Here's something that you guys should find interesting that still has me pretty pissed off at BMorg, and I for one will continue to raise a stink about it until it is addressed. It is a significant reason behind our theme camp not returning to the playa this year.
The problem started at Burning Man 2009. Specifically Build Week of Burning Man 2009. Everyone was happy as a clam, hard at work constructing their contributions to our fair city. Except suddenly, the BMorg folks began going camp to camp, informing us that if we needed to leave the city during Build Week (which, having many more loads left, we had to do many times), we would have to pay the re-entry fee. Before the event STARTED.
Now, the re-entry fee makes sense. We don't want people coming in, snapping some photos, and then going back to Gerlach to try to find a room. Or leaving every day to go shopping. The re-entry fee helps discourage spectators. But this was now put into effect when the only people in the city were already putting significant amounts of their own time and money into making something for the event, often with further trips out of the city required to finish their projects. They needed to go get more supplies? Fuck 'em. Make them pay.
Now that was annoying, and as far as I know was reversed because everyone got up in arms about it. What has NOT been reversed, however, was the change that BMorg made shortly before Build Week 2010. This was when they kindly informed us that whereas the previous arrangement for truckers carrying theme camp equipment was to take their credit card information and not charge them if they were out of the city within three hours (a fair and useful system), now we just had to buy them a ticket. Even though they WEREN'T ATTENDING THE EVENT. The reasons given were this, quoted from their e-mail:
. To find a better balance between de-commodification and radical self-reliance.
. To encourage communal effort and hopefully lessen the overall environmental impact of our event.
. "Refundable" vendor tickets created a disproportionate drag on our staffing resources and were frequently abused.
. Expedited vendor access at entry reduces wait times for everyone.
No details were given about how the previous system was abused, nor any kind of logical reasoning explaining how not giving us our money back would make the process faster, ease stress on their staff, or make Burning Man greener. This is the Burning Man Organization building on a pattern, a pattern of punishing those that are contributing most to the event simply to line their own pockets.
It looks like now we're down to 9 Principles.