Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from people

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ItalyPlaya
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Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from people

Post by ItalyPlaya » Tue Jan 22, 2019 11:31 pm

I am Italian and we were a nice large group of Italians at PlayaSkool this year (2018). The camp seemed easy to get in and to pay at first, but in the aftermath, they stole money from us.

In their invite they state that 50% of their MOOP deposit collected from campers ($500/person) is dependent on the overall camp score (something only the last people leaving the camp can influence). Playaskool left the camp with yellow mark on Moop Map, therefore polluted the Playa. And this let them "legally" steal 50% of the deposit. This is large money given they are 350 people or so. That is 250 per person, so probably almost 90k$.
If you collect so much money from people, how come you can't even clean up the camp? We all have suspicion this was planned, but this is just speculation. The way the wording in the invite says, there is logic that they would want to do so.
It is outrageous such a camp is allowed on Playa at all and is given any space. Legally we can not get our money back I think but something should be done about this stealing. Class-action against the organizers would be nice, but we would need support. Has anybody experienced the same? Has anybody spoken to BM organization about this? This is so UnBurn and shows the greed of them as stated in previous posts over the years.
Thank you for input.

Mario

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Re: Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from peopl

Post by gaminwench » Tue Jan 22, 2019 11:48 pm

This camp has been reported to the Org for egregious behaviour many times over the years.

I encourage you, and any other campers that can/will, to make a report to Placement and to the (new) Theme Camp oversight group (whose name escapes me, but I'll poke around and report back).

Could someone make links? (I'm shitty at links, I'm a tech idgit)

This totally pisses me off; we lived across from them in 2013 and it was a nightmare of gross entitlement.
We reported, nothing happened.

Please report to the Org (we are all just dusty regular folk here on eplaya); maybe with the $ aspect of fleecing international campers, the Org might *finally* do something?
"the prophecies of doom were better last year" trilo

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Re: Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from peopl

Post by Ratty » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:13 am

Mario, I'm sorry to hear this. It's a shame that it's coming up now. Last week, camps were notified of their 'standing' in the eyes of the placement team. When was your camp informed of the non-refund? I hope several of the members passed this info on to the Borg. We had some discussions here about this camp so nothing would surprise us. This is a very slow time of year on ePlaya. Chances of someone from your camp reading this are slim. I wish you luck. Do write to Burning Man Placement. They are very good at correspondence.
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Re: Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from peopl

Post by ItalyPlaya » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:15 am

Thanks for the quick response. This is very encouraging. Will definitely reach out to Orga. Can you send me the contact details of Camp oversight please?
I do not want to sleep on this, as this is not acceptable to literally steal people's money and Moop the Playa only to make a nice payout for themselves after the virgins leave.

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Re: Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from peopl

Post by Ratty » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:21 am

email placement@burningman.org Put the name of your camp in the subject line. Also put esplanade and the cross street if you know it. (Like 3:00 or 5:30 or whatever street was closest.) That way it will get to the person in charge of placing it last year. Placement deals directly with camps and their members. They want to know this.
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Re: Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from peopl

Post by gaminwench » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:56 am

"the prophecies of doom were better last year" trilo

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Re: Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from peopl

Post by salmanhasan » Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:23 am

Hahahaha, regardless of how shit PlayaSkool are, you deserved to lose your money for disregarding all principles and supporting a plug and play camp!

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Re: Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from peopl

Post by gaminwench » Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:32 am

There are MANY (20,000?), every year, who are new to this Burning Man thing.
Building a community means educating folks, bringing them into the fold, helping them understand the cultural norm(s).
If you think it is acceptable to make money/gain from them without educating them and helping them understand the community standard, and then blaming them for not 'getting it',

YOU (salman) SUCK.
"the prophecies of doom were better last year" trilo

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Re: Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from peopl

Post by salmanhasan » Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:40 am

I don't think it's right for anyone to be making money from Burning Man, but it's people like Mario, who are willing to pay huge amounts to get out of being self sufficient who are part of the problem. And being from Europe and new is not an excuse! Most of my camp are based in Europe and we manage to organise a theme camp from here!

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Re: Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from peopl

Post by ItalyPlaya » Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:47 am

I agree, that it is not right to support such a Plug and Play camp. But as a virgin, we had no choice and no idea how this camp would operate, had we known, we would have looked for another one.
But that does not justify us losing money to those crooks who abuse the virginity of people to fill their own pockets. The camp leads clearly knew what they do and how they will get a "yellow" spot on the Moop Map to justify keeping half the deposit.
The camp did violate many of the 10 principles and should get shut down completely and penalized for their stealing.

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Re: Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from peopl

Post by gaminwench » Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:43 am

Welcome, Mario.

F**k you, PlayaSkool.
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Re: Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from peopl

Post by some seeing eye » Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:05 am

Hello Mario, what you are saying is not in the spirit of burning man camps. What were the camp dues or total price of the camp? Did you know that the big organizer of Burning Man does not charge camps for MOOP?
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Re: Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from peopl

Post by ItalyPlaya » Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:27 am

Exactly, this is what we think as well.
BM Organization does not charge camps for the moop result or for setting up camp.
They charged the campers between $1000-1500 camp fee/head + Tent and A/C rental of around 1000. RV fee even more expensive. They even charged $150 per car for parking it on Playaskool grounds to "offset the space used".

