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Airsoft-Ed

Balderstone School/First and Only?

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Was anyone there yesterday, or visited before when they ran a few days there last year?

Or perhaps some of you are just F&O regulars in general.

I just want to get a discussion going because I'm unsure whether it's just me, or everyone has experienced it, but considering how much money it generally costs to attend their events, I don't feel their "customer service" shall we say, is really up to much.

Marshal attitudes seem quite harsh, even if you're just asking a basic question you feel like you're putting some horrible pressure on them for an answer, it's like nothing you do can please them.

They'll jab at me for wearing too much kit, as if saying I'm taking it too seriously, but then they're the first to start shouting orders as if it's the battle of the Somme as soon as they start playing.

Their responses, tone and attitudes in general just seem to disagree with me, they seem angry, jumpy or agitated all the time. But this is the issue, is it just me? Has anyone else ever got the same feeling, or am I just an odd one out or something?

It actually feels oppressive; when marshals are around I feel like I have to be more mindful of their opinion of what's happening, than what's actually happening, and when they aren't there I feel like people push things a bit more than they would if they were being watched by a marshal.

It kind of reminds me of walking dogs - in the sense that if you're very harsh with your dog and never let it off the lead, it'll always want to get away from you, you worry it'll run away if you give it any freedom. Well, of course it will, because you've never given it any freedom, it wants some. But if you give it freedom and you keep the freedom in check, it'll keep coming back and the concept of it running away from you or its behaviour getting out of hand will become alien, you wouldn't expect it to happen, and it won't.

The marshals seem to have the lead wound too tight.

But I don't feel like I can say anything because it almost feels like if you engage them in a debate about it, they will just react negatively to you, so voicing concerns about staff attitudes just feels like sticking your neck out.

I don't want to have this discussion with them because I feel like it would lead to an argument and get me banned, instead of it being a civil discussion and them taking my points on board.
I don't even want to start this discussion on any of the Facebook pages I operate in case someone reads it and takes it the wrong way.

Perhaps there's a brighter side to them when you raise points like this, it's just the way they come across more generally makes me doubtful enough to not want to try.

I feel anxious enough about posting this at all because last time I went public with concerns about a site, their regulars practically became a lynch mob, as did some of their staff.
The reason I didn't approach that site about the issue at the time is the exact same reason I didn't feel up to a confrontation with the staff at First and Only yesterday.

If people don't seem like they would take well to negative feedback, then I'd rather just deal with it and ask others about their opinion of it afterwards.

I think better on paper than in person because there's no pressure to respond immediately, I get the opportunity to gather my thoughts first.

So, has anyone else thought this before?

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Making friends again Ed? :P

 

All I can offer is that different F&O sites are ran by different people, so maybe some are better than others?

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I thought they were mostly the same people? It's why the sites are all open every weekend, it alternates because the staff have to travel around.

I actually posted this earlier this morning, since then I asked on Facebook where the photos were going to be uploaded and it somehow escalated to the point where they felt it necessary to ban me...

Let's just say it's just as well they dislike me over incredibly trivial matters, because the feeling is thoroughly mutual.

I actually can't believe they banned me for asking about photos. If they'd just given me a straight answer instead of being arseholes about it, I wouldn't have said anything else and all would be well.

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I don't think its just you - have experienced similar attitudes at F&O Anzio. Got to the point that I wasn't prepared to accept their attitudes for the price that you have to pay to play there.

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It's pretty ridiculous when marshals think they can act like bell ends, never take any criticism/feedback and expect their site to run smoothly in that environment.

 

I wouldn't be surprised if someone saw your original post and got butthurt about it then banned you when you asked about the photos. Regardless, I don't think players should have to live in fear of getting banned, or at least ostracised by a site purely for questioning what is going on.

 

Although clearly if a player wants to get into an argument with a marshal over their decision mid game that isn't sensible either: last game during the brief one of the marshals at my local had to bring it up after getting into 10 minute arguments with players mid game the weekend before.

 

Frankly I'm not sure what some sites find so unclear: you pay for a service not to get treated badly by their staff - it's the same as a shop, they aren't having my money if their staff are rude or disinterested. To the point where i'd rather pay more for good service.

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That's the point I made on Facebook.

I pay a lot to be there and get better service from places that charge £10 less and I don't have to travel half as far to get to. I also made sure to warn them that they might very easily say "well go and play at those places then" but that really isn't good for their reputation.

Though is seems off the back of all of this that they maintain that reputation by deleting negative comments, instead of correcting their faults. Not the best way to go about making money in my opinion.

They're a business, their goal is money, I get that. But that goal should be secondary to keeping their paying customers happy, otherwise how do they expect to keep people coming back and paying?

