The Weirdest Meetings Ever: Best Of 2010

We received almost 500 comments on our Fuze iPad contest last weekend and I just got through them all. I’ve picked a few excellent runners-up as well as one winner. Read on to find out who gets the iPad!

Here are the runners-up, organized by subject:

The cute:

I arranged to meet my soon-to-be ex-husband at a restaurant to inform him that I was filing divorce papers the following day. (I figured a public place would keep him from losing his temper.)

The man at the table next to us kept staring at me, and after my (now ex-) left he sent over a drink to ‘console’ me over my impending divorce.

I’ve been married to the guy from the next table for thirteen years now. :) – Venomous Kate

The gastrointestinal:

I was in Greece on a tour of the acropolis. I had mis-calculated the time difference when my meeting alert went off. So I dialed in and started the meeting from one of the worlds most iconic landmarks overlooking Athens.

In Greece there are hundreds of stray dogs that wonder casually throughout the city. About halfway into my call one of these dogs got sick, wondered over and started making these awful wretching sounds until finally barfing right in front of me. Distracting to say the least. It was truly one of the most surreal meetings I have ever had. – Neil

The porcine:

Went to sell a guy some RFID chips for his pigs….after flying into Alabama to meet with him in his office his secretary/wife told us he wanted us to come out to the farm so he could see “what the hogs thought about this chip business” before he signed up….(no joke) so i ended up in the middle of a huge holding pen with no less than about 500 hogs, ankle deep in poo, pitching him over the grunts/pig noises and he just stood there with a kind of snarl on his face then had the nerve to ask why I looked so “uneasy”. Bagged the deal! so it wasnt that bad… – chad

The scatological:

I was suppose to go to an interview for a position at the local zoo, but one that did not deal with the critters themselves. We we’re to meet in the cafe, before the the zoo was open to the public. However, with an emergency birth of a Wildebeest, those plans changed. Before we made our way into the ‘behind the scenes’ area where the animals are taken for medical check ups/births/ etc at the zoo, we had to go into the cage and bring the animal over. Entering the animal’s cage, I slip on a pile of the animals crap. It’s all over my hands and clothes – keep in mind he’s asking me interview questions WHILE this is happening. We make it into the area where the animal is now scheduled to give birth. And let me tell you, while birth may be a ‘beautiful’ thing, it isn’t….. pretty. I probably could’ve gotten the job, but after this I just didn’t want it. – Daniel

The awkwardly sexual:

A rep from of one of our manufacturing partners flew in from Hong Kong to meet in Montreal. They spoke no english and travelled with a translator. The translator was a very proper and soft-spoken Chinese woman. Due to a flight delay, our dinner meeting was cancelled and we agreed to meet later at the hotel bar. Once they arrived, the partner insisted that we move the meeting to a nearby strip club. The entire meeting was held at the strip club, while the partner received dance after dance communicating via his very proper, soft-spoken and visibly uncomfortable translator. It was by far the most awkward meeting I’ve ever had. – Dylan

The Tom Hanksian:

We were essentially lost at sea.

There were four of us in a small fishing boat just a mile or two off Miami.

We ran out of gas just before dusk. Our host had neglected to fill up with gasoline. He also forgot to bring the life jackets. The anchor rope was too short to reach bottom. This was before mobile phones became popular.

We were very unhappy guests.

We began to drift slowly out to sea. Our host informed us that the current would take us in the direction of North Carolina.

It was a clear night with a full moon and lots of stars. Several boats passed in the distance but didn’t see us. We tried fishing to pass the time. Two small planes flew overhead without lights (probably drug smugglers?). We could see the bright lights of Miami slowly growing more distant.

About 3:00AM I said to one of my companions, “We’re either going to be rescued or die. If we die it won’t matter. But, on the theory that we might get rescued, perhaps we could have that marketing meeting. Might as well make use of this otherwise lost time.”

Next morning about 9:00AM we were able to hail a large sailing yacht in transit from the Caribbean to Maine. They tossed us a line and towed us to the nearest small island where we were able to find a phone and call for a rescue.

Oh what a night! – Dave5

The vomitous:

For the sake of a contest, I’ll give out my most embarrassing/disgusting conference meeting.

