Monty Python’s Meet and Greet just a Q and A

PLEASE READ ALL THE WAY TO THE END AS I UPDATE WITH NEW INFORMATION. IN ADDITION THE COMMENTS ARE ALSO INTERESTING AND HELPFUL

In what was originally billed as a Meet and Greet, including a group photo by a professional photographer, attendees of the July 3rd, 4th and 5th Monty Python Live (Mostly) Meet and Greet were left feeling like John Cleese in the Dead Parrot sketch, dissatisfied, to say the least.

Instead of actually meeting and greeting Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, John Cleese and Eric Idle, attendees who paid a premium price of 496 pounds sterling, approximately $700, got to take their photos from afar.

 Eve    @evelienh   How not to do a Meet & Greet. £500 for a Q&A is not worth it, sorry.  5:59 AM - 5 Jul 2014


Eve @evelienh
How not to do a Meet & Greet. £500 for a Q&A is not worth it, sorry.
5:59 AM – 5 Jul 2014

The original Meet and Greet Package promised a lot more than what was delivered. Just days before attending the event, participants received an email stating that the format had changed. The group photo promised at the end of the email never took place, attendees stood and listened to others ask questions whilst the Monty Python members sat on stage, far removed from the crowd and flanked by security men.

Many disappointed fans took to Twitter and Facebook in an attempt to connect with others who felt the change of format to the meet and greet was unfair. This resulted with a Facebook group page where disappointed fans shared their experiences and attempts at having the issue resolved.

In an email received a couple of days before the July 3, 4 and 5 Meet and Greet, participants were informed of the change but were not offered the opportunity to cancel and receive their money back.

Dear ___________,

This email details the VIP Meet & Greet arrangements we have put in place for you on the evening that you are attending the Monty Pythons show at the O2 Arena on 05-July.

After the show has ended please promptly make your way to the Building 6 which is located in The Avenue, opposite Brooklyn Bowl. Please take your event ticket/s with you as these are required to gain entry to the Meet & Greet area.

Upon arrival you will be greeted by an O2 representative and issued with drink tokens and a selection of merchandise items.

Please note we cannot guarantee that all the Pythons will be present at every Meet & Greet session.

Cameras are permitted in the Meet & Greet area however due to time constraints it will not be possible to have individual photos taken with the Pythons or for items to be signed by them. We will be arranging for official group photos to be taken by a top professional photographer which you will then be able to download from the internet.

We look forward to seeing you after the show.

kind regards,

The AXS Team

At the opening night’s Meet and Greet Getty Images took photos of fans shaking hands  and posing in group photos with the Monty Python Group.

Meet and Greet on July 1 (Image via Getty Images)

Meet and Greet on July 1 (Image via Getty Images)

Fans shaking hands and actually meeting Monty Python members at the July 1st Meet and Greet (Image source Getty Images)

Fans shaking hands and actually meeting Monty Python members at the July 1st Meet and Greet (Image source Getty Images)

The following video was posted on Youtube showing the difference between the opening night’s meet and greet and those that followed.

and here is the Q&A experience.

Though disappointed fans made an attempt to resolve the issue with the promoter and the Customer Service Office at the London O2 arena no one was satisfied by the response they received:

M&G Email

Though the show was wonderful, the Meet and Greet rip-off has left fans like myself wondering if it was all worth it. To date O2 has not responded to my own email. The O2 ticket and the wrist band all have the words “Meet and Greet” printed distinctly on them.

Meet and Greet VIP Package Wristband

Meet and Greet VIP Package Wristband

Original O2 Ticket for 495 =1 sterling promising a "Meet and Greet."

Original O2 Ticket for 495 =1 sterling promising a “Meet and Greet.”

I received an email response from O2’s customer service rep, Sarah, today.

First Page O2 Customer Service email 2nd Page O2 Customer Service email Last Page O2 Customer Serivce email

The discrepancy lies in what the O2 AXS promised ticket buyers to the Meet and Greet package and what they are now telling customers in replies to complaint emails.

 

However, in an article on April 14, The Irish Mirror ran a competition to meet and greet the Pythons. Here’s what they promised would happen in the meet and greet,

““Meet & greets will take place after the show in a dedicated meet & greet room, includes live band, 2 drinks per person, at least 3 Pythons in attendance for photo opportunity and signing of winner’s show programme (winner to purchase), plus Python merchandise. There is no food or other hospitality included. Meet & greet places are non-transferable, no whole/part cash alternatives.”