Then they collected $500 per head in Moop deposit, of which they across the board only returned 50% (to some people nothing, because they demanded an evidence picture with their staff that the individual tent site was left clean, which they only communicated the last 2 evenings, and obviously some people didn't know as they were not there). So they kept the majority of the moop deposit and still left a yellow mark on the moop map and say that it's the camper's fault that the camp got yellow because everybody had a clear incentive to leave the place clean with the moop deposit in place.
And they were only allowed to keep the 50% of moop deposit if camp gets a bad rating, so it is better for them money wise if they get bad rating.
But mystery is where the money goes now, as they did not use it to clean the camp.
Last edited by ItalyPlaya on Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from peopl

Post by Captain Goddammit » Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:56 am

Italyplaya, YOU are the problem.

YOU are the one who further ruined Burning Man by supporting a plug & play camp.
YOU are the one who left your fucking moop, expecting someone else to clean up after you, paid or not.
YOU are the one who showed up at an event where you are supposed to be self sufficient... radical self reliance and all... using the excuse that “I couldn’t do it unless I flew in and didn’t pay any attention to the fact that I was supposed to be self sufficient”.
ALL of us have to do that, it was YOUR CHOICE to attend an event from so far away, where logistics would be difficult.
Thanks for flying in and leaving your trash on our beautiful land while polluting the culture of a great and unique event.

Nice sob story. Next time wipe your own ass.
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Re: Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from peopl

Post by ItalyPlaya » Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:11 am

Captain, oh Captain, why so angry?
YOU do forget that everybody cleaned up their site. And the final camp strike was only undertaken by the camp organizers and their people, who usually communicate and make sure to involve the right people to do the strike.
Playaskool never demanded or asked anyone to stay for strike. I hear other camps clearly require their campers to stay for that or they lose their deposit.
Therefore it is not the camper's fault that Moop was left behind as you wrongly say here.

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Re: Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from peopl

Post by lucky420 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:34 am

He’s always angry
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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Re: Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from peopl

Post by Captain Goddammit » Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:01 am

Well you’re upset that your plug and play didn’t clean up. We’re both upset.
That’s one of the problems with showing up at Burning Man and not being self sufficient: relying on others to supply you and clean up after you can and often does fail.
You really didn’t pack out all your own stuff. You paid someone to bring infrastructure for you and counted on them to pack that out for you.

It used to be said that you should show up prepared as if no one else was gonna show up.
I’ve always done that.
“No spectators” used to be a common phrase. Now people fly in, book a stay at a plug and play, and spectate.
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Re: Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from peopl

Post by lucky420 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:20 am

Captain Goddammit wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:01 am
Well you’re upset that your plug and play didn’t clean up. We’re both upset.
That’s one of the problems with showing up at Burning Man and not being self sufficient: relying on others to supply you and clean up after you can and often does fail.
You really didn’t pack out all your own stuff. You paid someone to bring infrastructure for you and counted on them to pack that out for you.

It used to be said that you should show up prepared as if no one else was gonna show up.
I’ve always done that.
“No spectators” used to be a common phrase. Now people fly in, book a stay at a plug and play, and spectate.
Very good and valid points. :coffee:
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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Re: Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from peopl

Post by ItalyPlaya » Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:59 am

Valid points indeed. And we did come prepared fully, and contributed fully to the camp with all that was communicated and agreed.
The point here is not the fact that it's PnP camp, which we regret to have supported and learn from now. It is that the camp leaders kept money they should not be entitled to and effectively made a business out of leaving the playa dirty themselves. Benefiting at the expense of the principles and other innocent people. This is the part that's not acceptable!
We care about the way this was done
Captain Goddammit wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:01 am
Well you’re upset that your plug and play didn’t clean up. We’re both upset.
That’s one of the problems with showing up at Burning Man and not being self sufficient: relying on others to supply you and clean up after you can and often does fail.
You really didn’t pack out all your own stuff. You paid someone to bring infrastructure for you and counted on them to pack that out for you.

It used to be said that you should show up prepared as if no one else was gonna show up.
I’ve always done that.
“No spectators” used to be a common phrase. Now people fly in, book a stay at a plug and play, and spectate.

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Re: Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from peopl

Post by Canoe » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:04 am

ItalyPlaya wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:47 am
I agree, that it is not right to support such a Plug and Play camp. But as a virgin, we had no choice and no idea how this camp would operate, had we known, we would have looked for another one.
But that does not justify us losing money to those crooks who abuse the virginity of people to fill their own pockets. The camp leads clearly knew what they do and how they will get a "yellow" spot on the Moop Map to justify keeping half the deposit.
The camp did violate many of the 10 principles and should get shut down completely and penalized for their stealing.
What they did sure sounds like a scam. Easy for them to leave some trash to ensure a yellow. And they have no additional costs if the camp gets a yellow. Free money.
I wonder if that contract to collect and keep such fees is legal.
Makes one wonder if some of that money is used for them to continue to get placement.

