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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Table hoppers & party strollers » » Time's Up! (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Brian Lehr
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Inner circle
Edmonton, Canada
1600 Posts

Profile of Brian Lehr
I currently work at three restaurants each week. As the word gets around about the live entertainment at the restaurants, this has resulted in more customers. My problem is quitting time. I'm hired for two hours for a set fee. But it's now getting to the point that when my two hours are up, there are still tables that I have not gotten to (due to line-ups, etc).

If the management does not wish to retain your services for another hour, how does one go about ending your shift, knowing that there are still kids waiting for some magic or balloons? I have no problem staying for a little extra time to try and cover these tables quickly (perhaps just a balloon animal), but some of these tables have 3-5 kids!

Any ideas?

Brian
Mediocre the Great
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Rich Hurley
1060 Posts

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How much time do you spend at each table? If you can't cut it down a bit, try negotiating longer hours if you want to work em'. If customers keep asking for you after you leave, maybe mgt. will get the hint?

Or maybe you should do nothing? You know what they say, always leave them wanting more!
Mediocrity is greatly under rated!
--------------------------------------------

Rich Hurley aka Mediocre The Great!
www.RichHurleyMagic.com
RicHeka
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3999 Posts

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Hi Brian:My philosophy has alway's been:I arrive a little early and I leave when I am done. (providing I don't have a late gig or something that takes precedence).I have actually booked gigs while staying late after my paid shift is over.
I think the management appreciates it also.Of course this is just what I prefer to do.I love what I do,and I am certain you do also from reading your posts.
I don't pay attention to the time,and I am happiest when it's Busy(I hate it when we get a slow night),but that's out of my control.I just try to stay busy.

Consider this:Your gig time is up,but a little voice tells you "stick around people still want to see you,and they may ask for your card,or even ask you if you are available on ....

I must add:I use table tents with an indicator on them.

I usually stay about a 1/2 hour average I guess.I think it's worth it.Best.

Rich
Brian Lehr
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Inner circle
Edmonton, Canada
1600 Posts

Profile of Brian Lehr
Quote:
On 2006-02-06 01:00, PaleoMagi wrote:
My philosophy has alway's been:I arrive a little early and I leave when I am done.


This is also my philosophy. The shift starts at 6 pm, and I usually start around 5:45 pm. The shift is over at 8 pm, but there are always families that I never got to earlier, or who were waiting in the line-ups and finally got seated. I usually do three routines at each table, and them make balloon animals/hats for the kids.

Last Monday evening was the busiest night so far. Usually I can take a quick break to get a glass of ice tea. Not this night -- three hours straight! Just as I was getting ready to leave, the waitress sends me over to a table with a man and woman (no kids). I did some magic, and it went well; as I'm starting to leave, another nearby table (with three adults) called me over and said "You can't just walk past us without showing us something! I want to see that red ball trick (sponges)."

It was a blast, and I was exhausted. I do believe this makes a positive impression on the management, and like you mentioned, more bookings can result from this.

My only concern was that it seems like this is about to become a regular occurance, and I was wondering how others handled it.

Brian

PS. I also agree with your comments about slow nights. One of the three restaurants I work in is very slow, and the night just seems to drag on. I hope it picks up there soon. The manager says it's always this way in January. We'll see.
RicHeka
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Brian: IMO there is nothing wrong with eventually politely saying "sorry,I have to leave for another appointment,but I hope to see you again:I am here every.....from...to...."


I usually carry in my case,Color the Magician Posters,and Mystery Dollars for a quick giveaway so the kids get something. Best.

Rich
MAKMagic
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I got banned for one of my
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While I read your posts gentleman, I agree and disagree with some of what you are saying. I don't find the leaving right away or staying wrong or right. Too each their own. I think there has to be a line drawn though. We always preach here..."Don't Perform for Free" and other varients...Brian specifically said "I'm hired for two hours for a set fee"...so where do you draw the line? I personally wouldnt mind an extra 15 minutes....but anything more should be negotiated with the mangament IMHO...very friendly and proffesionally of course.
.:Michael Kelley
<BR>www.RandomActsofEntertainment.com
On the Level, By the Square
Dannydoyle
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Eternal Order
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What would you do if you had another job to go to>? Hopefully leave right?

