Tuesday, July 19, 2011

El Camino Real pulls the plug on the quiz... after serving quiz regulars who came out to play it

The quiz at El Camino Real is done.

After seating about 10 regular players the last time I was there - and after serving them drinks and taking food orders - the acting manager declared that there weren't enough people to warrant holding the quiz that night, and that there wouldn't be one for the rest of the summer, with the possibility of "revisiting" the quiz in the Fall.

Not going to happen.  I don't really need to be doing business with people who operate this way.

After some law and grad school graduations in May we lost a lot of regulars and semi-regulars and things had been touch and go in terms of turnout.  The decision to drop the quiz for the time being was a rational business decision and not by itself problematic.

El Camino has had a number of managers or acting managers since I started working there; in fact the manager who initially recruited me to quizzes there - they contacted me, not the other way around - was gone by the first night I showed up to do the quiz.  There is regular rapid turnover in most other positions and many nights I've had to explain to the staff who I was, what I was doing there with my equipment and that the customers expected prizes and I needed to get paid.  I just stopped trying to learn new staff names at some point because people would be gone very soon anyway.  It's a minor miracle that more than two years of weekly quizzes happened in this fashion.

A sincere thanks to everyone who played the last 20-some months.

These things are problematic:

- Seating and serving regular customers you know came out for an event and only after telling them that you aren't going to hold it.  What a dick move.  I think of the quiz players as my customers too and this is no way to treat you folks.  This is the second bar that cancelled the quiz after selling all of the quiz regulars a round of drinks.  How do people do business this way?

- Not bothering to contact me about this ahead of time.  Worse, helping me move a juke box to find a working outlet - the one I usually use was on the fritz - and then after that cancelling the quiz.  Whose thought process works this way?  No one could think "Hey, maybe we shouldn't be searching for an outlet and moving furniture for an event we're going to cancel..."?

The claim is that no one could find my contact info, which I've given at least 3 or 4 employees at different times with the assurance each time that it was being held somewhere accessable.  This doesn't explain not contacting me via the website - which I've announced there about 300 times - or doing a search for me online or even mentioning something to me in a previous week.

- Not bothering to mention the past few weeks after my repeated discussions with management that I would be distributing fliers in the neighborhood, putting listings in the papers and posting on the internet to promote the quiz that it was going to be cancelled "for the summer."  Instead I was encouraged in this direction and thanked for the effort.

So I apologize deeply for the cancellation if you've showed up; this was as much a surprise to me as to you.  Please send me some contact info if you were there for the quiz.  I'm trying to at least get paid for showing up that evening and bringing in people who spent money on food and drink.  They think because they cancelled with negative 5 minutes' notice that I'm somehow not owed any money.  It's been more than 8 days since I left phone and email messages for the ownership and no one has bothered recontacting me.

Just all-around terrible behavior over there.  Treating me this way is one thing, but your own customers too?

Incidentally I'm putting "for the summer" in quotes because A) I don't know how sincere that offer was and B) I don't have reason to expect anyone making such a statement will still be working there in the Fall if history is a guide.

Come September we're discussing options up at The Draught Horse and I might well end up there twice/week.  Stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

We'll see you at 12 Steps Down...

~Dudes Still Abide

QuizMasterChris said...

Glad to hear it, Dudes! See you there!