However,

> "But as a virgin, we had no choice"
How on earth to you figure you had no choice?
o All the info on how to go to Burning Man is out there for everyone. You chose to use a P&P camp.
o You chose to not follow the principles.
o There are 10's of thousands of Virgins come every year, many of whom follow the principles. Why didn't you...

Ironically, having booked into a P&P camp paying for meals, tent, A/C, etc. (and relying upon others), means you missed out on a huge part of the experience of going to Burning Man. It's like getting off a tour ship in Venice and running around for some hours trying to get as many selfies in key locations as you can, then going off in the ship thinking 'now I know Venice'. You've been to Burning Man but you haven't Burned. You chose to buy the cheap plastic 30 cm made-in-China Gondola.

> "The camp did violate many of the 10 principles and should get shut down completely"

I agree.
But, due to the 10 principles, you want them shut down for violating the principles and yet you yourself violated the principles. Hmmm
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Re: Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from peopl

Post by Canoe » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:10 am

ItalyPlaya wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:59 am
... The point here is not the fact that it's PnP camp, which we regret to have supported and learn from now. It is that the camp leaders kept money they should not be entitled to and effectively made a business out of leaving the playa dirty themselves. Benefiting at the expense of the principles and other innocent people. This is the part that's not acceptable!
We care about the way this was done
Actually, it is exactly the fact that it is a P&P camp. You choosing to give them money to provide all their services is why they're able to get away with this.
And the BMOrg keeps enabling the P&P camp businesses.
Video games are giving kids unrealistic expectations on how many swords they can carry.
.
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.

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Re: Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from peopl

Post by ItalyPlaya » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:34 am

Canoe wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:04 am
What they did sure sounds like a scam. Easy for them to leave some trash to ensure a yellow. And they have no additional costs if the camp gets a yellow. Free money.
I wonder if that contract to collect and keep such fees is legal.
Makes one wonder if some of that money is used for them to continue to get placement.
Here is the extract from their invite. Do we have any lawyers in this forum that can comment on the language? I believe it is written misleading and they can not enforce it.

"...this year we are requiring that all Skoolers make a MOOP deposit as part of their
mandatory camp donation.
This MOOP Deposit or Matter Out of Place Deposit is your guarantee that you will Leave NO
trace in your personal space AND will guarantee that the entire camp receive ALL GREEN in our
final assessment for Leave No Trace.
Your personal space will be described at Registration but includes your camping area, whether
you leave personal materials behind including bicycles, and the condition of the playa under
and immediately around your camping area. 50% of your deposit will be dependent on this area
being in perfect condition when you leave.

The entire camp gets a “score” from the Leave No Trace team that stays afterwards for Playa
Restoration. This score impacts our “standing” with the Burning Man Organization. You will be
responsible for the overall score as well. This includes the showers, porto-poddies, lounges,
domes and all the areas of PlayaSkool. It’s our collective responsibility to LEAVE NO TRACE and
therefore 50% of your deposit will be dependent upon our GREEN score. One spot of yellow or
red on the map is a FAIL for the entire camp.

Deposits will be returned by Dec 1, 2018. You may also choose to use this deposit for the
following year."

They only returned deposits for people who followed-up and not even actively, free money is always good.

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Re: Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from peopl

Post by Ratty » Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:16 am

I won't criticize you for your choice of camp. I could barely get my luggage to the far side of Cambodia because there was no in-country flights. If I were to go to Africa Burn I would do it a lot differently than the one in Nevada. In other words I'm not blaming you as long as you don't continue to be a spectator.

But, you are the one who entered into that crappy contract. I don't think they broke any laws. I'm afraid your money is gone. That is entirely between you and the camp. I'm sorry but you should be happy that there was a camp when you arrived. And as a bonus you were on Esplanade. Some people get fleeced for the entire amount. Chalk it up to experience. Maybe someday they will stop giving them placement.

Burning Man Placement team takes all complaints into consideration. They send the camp leads several emails asking for info. Once you contact them you'll see that they take it seriously.
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Re: Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from peopl

Post by Jackass » Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:37 am

Support Plug N Play camps... expect to be played.
Sooner or later, it will get real strange...

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Re: Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from peopl

Post by 9volt » Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:14 am

...and just think, not a dime went to playa restoration... only about a hundred and fifty people where just $1000, shit probably less, could change their entire life... that pic up after you in the desert...

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Re: Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from peopl

Post by some seeing eye » Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:23 am

To the original poster ItalyPlaya:

Many burners are unhappy and even get angry about the existence of plug and play camps, like PlayaSkool, We are more angry about the Burning Man Org allowing and encouraging them, about outside services enabling them, and about the attitude of entitlement to spectatorship associated with them.

The problem had been building up for a few years when ePlayan Mr Jackass blew it up along with Sherpa Beth*. That caused a member of Burning Man's board to resign as a sacrificial scapegoat.

As a result, the plug and play camps are much stealthier. But they continue to distort the culture of the experiment that is Burning Man. Personally, I believe the detailed camp financial records of every camp collecting money should be public to the campers.