My point is nobody knows what schedule you have. If you leave on time with this in mind, then it is easy.

Then you can negotiate with the establishment for an extra hour, and not have to worry about scheduling shows and such.

Also once you get them used to the idea of your just being there restaurants are notorious for expecting it. The servers stay till the side work is done. NO tips at this time just $2.65 per hour. They stay till its done. Don't get looked at like this.

A professional comes in and does the job, does it quite well and goes home.

Leaving and the managment seeing the tables still wanting you gives you a great negotiating position. One of power if you think of it. YOU have another job to go to (maybe you don't but they don't know that) they can't make you stay other than to pay to extend your hours the next time.

If you simply stay, again they get accustomed to it and look down on you when you do leave on time. "you always stayed before, why not now?"

It is a huge difference in attitude and positioning for you.

Just my thoughts sorry for rambling.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
flourish dude
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from ? But I know where I am going!
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When I have had to stay late to take care of everyone most of the time the manager will at least get me dinner. If this becomes more of a standard practice you will have to talk to him about an opitional hour. If it is busy you stay and they pay extra. If it is a normal night you just do your normal 2 hours. Remind the manager that these are paying customers that came to see you. With the extra business the resaurant will be albe to pay the extra 50.00 for the extra hour.
Nothing of the same will bring any change, take action today!
Just taking a step, is a step in the right direction because when you stop working, your dream dies.
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Allan
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405 Posts

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Why not use the salami method. Nobody can eat a whole one in one seating but a little at a time is great.

If you don't think they will go for an extra hour, sell them 30 minutes. As time goes by, they may want an extra 30 minutes.

It is easier to sell an extra half hour.
Danny Hustle
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Boston, MA USA
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Brian,

I always make up a few balloons before my gig and have them in a one of those spring out nylon hampers that you can get for the princely sum of about 3 bucks at Walgreen's. When it is quitting time I break the ready made stuff out and hand it out in an entertaining way to quickly work through the end of the line.

I interact with each child. I want each one of them to think that they got a little special time with the magic guy. I do a quick visual trick and give them a balloon. Because the stuff is ready made and it is the interaction that is personalized I can work through 20 or so kids in about five or ten minutes.

I never apologize and I never make excuses. I want them to feel that they had the same experience and personal attention that everybody else did. So far so good. Every once in a while you will run into a child that is over excited and needs to have a special balloon, etc... That is where the people skills and a little psychology really come in handy. I do not act flustered or look panicked. Kids can smell that on you like a dog smells fear. And believe me, once they know they have you off balance they will do everything they can to push you over. Smile

I just let them talk and while they are talking I make it there idea to take the premade balloon and see a really special magic trick instead. They feel as though they got their special treatment and you were able to move them along. It is win win.

I try to never see a kid as a spoiled brat or a pain in the backside. Mostly because the kid can sense that too. I say try because we all know there are some times when little Billy of little Mary is having a really bad day. Even then, they are kids.

I am not going to sit here and tell you that this way works 100% of the time but for me it works very well. I rarely have to stay too late.

I will tell you this, I try to never, ever, never, ever, leave a kid feeling left out. The reason for this is when I was a kid I was a huge fan of a very famous TV clown. My dad had heard that this guy was going to be at a shopping center in Boston. My dad packed me into the car and we made the 1 and 1/2 hour drive and because of traffic got there about 45 minutes before this guy was going to leave. The line was out the door but we chanced it and right at 3:00 p.m. When I was the very next kid in line this rotten S.O.B quit on me. There were 4 kids left behind me. 5 kids total and this guy could not be bothered. He looked at me and said, "Sorry kid it's quitting time, tough luck".

My old man was incandescent and pulled said clown aside and whispered some choice words in his ear. The clown suddenly changed his mind and gave the 5 of us some piece of junk trinket that I threw out on the way home. I was five. I am now 43, and telling that story now still makes me feel like crap. I later found out as an adult from my dad that not only was the clown mean but he reeked of gin. That's another story.

