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Topic: Poachers :(
Message: Posted by: Alym Amlani (May 28, 2005 04:05AM)
Here's a question that I feel sad to ask:

Have any of you regular performers run across poachers at your resident gig? By poachers, I mean other magi that try and steal your gig when you're not working?

I know that it is usually unsuccessful, and that if you perform well weekly you have nothing to worry about; however, it's so frustrating to hear that some people come in specifically to try and take your job. Anyway, I'm still working so all's well, but just thought I'd poll some others to see if you've encountered similar behavior...
Message: Posted by: Paul (May 28, 2005 05:53AM)
It's not happened to me, but I've heard of it happening before a few times, once happened to a friend working a trade show when he took a break!

As you say, it's pretty sad. There are plenty of venues to approach. It shows a lack of ethics and a lack of experience. Generally a good performer has nothing to worry about.

Paul.
Message: Posted by: Paddy (May 28, 2005 06:10AM)
Had it happen a couple of times. Both cases the G.M. came to me and showed me the person's card (same person in both cases) and asked me if I knew him. I responded "no, but I have heard good things about him." The only reason I said that was because you never tear down anybody, especially your compitition, it makes you look petty and jealous.

Well both G.M.'s responded the same way, "don't worry, compared to you he's pure crap" (or a word meaning the same.) Made me feel really good.


Peter
Message: Posted by: Keith Raygor (May 28, 2005 08:45AM)
On 2 occasions (same magician) in the past 6 years at the current restaurant. The owners laughed about it and thought it was tacky. The magician in question has gone on to live up to his self-estimated potential.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (May 28, 2005 09:32AM)
Yes. Yes. Yes. I have serious issues with bottom-feeders. Do not get me started.

~michael
Message: Posted by: Allan (May 28, 2005 12:29PM)
Had it happen twice in the same restaurant by two different magicians. Those are the ones I know about.
Message: Posted by: Alym Amlani (May 28, 2005 02:20PM)
Sigh...
Thou shalt not steal!
Message: Posted by: Bob Johnston (May 28, 2005 11:07PM)
I have never worked with a “written” contract in a restaurant.

Would (or could) that problem be addressed in a written contract and has anyone added it to their agreement with a restaurant?

I am talking about another magician looking for a gig for the times that you are not there.

Bob
Message: Posted by: lowphat (May 28, 2005 11:14PM)
I suppose that would probably help out, but sometimes would depend on the type of restaurant you're in. If you're working a chain restaurant, a lot of times the GM doesn't have authorization to sign a contract. If it's privately owned though that might be a good idea. However, I tend to agree with others in the conversation that if you're doing good magic, you really don't have to worry about it. Most people who are doing good magic themselves would never stoop to such a level anyhow, so rest assured, if their coming in to poach, then they're probably a hack.
Message: Posted by: steve j (May 29, 2005 12:06AM)
Right now I am confident that I don't have to worry about this however it does worry me from time to time, especially since many restaurants are price oriented, if someone come in saying that they are cheaper they may not be as good but I lose the job. I hate when this happens.
Message: Posted by: 20Robert04 (May 29, 2005 10:08AM)
I don't know I might looking at it the wrong way but they it be possible accidents? When I move in a few weeks I am going to go around trying to get another job at a local restaurant. Since I will be new to the area I wont know what restaurants are taken and what are not, so if I hit one that has already a performing magician I will just kindly back off. It could just be a simple mistake, or I could just simply be arrigent.

Paul
Message: Posted by: Keith Raygor (May 29, 2005 12:58PM)
In my case, it was after the magician asked to meet me to introduce himself, we spoke for a few minutes, then when I excused myself to hit some tables, he asked for the owner to offer his services.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (May 29, 2005 01:21PM)
I had one guy, who I thought was a friend, go to extreme lengths to undermine me. He did some hack magic, but was mostly a balloon folder. At one of my regular restaurants, there was a particular night that I had to come in about an hour and a half later. The management knew and were ok with it (I always had a good relationship with them).

The balloon mangler knew this also. He took it upon himself to go to that restaurant, tell the management that he was going to be filling in for me, and the management naturally assume all was OK. He proceeded to work as many tables as he could in that time. He is also a notorious tip hustler, always wearing buttons and idiot tags that say stuff like, "Tipping is Good", or "I Work for Tips".

Needless to say, when I got there, I hit the roof. He had in essence, eliminated the possibility of me working any of those tables myself, either because of overkill, or because all those people were thinking it was going to cost them again.

I have had at least two other bottom-feeders to contend with heavily over the years, but I'll save those stories for later.

~michael
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (May 30, 2005 01:10AM)
[quote]
On 2005-05-28 15:20, alym wrote:
Sigh...
Thou shalt not steal!
[/quote]

I guess that kills one of my favorite sleights. But that's a side (steal) issue! :lol:

As to bottom feeders, they are an occupational hazard. The real problem is with the fast changes in management one gets in chain restaurants who try to "improve" their bottom line by dumping a higher priced magician (me) for someone who will do the same hours for $25 for the whole evening (and who has only a year of experience and isn't out of high school and only does dealer items with the printed patter that comes with them!).