My question was to make public the revenue side to readers. At the last official camp conference they did a poll of camps present on dues. A surprising number have dues >$750US.

Many of us believe the event should be like taking a vehicle with a week worth of supplies 20km off the road in Libya and camping.

We hope you get involved with your regional group off playa, go to burner parties/campouts and go to regional events. Now you have experienced the Nevada regional big event, you are in a good spot to join a more self reliant, even free camp.

We are grumpy, but we hope you stay involved with ePlaya. We are more angry at the Org and the camps than you personally.

By the way, we had a famous Italian, anonymous at the time, who had some questions about going to Burning Man on ePlaya. Some comments were along the line of this thread, but she got good information too. The result is way at the bottom of this post.



* (originally this was on her FB, then deleted. This is copied from another website)

The hot Playa topic this year is all about Plug and Play camps and the controversy surrounding the loopholes they find to be able to run profitable business behind their private walls while on the Playa. As someone who appreciates a challenge and a good story got share, I felt fortunate that I was able to be an employee working in one of these. Yes, I was a sherpa for a camp put in place by one of the members on the board of directors for Burning Man.

To avoid any possible issues surrounding my story , I’m going to go ahead and just use different names for everyone involved and the exact title of camps I am talking about. My intention is not to hurt any individual’s reputation. I will just share my experience of something that I personally believe is a true example of how someone could actually do it wrong at Burning Man.

Burning man 2014 had a whole lot of talk buzzing around about all of these “turnkey” or “plug and play” type camps.

I noticed while walking down K that placers of the event seemed to have cleverly placed most plug and play camps on the outer ring of the city. This K hole (AKA Kandahar st) was lined with what I saw to be, a lot of over worked, money driven, employees and employers. Many of these types of camps are just boring closed off spaces that only allow the norms walking by to see nothing but endless lines of RV’s. Some of these camps, however, are a lot more creative and interactive with the BM festival itself. after all, an eye catching artistically designed camp would be a brilliant way to rent out a luxurious full service suite for someone planning a vacation to the fabulous Black Rock City.

The product that these camps, like the one I worked in, sell is an experience to last a life time. If you can afford the $17,000 vacation, you will be provided the best and most comfortable facade of the burning man festival Your purchase will make sure that you not be bothered by all those time consuming tasks like cooking, cleaning, building, and whatever else the lower class citizens do, in order to enjoy the best party EVER. As our customer/client/guest you will fly in to the city, be picked up by a hired driver in one of the shuttles we provide. Our guest will then arrive to a beautifully decorated room filled with everything they need, including a real cow skin rug and lamp with a dimmer switch. The guests will be fed, watered, dressed, cleaned up after, driven around on art cars, and basically be waited on for all possible needs by a team of people that are hired to do so.

Of course, not all plug and play camps are in it for a monetary profit. they don’t all contain “guests” that are expecting to do no work. I truly believe Some artist simply have expensive visions and need funds to bring them to life. They provide services for people that would like to share in this vision. The clients paying for a room and experience are able to support the vision by contributing from their check books. They benefit from receiving certain luxuries…some of which might make people question how “self reliant” that really is. They don’t need to spend the time and energy of getting there hands dirty in building them. These types of ” pay and players” are not “guests” but actual members of the city that generally share the same love of gifting that the city is based on. I feel that since the spirit of burning man is a hard one to ignore, these more vision driven, and not all the way, but still a little, profit driven camps are full of paying guests that help out anyways with what needs to be done in camp. Call me a dreamer, but maybe they even volunteer at canter camp or greeters while they are there. To an optimist, This scenario could be viewed as more of an energy exchange instead of a business man looking for a profit. It can work out as a perfect dynamic for some camps that have such massive concepts to create.

I have been a citizen of BRC for 7years. My first burn was in 2008 at the age of 18. I will be the first to admit that radical self reliance was not something I succeeded at while spending a couple hours preparing to party for a week. I was not even close to having what I needed. I just had a bikini, a tent I borrowed from my boyfriend in chicago, a ticket and ride paid for by someone else, and of course, my high expectations and strong sense of entitlement. I arrived already completely relying on others to make this happen for me. not very burning man is it? I had to arrive to Burning Man before I understood why I should give any attention to trying to live by some principles. I needed to see them in action with everyone else and have countless veteran burners shove this gifting ideology down my throat for a couple days before I really understood that this was a mind blowingly beautiful way to live together as humans. only then my walls began to break down exposing the bright core that was hiding inside. the full blown awakening happened while i watched the walls of my tent break down from the inside of an RV.

All of my bags left wide open inside of the tent I borrowed from my boyfriend, whom I would soon leave for a Burning Man lover. The tent I put so much half assed effort building was being ripped out of ground. everything that I brought to the playa had been totally broken and transformed, including myself. That same night I watched the man burn and was so overwhelmed by how this dumb effigy could be such a perfect representation of myself. It completely broke down and changed in to nothing so that it could be rebuilt over the next year in to a newer version of itself. WOW. I just found my new home and I needed to share it and be part of it.