For a store in my area, I had set up a meeting amongst the Regional Managers. Unfortunately, scheduling conflicts a rose and I had a flight to catch out to New Orleans. I figured, while waiting on the plane I could still do this meeting but everyone was having “technical” issues. Mind you, I am sick as a dog from my little son’s flu epidemic. So I postpone the meeting until I am completely settled in the air. At the same time, Ginger Ale was not keeping my stomach problems down so I made a dash to the airplane bathroom, laptop and Nexus One in hand. By that time I was able to get everyone on board while I am in the bathroom, puking my lungs out. In between sentences I’d have to pause, vomit, and them resume while making the usual noises. I’m on my knees, phone in one hand, paper towels in the other and I am constantly vomiting. Not to mention we hit an air bubble in mid-vomit so now I have ruined my suit. It was not a pleasurable experience and quite an embarrassing one, especially in a business meeting. – dun

The Dexterian:

Once had a meeting in an old abandon animal laboratory. We met above in the auditorium where they took samples from the male lammas. We took a brief walk into the meat locker area where the cleavers were handing and the refrigerators where the meat used to hang. I was meeting with 2 associates who had (albeit unknown to me) just became an item. So here I was trying to talk to them in the strangest of places, and they were probably just staring at one another and praying for the lights to go out. Interesting meeting and less effective to say the least. At least we didn’t meet in the slaughter yard… that was down the hall. – Dovy

The merry:

At a Japanese kindergarten, wearing a Santa Clause outfit, surrounded by fifty screaming Japanese children.

Two years ago I was in Japan trying to land a project with a very important Japanese firm, whose manager I had met only once at a trade show. I arrived at his office ready to give my presentation, but he insisted we take a car ride for our meeting. We arrived at a local kindergarten where his granddaughter was attending a Christmas party. He took me to the teacher’s lounge, explained to the teachers and me that somehow I (Jewish, in my early 30’s) was the perfect Santa Clause. So I put on the huge red and white outfit, white wig and beard, and braved the delighted but screaming fifty or so Japanese children, while trying to do my best, “Ho Ho Hos.”

After being hugged, yanked, and tackled, I returned to the very happy grandfather/client and ended up giving him a presentation at a kid’s craft table with crayons and color papers. He was very gracious and ended up giving me a bigger contract than the one I hoped for. – Mark

The Dildoian:

I was a new Account Exec. for a Telcom and my territory was based in the San Fernando Valley in So. California. While cold calling one day, I was ecstatic when I got a “hit”…a company that was actually interested in hearing about our products and services! I asked the person on the phone to tell me a little about their business, and he merely said, “We’re in family entertainment.”

When I arrived, the building looked innocuous, a beige colored box with no signage, a little shabby. Inside, I was shown into the General Manager’s office. Desk littered with paperwork, motel style artwork on the walls. The GM took a look at me, then said, “Let’s do this in the conference room.”

We walked down a short, narrow hallway and he opened the door to the conference room. This turned out to be a cavernous room lit brightly with fluorescent ceiling lights. All four walls were lined with lighted glass display cases. I said, “Oh good! Are these your products?” and walked up to the nearest case.

It took a while for my brain to register what the overflowing case was displaying…they were every conceivable (ummmm, inconceivable in my case) size, color and style of dildos. As soon as I figured out what they were, I felt my face turning red. It suddenly felt hot and claustrophobic in that huge room.

I barely remember what happened during the meeting, but I know that I held really excellent eye contact since I was embarassed to look at anything else. Yeah, pretty young and naive back then, ugh. I made a sale there, however (they wanted 24 hr. phone coverage for their customers)! – Elizabeth

The child-like:

Having worked for LEGO for a number of years I have had many strange and surreal meetings in odd locations surrounded by weird and wonderful LEGO Models. But looking back, working on the design for LEGOLAND Windsor and California seemed to be when most of these strange meetings took place e.g. inside enchanted caves, fairytale castles, inside dragons and riding various rollercoaster’s on research trips… I do however remember visiting one of our ride suppliers in Sweden who was providing some electric boats for one of our rides, unfortunately the meeting was held in the middle of winter and we needed to test the prototype, the local outdoor swimming pool was the most convenient location except that it was covered in around 15cm of ice. So some locals were tasked with breaking up the ice so we could sail around testing the steering of the boat. We were also joined during the meeting by a local diver who heard the pool was going to be cleared and wanted to use the opportunity to test his diving gear. It all seemed quite normal at the time but looking back, sitting in a kids LEGO Themed electric boat floating amongst the ice and snow being followed by a scuba diver in a public swimming pool was fairly odd… – Stuart

The dirigible:

