The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » What Would You Have Done? (6 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
CurtWaltermire
View Profile
Elite user
Curtis The Mentalist
464 Posts

Profile of CurtWaltermire
As many full-time performers know, sometimes you find yourself putting up with some ridiculous scenarios in order to keep a client or even just get a gig.

While sipping a fresh batch of French Roast this morning and preparing for tomorrow's show, I'm reflecting on a gig I did some months ago for perhaps one of my largest corporate clients--a major healthcare provider/hospital in the city where I live. I have done a number of events for them over the years, yet this most recent one was probably the largest, the most fun, and yet the most precarious and full of minor headaches.

Each time I've performed for them, I always deal with a different person acting as event planner. Usually an Admin Assistant or Exec Assistant of some department, and usually a lady.

This particular event was booked months in advance, and things were going fairly normally for the most part. They wanted an hour of walk-around and then a 60-minute stage show after-dinner for about 300 people. It was an annual awards banquet/staff recognition type of dinner. The only difference was that I am normally paid 100% up front at the time of contract and they pushed to only do a 50% deposit, then remainder at the event. Since I've worked with them before, I had no problem with that, plus I wasn't worried about the money as they've always paid. However, this was just the beginning of things with this particular lady.

I kept in touch with her in the months and weeks leading up to the event, and everything was going great. Then suddenly, about two weeks before the show, I received an email from her telling me that I needed to come and meet with their planning board. Like TOMORROW. I called to see what it was that they needed and all she could tell me was that she is now having to convince this board of ladies (mostly nurses) that I am up to par for this event, and get their approval. She told me that these ladies were pretty on top of things and were also somewhat demanding, and they wanted to be sure they felt comfortable with me and my show/material. She even said that perhaps I should bring "something to show them." I mentioned the fact that we already have a contract, that I've done numerous smaller events for them, etc., but she still insisted that it needed to be done and wouldn't take very long. Suddenly I seemed to be auditioning for a gig that I booked months ago, and for a client that I had entertained for on several other occasions. I was somewhat reluctant, but since I was in town at the time, and it was a high-paying, repeat client, I put on a sharp suit the next morning and grabbed a couple of things and went to meet them.

When I arrived, the lady I had been dealing with was a very small, highly-energetic, smiling Asian-American lady who was also fairly attractive and very professionally dressed. She greeted me very briefly, then whisked me away to the board room. My immediate impression was that this was a fun, eager, and sharp group of about 10 ladies. They seemed even a bit surprised that I was there (they were having a meeting anyway), and the meeting went well--they seemed to really like me and I wowed them with an effect and had them laughing and clapping right there in the board room. What made this moment even more amazing was that the CEO (who happens to be a good acquaintance of mine) walked in at precisely that moment and saw me with the ladies. He said with a huge smile, "You're bringing in THIS GUY? He's THE MAN right here!" and put his arm around my shoulders, and we had a few laughs and then I left.

As I left, I thought to myself that it wasn't the panel of women that were wanting to see me, it was this particular woman. She's controlling and manipulative, and passing her demands off as simply trying to appease the demands of others. I was glad the CEO walked in and gave such a random endorsement (he had seen and met me on other occasions), as that seemed to really ice the cake. Oh well, no big deal.

The night of the event came, and everything went off without a hitch. The show went great, was high-energy, and ended on a really high note and a pseudo-standing ovation (meaning a bunch of people stand, but not everyone). I collected the rest of the money. After it was all over, the event planner lady came running over to tell me how wonderful everything was and how happy she was. We chatted for a bit while I was packing up some things to take out to my car. What she did next absolutely punched me in the face:

She reached in her purse, pulled out her keys and held them up to my face and asked: "Would you run out into the parking garage and fetch my Lexus and drive it up to the front door please?"

She was dead serious.

WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE?

Before I tell you how I handled this, I want to hear from YOU.
WitchDocChris
View Profile
Inner circle
York, PA
2400 Posts

Profile of WitchDocChris
Wow. That is bold.

I can't say how I would handle it, but I can say the first thing that popped into my head was, "Oh, no, sorry, that is WAY too generous a tip. I've already been paid."