Since then, I have been involved in several different camps over the years. They ranged from 10 to 200 people. I have been part of teams in charge of preparing food for our camp, fund raising, building, bar tending, cleaning, greeting,decorating, serving coffee at center camp, spritzing strangers with water, standing behind the counter of the hug deli and anything else I could do. The tool that builds my happiness is the recognition that when I when give away freely, anything that I love to receive I end up gaining much more than dancing at robot heart every night until sunrise. Getting my hands dirty ends up being a lot more fun than keeping them clean.

For 6 years I never ever attempted to, or even considered that I could receive payment for Any “work” I have done for BM.

Burning man is a gift economy after all… It would be crazy to want to change that. right??

For the burn of 2014 I had been invited to work on a paid gig for a plug and play camp that I’ll refer to as ” Popsicle camp”. I sent in a resume of my Burning Man experience, a photo of myself, signed contracts that I didn’t read, filled out tax forms, and wrote a brief description explaining my character and purpose. I must say, it was fucking awesome to write a resume about my burning man experience. BM is where I go to over indulge myself in having zero real world responsibilities. No plans or expectations just me doing what I love and choosing to be involved in any way i wanted. my only reason to do anything was simply because i wanted to do it for the experience of doing it. there was no sort of expectation of a return. My efforts were merely gifts given to others for my own enjoyment.

About a month before the event I attended an interview to meet my new temporary boss. (I will call him “Pete” for this story)

I entered to a room of a Beverly Hills hotel and was relieved to see Pete resembling some sort of guru vibe in all white cotton clothing. He was sitting on the floor with is bare feet and showing off his colorfully painted toe nails. perfect! a burner like me! SOLD!

During the meeting Pete was passionately expelling how he had created this camp which had a greater underlying purpose and intention. He described himself as social activist who didn’t wear it on his sleeve. He inspires change by changing people’s perception through experiences. He described his intention as a place that is a total work of art and lavish gift for everyone to enjoy. The camp would bring in some powerful and influential people to join. The experiences that our camp would provide them would be a way of encouraging their own personal transformation. The perspective of these important people would shift and they would be able to change things in our society. well, It is a good reason to have a plug and play camp isn’t it? If luxury promised is what will get these people to this place, then lets give them that. We will do the work in order to give the gift of perception inception in their minds.

The big spending and Idea having man with plan that put pete in charge will be called “JT” for the sake of this story.

JT is a CEO of a leading healthcare investment fund valued at $650 million. He is a 6x burning man lover and a very discreetly added new member for the burning man board of directors. Pete worked for JT the year before by throwing a party for JT and his friends on the playa. That year I assume that it was another paying gig for pete.

Popsicle Camp would have 120 customers that will pay $17,000 each to be taken care of by 50 employees working for a wage that was capped.

The invitation/brochure to entice the paying customer to buy was amazing. I was in love! not because of the job, but because of the vision. I have never seen a burning man camp with so many promises focused on the most beautiful and positive intentions. there was a massive budget and structured execution plan that was so detailed and tight. These people knew what they were doing and had planned every little detail to achieve perfection. there was no stopping this ball from rolling.

Of course, As to be expected, with any burning man plan with such extreme expectations that required so many players, these expectations were quickly turning themselves in to disasters the moment this production set foot in BRC. after all, this place is known to be one of the most humbling environments on the planet and is notorious for extreme unpredictable weather and citizens alike.

The building crew for the neighboring camp was in collaboration with our camp. 90% of our camp had been built and designed by the neighboring camp. Lets call this camp “the Missing Motel” The Leader of this camp is a brilliant visionary that seemed to be very passionate about inspiring creativity with his own art. The Missing Motel rented our camp these extremely unique and beautifully constructed canvas “rectangles” that would be homes to myself and guests included. Missing Motel Build lovingly crafted every single detail of popsicle camp. Everything from our private bathrooms, our rectangles, and every piece of furniture in it, the lay out of the camp itself and a majority of the beautiful details that made this camp an actual art instillation to be admired by everyone passing by. Popsicle camp, from my perspective, had just invested money in property that would use to just rent out to cover the expenses and then make a profit as well. The money popsicle camp paid to the motel would go towards funding a large portion of the actual missing motel itself. which of course would be constructed out of the same rectangles and beautiful bathrooms. I was told by a member of the motel that the price my camp paid to rent 1 rectangle, would be used to pay the cost of producing and building 2 rectangles for the motel.

It was a Missing Motel containing over 100 of these rectangles stacked to 3 storys and that are made of canvas and wood. every person who stayed in these rectangles is staying in a literal empty canvas. A temporary home/art piece revolved around a desire to inspire anyone who enters.

The motel crew was expected to arrive the monday before the festival in order to begin building the popsicle camp and their own camp as well. Due to circumstances that were uncontrollable, the motel crew ended up missing the first 2 days so they started the entire thing already behind. the first unfulfilled expectation had begun sparking an immediate tension between the two camps.

