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When patrons break your gear - a long post


Philip Clark

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Ok, gonna try to tell this story and briefly as possible.

 

Saturday night, I came back from my first break to discover my saxophone had been moved and knocked to the ground and my club soda had been spilled all over the floor under my rig (my power strip was down there too). A birthday party had shown up at the table next to where I set up. When I looked at them for an explanation, one of the girls in the party casually said "oh, we moved it."

 

Livid, I went to the bar to get a rag to clean up the mess. After, I strapped my horn on and got ready to play my next set.

 

Instantly, I noticed that keys on my horn were sticking and the thing wasn't playing properly. At this point, I stop what I'm doing to notice that parts of my sax have been BENT. I bent the part back as much as I could in order to get the horn functional. Then I pulled a business card out of my wallet and approached the table. I asked who exactly moved/knocked-down my horn, and a bullish girl identified herself. I said I was sorrry, and I didn't want to ruin their party, but my horn was damaged and we would need to discuss reparations.

 

Things get heated at this point. Her story is now that the bussers knocked over my gear and they had nothing to do with it. I tell her to call me and return to begin my set.

 

While I'm playing and trying to keep my cool. They call the managers and request to be moved to another table. Fine with me. After I finish my song, I'm asked by another manager to stop and go to the office.

 

I'm greeted by the main manager that just re-sat the table and am asked to explain what happened. I tell my story. She basically chews me out for confronting the customers. I explained that my equipment is expensive and I expected someone to be responsible for the repair from the damage that was done. I have a good relationship with the restaurant, and I didn't want to burn my bridge with them. She said she'll talk to the owner and call me next week.

 

It's really impossible to be happy Mr. Entertainment after something like that. I played the rest of the night, but my horn clearly isn't working properly. Plus I'm now worried I'm going to lose this gig.

 

I had a couple other tables come up and tell me they saw exactly what happened and they would vouch for me to the manager. Here's hoping. But, in hindsight, I'm really pissed the manager didn't have my back in the first place. I insisted to the management that they review whatever surveillance footage they have because there are cameras in the place. At this point, I may cancel my remaining dates there on principle.

 

Only thing I know is I have at least a $500 horn repair bill in my future. And that some people just suck.

 

 

Soul, R&B, Pop from Los Angeles

http://philipclark.com

 

Cannonball Gerald Albright Signature Alto, Yamaha YC73, Fender Rhodes, Roland Juno-106, Yamaha MX61, Roland VR-09, MicroKorg XL, Maschine Mikro, Yamaha Reface CP, Roland MKS-50

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Hope you got names - club manager won't back you - gig elsewhere, take the patron to small claims court. If the venue cameras do show what happened, make every effort to get the video.

 

Principles are important. For future - see if you can get good musician insurance that will both pay for the repair (less deductible) AND then use their resources to get their money back from the responsible party.

 

Howard Grand|Hamm SK1-73|Kurz PC2|PC2X|PC3|PC3X|PC361; QSC K10's

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"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Jim

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That sucks. Next time you speak with the manager, depending on which direction the conversation goes, you may want to inquire what liability insurance policies they carry and who to call to make a claim.
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It does suck. But maybe you should have went to management first?

 

Sorry it happened at all and the gig may be lost. :(

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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It does suck. But maybe you should have went to management first?

 

This is the only thing I keep second guessing. There are several things I wish I'd done differently. I wish I had stopped and IMMEDIATELY taken pictures of everything as I found it with my phone.

 

Then I probably should have just went to management. And then I probably should have just ended the night, packed up and went home. There was no winning on my part after that.

 

Bottom line, nobody really cares about the entertainment. I've been playing that place to a loyal following for nearly two years. Now not only might I lose this money, I've lost the job reference too.

Soul, R&B, Pop from Los Angeles

http://philipclark.com

 

Cannonball Gerald Albright Signature Alto, Yamaha YC73, Fender Rhodes, Roland Juno-106, Yamaha MX61, Roland VR-09, MicroKorg XL, Maschine Mikro, Yamaha Reface CP, Roland MKS-50

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I've had this happen before, and it definitely sucks.

