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In these tough economic times sometimes you have to wonder how the other half lives. Are the rich and powerful forced to eat ramen and work harder for less money like us common folk? I  decided to investigate just that, and got the chance with an invitation to Jake Burton’s Annual Fall Bash

Every year the Burton-Carpenter family opens its home to employees, industry-types and regional business people alike, for a blow out like no other. You can expect great food, a big-time band and plenty of recreational opportunities to go around. But in this economy, and with Jake and Donna forgoing a salary, I had to wonder, would it be as good?

Pulling up to the Moscow, VT estate, things seemed normal. There was a field full of cars and plenty of people to help park them. We rolled up and after they’d found our names in the hefty binder of RSVP’s, got our wristbands. We then walked about 2 feet before having to show our wristbands again, so it seemed the economy was also not affecting the level of security.

The main tent was packed and we quickly went to the buffet line. The selections included pumpkin chili, pulled pork, caprese salad and several other selections, again, didn’t seem like tough times here. And dessert was even more decadent: a literal fountain of cascading chocolate and caramel. I finally thought I’d found a sign of the times upon spotting the line for booze, but as it turned out there were several bars around the property, one just needed to branch out.

After dinner, the entertainment began and Gym Class Heroes took the stage. They introduced themselves as “that band that sings the girlfriend song” and although I am not a fan per se, still a pretty big deal for a private party. I was beginning to come to the conclusion that Jake and Donna had no idea of the dire state of the economy, and then I went to the bathroom.

Inside the row of port-a-potties I finally found what I was looking for, proof that even the rich were cutting back. Unlike years past, there were no lights, and party goers were left to stumble in the darkness and sit in each other’s pee. A brilliant cost saving move if you think about it–less desire to use the bathroom leads to less drinking, people leaving sooner, etc etc. This simple move probably cut costs by at least 10%.

So the rich are cutting back, they are just doing it way smarter than the rest of us.

36 replies
  1. Brooke's Drinks from the Chocolate Fountain
    Brooke's Drinks from the Chocolate Fountain says:

    Wow Brooke!!! It’s really too bad that someone in the Burton family wasted an invite to the Fall Bash on someone as ignorant as yourself. The Burton-Carpenter family doesn’t just put on their annual party for “industry-types and regional business people” but rather for all the Burton employees that work night and day to make Burton the most well known and respected snowboard brand in the world. Hopefully next year Brooke’s invitation will be replaced with someone who wants to be there and not someone investigating how the “other half lives” which is far from what the Burton-Carpenter family represents.

    P.S. – I saw Brooke drinking from the Caramel fountain!

  2. Douchebag's suck
    Douchebag's suck says:

    When did the world stop understanding sarcasm? Stop taking life so seriously…you hard working burton employee. Next time join her drinking out of the caramel fountain instead of watching from a far…creepy douchebag.

  3. Really?
    Really? says:

    It’s a shame that someone would invite you to their home, offer up free food, drinks and entertainment and your response is to dog them. Sarcasm my ass, girl is straight up being rude. Hope your momma is proud.

  4. cope has a posse
    cope has a posse says:

    This fall-out is all the fine work of Burton’s new Social Media Manager who was just recently hired. A true ‘stale tail’ if you will.

    Watch out, burton interns will kontain blog all over you.

  5. Rob_T
    Rob_T says:

    alot of the blue collar Burton’s employees are working on reduced salaries right now. Its nice that they put on this party, as they do it every year. But I think all of the negative comments above are from burton employees who are jaded by this article. If I worked there, I’d be pissed Jake spent 50K on this party (I attended this party once, & I know its not cheap to put this on to feed and booze up 1000 people) especially if I’m working on a 15% salary reduction. I would have rater taken a $200 bonus than go to this employee party. That website hiremattatburton and the stail tale blog are probably the two stupidest things I’ve seen this year. Burton is def not the cool brand it once was, I think the people behind the brand (people like that stail tale character) and the people they have hired play into it’s lack of coolness, they hire young kids as workers who happen to snowboard, not snowboarders who are educated.

  6. Big Pepper
    Big Pepper says:

    Wait, that dude who does the Stale Tail blog works at Burton? Holy Shit. It is all starting to make sense.

    They fired a shitload of people, a bunch of people quite and now they’re left with the Junior Varsity benchwarmers running the show. Amazing karma.

  7. Jack
    Jack says:

    Wow, you Burton employees are a bunch of fucking assholes. This is just another fine example of why more and more core shops are refusing to carry any of your lame shit and choosing to build up real brands instead (you know the ones that know how to take a joke that don’t try and telling you how to run your business?). Here’s an idea – rather than laying off your regional Forum sales force next season (oh wait, maybe people don’t know that yet?) and handing their accounts over to the Burton team(s) you fire the overprotective retards working in-house instead?

  8. .....
    ..... says:

    I will never buy a burton product again after reading the above comments from burton employees. wow, you guys blow.

