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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » What happened, was this... » » Racism in the restaurant!! (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Monte
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I will never forget the experience. I had been working at this particular restaurant for about 10 months when I encountered this man. I had barely made my approach when out of nowhere he starts spewing out these harsh racial slurs at me and right in front of his kids. Futhermore, the adults that were sitting right next to him just started laughing. This is really sad. I was wondering if any of you magicians have experienced anything like that? I just walked away appalled. How did/would you deal with this type of behavior? Smile
Monte, as in the 3 cards.
Larry Davidson
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It is sad, and I'd just walk away as you did, but I'd also immediately tell the manager what happened just in case the idiot decided to later make up a story about you and complain.
Monte
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Yep, That is exactly what I did I told my boss and he handled it pretty well. He basically told off the guy for me and I didn't even know about til later. My boss is pretty serious about his employees. And that is always a good thing!!
Monte, as in the 3 cards.
Brad Burt
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Dear Monte:

What an appalling story! You are fortunate to have a boss that does, in fact, take care of his people.

The only thing like it that happened to me working tables was almost exactly the same situation except that the guy involved apparently hated magicians...of any color! The really odd thing was that I was working for another table at the time AND was working for a close friend that had come to the restaurant JUST to see me! This guy at another table starts telling me to "leave the poor guy alone", etc. My friend is trying to tell the guy that he knew me, well, you get the idea.... I was really freaked out. I was young and not that experienced at the time and frankly it was devastating.

If in that position again I know that I would talk to the manager right away and get it out. Part of the problem for me in this case was that I was subbing in for a friend and I was not that used to the venue.

It's one thing to meet some creep that just doesn't like 'magicians' for whatever reason...he may even have had a good one! But, to be hassled JUST because of the color of your skin is even worse. Imagine what it would be like if you met someone who was a racist AND hated magicians!!! Best,

Brad Burt
Brad Burt
EricHenning
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Laurel, Maryland
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Same topic - different situation.
One of the restaurants where I work (in Maryland) has a pretty diverse clientele. It used to be my habit to work the tables with kids in the order in which they were seated. This meant that I would sometimes hop all over the room in a seemingly random manner. In the process, I would pass by other tables with kids.

I discovered very quickly that sometimes, if I passed by a black family, especially on my way to a table with a white family, that the black family would complain that I was ignoring them - even though I was working in the order people had been seated.

I am old enough to remember walking into restaurants with black friends and never getting seated, or getting a table and then not getting served. If a manager is a jerk, or believes that "white" equals "upscale" and "black" equals "downscale," then the restaurant will come up with all sorts of un-subtle ways to make it clear who is welcome and who is not.

Being white, I cannot imagine what some of my black friends have gone through in their lives. I can, however, guess that a lifetime of some places treating you badly could make a person very sensitive to anything that feels like being ignored or disrespected.

I hasten to add that this is not the case at any of the restaurants where I do magic. And I didn't want our customers thinking that is was the case.

So here's the solution I came up with, and it has worked well. I never just pass by a table with kids. I always pause and make eye contact with one or more of the adults and say, "Hi! If you'd like to see the magic, I'll be right back in a few moments. Some other folks have already been waiting. Thanks!"

This almost never fails to get a smile and a "Thanks!" back. It takes little time and even less effort to simply acknowledge a family's presence and show them this small amount of respect, but it is totally worth it in increased goodwill - and the tips haven't been bad, either!

Let me add that I do this with EVERY family table - treating everyone the same.

I hope this helps someone out there who does restaurant magic.

Cheers,

Eric Henning
Smile
http://www.TheWand.net
Larry Davidson
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Hey Eric, que pasa? You have very good real world advice.
Dynamike
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You said it real good, Eric. You should right a book. Smile
theoldfort
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Go straight to the manager. At my restaurant I would ask the customer to leave.
eeesp
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I was the victume of Magician discrimination also.
I worked a Pizza parlor on an Air Force base in Colorado where just after changing the color of a card, one of the men quoted "let me show you a trick!" and tosed my cards into the air.

I spent the next few minutes picking up cards.

Smile
Jonathan Townsend
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Ossining, NY
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Some unhappy people will use charged language to express their frustration.

Bigotry will be with us so long as groups identify along inherited characteristics, and individuals tolerate being labeled.

Best practice tends to involve treating each person as an idividual and choosing ones affiliations.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Lee Darrow
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Quote:
On 2003-08-12 19:53, JonTown wrote:
Some unhappy people will use charged language to express their frustration.

Bigotry will be with us so long as groups identify along inherited characteristics, and individuals tolerate being labeled.

Best practice tends to involve treating each person as an idividual and choosing ones affiliations.


Jon, sometimes, in working restaurants, one cannot choose their affiliations as you call them.

We are there to entertain the customers and have no way of knowing when we will step into a situation such as the ones described.

For one's personal life, your advice is absolutely right on, no question about it, and I heartily agree.

But in a service industry, which entertainment in restaurants certainly is, the choice isn't an open one. We are there to entertain everyone - or at least those who want to be entertained.

When someone makes a scene of the kind noted in the original post, the embarrassment and humiliation felt by the target of the attack is really only the tip of the iceberg.

What about the OTHER patrons of the restaurant who are of the same group as the individual who has been targeted by this verbal attack? How do THEY feel to see someone attacked simply for being different from the ignoramus doing the attacking?

How do those of us who do not agree with the idiot doing the yelling feel?

Such incidences can ruin an evening out for people and can seriously stain the reputation of a restaurant as well.

Having management handle the individual is the correct response - to the person doing the attacking.

But as entertainers, it is largely OUR responsibility to insure that the incident is forgotten or over written by the enjoyment and fun that we can bring to the other diner's tables.

Doing that is where the REAL magic happens.

Respectfully,

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
http://www.leedarrow.com
<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
jarrod
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The man's behavior was beyond repulsive and inexcusable. The management should have asked him to leave rather than just telling him off in my opinion.
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