 

I agree, after asking a few questions and ascertaining what had happened, I would then go to the management and ask them to handle it. If they refused to handle it with the customers, I would present management with the repair bill and hold them responsible (leaving it to them to collect from the responsible parties). If they don't make it right, why would you want to play there again? I'm going to go out on a limb and assume you lost money on that gig.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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I feel for you this is one of the suckiest and most demoralizing situations. Nobody's got your back even though you're totally right. You're making music and getting utterly belittled by both the person hiring you and the people who are supposed to be hearing about it. And you're losing $$ now with a horn repair. I'm sorry, don't lose too much heart. I hope it turns out alright.

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

https://bobbycressey.bandcamp.com/album/cali-native

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Very sorry to hear that Philip. Thats just so so wrong, firstly to have that happen to you and your equipment in the first place and then being made to feel like you somehow did the wrong thing by management. I really hope it works out okay for you :(
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Incidentally, I also play sax, and from what you describe, $500 seems a bit high. Not to minimize what happened, but that just sounds really high. I've had similar damages to my sax, and I don't recall ever paying more than $150. That was pad and spring replacement, bending rods, etc.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Unfortunately working with alcohol fuelled idiots is part and parcel of our trade, but it does suck big time and I am sick to death of hearing "the customers always right" NO THE BLOODY CUSTOMER IS NOT ALWAYS RIGHT !

You say in one sentence you don't won't to lose this gig , then go on to say you may cancel on principle, trouble is if you do this someone else will be in there next Saturday as quick as lightning ( again part and parcel of our trade)

I would have a word with the manager when its not busy and voice your concerns to her.

Hopefully you may be able to claim on some kind of insurance or get the restaurant to cough up for repairs ?

" I may not be as good a player as you but I'm having fun "
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Personal vs professional. We musicians tend to struggle with this.

 

Pretend you manufacture a product, the bar is the distributor, the audience is the consumer.

 

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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I am sick to death of hearing "the customers always right" NO THE BLOODY CUSTOMER IS NOT ALWAYS RIGHT !

 

The customer isn't always right, but the customer is always the customer.

Kurzweil Forte, Yamaha Motif ES7, Muse Receptor 2 Pro Max, Neo Ventilator
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Sorry to hear about this. But don't second-guess yourself or your reaction. This is your instrument you're talking about -- what drunken party idiots don't realize is that it's more than just personal property, it's part of you and your livelihood, and you can't help but take it personally when it gets trashed by some careless and callous clod. I can't say I'd have reacted any differently.

 

As someone else suggested, I'd follow up with the manager again. Give yourself time to calm down, as you'll have a better chance at a reasonable conversation. If they're anything less than understanding, then screw it -- find another gig. I haven't had gear damaged, but I have abandoned what had been a regular locale for generally being treated like crap. It's not like I'm turning down dates, but I'd rather spend a Saturday night playing in my music room for nothing than deal with douchenozzle proprietors for a few $$$. Principle isn't a bad thing. ;)

 

D-10; M50; SP4-7; SP6

I'm a fairly accomplished hack.

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Similar thing happened in one of my bands -- a patron tripped over a floor monitor, crashed into a sax sitting on a stand, and bent it up darn good.

 

The patron was drunk beyond belief. The bar owner was no use whatsoever.

 

So we all chipped in a few $$$ to get his horn fixed. Ended up being about $150.

 

-- Chuck

Want to make your band better?  Check out "A Guide To Starting (Or Improving!) Your Own Local Band"

 

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This is the only thing I keep second guessing. There are several things I wish I'd done differently. I wish I had stopped and IMMEDIATELY taken pictures of everything as I found it with my phone.

 

Then I probably should have just went to management. And then I probably should have just ended the night, packed up and went home. There was no winning on my part after that.

