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Matthew Bennett
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Louisville, KY
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One of the restaurants I work at has received two complaints about me.

One person saw my promo picture at the counter, and told the owner that playing cards are evil.

Another lady saw me doing magic at other tables, the people were laughing and clapping. When I approached her table, I said "How are you all doing tonight" She said, "WERE FINE AND WE DON'T WANT TO BE BOTHERED" (I replied, "No problem at all, enjoy your meal. Thank you for coming and please let me know if you need anything" She later told one of the servers that I was a "nuisance" and that people would stop coming to the restaurant if I was there. She didn't even see the magic.

That ALMOST killed my happy nice-guy persona for the evening. Almost.

This did: Based on two complaints, the owner is only going to put my promo picture out on the nights that I am performing (the promo says EVERY MONDAY EVENING, 5:30 - 7:30) So now the only people who will be able to see it are the people who are already there when I am performing.

The owner told me that in business, for every one person that complains, there are 10 others that don't but are still unhappy. I wanted to say "that must mean that there are hundreds of people who are very happy", but I didn't say anything because I knew it would come out cocky and argumentative.

I don't know where to go from here. I need to talk to him, but I am not even exactly sure what to say. What I REALLY WANT to say is that if he is not going to put any effort into promoting me, then this won't work out. BUT, I don't want to lose the job. So any advice is genuinely appreciated.
Matthew A Bennett

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S2000magician
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Inasmuch as the first complaint was specifically about playing cards, perhaps you could suggest to the manager that you redo the picture without the cards, but that you believe that promotion on the days you're not there is key to making this venture successful.

On another note, please avoid the expression, "no problem". If you mean to apologize, say, "I'm sorry." If you mean to accept thanks graciously, say, "You're welcome."

Best of luck.
Matthew Bennett
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S2000, thanks for your comments. Just curious - I'm not arguing - Could you elaborate on why "no problem" Is a bad thing to say? I use it often
Matthew A Bennett

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S2000magician
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So does everyone else.

Think about what that phrase expresses compared to what other phrases express:

"I'm sorry" means that you feel badly that the customer was bothered by your actions, and suggests that did not intend to bother her and that you might even consider doing something to make it up to her. "No problem" suggests that you aren't bothered by her comment, but in no way accepts responsibility for her situation; indeed, the implication is that whereas her specific comment wasn't a problem for you, if she had chosen a slightly different comment is may have been a problem. For you.

Similarly for substituting "no problem" for "you're welcome".

In general, replies such as "I'm sorry" and "you're welcome" make the conversation all about your customer (a good thing); the comment "no problem" makes the conversation about you (not nearly as good a thing).
Matthew Bennett
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If she had expressed to me that I was being a nuisance, I would have said, "I am truly sorry." Aside from that, I don't know if I'd apologize for doing my job. She didn't say I was bothering them, she said they didn't want to be bothered.

I can't see how my response was impolite at all.

I do see that "No Problem" is a statement about ME, though. Essentially, "That's no problem for me" That makes sense.

I'll take it under consideration, and decide if that's the way it works in real conversations.
Matthew A Bennett

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aussiemagic
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This is just my opinion, but if you don't have the support of the owner than I would start looking for a restaurant that is more supportive of you. Restaurants can be a little bit tricky to work. Customers can be very rude and can make things difficult. Some restaurants are more suited to magic than others too.

I think you handled the situation very well. I would have done the exact same thing.

If the owner thinks magic is a positive feature in the restaurant and he has seen you interact with the customers and is confident that you are friendly to the customers, he/she should support you. Particularly, if complaints only happen on the rare occassion, which they should.

If you want to continue to work at that restaurant, perhaps suggest putting comment cards at each of the tables. That will give people the opportunity to give positive feedback as well.

Good luck

Simon
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Matthew Bennett
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Thanks Simon. I asked him (owner) how many complaints he has had in the six months that I have been working there. He said it was just those two, in the last week or so.

I like the comment card idea, I will talk to him about it.

S2000, I will also suggest the removal of playing cards from my promo at this restaurant. Thank you for that idea.
Matthew A Bennett

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S2000magician
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You're welcome. (As opposed, say, to No problem.)

