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Sacramento Kings Fans - Maloofery Still Exists
We do it every year. My family, my father and my sister's family and some selected family friends pick one game where we all go to and all sit together to root on our Sacramento Kings. We arrive early and enjoy a meal and then root for our favorite team. This has become a yearly tradition and over the years our group has grown. This year we picked a Sunday afternoon affair against the Dallas Mavericks. While the Kings are not a playoff team, and are not particularly good, we all looked forward to this continued tradition after almost losing the team last year. We all arrived ready to have fun and enjoy the afternoon. But, sadly, it was not to be. The security and "guest services" department at Sleep Train Arena went out of their way to ruin our tradition. I doubt we will be back anytime soon.
It started innocent enough. My father, who had all 4 our of grandchildren at the same game, took a picture of his grand kids. Apparently, this upset someone in security. Before we knew it, 6 security guards surrounded my father screaming at him. They ushered him upstairs demanding to know what he was doing. When he said, "taking a picture of my grand kids", they didn't believe him. They called him names. They treated him as if he was a child molester. They told him to leave. They told me to "stay of it." They were wrong but refused to acknowledge it. They made sure they had the power to do whatever they wanted and we had no right to question them.
These "guest services" staff didn't ask a question. They never asked who he was with. They didn't attempt to handle things professionally. Instead they made a conclusion and refused to back down. They embarrassed my father in front of his grandchildren. They made two of them cry. And they didn't care. And when they were questioned about what they were doing, they got defensive and starting making more accusations. This was a grandpa taking a picture of his grand kids. Nothing more. And yet they treated him as if he threatened to bomb the place. And they refused to listen. And resorted to name calling and intimidation. They were unprofessional and classless. Like their former bosses, the Maloofs. They didn't care about the effect their actions would have on their customers, like their former bosses, the Maloofs.
A guest services manager and the a security manager dealt with me afterwards. (I didn't get the guest services manager's name and don't want to name the security manager for fear he will get in trouble.). They made a big deal that my dad wasn't sitting in the ticketed seat. The cited NBA policy. They said they had no discretion. They said nothing else mattered.
After hearing me out, granted and somewhat apologetically a very angry me, they admitted they were wrong. They moved us to another section. I personally only watched about 1/4 of the game. They moved us to another section. (Bit of a side note - other folks were sitting in the seats they moved us to. They didn't make a big deal about them being in the wrong seats. They didn't even care. Only us - they wanted us out of the section we were sitting despite the fact that we own 4 season tickets there). They also got us a picture on the floor with a former Kings great.
My father and I started going to Kings games in 1985. Have been to literally thousands of games. Never been treated this way except for once. It was last year at the Here We Stay game. My 11 year old son made a sign that said, "Save Slamson." At the door the security guard asked him what his sign meant. My son said he didn't want Slamson to lose his job because the Maloofs sold the team. The security guard scolded my son for bringing an "Anti-Maloof" sign to the game and wanted to confiscate it. I assured the guard the sign was perfectly appropriate and it would not be a good idea to take it. But the damage had been done. My son was very upset by this event.
This "grandpa taking pictures" event reminds me of that. Arena employees drunk with power arbitrarily pushing their weight to intimidate fans because they can. And no, its not all of them. So many people that work there are very nice and do their jobs well. But there is an element of this ilk.
They don't know me. They don't know my family. But we are rule followers. We try to be polite. We don't drink at games. We bring our kids as the event is for them. We don't bother anyone. But when you attack us and you are wrong, we also don't back down. We don't make empty threats. And we don't put up with it. I refuse to allow terrible customer service to bring down a tradition that has been ongoing since I was 10 years old. But I also refuse to put up with it without fighting back. My blog and my voice is all I got. Change will happen because this was wrong from the start. While the security manager admitted as much and tried to make amends and was genuinely sincere, this crap needs to stop. My 11 year old son should not be brought to tears by glorified security guards with an attitude. Pay a bunch of money for tickets, parking, food, drinks and have "customer service" make kids cry and insult and embarrass a grandfather and his family for no reason- MALOOFED.