What difference does it make that they run airsoft games? You wouldn't expect the staff in a shop to behave like that, but at an airsoft site, they have control of what goes on, they have the higher authority, what they say goes.

What hope do the people who have an issue have of it being resolved?

Yesterday was awful for the red team, we were pinned in regen every game because the other team had far more aggressive players. They couldn't have failed to see this happening, yet they didn't ever even suggest rebalancing teams. I also remember the head marshal saying after the first game that the idea of the game was for the marshals to gauge the skill level of the players present.

If that's the case, then they're very bad at gauging it.

Later in the day I shot a guy crouched by a door, square in the chest, who then turned to shoot me, with a marshal standing right next to him.
I expected the marshal to step in, but he didn't so I voiced my concerns at the player, "Oh come on!"

At which point the marshal called us both to one side and reprimanded BOTH of us and asked me; "Do you think I can't do my job?"

I don't pay to expect that level of confrontation from someone who was supposed to have acted before I had to.

At the time I just agreed with him, but that's because I'd rather have an argument on paper so I can gather my thoughts and get my point across more clearly. I don't want a face to face row in the middle of an airsoft site during a game I have more respect for the other players than that.

Though by the last game no one on my team seemed to give much of a shit anymore, we were meant to have 1 life each but most people would just walk off and then come back.

It was just bad.

I was willing to let that slide because every site has bad days, but being banned for asking about photos is just beyond a joke.

If I can't get the head marshal or site organiser to un-ban me then I'll be quite happy to never visit their games again. After today I'm shocked that they feel the treatment we were offered was worthy of even half £35.

One of my mates said at the end of the day, and I quote: "I played £35 to get treated like a child in a school (however ironic, it wasn't fun) and continuously be belittled by some fat guy with a go-pro.."

 

I really enjoyed the site last time I went, and I really enjoyed Anzio as well, but I've always had the feeling looming over me that the staff have the wrong attitude. Customer service in airsoft shouldn't be any different to any other business that deals with people face to face.

I also enjoyed The Aslyum last year, in fact that was one of the best game days I've had, but I think that's run by different people.

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The Asylum is run by the Midlands 'Division' of First and Only, Not sure about Balderstone School. but I can put you in touch with the guy who runs the midlands section, I am quite sure he will be more then willing to help you sort any problems out and will listen to you're points of view.

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I have a mutual friend with Felix so I can get in touch if need be, I've never dealt with Felix directly but I was completely satisfied with my trip to The Asylum.

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Kind of sucks to be treated in such a way. You are after all paying their wages.

 

First and Only is an established Airsoft site company and should have the best staff working for them at their sites.

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Couple of things I think might need saying 'from the other end' as it were:

 

They'll jab at me for wearing too much kit, as if saying I'm taking it too seriously, but then they're the first to start shouting orders as if it's the battle of the Somme as soon as they start playing.

You do wear too much kit though ;)

The reason for the orders is that slow games are simply boring to play OR marshal. People getting shouted at tend to get stuck in more, which is more entertaining for all players. it usually doesn't come from other players filling this role, so marshals do it to keep things progressing.

 

when they aren't there I feel like people push things a bit more than they would if they were being watched by a marshal.

That will always happen. I speed when there is no police around. The only solution to this is to have 1 High vis marshal per player on site. yeah, it isn't going to work.

 

the marshal called us both to one side and reprimanded BOTH of us

The marshal may have looked away for a split second, or simply not seen the BB hit. Something can happen over his mic to distract him. All he can go off in that situation is the fact that he has heard what was essentially a cheat call and, as stated in all briefs, we deal with cheat callers first.

 

I don't feel like I can say anything because it almost feels like if you engage them in a debate about it, they will just react negatively to you

I get this, I understand it fully and I believe it's just Jamies nature to keep airsoft run in a very 'boyish' manner, but talk to him quietly or PM him on the F&O forums and he'll take this kind of thing seriously (his name is Jimjogg over there)

 

 

You'll tend to find there are a few different groups of marshals, all when left to their own devices operate in very different manners:

F&O Midlands - no cameras on site, but very few complaints from players on any staff behaviour etc. You're almost always guaranteed a good day out.

F&O Northern - this is anzio, Bolton and Balderstone (the bunch in question) It's where Jamie tends to spend most of his time. This is where most players visit, but also has the most complaints of staff making poor calls etc.

Wales/Borders - Same as the midlands lot.

 

Then we've got us lot up in Otley, Jamie tends to leave us alone (the old joke of us being banished to Marshal the swampland up Otley way) - I would extend an invitation to come up and play, but I know it'd be a fair old trek for you

 

If you have any points or debate, I'm quite willing - or if you want to PM jamie over on F&O, that'd be the easiest course of action/I can do it if you don't feel comfy doing it.

