Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sometimes It's the Small Things

I am a simple man. I have an ex-wife and a number of ex-girlfriends that can attest that if you keep me properly fed, there is much peace on the homefront. Whcih brings me to my experience at the Washington D.C. Hotel W that I am living through now.

Earlier this week, I had some nice things to say about the Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce. In particular, Chairman Ajmal Ghani A. and President Dr. Donald Ritter.

Since then, I have had the chance to see Ritter in action in a minor situation. My new take on him is that he is a pretty boy, all talk, no action.

Here was the scene at lunch today at the W Hotel during the conference. It was buffet style. About three quarters of the attendees got their food, when just about where I was in line, the hotel ran out of sandwiches. There were minor scraps of lettuce in the lettuce bowl, plenty of potato chips and tons of cookies. There were at least 75 people in line, so unless the conference officials way under reported the number of attendees, which was very unlikely since food was plentiful at all other servings, something was real screwy. Four sandwich trays, each three feet long, were empty.

We waited, and waited. Five minutes passed, a pretty much non-English speaking W employee came out and manged to blurt out, "It coming." Ten minutes passed, another pretty much non-English speaking employee told us, "We make." Where was senior W Hotel staff? I have no clue. They certainly weren't making sure this conference was going smooth

Finally, Ritter comes and sees the problem and looks around a little confused. To my amazement he just says, "Well, there are a lot of people in line, we are just going to have to move it along and eat vegetarian today."

I look at what is in front of me. There is a fruit tray with about 4 pieces of long sitting, long pushed around slices of pineapple. And a bunch of grapes. I grab the grapes and rip off half.

I am now writing this fueled on twelve grapes, a handful of potato chips and four petite type cookies.

As I munch my grapes, I am thinking about Ritter. Everyone at the conference is discussing how difficult it is to do business in Afghanistan, corruption concerns, security concerns, etc., and this guy literally can't get us ham sandwiches in a W Hotel.

Not impressive.


  1. Perhaps Ritter is a poor planner/manager or perhaps the realities of Afghanistan have forced their way into the conference. A small taste of what has to be endured when doing business in Afghanistan...

  2. Wenzel,

    Starving at a press conference at the W... gonzo journalism, practiced by a master!