The second thought was, "You did not hire me to drive cars, you hired me to perform. Good evening, ma'am."
Christopher
Witch Doctor

Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
Cliffg37
View Profile
Inner circle
Long Beach, CA
2479 Posts

Profile of Cliffg37
What kind of car do you drive? She may have thought she was giving you a bonus, letting you drive her lexus. That of course is me trying to see the good in her. If all that really happened as you say, I can only say that she is a very manipulative woman and a user.

Probably I would have done it. First I am a nice guy. Second I would want to keep a lucrative annual gig that just became more lucrative still. Third, it really costs me nothing to do that.

There are two outs I can think of that might have saved you from this subservient and menial request. One, "Oh dear, I'd love to help you, but I'd hate to see some thing happen and my insurance wouldn't cover me in a car that valuable." Two, Sure, let me just load my car and I'll be right back." I doubt a woman like that would want to wait.

Bottom line, the situation sucks.
Magic is like Science,
Both are fun if you do it right!
CurtWaltermire
View Profile
Elite user
Curtis The Mentalist
464 Posts

Profile of CurtWaltermire
I told the story the way that I did because I think the setting is important. If I had just stated that a client asked me to suddenly be her personal valet after a show, and then asked everyone what they thought about that, it would greatly be mis-represented and be just another boring thread of endless opinions. It did, in fact, happen and unfold just as I told it, in order to give the reader the effect of how taken aback I was by this woman's request at the end.

I must say, Cliffg37, that the comment about the car didn't seem to be the case at all. I drive a brand-new car, wear nice suits, etc (no bragging there, just a fact). I'm a middle-aged, professional corporate guy and I have never had a problem being perceived that way, especially in person and with my behavior towards my clients and the way I conduct my business.

Then again, I don't want to dive into filling in every remaining detail here because the most important ones have been laid out. My goal here is to simply share an extremely awkward client experience that is precarious-at-best, and get my friends and colleagues here to get the brain juices flowing. How I handled it may surprise many here, but I could be wrong. I've had waaay crazier experiences than this, of course, but here is a case where experience in playing the games that we do sometimes comes in really handy.
CurtWaltermire
View Profile
Elite user
Curtis The Mentalist
464 Posts

Profile of CurtWaltermire
Another thing that perhaps I should have mentioned, however, to add to the awkwardness is the fact that I'm about 15 years older than this woman. Also, this was my first time ever dealing with her specifically, but perhaps I've made that quite clear already.
Dannydoyle
View Profile
Eternal Order
19865 Posts

Profile of Dannydoyle
Never get into this with anyone. Cutsey lines are not the way to go. This is about respect and power and nothing more.

Much the same way you never play poker with a guy not using his own money this is the same thing. It is about dominance and keeping you in your place. Don't even sit in on the game. You can't win.

A simple yet firm "no" is all it takes. No ambiguity no malice and a clear message. She has all sorts of ways to mess with you without recourse. Don't engage. It can go nothing but poorly.

That is free advice. Take it for what it is worth. It happens more often than you may think.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
CurtWaltermire
View Profile
Elite user
Curtis The Mentalist
464 Posts

Profile of CurtWaltermire
Danny, I always find your candor refreshing and enjoyable. I know it ruffles a lot of feathers, but that doesn't really matter most of the time.

You are absolutely correct in your assessment, of course--there is no way to "win", at least not in the way most people think of winning. If I look her dead in the eye and firmly and simply say "no," I risk upsetting her and perhaps losing a future gig, even after all the good I've done. On the other hand, if I do cater to her demand, then she may have even less respect for me than she already has (again, in spite of all of the good I've done) and likely won't have me again anyway, or will just make increasing demands in the future and see me as her little puppet.

How far does a person go, and which direction? How do you make the best of an apparently lose-lose situation such as this?

You only have a split-second to react, if that.
the Sponge
View Profile
Inner circle
Atlanta
2490 Posts

Profile of the Sponge
I would decline, politely.

You've already been paid, so she can't hold your money.
They change planners every time you've performed for them, so odds are she won't be there next time.
She can't bad-mouth you; everyone, including the CEO knows how great you are.