Here is my email. I will repeat again and again, THE SHOW WAS GREAT AND WELL WORTH THE MONEY but the meet and greet was a costly Q&A and the email regarding changes was deliberately vague. Had I been informed accurately of precise changes I would have not attended and requested a refund.  And dammit there are typos – too late!

Page 1 Loretto's second email O2 Page 2 Loretto's second email O2

Another fan who won the meet and greet tickets posted on twitter:

Imagine that, this person won the meet and greet package, paid nothing to attend it, and they are still disappointed? How should I feel after parting with 3 X 496 pounds sterling?

On July 3rd the Monty Python Facebook page advertised an Amazon.com.uk competition which assured winners of meeting the members of Monty Python in person backstage after the show.

“Would you like to see one of the greatest comedy acts of all time perform live in the O2 Arena, London? We are celebrating the glorious return of Monty Python by offering the chance for you and a friend to watch “Monty Python Live (mostly)” at the O2 next month, then head backstage to meet The Pythons in person after the show.”

So, even as late as July 3rd it was still being billed as a meet and greet and attendees were being promised meeting in person with the group. The Q&A sessions commenced in lieu of the Meet and Greet on July 2nd. No one met the group in person from July 2nd on.

This is from The Penultimate Night of Monty Python, a blog called Howard Johnson’s Blog.

“They entered the room to a rousing response, and fans who had literally come from around the world. They asked questions and Eddie moderated, and all seemed to have a great time. After about a half hour, the Pythons and the rest of the group headed back the way we came, down the elevator, and back to the bowels of the O2. Terry offered us a ride back to our bed and breakfast, which we gratefully accepted, and we had a drink in the Family Reception Room while he ran back to his dressing room for his bag.
 
As we rode back to North London, Terry explained that after the first show, as an experiment and at their promoter’s behest, they did an extensive meet and greet with fans, posing for photos and signing autographs. Unfortunately, it took them over two hours, and they were totally exhausted afterward, so from that point on, they did the up-close-and-personal Q&A sessions instead–otherwise they’d probably have been too exhausted to make it through the weeks of shows.”
So the original intent was to do a Meet and Greet, actually meeting and greeting the members of the group. I understand that it took too long and that the group members were exhausted. But the promoter kept billing it as a meet and greet despite the changes. Hence the deliberately vague email warning of format changes received by customers who bought VIP Meet and Greet Packages on June 27th.
Here is what the signed lithograph looks like:

My own signed lithograph. You can buy it on ebay.

My own signed lithograph. You can buy it on ebay.

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32 thoughts on “Monty Python’s Meet and Greet just a Q and A

  1. Yes, the show itself was terrific. I never imagined seeing the group perform again on stage.

    How did the group manage to get involved in this deception? To the nearly two thousand die hard fans who paid top dollar to see a meet and greet over the show’s ten night run and be given this is very sad. This is the type of fleecing that Monty Python would of gladly made fun of many years ago.

  2. Just got an email from Karen at AXS suggesting I email Ticket zone and Phil McIntyre entertainment. Here’s her email:
    Contact Centre Supervisor – The O2, Jul 16 05:24 AM:
    Dear Loretto,

    Thanks for getting in touch!

    We’re disappointed to hear about your Monty Python Meet & Greet Experience.

    As a venue I’m afraid we have very limited discretion over the running of the event or content. On this occasion we can only suggest you contact the promoters ticketing agency Ticket Zone.

    Ticket Zone are working on behalf of Phil McIntyre Entertainments the promoter for this event. Therefore, on this occasion we can only recommend you contact them directly should you wish to pursue your complaint. Their contact details are:

    Customer Services
    Ticket Zone
    PO Box 76
    Barnstaple
    Devon
    EX32 8YG

    customerservices@ticketzone.co.uk

    We sincerely hope this isolated incident will not deter you from visiting The O2 in the future.

