Monday, July 29, 2013

Travel to South America in this week's quiz

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 7:30pm  
12 Steps Down  
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: SOUTH AMERICA

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Time for your close-up
Wednesday, July 23, 7:30pm
12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.

 Subject Round: MOVIE STARS' LIVES

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hot stuff in this week's quiz

Wednesday, July 17, 7:30pm
12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.

Subject Round: HOT STUFF

We'll 'celebrate' the heat wave with questions about all things heat-related.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Go back in time in this week's quiz

Wednesday, July 10, 7:30pm
12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.

Subject Round: THE 19TH CENTURY
Proper attire for tonight's game

Monday, July 1, 2013

Drinker's has fired its marketing personnel, cancelled the quiz and threatened to withhold my pay

What I don't think is considered - or need be considered - by anyone else is that when things go south in a regularly scheduled quiz I still need to explain to people using this blog for updates and making their plans for the week what's happened.  The bar doesn't feel compelled to make any annoucement.  Heck, the bar hopes you don't know the quiz is cancelled and that you show up and order at least one drink before you find out.

Twice I've had bars and/or restuarants seat and serve quiz regulars, let me set up, and then tell me as of five minutes ago there's no more quiz, that the people who just ordered drinks aren't getting one, and I'm not getting paid for that evening.  It's a pretty shitty industry.

If out of the blue I simply stop mentioning a quiz and wipe it from memory 1984-style, that's going to reflect poorly upon me.  I'd feel a bit of a jerk encouraging people to come do something for weeks, months or years and then just not mention it when no longer convenient and leave loyal patrons hanging.  This is not a compunction, I've learned the hard way, that most of the bar industry has.

Thus because I want to avoid that particular variety of jerkery and in hopes that others learn some things from my errors and successes in dealing with these venues (no verbal agreements, people!), I bang out these accounts.

All of the following is unfortunately true:

- About six weeks ago Four Corners Management (owners of the Drinkers bars and otherwise quickly metastasizing) contacted me to start a quiz with them.  Repeating: they contacted me to do a quiz.  This wasn't my idea.  I stated at the time that I'd already tried doing a quiz at the Old City Drinker's a few years back, that it didn't work so well at that location, that either other Drinker's location would likely work better.  I was assured that things were better crowd-wise, that I could expect less patron douchebaggery, that they were willing to put time and money into promotion and that they wanted this to work.  (Allow me to state that bar staff Chris and Sean were nothing but polite and helpful during our brief overlap.  Thanks, gents.)
Drinker, singular
 - FCM encouraged me to come into their business office twice to pick up and distribute fliers and posters on my own time, the first set announcing a 7:30 start time for the quiz.  This was followed by a decision to make that 8pm (because hey screw the fliers and the work put into that) and then after the second round of updated printed materials not to do it at all, because, hey ... isn't not doing exactly what you pay to advertise what they teach at Wharton?  And why not have me distribute materials that are immediately made serially incorrect and pointless?  Fantastic.  Stellar.

- I showed up at the Old City location to do four quizzes. Of those four weeks, two of them were up against the irregularly scheduled, large-prize TV-show themed quizzes at another Drinker's location.  Same nights, same time, and drawing people who'd been regulars at my Templequiz.  And who can blame you for going to the special events with the bigger prizes?  I might have gone to one myself had I not had this quizzo gig someone hired me to do.
Drinkers, plural
- Four Corners had me fill out an independent contractor's tax form and give office staff my contact info separately in case anyone needed to call me.  This was a few weeks ago.  A couple of days ago they ended the quiz - via a two-sentence email from a person I'd never dealt with - triggering a call from me to find out what in hell was happening.   I was told that they lost all my contact and tax info, and had no idea what my phone number nor address were.  The IRS must love these folks.

Drinker's, possessive
- I was supposed to be entered into payroll.  One can expect a gap on that sometimes and I thought about now I'd be getting the first check; that wasn't going to happen if we believe that all my contact info and my tax form vanished.  So ... was the plan just not to pay me or not to inform me that I couldn't be paid until I complained ... or are we just lying about losing the contact info so that no one would have to speak with me on the phone about things like a responsible adult..?  Either way, WTF?

Drinkers', plural possessive
- When I asked to speak with someone in charge after not getting any cohesive answer as to why all of this was happening or when and how much they were planning to pay me, I learned that Drinker's 'decided to go another direction' (one of those zombie-corporate-speak phrases) after firing the marketing staff who happened to hire me.  Also 'this is not a reflection on you [me]', to which I reply I certainly hope no sane person would consider it to be.  Of course it has an impact on me, and on other customers and potential customers, but hey screw us, right?

Apparently it's considered quite alright to jerk around anyone recently retained in a new project because you're firing someone else for unrelated reasons.  Apparently it's the pinnacle of project management to let personnel you know you're planning to let go any minute now start new projects with outside contractors and then spring your change of plans on everyone as a big ol' nasty surprise.  Apparently, as we see below, it's expected that everyone is going to accept this casual jerkwad behavior silently.

I have to wonder how much effort FCM allowed marketing and I to put into this after they knew they were cleaning house and were going to ditch the quiz.

Like this, but older

 Eventually I was transferred to someone identified as a partner of the management group, and I told him that his staff weren't managing this all very well, and that this wasn't a very mature nor sensible way to do business.    He told me that he 'wasn't going to listen' to me tell him or his staff that they weren't managing things very well.  I was referred to as 'duuuude.'  And then told  'maybe I'm not going to send you your fucking check.' (Exact quote.)   And then Dudemaster hung up on me, because that's apparently how adults run businesses these days.  (As a Crank Yankers puppet I certainly see this guy in a tiny Ed Hardy shirt.) Let's face it, the American bar and restaurant industry is built on stiffing employees and habitually keeping their final paychecks, stealing their tips, stealing online tips, especially if and when fallen on hard times.

It's an industry in which wage theft is endemic, and I suppose this fellow thought that he didn't really have to pay me if he didn't like what I was saying.  Deciding not to pay someone in the bar and restaurant business because you're in management and don't like their face or a sentence that came out of their mouth (or just because it's easy theft) is just second nature I should imagine.  Usually the victim would be a 22 year old waitress who doesn't have any paper trail of the money owed, and isn't likely ever to recover a penny.  (Interestingly if you're in the less than 1% of American food service workers in a union, you get your last fucking paycheck even if a building falls on you.)

- I called back and pointed out to other staff that we had a long trail of written agreement to times, dates and amounts for the quizzes, as well as roomfuls of potential witnesses that I did the work, and that it would be my pleasure to have them ordered to pay me my fucking check plus my fucking court costs in Philadelphia fucking Small fucking Claims fucking Court.  Said partner got on the phone again and sheepishly took my address so it would be... unlost.

- A check for the full amount owed arrived the next day.  I'll update this post when it clears so we all know I did get paid, just to be fair to all parties.  (Update: Check cleared.)  Put that small claims court link in your Bookmarks, kids.  On the plus end for once a bar ended a quiz before they served people who came out for it!

The initial casual termination email suggested that Four Corners would give me a call again in the future should they need me.  I can only hope that was as insincere as it read.  I won't be buying a beer from these people let alone getting suckered into working for them again.  Duuuude.