On the Invitation and registration for popsicle camp they promised to provide flushing porcelain toilettes that visitors of our art could learn about and experience as well. these were not just places to dump waste, but were actually considered to be art installations. the design of the sinks, toilet paper holders, and even the stairs to walk up to them were all creative pieces that would inspire and a beautiful element to something that is usually unpleasant on the playa.

The tragic outcome of this promise turned in to criminally over worked staff members that were contractually obligated to spend countless hours with out any extra pay to be dealing with the shit of the customers giving us money. It continued to disappoint when there was actually never a real intention to share these with visitors. These were strictly for popsicle camp customers and employees ONLY. even The neighboring camp that created and built them were not allowed to use them. The gift for us to be able to share with visitors became a members only, selfishly enjoyed, porcelain toilette shit show of an art instillation. A clear demonstration of some false advertisement I believed. The “efficient” showers and toilettes of our 170 person village would use around 1000 gallons a day, or so I have been told. They ended up breaking constantly. This meant that crew that was hired to teach about MOOP, run electricity, and do structural building, and tear down, were suddenly required to spend insanely long hours cleaning up shit. When they could no do it, pete would be over at the missing motel demanding their services. This ended up happening the entirety that I was there. The staff was also told that absolutely none of the people from the missing motel were allowed in our bathrooms. Even the ones that built them. pete clearly struggled with the reality that everything was not going exactly as planned. His high expectations were crashing to the playa ground in front of him and showing what his real intentions were. He ended up having a fit at the artist and leader of the missing mote.l in the middle of the street one afternoon. The topics he screamed about were mainly focused on money. expressing that He paid this much so the motel owed him this much work and things regarding contracts and expectations . The artist patiently stood there, watching the breakdown of someone losing control. pete was so desperate to establish his dominance he went as far as unplugging the music to the missing motels camp. all the while the artist being disrespected and degraded stood there patiently and acted as a blank canvas for peter to express his emotions on.

Our camp had a couple of art cars that we rented from other artists. Our staff would be in charge of driving. They would directed to only allow members of the camp to ride on them. The DMV rules of the festival require that any art car driving is required to be for public enjoyment. We were told to go against those rules and be sure that we maintain our members VIP status.

Popsicle camp advertised to customers and to Placement that they would build a lounge out on the street in front our walls that would be cooled to 45º and contain a bar inside where hot and dusty passers by could enter to cool down and indulge. there were was said to be be one of our guests/paying customers passing out our specialty eco friendly popsicles as gifts. Every paying customer in our camp would actually be “REQUIRED” to do this . The front of our camp was advertising that a second iced tea/water lounge would be on the street and all of our customers would be there from 2-4pm every day passing out even more popsicles to people.

Neither of these structures had been built. There just happened to be more important priorities, which revolved around making sure that the paying customers never needed to use a porta potty.

I did, however, witness one very nice customer passing the Popsicles out in the front one day. I’m not sure if that continued much after.

We had a massive dome built that would be open for the public to enjoy. There were specialty drinks, music, dancers, couches, coffee tables with Alex Grey paintings, snacks, and much more. This we did have, and it was BEAUTIFUL. I only ended up bar tending one shift. I went in ready to rock it. I had invited the people of the missing motel to come and have a drink. During my shift we had many of our paying guests arrive from their air planes. They were welcomed by me with a warm hello and an offer to have a drink. While serving our guests, there were random visitors and the folks from the missing motel. I was told that only our members that had paid to camp there were allowed to have drinks. Considering that we had a visible full bar and a menu containing our specialty cocktails, you could imagine the embarrassment I felt when telling some people they can not have those advertised drinks, and telling others they can. Suddenly our public dome contained some VIP options. “Only those with the VIP wristbands can have a drink, can I offer you a peanut?”

With such a strong focus on making sure the customers had anything their hearts desired, the emotional and physical needs of all of the workers seemed to never be considered.

There was of course an email from pete stating that

“Each of you on the Event Crew will be expected to work approximately ten (10) hours each day, divided into two (2) separate five (5) hour shifts. You will have a three (3) hour break between shifts. Ultimately each of you is expected to work as long as necessary to fully complete whatever needs to be done. As weather and other factors can quickly change plans on the Playa, please be mentally prepared to do whatever it takes.

We are planning for each of you to get at least one full day off during the week. ”

“Each of you will be compensated $180 of shift pay for each day worked. If you do indeed get a day off during the week, you will not be paid for that day. If you get a half day off, your pay will also be divided in half. There will be no tracking of hours or overtime provided. Each of you is required to complete a W9 form as well as an employee agreement and a waiver of liability to participate as a contractor for this event. ”

-Pete

So, since things did continue to go wrong, there were people working 15-20hr days leaving them all exhausted. I never was actually given a break or told that I could have one. But I am not the type to hurt myself while on my working vacation. I did take breaks on my own when i needed one, and no one ever was upset, or at least ever expressed it. I was sure to be there when I was needed as to not leave any one hanging.

The pre burn email stated that

“We will work together upon your arrival on Sunday afternoon, from 6pm to midnight, to introduce you to every single element of camp.”