    Best wishes,

    Karen

    Contact Centre Supervisor – The O2
    The O2
    Peninsula Square
    London SE10 0DX
    Phone: +44 20 8463 2000

  3. This is becoming a comedy. Just received an email from AXS asking me to rate their customer service. Here’s my response:

    The audacity of you all! How would I rate the experience of support, AWFUL. We were totally ripped off by the so called Monty Python meet and greet. A deliberately vague email to inform us of changes to the format presumes that the consumer is a complete idiot and can’t tell the difference between a Meet and Greet and a Q&A and that we have such short memory spans we won’t recall what was promised and compare it to what was delivered! This is, after all, the computer age. That means we are capable of saving email communications and using them to compare what we paid for and what we received. Instead of helping us resolve the issue AXS brushed us off to the Promoter, never heard back from McIntyre and Ticket Zone. So, how would I rate your customer service? You can string a few words together to create a sentence, but as far as actually providing assistance to the customer- You most definitely are not providing customer assistance. What you are doing is brushing people off with complacent emails. That’s about it. You may as well send an email with three words: Not Our Problem.”

  4. Reblogged this on Breise! Breise! Extra! Extra! and commented:

    As more fans discover the discrepancy of July 1st Meet and Greet and the inadequate response from AXS and Ticket Zone, I have decided to reblog this post. It details the false advertising used to promote a Meet and Greet which cost 496 sterling and delivered a question and answer session, which according to later attendees, got progressively worse.

    • Thanks Rob. I did see that earlier, don’t know why there was a disconnect in my brain about those dates. I mean that was being offered after we had our experience. The dates are the 15, 16, 18 and 19 July so it was still being billed as a meet and greet with the chance to get pictures and autographs as of April 14, date of publication of that article. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I’ll include it at the end of the post.

  5. “Meet & greets will take place after the show in a dedicated meet & greet room, includes live band, 2 drinks per person, at least 3 Pythons in attendance for photo opportunity and signing of winner’s show programme (winner to purchase), plus Python merchandise. There is no food or other hospitality included. Meet & greet places are non-transferable, no whole/part cash alternatives.”

  6. Today, July 21st, I called Phil McIntyre Entertainment, 020 7291 9000, and spoke with Laura who said they were “a bit low on the ground with people today,” so she would pass my message along to the proper people. I mentioned I had already sent two emails. Gave her my phone number and said that the best time to call me would be tomorrow at the same time.

  7. Thanks for posting this. I completely agree that the show was great, but that the meet & greet was a rip off. It was like having a great meal, being told you could meet the chef who’d prepare you a delicious dessert, and then just being handed a cup of terrible coffee and being told “change of plans.” Really hate the such a great event was tainted by the organizers.

    • I truly believe that the members of Monty Python are not responsible for this. If they changed their minds about meeting and greeting each person at these so called “Meet and Greet Package” events, that is their prerogative. The July 1 Google Glass Youtube Video does look a bit hectic. The show itself was great and I was happy to pay a hefty price for the great seats we had. But the meet and greet was a costly Q&A, and had I been alerted of precise changes and given a choice whether or not to attend, I would not have gone to it.

      I blame the organizers and promoter for continuing to advertise the event as a meet and greet. In an email from Ticket Zone’s customer service department the false advertising continues. In addition to the mention of a forewarning of amended photo opportunity in the June 27th format change email, the customer service representative stated “The meet and greet sessions continue to provide a unique opportunity and experience for those customers who decide to join us.”

      The use of the word “decide” alludes to the presence of a choice. We had no choice, we paid, we were told in a vague email that the format had changed and that we’d still have a professional group photo taken. We did not have a choice of whether or not we wanted to attend.

      My issues are with Phil McIntyre Entertainment, whom AXS has told me are responsible. I have sent three emails and made 3 phone calls to Phil McIntyre Entertainment. Let’s hope that they do the right thing, refund the additional cost of the meet and greet to all who feel that they were not given precise change of format details and were not given the opportunity to refuse attendance to the meet and greet event and receive a refund.

      Thanks for reading and commenting Mark. If you have friends who feel the same way as you do about this please do connect with the Facebook Group and request membership as it is a closed group. Get the word out there as many may not know what their options are regarding this meet and greet fiasco.

  8. Third email sent to McIntyre

    Refund request for Monty Python Meet and Greet

    To info@mcintyre-ents.com,Customer Services
    Jul 29 at 7:23 AM
    To Whom it may concern,
    This is my fourth email, in addition to three phone calls, to Phil McIntyre Entertainment regarding a refund for the June 5th Meet and Greet at Monty Python Live (Mostly) which as I have stated in previous emails and phone calls was:
    1. Falsely advertised as a Meet and Greet. It was a question and answer session only.
    2. The precise details of changes to format were absent from the email alerting us of changes in a deliberately vague email sent prior to attending the July 5th Meet and Greet.
    3. The opportunity for customers to choose whether or not to attend due to changes was not offered.
    4. Customers were promised a professional group photo which did not happen.
    5. A refund has not been offered as compensation for all the above.
    As promised to Kate, whom I spoke to last Monday, a weekly email requesting the status of my complaint shall be sent.
    Again, despite 3 previous emails and phone calls I have yet to receive a response or call from Phil McIntyre Entertainment, although others who have filed a complaint have shared their responses with me online.
    Please inform me of the status of my claim. Should this continue beyond the month of August, my husband and son and I will pursue legal action regarding this matter as it effects the three of us.
    Yours sincerely,
    Loretto Leary