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Didn't read all of the above posts as I have the attention span of a goldfish

 

I would like to say however that went to Anzio,leek this past weekend - it was my first ever experience of airsoft and I found it amazing

 

I thought the Marshall's were brilliant, really friendly, approachable and helpful

 

Maybe I was lucky, or maybe just didn't know what to expect etc but so far based on 1st impressions I couldn't really fault f&o

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tbh this kind of experience is why i really dont try new sites with going to finmere for about 6 years all i have is good things to say :) the place is like a family everyone knows each other and all the marshals have a lot of experience and everyone just enjoys the day XD

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I just can't be bothered to deal with it right now.

The airsoft community is pathetic beyond words at times, this is a key example, banning me for asking about photos - I was met with a negative attitude, pointed that out and then the staff as well as some other people managed to escalate it to the point where they somehow felt it appropriate to ban me.

Do a higher proportion of people than I'm aware smoke crack when they use Facebook, or what? It's literally beyond my comprehension.

 

I was being straight and honest, logical and reasonable, and they were being hasty and emotional. Admin power abuse is basically the reason I'm banned, instead of having a debate they prefer to simply remove their opposition.

I was told by someone, who somehow managed to avoid being banned for no reason, that Jamie posted a comment saying that he agreed with Wayne, though I'm not sure he saw the whole thing as admins deleted it... What I don't understand about situations like this, is if the site and staff are so convinced they're the ones in the right, then why do they feel the need to delete my content, and me?

Surely leaving it there would do no harm if it were me in the wrong...?

I have been banned from places for similarly petty reasons before and it's just sad that people can be so fickle.

I get the increasing impression that anywhere with a flawless reputation has probably banned, deleted, lied and cheated their way into that position, and for a game that everyone is always quick to remind us is based on honesty, it seems to be something I encounter increasingly often.

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If you're worried about getting dicked about because you have legitimate complaints, you could try sending them an anonymous email. Don't know if it will do any good mind you.

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were you filming ed? if so why not post it. not just for the sake of it as that would be petty but as you said about the player you hit if you have proof then why not use that proof to take to the site?

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Because on the day I was just accepting it, I didn't complain because I was just taking it as an off day. Sure I wasn't happy that I spent so much to be there, but I just took it in my stride.

All the issues came about on Facebook afterwards, nothing I have recorded makes them look bad, in fact I'll be uploading a highlights reel on Friday showing the best parts of the day.

The fact that it's only a highlights reel and not any fully fleshed out games is the only evidence I have that it was a bad day and we spent 90% of it dead or pinned in regen.

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Humm to jab at someone for wearing too much kit in airsoft??! God they wana see me then.

Thats the whole point of Airsoft!!

Some of these places start of all about the fun the staff but the moment they worry about the money first the people second is the turning of the company and the downfall as like you loads of others will be thinking the same thing.

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tis stupid to make fun of peoples kit( thought its hard not to make fun of 2 tones...) i notice rentals making fun of me in mostly black and thinking ill be crap as everyone will see me... before i pop up beside them and kil em and disappear again. its your kit your money do as you will. the only thing that annoys me though along those lines is when people spend more time fixing gear that using it as puts your team at an advantage of not only being a man down, but it likely puts the player they should be pushing at an advantage.

and facebook shenanigans... seen several, been part of a few. part of why i prefer face to face as some things may pass across in ways not intended etc. course if i had been treated in such a way i certainly would not be going back to such a place and would take my custom elsewhere....

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The first skirmish I went to was at F&O's Hay Wood and that was brilliant but it closed down like 4 years ago or something. :( :(

Was really close too

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It's almost as if they've never studied business or marketing... oh, hang on...

 

Yeah, well it's probably not such a surprise that the concept of "opinion leaders" might not figure highly in their thinking when they treat a day out marshalling as an opportunity to work out their feelings of frustrated anger towards those people who have power over them in their day to day lives and jobs, the kind of people who have some power in an organisation and even if they don't make a massive deal out of it, those with the misfortune to be subject to that power know very well that it doesn't matter what the issue is, once there is an issue, that power will be exercised even to the extent of causing people real harm in their lives in order that the 'superior' is acknowledged as right, often without any reference to whether that opinion actually bears any semblance of veracity whatsoever and furthermore in the unspoken knowledge that, should said opinion be proved erroneous at some point, then ownership of it will become at least a moot point and may in fact migrate towards another, possibly the very hypothetical marshal we are examining.