No one ended up EVER receiving a schedule. By tuesday evening, Peter had finally told us what our jobs would actually be. After 3 solid days that everyone had worked well over 10hrs with zero breaks, everyone was exhausted. some had not even left the camp at all, and those that did were only able to do so briefly. Pete and the guy being paid to positively motivate everyone told us at this time that “Inside this camp we are not at Burning Man, We are at work” they then led us around the camp and showed us the duties that we were actually hired to do. It was a lot of bar stuff and food service. The details of how Pete wanted these things done were extremely detailed and had made something that could potentially be really fun in to a very easy job to fail. Why would someone want perfectly measured specialty cocktails at a bar in burning man? How could someone expect a full staff to actually want to work in a festival of self expression with no room to self express? My fire inside was growing with every neurotic detail. This camp was an actual pop up restaurant that even had the same staff of his real restaurant working there. He expected this place to run as close to an actual business as he possibly could. This was not our camp, it was his. I was not at home, I was in a live in JOB.. Just as the walls surrounding us could not have seemed any taller, pete ended the meeting with telling everyone that we were all required to work for the rest of the night knowing that everyone there had already worked a solid 12 hours. He was sure to remind us that our contract said that we agreed to do whatever needed to be done, and that having time off was not a guarantee.

The sad part was that so many of these workers allowed themselves to be treated this way was because peter was also their employer in the default world. The majority of them had never attended the festival before so they did not understand how much this went against everything everything this event is about. They were, however, fully aware that If they did not meet their expectations at Burning Man, they would risk losing their jobs. Some of these people even had contracts about future business plans that were tied in to this company, so an entire career could be ruined if they walked away.

I had no tie with these people in the future and did what I needed to do for my own sanity, Take a break. I wandered next door to the missing motel. I stood on the third level and looked down at my camp, It was hideous. High walls made up of storage containers and gray yurts. There was a courtyard filled with uniformed bikes and seqways. there was no color to be seen. Behind the camp there was nothing but playa. no art, no camps, no people, just dust and a trash fence in the distance. We were as close as we could be to being outside of the festival. In front of me there was this beautiful chaotic city happening, In the core of stood a tall man with his feel planted solidly on the ground. No stage for him to stand on, simply a man. Behind him there stood a temple crafted with love and filed with a piece of every burners heart. Past that a wooden structure of two people loving one another that was scheduled to burn in a couple of days. there was a very limited time left for me to be part of this event. I spent an entire day not entering the city that I came to be part of. An entire day dedicated to people that built tall walls to separate US from THEM. This event is meant to brings people together and it felt like it was invaded by a wall of money and power there to make sure we would be separate.

I headed back over to the camp after about an hour and walked in another meeting for everyone. This would be the third meeting we had that day. I explained to the positive attitude guy that I needed to take the night off. I would not allow my own needs to be put aside for the sake of making sure the bar was fully stocked the proper way. He was understanding and let me leave. I spent the night contemplating if my commitment to be part of the team was worth sacrificing my own principles. I was in front of the camp on a couch that was meant to be part of our tea serving lounge which was forgotten. I was chatting with a fellow camp mate who felt the way I did about the entire situation and we were approached by a man who wanted to do what burners do, and join our conversation and build a connection. We welcomed him in and filled him in. We were discussing the scenario we had found ourselves in. He informed us that he was actually one of the customers in our camp. He was genuinely sad to hear of how things had turned out. He explain that JT was a close friend and offered to talk to him to see they can help fix this. He offered to see we could be paid more for what we do as a way to make this ok. I was too tired to explain to him that he seemed to have missed the point. I don’t hate him for doing what he thought was the right thing. He wanted to help. I was just sad to see that he had missed the point. How many other people are missing out on the event because they keep trying to pay for it to happen for them?

The next morning the staff had a secret meeting in a yurt where no one else could see us. Every single person in there went around and told their feelings. Every person in this meeting was in tears.

Some girls were talking about how these paying “guests” would grab at them while they were working.

Others were upset because they had been there for over 10 days had still not been able to see what burning man is.

There were virgins that were not allowed to stay for the man burn because peters restaurant back home needed them there, while peter was out of town enjoying his Burning Man experience.

All of these employees were promised to be involved in the Burning Man experience and suddenly found themselves in the most inhospitable environment you could be in and working the same exact jobs they have in the default world. The difference is that their job on the playa is much more difficult to handle and with a capped earning limit paired with a contract allowing their boss to work them as long and as hard as he desires while they stare at a 10ft wall just hearing the noises of the outside world. So many hard working people were only experiencing Burning Man through catering to all of the customers that would be. My new friends had not been able to do anything for themselves and have worked non stop since they arrived. Everyone just kept trying to make it work and stick to it. Do their job and do it well. I was blown away by the dedication, and disgusted at the same time. I walked out of the meeting. I could not watch such amazing people miss out and then help out the person who caused this to happen. How could so many amazing people not see that if they all walked out together the people who need to have to control will be faced with humility and the customers who want to buy our time will have to be faced with the need to be self reliant…which would have been successful in following through with our original intention. I could not allow myself to enable this sort of behavior, and decided I would not be part of this.