Don't get me started on those people.

Lee Darrow, C.H.
Message: Posted by: Alym Amlani (May 30, 2005 01:18AM)
That's why it's great to get in good with the owners of the restaurant you work at. That way, if the manager leaves, at least the owner still knows you - and ultimately it's their decision :)

Funny, the restaurant was never approached before I started working there!
Message: Posted by: Jon Gallagher (Jun 1, 2005 10:03PM)
I lost a restaurant job once to a guy who came in and undercut me in price. That was about 20 years ago.

The restaurant manager told me that it was just a matter of economics. Nothing personal.

Three weeks later when the manager called me to see if I could come back to work for them, I told him that my prices had gone up quite a bit.

Nothing personal. Just a matter of economics. My economics.

A month later, I was working at a restaurant just down the street.
Message: Posted by: Joe Mauro (Jun 2, 2005 11:46PM)
It's a free market. Be so good that it doesn't happen.
Message: Posted by: kinesis (Jun 3, 2005 03:17AM)
I was placed in a potentially awkward situation. I recently got booked by an agent to work at a vey well known restaurant chain. When I turned up I was informed that it was to cover for the regular magician. Well at the end of the 3 hr job many of the waitstaff said I was much better than the usual guy and they'd tell the management. I didn't give out any cards and I didn't leave any publicity material with the management. If they want me I guess they can get to me through the agent...

So, what would you guys do if this restaurant offered you the job. I certainly would feel very bad about taking someone elses work from them but I would be mad not to take it. This is, at the moment, purely hypothetical.
Message: Posted by: cfrye (Jun 3, 2005 08:07PM)
I believe you have acted ethically and would be justified in taking the job, if offered.

Sometimes you lose a job to bad luck. In baseball, a first baseman named Wally Pipp took a day off and was replaced by Lou Gehrig. Gehrig then played 2,130 consecutive games, nearly fourteen 154-game seasons, beginning that very day.
Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (Jun 4, 2005 02:56AM)
I think it is incredibly bad form to try to move in on another magician's turf, whether you are better or not. He's the one who did the leg work, etc. Now if the restaurant fires him first and then contacts you, that's another matter.
Message: Posted by: Alym Amlani (Jun 4, 2005 03:45AM)
I would have to agree with Scott here. Whether or not the restaurant approached you, the hardest part about securing a restaurant gig (I think) is to convince the restaurant that they actually need the service.

As magicians, we improve as we perform. Perhaps (referring to Kinesis's question) that magician was new to the industry and learning the ropes and in time would be a good fit for the restaurant. He deserves his shot too.

I firmly believe that the first rule of this area of work should be respect for eachother's performing space. :)

That's just my opinion...
Message: Posted by: kinesis (Jun 4, 2005 06:05AM)
I have every respect for my fellow magi. I've been elbowed out by other magicians in the past. I believe this guy has been with the restaurant some time which makes things worse. I have no intention of contacting the restaurant again, but would have to think hard if they offered me the job. Anyway it's all hypothetical and hopefully will stay that way. Interesting discussion topic though...
Message: Posted by: Alym Amlani (Jun 4, 2005 10:46AM)
LOL, sorry, it was late when I posted and didn't mean to imply whatsoever a lack of respect. :)

Great topic btw!
Message: Posted by: cfrye (Jun 4, 2005 02:11PM)
[quote]
On 2005-06-04 03:56, Scott F. Guinn wrote:
I think it is incredibly bad form to try to move in on another magician's turf, whether you are better or not. He's the one who did the leg work, etc. Now if the restaurant fires him first and then contacts you, that's another matter.
[/quote]
I agree, but that's not what happened here. The original poster didn't "move in"; he was brought in as a replacement through an agency and the wait staff, of their own volition, said they would tell the manager that he was much better than the magician who has the gig.

When I said that the original poster was acting ethically, I reflected his statements that he had neither contacted the restaurant since the gig nor actively lobbied for the job while he was filling in. Given those circumstances, if the restaurant manager wants to make the change, that's show biz.

Curt
Message: Posted by: Aaron Lucas (Jun 5, 2005 05:35AM)
If you are a good magician, you are charging a reasonable sum and get on well with the staff then you are not going to have to worry about some other guy getting your job.

Try and keep control of who stands in for you - organise it all yourself and don't put in anyone who is much better than you. I have done about four restaurants weekly over the last few years (I don't do them any more) and always made sure that when I was unable to make it that I put in someone who was scruffier, weirder and less competent than me. That way the restaurant staff couldn't wait for me to come back.

