When we first started E@RTC, one of our biggest problems to solve was the fights among brand fans. We had each group of enthusiast fighting the stereotype of the other to the point where we were unsure we'd ever get everyone to play nice in a parking lot on a Saturday morning. Some said building a new space shuttle would be easier.

Our beginning was a little bit bumpy with some factions of the car community, so we decided to mix the lots up each week to prevent one piece of asphalt from having a different status from another. It's just a parking lot. We've changed up the locations of cars every week since we began for that very reason, so some brand fan doesn't tweak and have a wiggling schism in front of everyone over parking.

Outside of the brand circles, each brand has their own community reputation and some tend to run on the negative side. We knew that going in and wanted to fix it to grow the community. Who wants to buy a car if a negative reputation is one of the standard features? Still, a handful feel a sense of entitlement with their cars in public and have earned a bad reputation at some restaurants and resorts for basically being jerks. We were never ever going to let that behavior be a part of E@RTC. In fact, we do our best to destroy that very image every chance we get. I wish it was as simple as fire hosing them to the curb. Our success is predicated on the standards by which we operate and good manners is right up at the top.

We wanted to change that negative image of exotic owners, especially self-entitled near-exotic owners, and we've worked hard to be great citizens at E@RTC. Our mission is to bring spectators and participants all into one big happy family with great stories, fun memories and we've succeeded for the most part or we wouldn't be growing. We rarely get complaints about jerks as we tend to spray them with a squirt bottle and yell "bad owner!" the second they give us a problem. We have a very low tolerance for the self-entitled and we've been like that from the day we started. This is a great community event and we're fierce protectors of that reputation.

We started doing themes from our very first seasons; first with Minis as our first group, and it sort of grew from there. We wanted to show some love to a broader car community, and again it worked very well over the years with just four theme days. We've grown those themes but it may be time to cut it back a bit. The British car folks set a high bar on how to behave and they are such a joy to work with. They set the example for everyone to follow.

We only have one group that consistently has a block of members who didn't get the important memo about manners and just standards behavior in general. These members give us problems and somehow have a continued rolling sense of self-importance and entitlement on the very day where we invite them as a club as our guests. Our guests! Key words, "OUR GUESTS." We apologize to those who had to deals with these narcissistic self-absorbed individuals. They ruin it for everyone and frankly they are embarrassing to all of us who love cars.

They don't "run" our event. It's not their day to, "take over," as one put it, they are invited guests who behave very badly and frankly, they can go play somewhere else so we can get back to having fun. Somehow they think because they are a part of a large group, there is some entitlement that comes with it. Nope. We could flood the lot with other brands if that was our only goal. We're an exotic car community event and behaving nicely should go without saying anything.

We also want to protect our volunteers who give up their free time to help out. When these club members act like jerks to our volunteers, it burns up their enthusiasm too. Of course, these spoiled brats don't think that far outside themselves. It's all about them. Our apologies to our volunteers who had to put up with the crap. You don't deserve it either, and we have each other's back on this one.

We're not going to mention the brand because it furthers the stereotype. We know it's a handful of people who ruin it for everyone else, but we have a reputation and a brand image of our event that we will uphold, and well, when they don't have manners, we just don't invite them back. While the individual cars and decent owners are welcome anytime, we're not so sure about the club anymore.