Don't beat yourself up about this. Hindsight is a wonderful thing - but unfortunately it is only available in hindsight. You acted in the way that felt right at the time (which is as much as any of us can ever do in any situation) and were confronted with people with all the moral fibre of a mushroom. Just rotten luck all round, compounded by those people's refusal to take responsibility for their actions. I hope that things turn out to be nowhere near as bad as you are dreading. Best of luck.

"Turn your fingers into a dust rag and keep them keys clean!" ;) Bluzeyone
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First - I am truly sorry this happened. An instrument, particularly a horn, can be a very personal thing.

 

Second - Let me play devil's advocate. Again - I was not there, didn't see it happen, YMMV...

 

Here is what I believe the management at the restaurant may say:

 

Your equipment is your responsibility. You were set up next to a table of patrons having a good time.

 

When you left for a break, knowing that there was a good chance that something may happen, why didn't you put your sax in its case and move it out of harm's way?

 

What was the tonic water doing in a spot where it was easily knocked over? You should have foreseen that this was a potential problem and moved it.

 

Ultimately, your equipment - and safekeeping of your equipment - is not our responsibility. Why should we compensate you for damages when you left your equipment unprotected?

 

Also - you are the entertainment. We pay you to entertain, not to argue with our paying customers. You should have immediately informed management of the situation and let us handle it. We cannot afford to have our entertainment run our customers away. Remember, they pay your wages. Without them, we have no need for your services.

 

=====

 

OK. Again - I'm just putting this out there because I believe this is how the restaurant management may respond.

 

Get ready.

 

And again. I really am sorry this happened.

 

With that being said, maybe think you should pack up your sax and drive to Dallas. Find David (EscapeRocks). Leave it in his vehicle overnight. Maybe the thieves will return. They'll find your sax and take it home with them.

 

David can make another claim to his insurance company. You can purchase a brand new instrument.

 

Problem solved. :)

 

Tom

 

 

 

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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You definitely should have taken it to the manager first.

 

Since you didn't, and things went south, here's what I'd suggest:

 

First, apologize to the management for taking it to the customers rather than taking it up with them first. Make it clear you understand that you made a mistake, understand their point of view, and that they were completely right about that.

 

Then ask "What can we do?" about the damage to your horn. Have an estimate of the repair bill. Their answer will clue you into whether you ever want to gig there again.

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I'm sorry to hear about your damaged equipment.

I once played at a church where the kids were clueless and didn't understand that the musician's equipment was OUR property and not the church's, so they'd borrow things and forget to return them, which we'd find out about 15 minutes before stage time, and have to go hunting them down (the equipment, not the kids, LOL). Things were lost and damaged and the church never wanted to be responsible for anything. Eventually, me and some of the other musicians grew tired of all the BS and quit, especially since they weren't paying us anything.

At ANOTHER church, somebody knocked over my guitar and caused a big headstock break, but in that case the pastor reimbursed me for repairs, saying it happened on his watch. Luckily, the repairman was able to restore the guitar to playability.

I never really played in bars, but have heard plenty of horror stories!

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This is the only thing I keep second guessing. There are several things I wish I'd done differently. I wish I had stopped and IMMEDIATELY taken pictures of everything as I found it with my phone.

 

Then I probably should have just went to management. And then I probably should have just ended the night, packed up and went home. There was no winning on my part after that.

Don't beat yourself up about this.

Yeah, I should have been clearer. Perhaps you could or should have done some things differently. But be kind to yourself. Making yourself feel any worse isn't helping anything nor changing anything. Like xK said, you did what you thought was right at the time. Making mistakes isn't so we can beat ourselves up over what we did wrong, it's to learn so we do better the next time.

 

Good luck taking care of things.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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With that being said, maybe think you should pack up your sax and drive to Dallas. Find David (EscapeRocks). Leave it in his vehicle overnight. Maybe the thieves will return. They'll find your sax and take it home with them.

 

David can make another claim to his insurance company. You can purchase a brand new instrument.

 

Problem solved. :)

 

Tom

 

Ha ha freaking ha.

 

 

:) Hmmmm....maybe I can call in some favors from my old neighborhood in Chicago. I can start providing gear "protection."