- can't wait for the reveal...
Dannydoyle
View Profile
Eternal Order
19865 Posts

Profile of Dannydoyle
Yea I don't play those games. Either way it is a risk but I prefer to error on the side of dignity. That is priceless. At that point it is not about future gigs, it is about how you allow people to treat you.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
CurtWaltermire
View Profile
Elite user
Curtis The Mentalist
464 Posts

Profile of CurtWaltermire
Yes...yes...and yes...
Mindpro
View Profile
Inner circle
9682 Posts

Profile of Mindpro
Wow! So much to say in response to this thread. I'm always amazed by performers that tell me they are asked to come in for a meeting and to "perform something for me/us." I've been in this business over 40 years and can honestly say I have never, not once in over 6500 bookings have anyone ask me or any of our acts (including closeup performers) to do this - ever. It seems so odd to me that this happens. The only thing I can think of is performers must somehow lend themselves to having others think of this. One of the things I talk about often is people do not know how to buy (purchase, book) entertainment. Because of this we have to take the lead and educate them. I would feel if you do this, this type of situation should never present itself, yet I am amazed that this happens so often for many, and even moreso that these performers actually do this!

My first thought to your posed question is to reply "sure, if you don't mind doing some of my dirty laundry for me."

First this is absurd, and unprofessional to say the least. We as entertainers must position ourselves to be understood and perceived as other "professionals." Highly skilled and positioned professionals. The true reality is many people, especially administration, management or executives in corporate America, often only see you as "hired help" in an certain area. Similar to a pool boy, a gardener/landscaper, handyman, car washer etc. It's a shame but these people are often talked down to and seen on a similar perception.

As one professional to another, I would have laughed slightly and replied with a definitive "no." As a one professional to a peer. I personally, would likely say no as someone on a level above her, perhaps as her supervisor, CEO or similar. Many people like this girl do not seem to handle their position and status or power very well and often have distorted perceptions of reality, empathy, etc.

In most of my dealings, especially in a performance-related situation I am definitely in control. They have hired me. I have accepted their offer if they agree to and meet my terms and conditions. Now I know how many misinterpret the written word here and apply their own perceived tone, so let me be clear, this is not done in an arrogant, cocky, condescending or entitled way, but in a uber-professional way, from a point of status. People, especially like this girl, do not often have the right understanding and acceptance of the status and position of others. They often have no respect for others or the views and position of others (this was apparent by her having a contract with you, which means nothing to her, and still expecting you to jump through hoops to get a booking you have already been contracted for.)

We, as entertainers, are often not just given respect (some do, many don't). So we can not just let this happen and accept this, we must take responsibility and control to create the proper and necessary respect and position desired. This must come through in the way you present yourself, client relations, in your sales presentation, materials, paperwork and forms, appearance, contract and rider and of course our performance.

You've been paid, you did a great show (which made her look good, and trust me, she is taking all the credit and kudos for) and have the praise of the CEO, so not only do you have little to lose, but it will and must set the tone for any possible future dealings with her or them. She will not complain or speak ill of you for this as she would look arrogant if she ever mentioned the whole car refusal topic to anyone else.

We are not hired hands or servants. We are and must be presented as skilled professionals who provide a specific purpose, solution and entity to other professionals. I am interested in hearing how Curt handled this. My bet is he didn't do it, was probably professional and polite but said no. I'm curious to how you handled it and even more so to how she responded or replied.
CurtWaltermire
View Profile
Elite user
Curtis The Mentalist
464 Posts

Profile of CurtWaltermire
The request for this type of meeting has never happened to me either in over 25 years, and hasn't happened since. It is definitely an anomaly. If this happens to people a lot, I would wonder "why?" also.

So much can be said and probably will be. So far most everyone is giving a resounding "H-E-double hockey sticks" NO and all the reasons why.
Mindpro
View Profile
Inner circle
9682 Posts

Profile of Mindpro
What's odd is I can also see the opposite side of this as well. I have one person (actually a couple) I've worked with for the past few years that I would almost bet WOULD have done this for her. I often discuss my business model with those I work with as a demonstration of helping them create their own model. While I never expect someone to adapt mine, I do encourage them to think in very detailed specifics what it is that they truly want and is attainable. I am a big proponent of relationship-based business. It has been the cornerstone to much of my success over the years in both my performing as well as in the operations of my businesses.

