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.)
- 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 possessive|
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|
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.