After 20 years of entertaining, I have never really run into a fellow service provider that I hate to work with. I mean, there are always some with questionable work ethics, and maybe kind of sloppy, but no one I absolutely flat out refuse to work with (well, there is a certain caterer too). Until now…..
Professional courtesy prevents me from publicly naming this particular individual, but soon enough, when any of my future prospective clients have already booked him, I will turn down the job.
This man is a great photographer, but unfortunately, is as crude as any imaginable caveman would be. He is insulting, he drinks at all his events, he call people by the wrong name (and I mean brides and grooms!) he hits on bridesmaids, and he is a perverted jerk. That all seems forgivable, because clients love his finished product, and really has nothing to do with me.
Where it gets ugly, he has referred me a few times in the past, and I have booked less than 50% of the names he has given me, but most were solid clients, and actually have ended up liking me, more than him. We had a standing agreement, that I would offer a discount for my services, as a good faith gesture for the referral. The last couple times we’ve worked together, he had mentioned the fact that I have not given him anything, and I kindly replied, “I don’t work that way, you don’t have to refer me anymore”. This most recent time, he went on to actually name other entertainers, that have given kickback, ranging between $50-$100. I once again replied “you did not have to refer me”.
It baffles me, I give your clients a discount, and then you ask me for money, I lose twice, not exactly a fair deal. What am I supposed to do, quote a higher price, pretend to give a discount, and then kick back to you?!?!?
The last nail came on 30 September 2011. He walks into the room, and the first thing he says is “are you gonna thank me for getting you this job?” First of all, you gave me a referral, I got myself the job. Second, I called and thanked you, when I booked, how soon we forget! He next went on about how other guys have given him money, where’s mine? He next mentioned how much weight I’ve gained, which I have not, besides, I have a scale, a mirror, and a doctor to tell me I’m fat, but thanks for pointing that out 😉 Now he has done that on more than one occasion, and I’ve put my pride on a shelf, because it may or not have been good business. Where his COMPLETE lack of professional courtesy comes in, he interrupts me in the middle of my welcome speech to the wedding guests, to plug his company!! I believe photographers are really important, but to blatantly sidetrack the emcee, while he’s addressing the crowd, diminishes, and undermines the sense that I have direction of the event. He has done it before, but has at least waited until I’ve finished my welcome speech. I was able to recover, and directed ALL the attention to him, and seemingly joked with the guests, that he needed recognition. But I’m sure the damage was done, and the guests questioned my control of the event.
So, for the first time in my career, I have a DO NOT CALL list, and if anyone mentions this photographer, I will respectfully decline the event. I would hope he learns his lesson, but unfortunately, he is one of the top photographers in Pittsburgh, and he’s close to retirement, so his actions will likely go unnoticed, and unpunished.