  9. Phil McIntyre Entertainment, the promoter has refused to respond to emails (3) and I had to call them three times to find out what was being done. I recorded the last phone call, and informed them I was doing so. They are “reviewing the issue.” So far I have contacted:
    The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – http://www.fca.org.uk
    BBC Watchdog
    CAB
    AXS
    Ticket Zone
    Phil McIntyre
    Don’t Get Done Get Dom.
    and Rip Off Britain

    This I no way reflects on the members of Monty Python, not at all. This issue is about breach of contract to the consumer. AXS blames Phil McIntyre Entertainment and strangely enough the email alerting us of changes to format for the Meet and Greet came from AXS.

    I don’t expect a response from any member of Monty Python. My issue is with the promoter for the following:

    1. Falsely advertised as a Meet and Greet. It was a question and answer session only.

    2. The precise details of changes to format were absent from the email alerting us of changes in a deliberately vague email sent prior to attending the July 5th Meet and Greet.

    3. The opportunity for customers to choose whether or not to attend due to changes was not offered.

    4. Customers were promised a professional group photo which did not happen.

    5. A refund has not been offered as compensation for all the above.

    Today I am sending a completed complaint form to the ombudsman.

  10. Great that so many people share my view, I attended the show and the so-called meet and greet on July 5 flying in from Germany and feel sick when I read that you had to win a competition and then got a free signed program or that there was a difference on July 1.Will be interesting to see if there are further replies from those responsible…

  11. Ticketzone responded with this today…. (A load of BS basically, as other complainants have received compensation in the form of signed lithographs and programs of the event. It must be their policy to handle each complaint differently)
    9/11/14
    Dear Ms Leary,

    We are writing further to your communication to us regarding the Monty Python Meet & Greet package ticket which you purchased and in relation to which you have expressed dissatisfaction in relation to the Meet & Greet portion of the event.

    In advance of the first night of the Monty Python shows, an email was sent to all customers who had purchased Meet & Greet tickets to advise them of the expected arrangements. Unfortunately due to very serious health and safety concerns which arose after the first night those arrangements had to be slightly amended. This followed incidents where first night ticket holders had (1) physically and verbally threatened members of the Python team and the venue security staff, (2) had refused to follow the procedures set out in the original email despite polite requests to do so and (3) on one occasion, had stolen additional bags of merchandise by accessing unauthorised backstage areas. Due to these unfortunate incidents, the Python and venue security advisers strongly recommended that the format of the Meet & Greet be amended slightly to ensure the safety of both the Pythons and other Meet & Greet customers on the night. Safety is of course a paramount concern. An email advising of the change to the format was sent on July 4th, as a matter of courtesy.

    We would also like to draw to your attention to the fact that in accordance with clause 12.1 of the O2’s Terms and Conditions (which you agreed to when purchasing tickets), the O2 and/or the Promoter may make alterations to an event which are not material and where such non-material alterations are made no refunds are available. The change made to the Meet & Greet event was not material and ticket holders still had the opportunity to be with the Pythons in an intimate back stage setting, to ask questions during the Question & Answer session, to take photographs with the Pythons only metres away and to take home a merchandise bag (worth £100) and drinks tokens.

    We trust that this email addresses your concerns and we hope to welcome you again soon at a future event.

    Yours sincerely

    Customer Services
    Ticket Zone

    • “The change made to the Meet & Greet event was not material and ticket holders still had the opportunity to be with the Pythons in an intimate back stage setting, to ask questions during the Question & Answer session, to take photographs with the Pythons only metres away and to take home a merchandise bag (worth £100) and drinks tokens.”

      The change made to format was indeed material as we were promised a professional group photo with the pythons in the final email and that NEVER happened. A photograph is a material object, so once again the verbiage
      is just BS.