In an hot air balloon. I am a college student and was interning at this company last summer. The internship was a total waste of time so my family and I decided to to florida and spend the remaining month there. While on the hot air balloon I received a call from my mentor stating that the CFO was present and wished to discuss the details of my work in detail, project report. Quite fortunately I have sugar sync set up on my home laptop so I fired up the application on my blackberry, downloaded the file, uploaded it on the fuze meeting application and enabled sharing with my mentors email address all using 3G service. – Rahul

While all of you guys offered some excellent meetings, this epic comment took the cake. The winner is Gaurav with his Slumdog Millionaire meeting:

Well, you know how modes of conveyance can hideously overfull in India, you’ve probably seen it some time in your life. And you gotta understand that professors in colleges in India, except a few, like being treated like they hold the power of life in their hands, not quite the most humble lot, quite unlike ones you’ll find here in the states.

This was one day long ago while I was doing my engineering in Chennai, India when I was trying to convince my professor to sanction a project of mine. Since we were heading the same way, we thought we’d go it together. A surprisingly nimble man, this electrical engineering professor of mine. There was apparently some very important minister coming to our university that evening for some ceremony and they’d closed both the back and front gates to prevent people from leaving before that event in the name of “security concerns” while there was some massive human chain (people holding hands together for miles on end to protest some crap) going on outside.

While I was discussing OLEDs and 3D Displays with him, what we did was climb a banyan tree and jump over a 7 foot wall with barbed wire on top of it, then ran across some train tracks while watching out for trains (still discussing the issue at hand) to get to the main road. The running across train tracks bit of this “rolling meeting” was prompted by the fact that the police kept a close eye on the overbridge that would have otherwise helped us bypass the tracks safely. Lol

Then while still talking, we blended into the human chain line with the rest of the protesters while heavy dark clouds loomed in the sky above. Chanted slogans for a bit to look like we were protesters and gradually moved to a section from where we could make a break to the bus stand.

From there, we got a small but packed shared auto-rickshaw (you know, like “tuk tuks” in thailand) where we sat in such contorted positions that i couldn’t feel my rear-end. Continued showing him stats on my smartphone regarding the feasibility of the project while the rickshaw went on its way and the guy on whom I was sitting cursed in Tamil at my ancestors haha.

Finally, we reached the nearest railway station. As notorious as the trains are, one of them arrived packed to the brim.. with compartments literally overflowing. Here we don’t have closing doors and such on the electric trains and the entry points are merely open and wide enough for 3 people to go through with a single hand rail in the centre of the door.

When we arrived on the platform there was this little mix-breed pup at the base of the stairs, all wet, bedraggled and hungry looking shivering in the cold (it had begun raining in the meanwhile). My professor’s one green freak + animal welfare nut and he saw it first and while I was going “…so the vector of pressure on the..” he cut me off with “Pick it up, I’ll look after it” just as the train pulled into the platform. If it had been someone else saying it I’d have gone “Dude.. what?” but well, this was the guy with the funding that could make or break my life, so I wrapped my handkerchief around the poor animal and picked him up. The fun part begins now. The professor had his hands full with the laptop case he was carrying and the train was already too full. We both ended up hanging outside the door – it was this bad:

– with the pouring rain on my head.

Now this guy was leaving for his native place for a whole month the next day’s end, I had to impress upon him that this idea of mine was worthy of a grant from him, so I kept talking all the while.. One hand clutching the puppy, the other holding onto the top edge of the door for dear life, with the driving rain making it terribly difficult for us. Thank god some tipsy little pole on the side of the tracks didn’t smack us off the train LOL.

Finally, he took the pup from my hands as we walked to the next bus stand from the last station (here we had to take different buses), and some jerk drove by really fast and splashed dirty water from a puddle all over me (I was on the side of the sidewalk closer to the road so the professor got very little of it on him). At the end of it all after I’d given him all the details of the proposed project and the funding and support required, just as his bus arrived, he shot off a dismissive “I’ll think about it”. Boy what a way to end a meeting productively :(

By the time I got home (wading through a knee deep flood), my off-white shirt had turned dark brown, I was thoroughly drenched, had dog piss on my hands, my shoes were caked with mud, the books in my backpack needed drying and I had nothing to show for it. What a meeting! I ended up in bed for a few days with a fever, but the very next day I got a call from the professor saying he’d grant permission and I could start working on it while he was away. Strike 1 for Gaurav! After this harrowing ordeal it was the most wonderful feeling I’ve ever had. And yes, that professor did look after the dog at his own place for a long long time after that.

Hope he isn’t reading crunchgear right now!