Bottom line is for me anyway, I won't leave a kid feeling like crap because I just don't have time. I will make my best effort to make sure that this kid is entertained and goes home with a warm fuzzy feeling not only about me but about the people or the establishment that hired me. I even keep a couple of balloons premade on my wat to the car because someone may grab me in the parking lot or on my way out the door. I try and be a good scout, be prepared.

If I do not have to be at another gig I will stay as long as I have to to do the job to my satisfaction. If this becomes a big inconvenience I will talk to the person that hired me about booking more time next time around or even changing the shift if it was slow for the first hour. I just refuse to take it out on the kids. My little premade balloon and quick trick strategy is my escape hatch.

The other thing is I think you can gage after a while how much longer it is going to take you to get through a room. If the line is big I will start the premade stuff a half hour before I am going off the clock if I think it will take a half hour to get through the room.

Another thing I will do is if I am booked for a private gig in a roped off section of a restaurant that I have no ties too like a Fudruckers or a Chucky Cheese, and I am asked by kids who are not with my party for a balloon I will always give it to them. I do this with no expectations but there have been several times that it has led to other gigs because it made other people think that I was not only a nice guy, but a professional.

This is what works for me YMMV.

Best,

Dan-
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"MT is one of the reasons we started this board! I’m so sick of posts being deleted without any reason given, and by unknown people at that." - Steve Brooks Sep 7, 2001 8:38pm
©1999-2014 Daniel Denney all rights reserved.
mxray
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I am not a party stroller/table hopper, but since my main magic gig is working at parties, I really enjoy reading threads on this page. I learn a lot from you guys.

Brian, if there are kids wanting to see you but haven't gotten to yet, adult patrons are flagging you down as you walk by, and business at the restaurant has picked up as a result, it sounds to me like you are in a fantastic position to negotiate for either an optional additional hour, a raise, or both!
MXRay
Danny Hustle
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Boston, MA USA
2393 Posts

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Quote:
adult patrons are flagging you down as you walk by


mxray,

You bring up a great point! Often times when I do run into trouble it is with the adults. There are adults out there who will make the most unreasonable requests because they are going to get as much "something" for "nothing" that they can muster.

I use a balloon menu when I work and if I had a buck for every time some kid asked for a poodle or a sword and the adult with them said, "Johnny, wouldn't you much rather have that 15 balloon satellite receiving espresso maker that will take Mr. Balloon man 10 minutes to make and hold up the entire line for a really long time?"

"No I want a sword/poodle"
"I think the espresso maker is better"
"Sword/poodle"
"Espresso maker"

This usually goes on until the kid bursts into tears or the kid finally caves into the parents request. and then I will see the adult with the balloon and the kid with nothing.

I would be a rich man.

As a parent this shocks me every time it happens and worse yet, it happens quite a bit. Fortunately it does not happen nearly as often while doing magic. People are a bit more polite about waiting their turn or if they do call you over it is legit. They are about to leave, etc...

Best,

Dan-
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"MT is one of the reasons we started this board! I’m so sick of posts being deleted without any reason given, and by unknown people at that." - Steve Brooks Sep 7, 2001 8:38pm
©1999-2014 Daniel Denney all rights reserved.
Dave Lewis
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Anaheim, California
83 Posts

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In the restaurants I've worked, I made a point to spend time talking to the managers and wait staff. This gave them a look into what goes on when a magician is there working tables and provided them with information they would use to communicate with the guests when it came to explaining how things worked. They knew what I did (magic, sometimes balloons), they knew which nights I was there and which times I started and ended my shifts. We looked out for each other and helped out with things to make each others' jobs less difficult.

I would go get extra napkins, ketchup, find answers to simple questions about food or whatever, and the servers/bussers would help me keep my tables straight so I'd know the order of those who had requested me. One of the main things they did for me was explain why I had to leave and when I'd be back again. When my shift was over, unless I had specifically promised to visit a table, I would bolt for the door, knowing the staff had my back.

I tried to be a positive aspect of both the guests' and the staff's experiences in the restaurant. There were times when I could not work a shift and a substitute was brought in. The staff would fill me in on how they did, even though I hadn't asked about them. I don't think they would give me the time of day if I didn't try to do my best to stay out of their way and be a bonus and not a burden.
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