  9. Wasabe
    Wasabe says:

    Has anyone else read the Burton description of Transworld’s team shoot out in the magazine? There are more marketing terms thrown around in that description than I have ever read in a snowboard article. The description made me think of some sort of a choreographed dance, complete with preplanned outfits than a group of girls snowboarding. Has anyone read Molly Aguirre’s interview about leaving Burton and riding for DC? She explained how weird it was to ride for a company that let her make her own decisions as to what she wanted to do with her career. I don’t get paid to snowboard, but I would never want to be in a position like that. Burton could easily be a Big-5 or pacsun brand soon; I know that I will never spend my money on them again.

  10. Ari K
    Ari K says:

    While it was lame of Burton’s new SMM to try to control this (as he/she allegedly did), I think the article was a bit insensitive. If Jake isn’t taking a salary this year, I think that shows a very keen understanding of the plight of the common worker, and I think its commendable (and smart/sustainable/soulful) for Burton to have employees take temporary pay cuts instead of just getting rid of people. This will allow the company to continue operating just as it did before the recession hit, bringing the company a new level of perceived reliability, and ultimately, there won’t be a bunch of disgruntled former Burton employees running around saying bad things about the company. Same goes with the annual bash — I think the party is probably an important rallying event (kind of like homecoming in high-school or college) for the community of folks who work for Burton. Its an oppty to really let loose and enjoy the team spirit that the company probably attempts to keep alive, despite its size. Success comes with challenges and trade-offs. Its hard for a big company to stay vital and feel like a tight knit team. The party (and its ostentatiousness developed during the fat years) is just part of that ongoing effort, I’m sure.

    I think its natural for some Burton employees to get their feathers ruffled, but instead of getting all angry, they should have simply explained why the party is important to them. PR lesson #1 to Mr. or Ms. SMM at Burton — Tread carefully and be reasonable, not petulant.

    I should mention, BTW, that this entire kerfuffle may just be something made up by Ms. Geery in order to raise the emotions of her readers, or attract more readers & comments in order to juice her ad sales. Some evidence to the contrary would be appreciated, but actually, who really cares, anyway?

    Regarding those who swear they’ll never buy Burton based on this whole thing, realize that the entire thing could be made up (complete with getting friends to post comments that would seem to be form Burton employees) and also realize that you should buy/use whatever works best for you — regardless of whether the company making the product is “cool” or not. I’m not saying that Burton works best (or doesn’t) just that an argument on the internet is a stupid, stupid, stupid reason to choose to buy (or not buy) a particular product or brand.

    Be smart.

  11. souney
    souney says:


    While I applaud your sensitivity to Burton’s plight as a struggling brand (actually I don’t applaud that in this situation, but let’s pretend I do), saying that Brooke made this up is absurd. Clearly you’ve not read any of the other posts on this topic, which, of course you should prior to responding. On my original blog post about the matter, I traced the comments to Burton http://www.jaredsouney.com/2009/10/burton-snowboards-control-denied/ via a simple IP address trace. You want evidence to the contrary, there’s your fingerprint. Or you can see the screen grab of the IP trace from the comment here http://img11.yfrog.com/i/olr.png/. I dug up all that info, and made it public, not Brooke.

    Then there are the demanding emails from the company in the wake of the story. Demanding the story pulled. It’s a load of god-complex bullshit. I mean, their catalog is designed after a fucking Bible this year (I didn’t even know that when this whole mess arose, but seeing that makes it clear that God Complex is an accurate analogy).

    It’s not about the recession, it’s about advertisers trying to control the media. It’s about a company talking shit on said media “anonymously” and getting caught doing it. And then it’s about a marketing departments failure to take ANY action after the fact (other than the anonymous comments they left). The original story, in all honesty, is probably one of the most tasteful things on this site. The sub-head of the site is “making fun of snowboarding, afterall.”

    Again, if you need more details, you should read some of the other posts on the matter, and bring yourself up to speed. There is a lot of info there. Burton fucked up, and fucked up big. And that beloved Social Media Manager you speak of still hasn’t even acknowledged the matter. Can you say “oops.” Not even a comment (unless it was anonymous). I’m amazed really, at how badly they’ve blown this. From the demanding emails and phone calls, to the anonymous comments.

    I assume I’m totally getting invited to the party next year?

  12. Just a Vermonter
    Just a Vermonter says:

    It’s kinda funny how some of you generated this whole Anti-Burton thing out of this waste of a time story. To me you just sound like insignificant little piss-ants trying to stand up to the industry leader…cause it’s “core” to hate on some thing that you yourself probably helped turn into a corporate monster? They’re huge for a reason…They make the best shit out there! “.” Don’t get me wrong…I think it’s ridiculous when corporate media tries to force feed you some thing they say is “sick” because some executive dumb ass is telling you it’s hot. Like Kid Robot…I laughed my ass off when grown men actually thought it was cool to leave their house wearing a purple jacket with toys for print all over it and a rainbow colored zipper. I don’t work for Burton…just live in Vermont.
    It’s amusing that people are griping about how Brooke was invited into the Carpenters house for a private party and “took advantage of their hospitality”. It doesn’t take much to get your hands on a “plus one” invitation. So What the Fuck? Who really cares about what she wrote? And if it is Burton employees that are bashing her…to you I say get some fucking class yourselves. You’re a Burton employee making shit for money…not a Carpenter family member with a valid grievance to this lame blog.
    What ever your reasons…like Jack, the guy who’s crying inside cause he lost his job with Forum…I wonder if he actually liked his job when he still had it? Is Burton snowboards really the enemy?

