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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » How would You deal with this? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Cheshire Cat
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Wilmslow, UK
941 Posts

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Headline: "Uncle Tony once again stirs up the MC members". Ok, imagine this HYPOTHETICAL (?) scenario. Someone appears in your area advertising as a kid's entertainer. They put out business cards everywhere, - in church halls, community centres, libraries, village halls, local stores etc. The cards give no address and use a mobile phone number. You initially pay no attention, but as time goes by you hear many times that this person has, - a well-paid day job, frequently turns up late or not at all for parties, is a vulgar and uncaring character, is 'bad-mouthing' other entertainers to children and parents, is drastically UNDERCUTTING all the local pro's on fees, and will not accept cheques (checks) as payment, ONLY CASH.

So here YOU are, - you pay your taxes, you attend parties even when you feel half dead, you spend money on Yellow Pages each year and have an honest website, and last but not least you do it (or have done it) as a main occupation, and feed your kids and make a roof over your head from it.

HOW WOULD YOU DEAL WITH THIS PERSON who goes against everything you do and stand for? Will you wait patiently for him/her to self destruct or help him/her along the road to destruction? Which one of these would you become (or remain)?

Smile Smile
Emazdad
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Plymouth UK
1954 Posts

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I'd never slag off another entertainer to a booker unless I know for a fact he's like the one you mentioned, Then if I can't help and they ask me to reccomend someone else, I'd give my mates Billy and Chris a plug and warn them not to try so & So as he has a reputation for being unreliable and not turning up for parties.

I don't class that as slagging them off, I class it as good customer relations, People like this effect the way bookers see us as a whole, and if they are treated like that by one magician they may decide never to book another.

Generally though I think there is no need to worry too much about them, because a bad rep spreads faster than a good one among the public, we've had 2 like that down here, we used to hear complaints all the time, now we don't hear anything at all.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
p.b.jones
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Milford Haven. Pembrokeshire wales U.K.
2642 Posts

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HI,
Personally I would do nothing, I do have someone like that in my area, But it makes no odds to me. I still get offered more work than I can/want to do. Clearly the cash only implies that he is tax dogging, so he cannot advirtise in any papers /yellow pages
and if he is unreliable then repeat bookings / recommends would be ltd. Undercutting I do not see as an issue Everyone in my area is undercutting me anyway price only matters if what you offer is of the same quality/percieved value as the undercutters.

Phillip
Peter Marucci
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Do nothing; he will self-destruct very soon, on his own.
Word-of-mouth advertising is worth infinitely more than paid advertising and that is what will do him in.
Don't -- whatever you do -- get involved with "helping" him destruct.
After all, would you really want to win a stinking contest with a skunk?
Cheshire Cat
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Wilmslow, UK
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Good answers guys up to now! Interested to see my hypothetical situation is real in two locations.
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kenscott
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I too say do NOTHING. We have several like that here in Atlanta. They never last! If you have a good product/show then you will will always come out ahead.

Ken
ClodAppleleft
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Manchester, NH
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First off, if this guys is as you say he is, then everyone here is right, he'll self-destruct rather quickly.

I love playing Devil's Advocate, so I'm going to give you a different view.

You're new to magic, love doing it, but not sure you can make a living at it. You have a decent paying day job, so you decide to get in to magic on the side for fun. You find out how much other magicians in the area are charging, and since you are not as seasoned as them, you decide to charge less, because you know your show is not as good as theirs. You check up on how to file taxes and you realize that if you make too much that isn't under the table, it will put you in the next tax bracket. You only advertise in the places that were spoken above, and you're really nervous and put on really poor performances for your first few shows. You also run in to a string of bad luck, and on your way to one show your car breaks down. You fall ill before another show, and on another one, you don't take in to account traffic, and end up being late, and to top it all off, you hear that other magicians are bad mouthing you.

What do you do?

I'm not defending the "guy" in the earlier situation, I'm just giving a different perspective that is all.

The Devil's Advocate,

Jeff Hirsch aka Clod Appleleft
There are many different ways to cut an apple.
Dennis Michael
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Southern, NJ
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If asked and you happen to know some of his references, you could easily ask the individual to check this guys references.

Say you personally have never seen his show an can't offer a recommendation based on that. If he is as bad as stated, the reference will do the dastardly deed of letting others know. Word of Mouth Kills as well as increases business.

Like many have said above, if you're good, and the client is satified, and so are the guests, you will win out in the end.
Dennis Michael
magiker
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Sweden
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I had a simular situation when I lived back in England, I think that it was about 1991, a guy decided to set up as a kids ent. charged half the price that I did and told folks that his show was about 45 mins long but might go on for 11/2 hrs; was also very often late. He lasted about 6 months never to be heard of again. I just waited for him to go. If people enquired after my show and then said that he is much cheaper I replyed that you get what you pay for.

