Background: I'm being paid for attending this workshop and the "pay" included lunch each day, the idea being that we'd all hang out and talk about the workshop stuff. That's pretty much happened.
I was disappointed to learn today that the workshop head has given a book publisher (the one publishing the book we'll be required to use) the opportunity to talk to us over lunch that the publisher will provide.
This will save the workshop funders the cost of lunch for X number of people. (I'm assuming that neither the workshop head nor anyone else is receiving money directly for providing the lunch opportunity.)
For the cost of that lunch (bought through the campus suppliers by the workshop funders), the time of all the learners in the workshop has been given to the publisher.
The publisher is taking on the cost of providing lunch (I'm assuming not from the campus suppliers, but who knows), and will have access to us to try to sell us stuff.
So basically, my time has been sold. And I suspect it's been sold pretty darned cheaply.
I suspect that I will take my own lunch and eat elsewhere. That may piss off the workshop head, but that's life.
I objected to the arrangement when I found out about it, as this is a particularly vile publisher, and was brushed off. Not only was I brushed off, I was sort of mocked by one of the organizing folks because this is a common practice and how dare I question it.
I'm going to ask tomorrow how much the campus suppliers charge for lunch per person, because then I'll know how much the workshop leaders think my time is worth. Any guesses?
Am I crazy for objecting? I mean, this is a particularly vile publisher, no, not that one, but the other vile publisher. And I know that there's been tons of research on the free pen stuff for medical folks which demonstrated that medical folks changed their prescribing behaviors when they got free pens (or whatever) from pharmaceutical companies. I'm pretty sure no business is spending money on advertising type stuffs if they aren't thinking it will be worth it in terms of increased sales.
And finally, isn't it a bit amusing that a workshop on rhetoric that uses marketing terms is arranged by people who are seemingly unaware of how marketing works?