There are occasions when a sequence of unfortunate occurrences seem to to line up like holes in a Swiss cheese, and dump a whole load of hassle on us. However there are also occasions when we have hassle due solely to dealing with other people. Whoever coined the phrase ‘The customer is always right’ obviously never had any customers.
We are going to note just a few of the times that thing’s have gone a bit Pete Tong, without any help from us.
The first couple of tales involve what a friend of my mind refers to as educated idiots. Basically those in a position where they need to be educated, and you also assume that education correlates to intelligence.
The University Of Oxford
Now, a few years back a close friend had been contracted in to provide a Ferris wheel for a ball at one of the colleges in Oxford. His wheel was a really nice example, well decorated, plenty of lights and well maintained. William, the owner, rang me to ask if we had been paid up front for that job. As it happens we had. ‘That’s good’ he noted, ‘The Dean of the college has told me the ride is a disgrace and wants it taking away.’
I was a bit confused by this as I knew it was a good ride. William had no idea why, so I sent him to see the Dean and ask.
When he rang me back he couldn’t talk for laughing. Eventually we got to the bottom of it. Now, a Ferris wheel is constructed by building two parallel spoked wheels, and then hanging cars at the end of the spokes for the guests to sit in. William had got the two wheels constructed, but not yet fastened the cars on. It seems the Dean had looked at the ride, sans the cars, and assumed that his students would have to cling to the ride as it rotated forty feet in the air. His comment was ‘They could be killed if they fall from that height.’
The cars were pointed out to him, and he calmed down at that point so all was good.
The School Headmistress
The second case involved a primary school in Kingston Upon Hull. To set the scene I need to tell you about our first blog. We launched that in the early days of the internet, and still finding our feet about what to write, we tried all sorts of humerous posts.
On one, we had been moaning about the difficulties of securing good staff, so announced that we were going to clone Arthur. Arthur was a sort of casual business partner that was only little, and resembled a smaller version of Austin Powers.
Anyway, after a few posts on the problems with our cloning process, we proudly announced that we had succeeded and created New Arthur. This post was accompanied by a picture of the rubber goblin below.
It wasn’t quite as successful a cloning as we had hoped but we didn’t think it was bad for the first attempt. We kept the joke running all season. We pictured him holding a stick of candy floss, and remarked how well he had done. Learning to make candy floss and so on.
Now, back to the hero of our tale. We had been booked to provide a candy floss cart for a small school fayre in Hull. The headmistress rang us to apologise but she needed to cancel the booking. Now this happens occasionally so it isn’t a problem. We enquired as to the reason just so we could keep a record. ‘Well’, says she, ‘I don’t want to be rude or nasty but it’s your new staff.’
I admit to being nonplussed at this point as we had recently took a couple of kids on for some casual work, and they were doing really well, so I couldn’t understand her problem. So I asked.
‘Well,’ she replies, ‘I don’t want to sound awful or anything, but we are a school for young children. I think your new staff will frighten them, he does look rather scary.’
I must admit I was still a bit non compos mentis and didn’t follow.
‘You know the one, Arthur, the one you have cloned!.
Oh FFS, she meant the rubber doll, I admit I burst out laughing at her as I thought she was playing a joke. Only she wasn’t and got rather abrupt at this point. This was in the pre Dolly the sheep days, so not only was human cloning not a thing. But we hadn’t even managed to clone any other mammals. We explained this to her, and also that even if human cloning was a thing, it would likely be beyond the finances of a small entertainments company to fund.
In the end she kept the booking, but expressed her opinion that we shouldn’t lead people on with false stories
Oh and an interesting fact, Dolly the sheep was so named, because she was cloned from a mammary gland. The scientists looking for a name, couldn’t think of a more impressive pair of mammary glands than Dolly Parton’s.
Enter The Military
We love military jobs, they usually run on time, the people are great fun and the discipline that is inherent in that world means we rarely have an issues.
One of my best event managers Ian, had taken a photo booth to a base. He rang me to say that he couldn’t take much more abuse from the Major in charge. Not a problem I told him, dismantle the booth and come home. He was worried that we wouldn’t get paid, but I told him to leave that to us. We don’t allow our staff to be abused for any amount of money.
Anyhow, we didn’t hear from him so rang to find out what he was doing.
‘Oh, it’s OK, we are best friends now.’
‘Oh, and how did you manage that.’
‘Well, I was in the toilets at the same time as he was, so I thought I would try one last time, and said OK mate. He turned looked me up and down and said what the f**k has it got to do with you. Oh, nothing, only before you go back in the party, I would wipe that cocaine powder from off your top lip, being military and all I don’t think that will go down too well’
Ian said that the guy turned up 5 minutes later with another soldier, told him that anything he needed the other guy would get for him and put it on the Majors bar tab. If you need a smoke break just close the photo booth down, whenever you want. In fact said Ian, I think if I ask for his wife for the weekend he would probably bring her over.
So no matter how hard you try. Things can trip you up through no fault of your own.