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Magiker

Believe in the possibility of the impossible
victorkent
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Narnia
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If someone asks and you have FIRST HAND KNOWLEDGE...not annecdotal, evidence then sharing the truth about that bad performer is OK. I wouldn't volunteer the information. Eventually word of mouth will destroy that bad performers reputation.
To improve your own rep in contrast to this bad chap you should do some publicty promotions. Like performing free gigs at hospitals, churches, old folks homes, fund raisers for cancer, CP, Muscular Dystrophy, etc and make sure the press is there. (By the way...when the press goes awya it's stillnice to keep doing those nice things.) Develop a relationship with your local paper and ask them to do a profile on you...most papers have local celebrity or local heros, or local spotlights. As you get the positive press the other guy gets the bad word of mouth by his own customers who end up seeing you in the paper and forces the bad guy to get better or get out.
-vk Smile
John 3:16
http://www.victorkent.com
http://www.kentfamilyillusionshow.com
[email]victor@victorkent.com[/email]
Emazdad
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Plymouth UK
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One of the guy's down here was actually a well respected seasoned entertainer who just turned bad, he let loads of people down at short notice and when he told them he wasn't coming, his excuse was "I have a better paying job"

He once tried to pass on a job to Billy, Billy said he was available on the day and the guy said he'd get back to him the next day if the lady wanted him. The guy never provisionaly booked the party as Billy doesn't take provisionals. So when over a week later he came back to Billy, Billy had taken a booking for that day. A few days later I got a call from a woman who said she'd been let down, she said she'd booked an entertainer through this guy and had had a letter from him today saying that the entertainer he had arranged for her party had taken another booking despite him being boooked by this guy and wouldn't be coming, he then went on to name Billy and call him unproffessional etc and place his failure on Billy. I knew all about the phone calls between Billy and this guy, as I was with him when he spoke to Billy. I told the lady the facts, That Billy had never been booked etc, she rang Billy, he got her to send him a copy of the letter etc. Billy then had words with the guy, who bravely blamed it on his wife, who he said did the letter. Now if anyone asks me about that guy, I always warn them off. I think it was 5-6 phone calls we recieved between us in the space of a week where he'd let people down, I wonder who else he blamed.

The one thing none of us have mentioned is the kids, it's not the booker that these guy's let down it's that room full of excited kids.

<<<<<<<<I knew all about the phone calls between Billy and this guy, >>>>>>>>>

correction:- I was with billy when he spoke to him.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Cheshire Cat
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Wilmslow, UK
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Wonderful response! I like Peter's "not entering a stinking contest with a skunk". You may have noticed I placed a "landmine" in my scenario - which NONE of you trod on! - about the hypothetical person having a "well paid day job". Of course I have nothing against high-class part-timers who conduct themselves correctly. (Do you?). These days I would tend to sit back and let anyone like this commit suicide - although the fact we have just paid £1000's in tax (Jan. 31 deadline in UK) and this character was evading paying anything would annoy me greatly. I have to admit though that in years gone by when life was more of a struggle I would have been sorely tempted to put the cards/leaflets/posters of someone like this in a large brown envelope and address it to the local tax office! I would also be very interested in what comments he or she were making about other entertainers, and us in particular (we had a guy years ago who told all children that other magicians just did tricks, and he did real magic!).

Smile
Coffees on me. - Tony.
Andy Wonder
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Auckland, New Zealand
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Well if this happens in your market and you at like Phillip and it does not affect you then great, do nothing. If you are loosing business to an unprofessional competitor you can stress your professionalism to potential clients in your sales pitch. If my market was more competitive I would put a warning into my web site and auto responder. I would be something like a list of suggested criteria to evaluate a childrens entertainer. Like, 1 Make sure they are a full time professional, 2. Make sure the can offer testimonials from satisfied clients and 3 make sure they have a bunny or they have marionette puppets or whatever you think they should consider.

We all make some mistakes when we first start out. I think this sort of character will learn quite quickly or just fade away. I certainly would not bad mouth another entertainer, especially an established one. Personally I had other entertainers bad mouthing and gossiping about me at one time due to an unfortunate event. I will share the story with you. Two years ago my telephone line got cut off due to a fault with my local phone company. When anyone called me they got a disconnected tone and I did not realise because I was out of town. One client thought I might have gone out of business because he was just getting a disconnect tone on my phone. So a few days before the party he had booked he called every other entertainer in the yellow pages. He explained he needed something at short notice because he was worried I might not turn up. Some of them must have played up this fear even though they were fully booked. Now every other magician and clown had received a call from my panicked client and I know a lot of them gossip about it. Yet they don’t know the full story. I did turn up to that party, I performed and I got paid. From time to time I have heard local magicians gossiping about other magicians. I don’t want to participate in gossip.
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
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