The Most Obnoxious Things Guests Have Ever Done at Events

Illustration: Joey Bouchard/BizBash

If you've ever cupped your hand over you mouth at an event and thought, “Now I've seen it all,” you're not alone. We asked event industry pros to share their stories about some of the most shockingly obnoxious guest behavior they've ever seen.

Gift grubbers
“One person broke up the entire contents of a gift bag and sold it on eBay—including a gift certificate that was created exclusively for [the event]. The company who provided the gift certificate told us that they would not be able to provide anything else for us [as a result]. We assured them putting anything on eBay from our gift bags is a definite no-no, and the guest was never invited to another event. At another event, a guest left before the event started after learning gift bags weren't going to be given out until the end.”
Heather Hope-Allison, president, TIL Lifestyle Marketing & Events and the Buzz Girls

Would-be crashers

“At Essence magazine's Black Women in Hollywood Oscar luncheon, our security caught a guy at check-in trying to work his way inside by telling the girls at the check-in table he was L.A.P.D. At that moment our security stepped in and said, 'Oh, you are? So is my colleague here. Let’s see your ID.' Then he got really squirmy and said he left it in the car. And then he was gone. What the check-in girl also told us is that he had the business cards of two different people saying he was invited by them as their guest. He was trying—but no success.

Another crasher sat down at one of the luncheon tables in the ballroom. Being a seated, celebrity luncheon, of course every seat is accounted for. So one of the Essence staff politely went up to this crasher, checked her against the list, and asked her to please leave because she was sitting in someone's seat. At this, the crasher replied 'Oh, can I just finish the salad first?' And if this was not enough, as the crasher was walking out, she turned to the same staffer, who was making sure she actually left the premises, and had the nerve to say, 'Well can I at least have a gift bag?'

We've also seen random people on Twitter and Instagram taking others' photos and passing them off as theirs, pretending that they were at the event to make themselves look cool. There is a set of people in each city who are notorious crashers, especially New York and L.A., and it's usually these types.”
Cara Kleinhaut, owner, Caravents

Decor thieves
American Idol party 2011. Disco ball pink and blue '70s-ish theme. Each highboy table had a small 10-inch automated mirror ball. There were maybe 100 or so in the party. As a guest walked out with one, security stopped her and said, 'I'm sorry ma'am, but you can't take those home with you,' and reached out to take it back. She snapped back, 'If I can't have it, neither can you!' and proceeded to smash it on the ground of the venue, shattering it to pieces. Seriously amazing.”
Rachel Jaime Miller, lighting designer, Kinetic Lighting

“We’ve produced several corporate events where guests were literally walking away with props that were staged as decor. When we explained to them that they unfortunately were unable to be removed from the event, they looked directly at us and then ran.”
Anonymous planner

Food hoarders
“I had a guest put a bunch of empty cups in her purse and then proceeded to dump mini cookie platters from the buffet into the cups in her purse. I caught her in action and she took off.”
Andy Burwell, catering sales manager, Harry Caray's Catering & Events

“The most common thing we see is probably servers attempting to replenish a food station and guests literally use their hands to remove food directly from the container the server has in their hands before it even hits the station.”
Anonymous planner

“We recently did a chef’s tasting dinner with very unique menu items. We had one table of guests complain and say they were vegetarians, requesting the vegetarian option. Well, of course, then they saw a chicken-and-waffles dish come out and one of the women at the table said, 'I want that now.' The server was a bit confused.”
Anonymous planner

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