An Open letter to Casey Tran
want to thank Ed and Coleen for a great bicycle adventure through Europe and once again remind Casey Tran (KC in Meetup ? http://meetup.com/members/7630251/
) that while she did nice things like help us load bikes on trains and share sandwiches during the trip, that she still owes me $140 for the prepaid hotel rooms from the trip and she still owes Ed and Coleen $44 for the railway tickets that they paid for on her behalf. Since you are still refusing top pay your share of the expenses, I am resorting to publicity and peer pressure to get you to move forward. While the money isn't that big in the scheme of things, the principle of shorting your "team" is.
While you have been saying that the issue is a difference of opinion on what you need to pay, I don?t see it as a difference of opinion so much as your comfort in taking advantage of others.
The total trip cost was about the same as the original March Estimate ($650 estimate vs. $720 actual) and was $200 less than the revised cost estimate ($925) emailed to all the riders in mid April and early May. You claimed you never received this email, yet you knew the daily mileages and towns, which were in the same email. This was not a packaged trip with a guaranteed cost, but rather a best effort on my part to provide an opportunity for others to join me on an adventure at the lowest cost I could put together. We discussed logistical changes as a group and you agreed to any changes we did make and in fact you requested that we use a train on the scheduled 85 mile day rather than ride our bicycles. We were trying to arrange as much free lodging as possible, but two weeks out we only had 2 free places to stay anywhere near our route, so I upped the estimate to include more paid lodging and sent that update to the group, both via the meetup site and direct email. We stayed in 4 star lodging, I provided the bikes for all of the riders, I paid to have the bike I loaned you customized so that it would fit, since you were smaller than anyone that had joined me on a past trip, I arranged a professional guide who only charged us 60 Euro (split 4 ways, which thankfully you did pay) per day. If you were not planning to pay your share of the expenses you should not have gone on the trip or had people pay your costs during the trip, under the understanding that you would repay them. Several times throughout the trip you said ?you couldn?t afford this or you couldn?t afford that, yet you consistently ordered the most expensive items on the menu when we ate out, and when I cooked to save money, you enjoyed the food but did not contribute to the cost. You told us that you were poor and that your household expenses were paid by your boyfriend. When we offered to let you pay for your room in Munich yourself, rather than pay your share of the room that I had pre-paid, you said ?that?s not fair?, and rather than kicking you out or calling the police, I let you keep the room. We understand that you only work part time at your families jewelry business, but if you treat your customers like you treat your fellow travelers, I expect that you will have serious challenges ahead.
While you thought it was a funny joke to tell the wait-staff at two restaurants (one in Czech and one in Germany) (after you ordered the most expensive meals on the menu) that you didn?t have money to pay them with, and then relented and paid when it looked like the Police may be called, or when you told the guide that you were going to watch where she put her money and wait until she was asleep and steal it back, that kind of humor is really not funny, but we are willing to forgive your statement you made in Munich of ?I?m not paying and it?s not my problem? if you come through and repay the money. I?ll even send out a public thank you and adjust the expense spreadsheet that I will be posting to show that you have paid, if and when you do pay.
I hope that you learned as much as I have during this trip, and that reflection causes you to adjust your behavior and treat people with more dignity and more fairly in the future.
Sincerely - Saul