Approaches to relationships can differ. This person believes in "going that extra mile in any way they can" to create a personal connection to the relationship in addition to the professional. It has worked well for him (and his wife). They really get rave reviews and testimonials, fantastic book-back ratios, and referrals right up there with the best of them. They are very Christian people and this works well for their personalities, beliefs and approaches. It works for them, and I could see in this situation they would accept this and approach this as an opportunity and a positive in their relationship. I have seen it go quite far for them. Far be it for me to advise then any differently. It is consistent and congruent with they model and approach to their business. They took my holiday season program training a few years ago and with this approach and business model have added thousands of dollars in the 4-5 week period between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

So while stating what I would have done or my belief, there is an opposite or opposing side as well based on personality, preference, business model and approach.
55Hudson
View Profile
Special user
Minneapolis
981 Posts

Profile of 55Hudson
Difficult to answer this one. Not sure what I would have done, but would have been shocked at the question.

What I would like to think I would have said, is something like this: "if you don't mind waiting till I'm packed up, I'd be happy to get your car for you".

I am one who always goes above and beyond to help the event be a success. Who knows, perhaps she has to help some elderly person or has to load up table decorations. Generally, I try to be nice to people and rarely refuse a request - from a neighbor or a client.

On the other topic, meeting with clients and doing some close up, I always do that if I can for corporate events. Most of my corporate clients are local companies and the planning is done by someone in marketing or admin. They've typically never hired entertainment before and are worried about the success of the event. I want to ease their mind. I have a 100% conversion rate for clients I've met with, so it works for me.

Hudson
Dannydoyle
View Profile
Eternal Order
19865 Posts

Profile of Dannydoyle
99% of the work I do involves travel. No chance of doing demos for every client. It is just unmanageable.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Cliffg37
View Profile
Inner circle
Long Beach, CA
2479 Posts

Profile of Cliffg37
I need to clarify something.

I read the initial post, and set out to reply right off the top of my head. Truth is that Curt did not have time to map out an answer. He had to give her an answer on the spot. There are many things I could have and might have said based on the fact that I am not a valet, not paid to be a valet and don't really want to do that for her. Not interested in rewarding bad behavior like dominance. (Note, had she been on crutches or some such I would have certainly helped her out.)
Magic is like Science,
Both are fun if you do it right!
Bill Hegbli
View Profile
Eternal Order
Fort Wayne, Indiana
22186 Posts

Profile of Bill Hegbli
A gentleman would of course bring a car up for a lady. I guess, being men don't open doors for women today, they would not expect such a question. I believe you are viewing the question in a different manner then what was asked. I don't see such a question from a woman as offensive.

The answer is very logical. Simply reply, I don't know any of the features of a Lexus, and would have to adjust the seat, mirrors, turn on the lights, etc. I would be happy to take you to your car, after I load up my props. Of course pick her up at the door.

Or, I have another engagement and have to get on the road, I have just enough time to get there.

If I was single and had the time, I would offer to take her to her car. I would never driver another person's car, if anything happens even in a parking lot, you just lost a client. Even if you get the car repaired, it is still a lose - lose situation.

We have an oriental community here in our city. Don't see them much, but in businesses and such, I find they are a very direct speaking. This could be taken as demanding and sound insulting, but it is the way they speak. Don't know the reason, as I don't know much about the culture.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
Dannydoyle
View Profile
Eternal Order
19865 Posts

Profile of Dannydoyle
It seems as if it was a power play. That is all in person and no way to tell from an online description.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
MickNZ
View Profile
Special user
Auckland, New Zealand
576 Posts

Profile of MickNZ
Curt -

It wasn't an attempt at humour because you do blindfold drives was it?
lou serrano
View Profile
Special user
Los Angeles, CA
670 Posts

Profile of lou serrano
I've never been asked to "audition" for a gig after I had a signed contract. I'm not sure how I would've handled that. On the other hand, I've often met with prospects to gain a client. One of my most lucrative gigs came from such a meeting. I had cold called a company for a year-end holiday party with the intention of booking a $3500 show. That one meeting turned into an almost $50,000 deal.

As for the 'valet" situation, I would've politely declined. That is, of course, after I picked up my jaw from the floor. I'm sure my response would've been something to the effect of, "I'm sorry, but I cannot take responsibility for your car." And I would have left it at that.

I'm curious to hear your reply.

Lou Serrano
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » What Would You Have Done? (6 Likes)
 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2020 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.35 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL