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BIGmagiclV
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I get a call this morning and a VM is left. "Hi, This is _________, calling about my daughter's party on the 15th. I was wondering if we can move the time back from 7 to 6:30. Please call me back and let me know if that works."

Now, here is my problem. according to all my info, I have no party booked at that time on the 15th! Now I'm freaking out, looking at my online calendar, my gig book, loose papers. Anything with this guy's name on it. Nothing. Now I panic. I mean, I'm getting up there in age (almost 50) but I think I'm still a little young for a senior moment this bad. I figure I will call the guy back, tell him my info is in my office and I'm on the road. Get all the info again and hope for the best. about 30 seconds into the conversation, I remember who this guy was. Someone I talked to briefly in person about his daughter's party and he was going to get back to me if he could afford it. But he never got back to me! But in his mind, I was booked. It was very scary but at least my system was accurate. Anything like this happen to you?
Howie Diddot
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Quote:
On 2011-10-07 22:51, BIGmagiclV wrote:

Anything like this happen to you?




NOPE!!!
danfreed
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West Chester PA
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Yes,
That kind of thing happened several times, and when I was an agent it happened too. Sometimes they booked someone else, but forgot who, so they call around trying to figure out who it was, or they thought it was you but it was someone else. I did a party once where they booked both of us by accident and we both showed up. It freaks me out till I figure out what the real deal is cause I think maybe I screwed up and didn't put it on my schedule. A few monthes ago a client called to confirm by leaving a message - I had her down for a different date and couldn't do the date she was confirming for - I thought maybe I screwed up, but it turns out she messed up and changed the date without telling me.
Mr. Pitts
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David Pitts
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Yes, BIGmagic, it sure has. I've had people call me and ask where the heck I was, the party's started, the kids are here, everyone's waiting... and it was just as with your experience, someone who had spoken to me at some point, probably pricing entertainment, but never committed and thought they had. I have a simple booking system, and if a party is booked it's OBVIOUS in my book. I get a lot of calls that just price shop, and I think they sometimes think they've booked, but haven't gotten back with me. I will hold a time, pencilled in, but if it gets two weeks or so to the date and I haven't heard, I call them back to firm it up. So if I get a call from someone saying 'where the heck are you?', I know it's THEIR mistake. There has been more than once that something like this happened that they'd actually never even spoken to me and couldn't remember who they had booked. One time I got a call like this and was able to rush over and do the show, but it didn't go well. The audience had been sitting there for a while. The customer was convinced I had forgotten the booking (this was in the past where my bookings were few and far between - I wouldn't have forgotten one - plus I've always had the verification process so this wouldn't happen).. so everyone there presumed I was late or had forgotten... hostile crowd. I would have been better off just telling the hostess she hadn't verified, sorry about the misunderstanding, as it did nothing to make me look like 'the hero' for running over there and pulling her fat out of the fire.
David Pitts
The Astonishing Mr. Pitts
Comedy Magician and Ventriloquist
http://www.mrpitts.com
LVMagicAL
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Quote:
On 2011-10-07 22:51, BIGmagiclV wrote:
Anything like this happen to you?


Nope.
BIGmagiclV
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The question of "has this ever happened to you?" is really not a yes or no thing on a discussion forum. Those pithy responses of "NOPE" neither help the conversation to go forward or enlighten in any way. As a matter of fact, it's intentions can be construed as condescending, as in "why, your precarious situation would NEVER happen to me because I am supremely capable in my booking ability and would never sink so low as to make a human mistake!"
If we were really looking for "nopes", the pages could go on for several years. People having nothing to do with our business could come here and write the word "nope" and have it be true, just not helpful. Inherent in the question is a soliciting of stories by people who actually had similar experiences and are willing to share them. That would allow the true point of the thread to be revealed, thus helping others who may or may not experience something akin to this particular situation.
To the question of "do you think those who say only nope in their response are capable of true interaction and intelligent discussion?" I answer....NOPE.
TRUMPETMAN
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I once was contacted by a young single mom who insisted that all communication be done via email. She refused to give me her phone number, which was weird. I gave her the quote, and penciled in the date. I then waited, and waited. Sent three more emails, asking her to PLEASE confirm if she truly wanted me there to perform. No response. Took another gig when one came in. The day of the email-only mom's party, she calls me in a panic. First time I had heard her voice. Wants to know where the heck I am ???? I told her that she never responded to the three emails I sent asking for confirmation. Turns out she had, but had mistyped my email address each time. She then got really angry with me because I "ruined" her child's party! I told her that perhaps next time, she should think of giving the magician her phone number from the start. I had no way to contact her other than her email address, as her number was unlisted. She would not relent, and swore she would ruin my reputation with the other mom's.

Sometime later, I ran into a mom who knew her, and when I mentioned the party that went awry, she rolled her eyes. Told me that the woman was a basket case, and refused to give anyone her phone number, since she was constantly hounded by collection agencies for unpaid bills. Also told me that she apparently found a clown to come work the party at the last second, but then paid the clown with a check that bounced ! Guess I was lucky to have taken the other gig....
Mark Pettey
Naples, FL
facebook.com/robbietheringmaster
Donald Dunphy
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I send a confirmation letter in the mail, for birthdays. (One reason for sending it by mail, instead of email, is so that I can also send a small gift.) This is after I fill out my own booking sheet.

I think I've had someone call once to find their entertainer, in a last minute panic. This was about a decade ago. I assured her it wasn't me, because she would have received my confirmation letter.

I still offered her my services, but she wanted to go on and call the list of entertainers, hoping she'd find the one she originally booked.

A confirmation letter is for my peace of mind, and for my customer's peace of mind. It helps them to remember who they booked, have their performer's contact info handy, etc. I become more than a listing they might have seen in a phone book, or a website they might have seen in passing, or a brief phone conversation they had (possibly among many).

- Donald

P.S. I think something that helps, is that I have my birthday show rates online. So, I don't get a lot of calls from tire kickers. If we've talked on the phone, or by email, they are ready to book.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Mr. Pitts
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David Pitts
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Good point about the 'ready to book' thing Donald. Since the decline of yellow pages most of my calls come from the website or referrals, so I have a much higher ratio of callers ready to book as opposed to price shoppers. I love the confirmation letter idea too.
David Pitts
The Astonishing Mr. Pitts
Comedy Magician and Ventriloquist
http://www.mrpitts.com
Mr. Pitts
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David Pitts
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BIGmagic, I agree about the 'nope' thing. I've posted questions before and gotten that. I don't kow if people think it's funny or clever, but it certainly isn't helpful.
David Pitts
The Astonishing Mr. Pitts
Comedy Magician and Ventriloquist
http://www.mrpitts.com
Bill Hilly
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I don't do birthday parties in the sense that you all do. I have done a few private parties such as backyard barbeques, reunions, and such. Most of my gigs are schools, libraries, preschools, and senior homes. So my way of doing this might be too much for someone doing a dozen birthday parties a week.

I never ink a deal without talking on the phone. Emails come in and in my response I simply say I must talk to them. I send a confirmation form, very simple, one side of a page, and it has a "return by" date on it. If I don't get in back, signed, by the date, I call them AND email them. If do each of those 3 times (once per day) and get no response, I send them one more email AND phone call saying the deal is off. Then I mail them a "sorry we couldn't make it happen, maybe next time" letter in the mail.

If they ever call for a next time, and I can't recall right now if any have, I'll require full payment in advance - 2 weeks to 30 days depending on certain things.

-B.H.
Potty the Pirate
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I prefer to take my bookings via email, when possible. Most of my bookings are now done this way. I probably only speak to about 25% of my clients at the booking stage. But, I send a confirmation letter by post, for all events. There is a slip for the client to return to me, but I let them know that if they forget to do this, the party is still confirmed....on occasion, if I haven't received the slip back, I call to make sure that the event is still going ahead.
I always call my clients before the event though, (a day or so in advance), and discuss final details. I have a "no penalty" cancellation policy. It works for me, since very few folks ever cancel. That means no formal contract, just a signed agreement.
I do make sure I have contact phone numbers and street address for all clients, as well as full details of the event: Birthday Party, Wedding, Family Event, etc; name and address of the client or organisation; age range of the audience; number of kids and adults to attend; and several more important details.
This system has rarely failed me, but on a couple of occasions, there has been confusion. Like some posters above, I've had the last minute panic call from a mom who never actually confirmed the date; cancellations at the last minute, because of the client's failure to organise the agreed event; and one time I really did accidentally double-book an event, because one of the clients messed me around so much, and I ended up with the wrong date in my diary. I also recently had an event when the client called to confirm 2 days in advance, but had never actually booked me for the date. I had emailed her three times, and left two phone messages, as I was aware that this had happened, but had met her at a party, where she seemed to be under the impression she had booked me. In this instance, I phoned around for about an hour, finally found her an alternative entertainer, and then when I spoke to her, she cancelled anyway, because it was going to be raining that day, so the event had been called off!
My philosophy is to be as professional as possible - but you can't always account for scatty-headed folks. When it's the clients fault, you can't really accuse them of being in the wrong, you just have to state the facts, and do all you can to help them out.
Potty
jugglestruck
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I always get a deposit for exactly this reason. With Paypal and credit cards it is so easy to ask for a deposit and then people know where they stand and there are no excuses.
For years I did not have a deposit system but his kind of misunderstanding pushed me into it and I have found it to be hassle free and easy to implement.
BIGmagiclV
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My point is, the way I do party booking, I have several failsafes and redundancies to insure I don't forget a party. But that still doesn't prevent my human side from panicking when someone calls and acts like they booked the party when in fact they did not.
Bernie Balloons
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I have had this happen once or twice. They call ask for a price then nothing until the day or two before the party. Yes They told me their name they let me know where the party was being held the occasion and how many kids. Yes they also forgot to call me back and book it , leave a deposit and get a contract. If I kept my schedule open for everyone who called to inquire I would never do an other magic show again.Also I started using the best booking system to avoid this type of thing .It is cheap reliable totally customizable and I love it . Check it out http://www.ManagerSal.com
Sam Sandler
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Well I had something similar but a bit worse I am afraid.