;)

I didn't mean to suggest that you're reply was impolite; it simply doesn't accurately convey the idea that I suspect you had intended. For the most part, it doesn't convey the idea that anybody who uses it intends to convey.
kinesis
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If you discuss things with the manager, I think it is time to remind him of all the positive things that you do for the restaurant (remind yourself first). Also remind him that until that evening there had been no bad feedback. I think you should enter into this conversation with a 'how can we improve the situation' showing a genuine desire for the restaurant to improve. You can work your way round to mention how pointless displaying your advertising blurb on Monday nights it etc.
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astoundingbruce
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Quote:
On 2005-06-13 01:00, aussiemagic wrote:
Perhaps suggest putting comment cards at each of the tables. That will give people the opportunity to give positive feedback as well.

The restaurant in which I work has comment cards on the tables. I take advantage of this whenever I am offered a tip. I thank them for their offer and suggest that instead of money, they could write some positive remarks on the comment card. (I actually say something like, "Thanks, but that's really not neccessary. If you really liked my performance, you could just take that comment card" -- here I point to the card -- "and write something like, 'We liked Bruce the magician!'" I always mention my name, to suggest that they liked me, not just a magician.)
The manager sees these comment cards.
“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle
Matthew Bennett
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Louisville, KY
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Thank you all for you help! I went to work tonigt, and he wasn't there. So I'm going in tomorrow to speak with him. Your advice makes me more confident that I will do and say the right things. I appreciate ALL of you!!!
Matthew A Bennett

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S2000magician
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Please let us know how it goes.

We like to hear success stories.

(We also like getting fat tips and Italian sports cars. Smile )
magic guy
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Hi Matthew,

I'd like to weigh in firmly with S2000magician about the "no problem" problem.

When I hear that response, and I hear it a lot, I have to take a breath, bite my tongue, and try to remember the person who said it really means, "You're welcome," or something else appropriate to the situation -- that person is probably a relatively intelligent human being an not an ignorant DOLT -- and that person does NOT actually mean to tell me, "You're not worth caring about."

I consciously remind myself that "no problem" is not a snarl. It is a common expression within your generation -- and one that many in your generation consider polite.

So I take the extra time to avoid resenting what some would perceive as the speaker's self-centered arrogance -- but some people just won't take that time.

Hence, "no problem," becomes a real problem. The words generate a negative emotion for many listeners, and that negative emotion blocks thought -- or in my case, delays it. I have to take a moment to catch up.

Matthew, one of the hardest things to remember about communication is how useless it is unless the other person understands exactly what you mean. "No problem" comes across initially to me, and permanently to many as a belittling comment. I strongly recommend you avoid it -- and thereby avoid the risk of offending anyone with it.

If you do so, your words will set you apart from your contemporaries. Your words will mark you as a gentleman -- a man of culture and education.

More importantly, your words will make your listeners feel as if you really care about them -- and they will honestly care more about you.

Best regards, ed.
Poetry is magic with words; magic is wordless poetry.
jezza
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However much you analyse situations these things will happen and theres nothing you have done wrong and theres nothing you can really do about it ,some people like magic some don't, You were polite when they didn't want to see the magic
(dont worry its their loss)
regards
Jeremy
ps a good tip when working restaurants ( I don't do restaurants myself much)
Is when you get good comments gasps on your magic and they say wow that's amazing they will be in a good frame of mind so I say with a smile don't tell me tell that guy over there and look at manager)some magicians will prob say no but its worked for me
good luck
Scott Wells
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Matthew,

I have to agree with your manager's position that for every comment given there are 10 similar comments not spoken. That's not to say that there are a bunch of folks out there who feel the same way, but you have to consider the source and the specific complaint(s). In one case, they obviously have religious convictions that preclude them from having anything to do with playing cards. Hey, there are plenty of people out there with similar beliefs but take heart in knowing that they are in the minority and you are doubtful to encounter another one for many, many years, if ever.

As to the other group, they could have been a little intoxicated (perhaps not) but certainly overly zealous. If I heard a group laughing loudly and generally having a good time, then I would have rushed over there as quickly as I could to "keep the feeling going." I mean, they are already warmed up and laughing for you so the hard part of your approach is already solved. And keep in mind that it doesn't matter who approached their table, they were just not ready to have any "outside" influence on their laugh fest. Sorry to hear about your experience but all of us have similar stories of problems, too. It’s hard to shake them off and some stay with us for years.

