After nearly two weeks of outcry, incensed guests of Thrifty Hipster's "Shanghaied" New Year's Eve party are getting refunds.
Several party-goers who complained to City Pages about long lines, no booze and missing entertainment at the fumbled gala now report that they've gotten partial or full refunds. The credit was delivered by the electronic ticket seller, Tempo Tickets.
Although Nicholas McCulloch at Tempo Tickets wouldn't comment on where the refund money is coming from, Thrifty Hipster owner Matthew Dowgwillo claims it's all out of his own pocket. He says his company is now $15,000 in the red because of the refunds.
"The Graves and OM have offered no refund," he wrote in an email to angry patrons. "All money that is being returned in on behalf of ThriftyHipster only. Tempo Tickets managed the ticketing and will me handling the customer service aspects from here on out."
In the month leading up to New Year's Eve, Thrifty Hipster promised acrobats, gambling, multiple DJs, and a performance by Wants Vs Needs. The day before New Year's, however, it became apparent that OM owner Vik Uppal had not obtained the appropriate permits and the party was rendered homeless.
"Shanghaied" was moved last minute to the Graves Hotel, where guests who'd spent between $45 and $95 for tickets felt they didn't get the luxury experience they'd been promised. There were no contortionists, no gambling, no acrobats, no Wants Vs Needs performance.
But perhaps the worst offense was the hour long wait at the bar, before it went dry entirely.
In a separate email, Dowgwillo wrote, "As of today, a completely unreasonable and now contractually unnamed party was paid around 50k to provide open bar drinks for 949 prepaid guests, including staffing and booze. Neither ThriftyHipster nor OM made 1 penny."
That "unnamed party" is ostensibly the Graves Hotel, which was chosen as a venue less than 24 hours before the party. Benjamin Graves, president of Graves Hospitality, says they were paid for the use of their ballroom and have no plans to refund Thrifty Hipster the rental fee.
In yet another, separate eight-page document written for members of the media by Dowgwillo, detailing everything that went wrong that night from his perspective, Dowgwillo wrote, "Honestly, I feel just as cheated as you. My New Years was shitty and it was a waste of money. I couldn't even get a drink."