The only employees that seemed to be enjoying their jobs fully were the girls that had been hired to have fun. These girls were not considered staff but were paid to be guests. They would be paid to take the men out for fun adventures on the playa and to pay them total attention while at the camp. Their titles were “Mistresses of Merriment”. Our camp was rumored to have had a satellite camp. I am not sure where it would have been built but it would be a place that our VIP camp members could go if they would not want to be seen. I can have my own judgments on what this all would be intended for, but it is only a rumor as of right now.

I was in the back of the camp when pete came to me and demanded my attention. I was in the middle of speaking a member of the BMorg about what was going on. I walked over to speak with Pete and told him that I was sorry to not be meeting his expectation, but it was a direct result of him not following through with his. He then told me to immediately pack my things and that I was no longer allowed to drink the water or eat the food that I was promised would be provided. He did not hesitate to cut those things off from me, which if I was not prepared, would lead me to be left starving.

2014 caravancicle adI later found a sign posted outside of our camp that stated they were looking to hire a new person to help out. A sign advertising a paying job!!! AT BURNING MAN!!! I wonder how much money they had offered them and if anyone actually took the job.

I kept up with the workers of the camp after I had left. They told stories about guests never washing their own dishes and not cleaning any of their moop. The $900 bikes provided for them were all unlocked and left around the entire festival. They spoke about mr. positive energy guy turning in to a giant pervert that sexually harassed some of the girls working. There were many stories about the poor treatment from the guests and of emotional out bursts by pete. I also heard stories about how many of the guests did seem to have a small transformation, and how there were some fun times being had by everyone.

Was the camp a success? I don’t know. It all depend on who you spoke to I suppose. Maybe the folks who were paid the most would say yes. I know the people who visited the camp generally had some negative experiences. I personally would say that this camp is the GRAND PRIZE WINNER of the VERY FIRST EVER “YOU DID IT WRONG AT BURNING MAN!! YES! REALLY!!” award.

“BUT, what about Radical inclusion?”

Whatever….


increasing the signal to noise ratio with compassion

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some seeing eye
Posts: 2896
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Camp Name: Woo
Location: The Oregon

Re: Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from peopl

Post by some seeing eye » Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:31 am

9volt wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:14 am
...and just think, not a dime went to playa restoration... only about a hundred and fifty people where just $1000, shit probably less, could change their entire life... that pic up after you in the desert...
Personally I believe resto and all of DPW needs medical insurance/workman's comp and if it takes a non-profit outside the self-centered BORG, so be it. A thousand or few pay too.

How many resto and DPW are there? Any data on how many work per week in August and September?
increasing the signal to noise ratio with compassion

9volt
Posts: 2
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Burning Since: 2009
Camp Name: DPW

Re: Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from peopl

Post by 9volt » Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:46 am

some seeing eye wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:31 am
9volt wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:14 am
...and just think, not a dime went to playa restoration... only about a hundred and fifty people where just $1000, shit probably less, could change their entire life... that pic up after you in the desert...
Personally I believe resto and all of DPW needs medical insurance/workman's comp and if it takes a non-profit outside the self-centered BORG, so be it. A thousand or few pay too.

How many resto and DPW are there? Any data on how many work per week in August and September?
*I'm sure everything the ORG does is insured, and employees and volunteers are as insured and medically covered like any other working for a company in the United States. Everyone I know that was working and got injured had their medical bills covered.

*I speak for myself and only for what I believe is possibly true.

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Papa Bear
Posts: 368
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Camp Name: Astral Headwash
Location: Berthoud, Colorado
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Re: Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from peopl

Post by Papa Bear » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:07 am

ItalyPlaya wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:47 am
I agree, that it is not right to support such a Plug and Play camp. But as a virgin, we had no choice and no idea how this camp would operate, had we known, we would have looked for another one.
Mario, it sounds like you got scammed, though it also sounds like you learned a lot about what our culture really is despite that experience.

I was wondering if you'd be willing to answer a few more questions about your experience? One of the concerns I've had with the PnP discussions in the past is that they've tended to involve a whole lot of assumption and speculation, with very little hard data.

Having been through one, though, you seem uniquely qualified to give us some insight about how some of these outfits find their "customers", and maybe help prevent other virgins from getting sucked in by them in the future.

In particular:

1. How did you first hear about Burning Man?
2. Once you did, how did you go about learning more about the event, and preparing to go?
3. What made you decide you needed to join a camp, rather than camp on your own?
4. How did you hear about PlayaSkool?
5. What convinced you that joining them was the way to go, vs. some other approach? What alternatives did you look into?
6. How, if at all, did PlayaSkool educate you about Burning Man culture before the event?

Altahoe
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:23 pm
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Re: Plug&Play Camp PlayaSkool - Camp Probably intentionally left Moop to keep deposit and legally steal money from peopl

Post by Altahoe » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:33 am

Go get'em Papa Bear and Placement team! If there's even the smallest amount of truth in our Italian friend's statement......just follow the math. Like many, I'm torn over the PnP camps and their contributions to the city, but this a lot of money that we're talking about.

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