  12. I got the same TicketZone email today. I’m in the US and have had the same run-around from AXS and TicketZone for the last several months. We were at the July 4 show and Meet & Greet. The only positive is that the horrible, horrible Meet & Greet provided us one last laugh at how awful the event organizers were. 😦

    The Pythons themselves were hilarious, the show was great, the Meet & Greet never happened. I did not meet, I was not greeted. There were no photos.

    I’m sorry that, apparently, someone on some other night physically and verbally threatened the Pythons. If they had to cancel the Meet & Greet as a result, then I’m expecting my refund in the mail!

  13. I received an email from TicketZone yesterday saying they were going to get a signed lithograph from all the Pythons and mail it to me.

    They’re clearly still trying to find a way out of the mess. While a signed poster is, of course, nice… it’s not a Meet and Greet. It’s an expected BYPRODUCT of a Meet and Greet.

    Continuing to be frustrated!

  14. Hello everybody

    I know it’s been a while that people have been writing in this blog but I feel I should share this anyways. I am very sorry for everybody who got ripped off by AXS or whoever was in charge of promoting the event. I was at the July 1st M&G and I would like to share my impressions about what went on there:
    There were around 200 people there, so it was immensly crowded. The people ligned up next to the stage to get a chance to take a picture with the Python’s who were seated on stage. Each time, staff let around 30 people onto the stage to take a picture with the Python’s. Of course each group took a lot of time because as soon as the picture was taken, everybody wanted to talk to the Python’s and the security staff continually yelled at everybody to get off the stage NOW – very unpleasent. Monty Python, however, were hilarious as always. I am not aware of the fact that one of the Python’s got abused in any way but yes as it’s stated in the email that was sent to one of you guys above, I got my signed program stolen by another fan on stage which was of course a huge disappointment – and still is until this day. I keep wanting to go back in time to make it undone. The Python’s, however, were absolutely delightful, they patienctly posed for every photo, talked to everybody and were charming in every way. In the end, the Meet & Greet lasted around 2 hours for them which must’ve been absolutely exhausting, this is also one of the reasons why I fully understand that they decided not to go though the same thing again. It’s amazing how they even managed it once after performing before on stage. 200 people is just too much, I don’t know who came up with that stupid idea to sell that many M&G tickets.
    The mistake clearly lies with the event manager, who exactly is to blame I don’t know, and certainly not with the Python’s. I am very sorry that many of you got treated that badly by customer service and I sincerely hope that each and everybody got their money back.

    • Hi Linda,
      Thanks very much for sharing your experience at the Monty Python Meet and Greet.

      As far as I know, the outcome has been different for most of us. I was told I would receive three signed lithographs, one for each of us that paid the M&G price, and as of this date I have received 1. The idea was that we might be able to sell them and recoup the money we paid, but that has not happened.

      Although I fully understand how tiring it must have been for the members of Monty Python to do a Meet and Greet, the concept should have been given a lot more thought before taking people’s money and failing to deliver. And that is what vexes me the most. I feel duped. I understand that they are allowed to change their minds about doing a M&G, then by the same token, we too should have been allowed to change our minds about attending it and been given a refund.

      What actually happened was we received a vague email from Phil McIntyre, the promoters, alerting us of changes to the format of the meet and greet. At that point we were still being told that we were going to have group photos with the members, taken by a professional photographer. That never happened.

      The email alerting M&G customers of precise changes was sent to a small number of people, 16 I believe. And through it all we were never given the choice of attending or not.

      The response so far from Monty Python themselves has proven to show how in their world money is not a problem. Comments like “Moan, moan, moan” on twitter from Eric Idle and “For those who paid a little extra to attend the Meet and Greet” by Michael Palin, just demonstrate a lack of respect for fans, like myself, who have been loyal and supportive of all Monty Python’s endeavors.

      So, I can only do what I can do, which is to sell off everything and anything that I bought which is Monty Python related. I refuse to support acts that treat their fans this way. And yes, I know the promoters, namely Phil McIntyre Entertainment, devised the format to the Meet and Greet, but all the Monty Python members have brains and mouths, yet no one spoke up? Except of course to mock people.

      Thanks for posting.
      L

      • FYI: November 21st 2014
        Just received confirmation from Liz Keegan at Phil McIntyre Entertainment that the other two lithographs are being signed by John Cleese next week or so and will then be sent on. I think McIntyre Entertainment is probably glad that this fiasco is coming to an end and I really do hope that it has made them rethink their definition of a Meet and Greet Package. I will post here again when the last two lithos arrive.

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