By contrast I recently got a call from a very upmarket restaurant (average spend $80 a head) and the magician was ill so they had asked around and got my name from someone. When I went in they realised that I was much better than the other guy and now it looks like I may be taking over. I don't feel this is poaching as the restaurant approached me and the other guy is quite clearly dumb enough not to have considered the above.
Message: Posted by: Comet (Jun 5, 2005 07:50AM)
I've had two things happen to me. I took someone along on a show I was performing for a Daycare center once so he could see what my show like. While I was finishing up my show he was in the office of the directer selling his Santa and clown act to her.
I was also working one location of a local restaurant chain at the time and got a call from a manager at one of the restaurants asking me to bring the reciept into him for the past weeks performance. The thing is I had never worked that location. I only lived a mile or so from it so I went to see that manager and found that another local magician had used my business card and worked under my name in that restaurant (poorly I might add) I spoke with the servers and the asst. mgr to make sure that he was using my name and he was. He had introduced himself as me and worked ONE night. I did confront him and he denied that he used my name but I do know one thing. he'll never do it again.
Enjoy!
Joe Comet! (the real one!)
Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (Jun 5, 2005 06:33PM)
[quote]
On 2005-06-04 15:11, cfrye wrote:
[quote]
On 2005-06-04 03:56, Scott F. Guinn wrote:
I think it is incredibly bad form to try to move in on another magician's turf, whether you are better or not. He's the one who did the leg work, etc. Now if the restaurant fires him first and then contacts you, that's another matter.
[/quote]
I agree, but that's not what happened here. The original poster didn't "move in"; he was brought in as a replacement through an agency and the wait staff, of their own volition, said they would tell the manager that he was much better than the magician who has the gig.

When I said that the original poster was acting ethically, I reflected his statements that he had neither contacted the restaurant since the gig nor actively lobbied for the job while he was filling in. Given those circumstances, if the restaurant manager wants to make the change, that's show biz.

Curt
[/quote]I never said that's what happened here. read my post again. I said that it is bad form for a person to do that, but another matter if the restaurant cans the other guy and calls him. Just like you just said, but with fewer words. Twice. ;)
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Jun 6, 2005 12:00PM)
Try the freelance photography biz. I had a great client (for over 30 years) and the relationship I had with them was wonderful -- they even hired me to do magic too.

They told me time after time that other photographers constantly contacted them to take my work away from me... and at much cheaper prices... but, the loyalty with the client -- in both directions -- ruled and I never got pushed out.

I did get "dropped" (no one took my place) due to a huge financial downturn in their business where ALL BUDGETS were slashed.

But, I was about to retire anyway.
Message: Posted by: John C (Jun 6, 2005 02:20PM)
I'm sure that there are plenty of other magi sending out flyers or walking in that my not know whether or not a magician works at a particular restaurant.

Not much you can do about that expect have a good relationship with the manager.

John
Message: Posted by: Comet (Jun 7, 2005 12:05AM)
I'll do a cold call from time to time for a place but I will not go someplace where I know another magician or clown is working. the magic community is really kind of small in most areas and we know there's a few magician who are really out working so it's not too hard to get the info about who's working where. I used to live in Cheyenne WY and I think I was one of two magicians who worked in that town at the time and the other guy and I were good friends so I didn't have a problem from other magicians. I did have a few clowns who attempted to come in and work some of the places I was working but they didn't ever seem to bust in. it's funny what some people will do though.
Enjoy!
Joe Comet
Message: Posted by: Alym Amlani (Jun 15, 2005 02:59AM)
UPDATE: I have now been told by some of the staff the name of the guy who has been trying to poach the gig. I'm just not sure what, if anything, would be the right thing to do...

What would you do?
Message: Posted by: murdo (Jun 15, 2005 10:48AM)
Excellent topic. Thanks to all who have helped educate me.

Half way through I was going to take the devil's advocate position of asking someone to justify the position that everybody is taking.

After all should you hold back from approaching the management when you think you can do a better job / cheaper (sorry - better value) job than the incumbent ? What are you stealing ? Why should you be shut out because some other guy is there ? He's been paid every week. Isn't it just self interest that makes us look on it as wrong ? What are you stealing ? Haven't you got as much right to it as anyone else ?

And then of course I got as far as the answer - the reason someone has a right to the turf is because it's the initial sell that is the hard work. That's why they've earned it, and that's what and why it's stealing.

But I'm afraid I've not yet got as far as being able to answer the question in the latest post.
Message: Posted by: bsears (Jun 15, 2005 12:16PM)
I showed up to a regular gig one night and another entertainer was already there pitching them! Can you say uncomfortable? This person apologized to me, saying they didn't know the restaurant already had entertainment - and then CONTINUED THEIR PITCH, RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. Unbelievable. The manager later tore up the other entertainer's card and we had a good laugh at the nerve of some people.
Message: Posted by: Comet (Jun 15, 2005 09:37PM)
Bsears, That's kind of the way I felt when my "friend" worked that restaurant AS ME. It was a very uncomfortable thing but he did get to know exactly how I felt about him not only telling the restaurant mgr he was me and working a night as me. Needless to say I met with the mgr when he called me and showed him my ID as well as a picture of the guy who said he was me. He confirmed it was and asked me to come work for him. he figured if someone would pose as me then I'd be worth seeing. I got that restaurant for close to a year till they moved out of the area. ya never know what a guy will do!! lol
Enjoy!
Joe Comet