  13. souney
    souney says:

    In my opinion every employee of a brand is a direct reflection of that brand. From the guy in the mail room, to the receptionist, to Tomas, the alleged anonymous Burton shit-talker, to Jake himself. If they’re out there spouting opinions, especially anonymously from Burton’s IP address, that is a direct reflection of the brand.

    The beauty of the internet is that corporate giant or not, everyone is on the same level playing field. We can take a stand on something and in a few short days thousands of people see it.

    Have you seen their catalog? A fucking Bible? Come on now. Talk about a god complex. http://jaredsouney.posterous.com/when-i-accused-burton-snowboards-of-having-a

  14. craig'r
    craig'r says:

    All this just makes me sure of one thing. Burton can go and freeze to death at the bottom of Shaun White’s foam pit. Friends don’t let friends ride Burton. Boycott for life. I never saw that bible catelog before that’s some messed up shit. Hell is for Burton

  15. Jack
    Jack says:

    In response to Just a Burtoner (I mean Vermonter),

    Although I appreciate your pity for me and my inside weepings, you’re a little off on your assumptions. I’ve never worked for Forum but I assure you that I am a qualified snowboard historian with many, many certificates of knowledge hanging on my bathroom wall. And being that I’m so goddamn smart I’m willing to bet my britches (they’re filthy and worn anyway) that I know a little more about this industry and Burton’s history than you. But then again you are from Vermont and those dudes know EVERYTHING – that is where snowboarding was invented after all.

    I don’t think people are implying that Burton is the enemy, just that they suck. We all know the real enemyis bright colored, toy printed jackets.

  16. Vermonter
    Vermonter says:

    To salty Jack…
    As i’m impressed with your vast knowledge of Burton’s history and the snowboard industry…As well as your framed GED hanging in your shitter. I have to point out how ignorant you sound by generalizing Vermonters as “know it alls” and saying how Burton people suck. To me you sound like some crusty old timer burnt out on the industry. By the sounds of things…maybe you should spend more time getting outside to make some turns….and wash your filthy ass more.

  17. ANAL-OG
    ANAL-OG says:

    It is pretty apparent that burton is struggling with their identity right now. There is an internal struggle between the image they have of themselves; a core snowboard company; and the image the industry has of them; that being an over produced, over exposed (both from a brand and financial liability standpoint) company that has made some bad decisions in the last 2 years. On the double flip, one cannot argue with the fact that they have done more for the sport than any other company.

    The third image is the one consumers have of them; which is truly up for discussion. Most people who keep their lights on don’t read Transworld nor do the know who Danny Davis is. Their knowledge of snowboarding goes about as deep as the Flying tomato. Their volume consumer could care less about this whole fiasco, let alone will they ever even hear about it. The people who will hear and care are the core shops and the snowboard industry; who Burton has hedged their bets against through their ecomm efforts and flagship stores. The industry will disagree, but their marketing efforts work and the numbers show that people prefer Burton over other brands. That is a fact and that is why they are a leader. Now it remains to be seen if these actions, compounded with their business decisions, and core shop alienation will allow them to sustain this leadership position. You also have to remember that they have had a mass exodus of employees through people quitting or getting fired in the last 18 months, so much of the most recent output that people are seeing is being created by people who have not worked their for a long period of time. The brand image is shifting quickly. Where it will go is anybody’s guess.

    On the flip; to TR’s point, Jake is about as cool as you can get. Dude is rad. But in order for him to stay rad, he needs to hire people, bad cops if you will; to maintain his growth trajectory and keep fuel in his jet. All of the mistake they have made between over-producing product, opening non-profitable stores in high-rent areas, cutting team riders, have been made by his leadership team. This is the same leadership team that has nothing to do with developing or making the gear that has put them in the leadership position they are in.

    Was dude flaming on Brook in the wrong? Yes. But Brooke also wrote that article, in my opinion, hoping to get a rise out of Burton. Which she did. It was bad looks all around by everybody involved. This whole internet shitstorm is embarassing for Burton, embarassing for Brooke, and embarassing for the sport.

  18. so.cal
    so.cal says:

    Nice Chuck ! The water is crowded enough already. Keep the KOOKS away from our beaches. Oh yeah most (not all) Burton employees around these parts are f#cking douche bag robots that don’t care about anyone or anything except for stacking $$$$$. Haha sh!t is changing you corpo clowns !

  19. Maya	Bailey
    Maya Bailey says:

    Our home business was really affected by the Economic recession, we have to cut jobs just to cover up our losses. fortunately, we have already recovered. ~

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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Possibly the best thing to happen to Yobeat in the fall of 2009. The Fall Bash article made the rounds, attracted some serious attention, and made one Burton Marketing Assistant out to be a moron. Wah, Wah, Wah, Wah […]

  2. […] down. I’d like to say it’s only happened once, but no, I’ve made it again and again and again. All of the linked posts were removed for different specific reasons, but the gist was […]

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