 

:poke:

:wave:

David

Gig Rig:Casio Privia PX-5S | Yamaha MODX+ 6 | MacBook Pro 14" M1| Mainstage

 

 

 

 

 

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Your equipment is your responsibility. You were set up next to a table of patrons having a good time.

 

When you left for a break, knowing that there was a good chance that something may happen, why didn't you put your sax in its case and move it out of harm's way?

 

What was the tonic water doing in a spot where it was easily knocked over? You should have foreseen that this was a potential problem and moved it.

 

Ultimately, your equipment - and safekeeping of your equipment - is not our responsibility. Why should we compensate you for damages when you left your equipment unprotected?

 

Also - you are the entertainment. We pay you to entertain, not to argue with our paying customers. You should have immediately informed management of the situation and let us handle it.

 

100% correct.

 

 

 

____________________________________
Rod

Here for the gear.

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You definitely should have taken it to the manager first.

 

Since you didn't, and things went south, here's what I'd suggest:

 

First, apologize to the management for taking it to the customers rather than taking it up with them first. Make it clear you understand that you made a mistake, understand their point of view, and that they were completely right about that.

 

Then ask "What can we do?" about the damage to your horn. Have an estimate of the repair bill. Their answer will clue you into whether you ever want to gig there again.

 

I think this is great advice and would have written almost the exact same thing myself. A humble approach may help you bail out the relationship with the manager and the gig (assuming that's what you want).

 

Greg

Kurzweil Forte, Yamaha Motif ES7, Muse Receptor 2 Pro Max, Neo Ventilator
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Find David (EscapeRocks). Leave it in his vehicle overnight.

 

FYI- It's a black truck with a black bed cover. :roll:

Kurzweil Forte, Yamaha Motif ES7, Muse Receptor 2 Pro Max, Neo Ventilator
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Your equipment is your responsibility.

 

Truth unfortunately. As independent contractors to the club we assume complete responsibility for our gear.

 

There have been several instances in my past where I (or the band I was in) stopped working a club because we were concerned about the safety of our gear - usually because of theft, but there was one we quit because we had to set up with no stage in a high traffic part of the club and it was just too dangerous. That's always an option.

 

These days after experiencing countless gear accidents, I have red flags waving frantically in front or me anytime I see delicate gear close to patrons. And I figure something out. But one way or another, you will probably lose your gig if you pursue this.

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Sorry to hear of your troubles Philip , and you did what any one would do, sounds like management are disloyal crap.

Some years back (weird and disturbing situation I can assure you!) I caught a culprit deliberately damaging my pride and joy vehicle!!! - needless to say I had to be judge jury and executioner on the spot (wanted to kill them but didn't want to go to jail).

 

Brett

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I agree with ITGITC wrt handling the situation. I never confront customers without either a manager or security involved (depending on situation). Management will never side with you, you are equivalent to their plumber and electrician.

 

Now. Your horn. $500 seems a lot for a horn that still plays. I once knocked a tenor off a chair, and pushed the high D keyhole in about 30 degrees. THAT is a major repair. Cost about a hundred bucks. 20 years ago.

 

Was your horn in a stand? I never walk away without at least having the horn in a stand, and I never go far without it getting in the case.

 

Wes

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Now. Your horn. $500 seems a lot for a horn that still plays. I once knocked a tenor off a chair, and pushed the high D keyhole in about 30 degrees. THAT is a major repair. Cost about a hundred bucks. 20 years ago.

 

Was your horn in a stand? I never walk away without at least having the horn in a stand, and I never go far without it getting in the case.

 

I wished I live outside of LA, where horn repairs are reasonable.

 

Yes, it was in a stand. That was the thing. They moved the stand and knocked the horn out of it.

Soul, R&B, Pop from Los Angeles

http://philipclark.com

 

Cannonball Gerald Albright Signature Alto, Yamaha YC73, Fender Rhodes, Roland Juno-106, Yamaha MX61, Roland VR-09, MicroKorg XL, Maschine Mikro, Yamaha Reface CP, Roland MKS-50

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