I did have the show booked and arrived at the house for the party and no one was there. I went into a panic thinking that maybe they had told me the party was some where else and the address I had was just for mailing the contract and birthday invites. I called every number I had I even knocked onthe neighbors door to ask if they knew anything about the party.

after being at their house for almost 1 hour I finally drove home. by the time I got home (about 90 minute drive) there was a message asking why I was there at their house. I called and talked with them and they told me that they had cancelled the show! but never called me to tell me.

apparently the person that was to call me thought some one else did.

she felt horrible and sent payment in full!

only one other time did I have a client call me asking me if I would be there on time for a show and yet I did not have anything listed. turns out they were calling the wrong magician. LOL

as for contracts and deposits I always have a contract regardless of the show being a corporate show or a private party in a home. I also always require a deposit. this helps confirm all the details. I also have a tech rider for my illusion show.

these things are important to have as they detail out every ones role and all the needs for the event.

has been a life saver many times over the years.

sam
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
http://www.samsandler.com
http://www.deafinitelymagic.com
Red Shadow
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It happens to everyone. Once I had someone try it on me and so I asked for the contract refrence number even though at the time, I did'nt send them!

Immedietly upon mentioning it, she swallowed her words and admitted that she never actually booked me, as she had no contract to prove it. She made a general enquiry call but didn't actually book. And asking for the contract number proved it to her, thus saving me from looking like the bad guy.

Its even written on my website FAQ Page that I don't provisional bookings and no booking is set in stone until the client has the confirmation sheet with reference number on it.

So if it ever happens again, ask for the contract refrence number, wheather you sent one or not.

Steve
Futureal
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Quote:
On 2011-10-08 11:11, Mr. Pitts wrote:
BIGmagic, I agree about the 'nope' thing. I've posted questions before and gotten that. I don't kow if people think it's funny or clever, but it certainly isn't helpful.


Nope.
Howie Diddot
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Quote:
On 2011-10-07 22:51, BIGmagiclV wrote:

Now, here is my problem. according to all my info, I have no party booked at that time on the 15th! Now I'm freaking out, looking at my online calendar,

But he never got back to me! But in his mind, I was booked. It was very scary but at least my system was accurate. Anything like this happen to you?


Posted above was basically your question asking if it happened to me; I gave a simple answer to your question?

The reason it has not happened to me is because I write down the name and phone number of every person that calls me and I call them back to inquire if they have decided if they would like to hire me; if they do hire me I send a confirmation email.

If you had asked how it is possible to avoid this embarrassing predicament, I would have given you my answer to your question; but you didn’t; you asked if “Anything like this happen to you”

I answered your question,
TonyB2009
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Quote:
On 2011-10-09 18:10, ku7uk3 wrote:
So if it ever happens again, ask for the contract refrence number, wheather you sent one or not.

Steve

That's very clever.
I occasionally get it; someone enquires and doesn't get back to me. Then I am the worst in the world when I let them down. Sometimes someone rings and insists it was me they booked when they had really booked someone else. In rural Ireland you can't send confirmation letters and e-mails, because you will be laughed at. Thankfully this is not a problem that happens often; maybe once every other year.
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