As to your promotional photo, I was going to suggest that you change your publicity shot but Bill Campbell III beat me to it Smile With today's digital technology, word processor and photo software, and color printers, it is easy to produce economic promo shots nearly every week for your restaurant. I would suggest that you offer him a variety of promo shots to use. And if you prepare several different types of materials (i.e. lobby board, table tents, flyers, etc.) at no cost to the restaurant, they have nothing invested and everything to gain. And they are more likely to use your material(s) if you tie in the restaurant closely with your image (i.e. restaurant’s name, color theme, type face, logo, etc.).

And, Bruce, I like your idea of comment cards. Can you share what’s on your cards? I suspect that they can also be generated inexpensively on index card or business card stock from the office supply store. But anything that you leave on the table should be cleared with management.

Many years ago I had table tents printed and placed them on the tables. By the end of the evening, there were no tents left. I thought people were taking them but found out that the bus boys were throwing them away as they cleared the tables. If management would have bought in to it from the beginning then they would have told the bus boys not to get rid of them. But as it was, the table tents were just something else on the tables that took up space when orders were served. Just a tip there.

Anyway, I think I’ve droned on enough, but good luck Matthew and let us know how it goes.

Yours,
Scott

One other thing I forgot to mention has to do with saying "I'm Sorry." I recently read Giovanni's book, "Live a Thousand Years" (which I highly recommend for a self-help book) and he makes a point of asking for forgiveness instead of saying, I'm sorry. In other words, saying I'm sorry is for you but it doesn't give the other person the chance to actually forgive you. So the better thing to say is, "I'm sorry, will you forgive me?" Otherwise you walk away and you feel better by having taken the burden off your own shoulders by saying you're sorry, but the other person may still hold strong emotions toward you. They need to be released and you are offering them the chance to release those feelings by granting you forgiveness.

Sorry about continuing that thread, but I just read Gio's book a month ago and there were some good things in it that are sticking with me.

yours,
Scott
"A magician who isn't working is only fooling himself." - Scott Wells, M.I.M.C. with Gold Star

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S2000magician
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Scott:

Good point!
anticoin
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I would think a "you're welcome" and "no problem" is just a cultural issue.
Where I come from, you say "no problem" after someone says 'thank you' to you, to show that it really wasn't any problem helping him/her....
It's sort of like "Don't have to say thank you, I didn't do much anyway"

But perhaps it's differnet in the business world out there
Steve Dela
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I have to add something here...
In the UK if you say 'I am sorry, will you forgive me?' you are highly likely to get punched! or you will get many more complaints! and lots of people that think your arrogant and stuck up.
I have sat here for about 5 mins now trying to say that line and sound sincere, I don't think it can be done in a british accent.

Cards can really bother some religious people.
I once offered to help raise money for charity by performing, but they would not let me as magic is evil and had no place in a church!!! I am sorry but there is a fellowship of Christian magicians right?

I think to change your promo is wrong just to suit one person, the expense and hassal is not worth it.
Doing restaurants is fine, but I have never bothered doing them on a regular basis because I think as a magician I should not have to put up with sarcy spectators and those that insult you.
I also think being over appologetic to somone that doesn't want to see magic is extremly naff!
It makes magicians appear as if they are not worth watching if it is passed up so quickly and moved on by the magician.
Don't forget, this is entertainment that is being paid for and offered to the customer for free.
When ever anyone does not want to see my magic... I say... 'OK' and I move on, making a big deal out of it is a bit tacky IMHO.

In Magic
Steve Dela
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Corey Harris
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I can see people being offended by cards if they are tarot cards. Heck I bought a Tarot starter kit at B&N and the first cashier wouldnt check me out because Tarot was of the Devil.
Kozmo
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Some people are just that way...and if the manager doesn't understand that hes amoron too....in business you try to please everyone but some folks well theres just no pleasing...dont feel bad BUT you'd better fix it or that job will evaporate right before your eyes....

I hate it when people try to force their ,orality on others....dont watch if you don't like it...change the channel.....screw em dude.

if ti were me I would tell my audiences that if they enjoyed the magic let the wait staff or the manager know so you can continue to come....'

if theres 10 for everyone then there must be at least that for to the good side,,,,,unless you suck?.... Smile
koz
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