 

The trouble with these feelings is that when they exist for a long time they cannot easily be examined, or even experienced consciously, by their owners, because to do so is to have to consider and admit to oneself some really fundamental truths which once admitted cannot be taken back and also require action or else the consequences of inaction will be so bad that they will literally threaten life and sanity:

 

"Why is my life so shit? I had dreams. Why am I having to put up with cocks who know nothing about leadership, organisation, or responsibility but everything about sliming out from under scrutiny whenever anything goes wrong and by dint of that alone have managed to keep their power and/or maintain the structure of that power so long that their position and that of their ilk is unassailable so they get to big up their chests on a daily basis at my expense? Why do they tell kids that if you work hard you can do, if not anything you want, then at least make the most of whatever you can do and enjoy the just rewards from doing it diligently, when the truth is that, unless you are extremely lucky, the majority of the wealth, status, wellbeing, joy, goodwill, respect, and power that is generated from whatever you do as a job will be enjoyed by others, the majority of whom have done nothing more, and often considerably less, than you to deserve it...

 

[and breath]

 

...and that your work will take up so much of your time, even when you are not there, in terms of dictating where you can go, what you can do, with whom you can associate, what you can look like, even what beliefs you can be known to hold, that anything you may choose to do outside work, in the hope of generating a higher percentage of all that good stuff for yourself and maybe a couple/few close associates, will be very much a secondary activity, always losing out to that which ought to be what you do in order to pay for your chosen life but which very much becomes the life you must continue doing it to pay for, in some horrible soul consuming serpent swallowing its own tail kind of way...?

 

[and relax]

 

Why is it that for the majority of us, opting out of even a little bit of the rat race, but enough for it to be worthwhile, enough that we will gain any significant time and energy which could be put to better use living how we would like, will result in losing almost all of the meagre benefits being part of the crowd brings? Can I make it on my own, ostracised from normal society? Can I actually cope with the people who have been ostracised for who knows what, since they will become the pool from which I get to select my future associates?

 

[cue surreal circular-paradoxical bit]

 

Why don't I have the understanding of my feelings and, even when I do to an extent, the practice using the vocabulary necessary to understand them better, to have an internal dialogue, let alone discuss them with somebody else, so that I can make informed choices about the things I find myself doing just because I feel like this, without knowing why i do them, rather than being filled with this dark emptiness, as if inside me there was an organ with a wound on its outside membrane which has scabbed over but never healed, and come apart and scabbed again, and again, so that the wound is barely covered by the flaky insubstantial coping mechanisms I have to avoid these very thoughts and when I lift the scab just a fraction, it's not a wound but somehow a bottomless pit with an inchoate howl of anguish still echoing around inside it from when it was first ignored and suppressed, subjugated to the requirements of this 'life' which I never chose, which if I'd been given the facts beforehand I would never have chosen, all those years ago? A howl which in reality takes the place of pretty much everything I have just written... and what about those coping mechanisms...?

 

[and now, the end is near... and so I face the... *gulp*]

 

Oh shit, I'm a bully. I'm just like those arseholes I hate for doing it to me... I go around treating people like dirt because I can get away with it and all to stop myself from thinking about that dark pit. I feel important and worthy of respect when I make someone else feel inconsequential, disrespected, insulted, frustrated for no reason at all never mind a good one... I've got to change. I hate people like that. Like me. I've got to change. But... but... how? I'll have to get out from under those people who do it to me. But there are so many of them. Even if I can get out from under this lot, there will be more wherever I go. I'll have to opt out of pretty much the entire rat race... I daren't. The truth is as I've suspected for so long but couldn't even come close to thinking about, I'm a coward. I would rather eat shit morning noon and night than risk losing what little sense of security I feel from being similar enough to everybody else that I can call myself 'successful'... oh god, i'm despicable...

 

"Oi you! Bravo Two Zero in the Osprey... get over here! What... are you questioning my professional judgement? Getting a free day playing in exchange for marshalling makes me a professional, you know!? You know when it says Pro Airsoft Guns on websites? That's me that is: a professional and you'd better remember it. What I say goes! Go on, get back in, but don't let me see you doing that again, or there'll be trouble!"

 

Still, as I say, opinion leaders... Unfortunately for those who have grown up with the above massive waffle being the norm, indeed to one extent or another the only way to advance from a position at the periphery of the power pertaining to whatever group we may seek to belong to, closer to the warming centre of concentrated bum licking, the times they are a changing. Not the modus operandi of course, but increasingly it is very difficult to spot opinion leaders by sight, to understand what direction leads toward the centre of the nearest nexus of bum lickery...

 

But hey, what do I know? I'm just a nutter who swallowed a dictionary waffling on an obscure forum, right? :rolleyes::wacko::unsure: Right?

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I wish you'd been there, Ian.

Watching you verbally annihilate them would have literally made my year.

They'd still have banned you and everyone who cheered though.

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F&O Embassy is a brilliant day out, been a few times now and brilliant marshaling and players, not once seen an argument or heated conversation etc....

 

Not been to any other F&O sites though

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