Thursday, November 28, 2013

Paying Managers to Be Babies: Why?

Last week, I went to a fashion show at the Dream Downtown in NYC. The week before, I'd personally modeled in a show there for Wicked Threads, a great brand you may want to check out. The designer is awesome & those shows have been some of the easiest I have done due to the lack of pressure and stress involved (at least as non-stressful as being a model in a fashion show gets). I personally had no problems and saw no issues with the venue; in fact, it's a very classy looking and gorgeous venue with ambiance & views. The ladies room is also one of the nicest I have been in NYC.

That week was part of my 4 days of crazy busy since I was in another show the next night at the Empire Hotel, was doing a TV appearance the next day, went to see Bayside! The Musical! that night (it was hilarious but oh, so wrong; don't go if you're easily offended or toting young kids/people who have zero sense of humor) & then had my photo shoot to finally do my comp card. After all that, I decided to take a bit of a breather & no one had asked me to model or posted anything saying they needed models so I decided to go to a fashion show that Friday as a spectator. I'd also known about it in advance & when you tell me about something in advance, I'm far more likely to make an effort to attend.

My husband also had an event to go to (and ended up networking; I told him I think my influence rubbed off on him) so no reason for me to sit at home. Plus, I've been going to events to try networking & build contacts.

You know what's great about going to fashion shows if you're a girly girl? You can get away with a lot as long as your outfit is semi-dressy. I also decided to try putting my hair up & didn't totally screw it up even though I'm nowhere close to good at creating an updo. Since I love a free opportunity to dress up, my going to fashion shows just makes sense for that alone. I also knew someone who was modeling in that show & worked with one of the designers before so I wanted to attend to support these people.

Other people I knew were in attendance so I talked to them & even met some new people. One photographer I hadn't met before actually came up to me & asked why I wasn't modeling that evening. I said "Nobody asked me," which was true.

Turns out it may have been a good thing I wasn't modeling that night. The show I was at was shut down by the venue's manager in the middle of the second show.

To put this in some context, the show that was interrupted was a swimsuit show. Lingerie & swimsuit shows are apparently more attended since people (men, in particular) like to see attractive young women in less clothing. The fact that I have worn less clothing in shows I've done is a compliment in my book since if I didn't have the body, no designer would want me going out on the runway representing his/her brand (especially in underwear or the like). There are also quite a few drinkers in the fashion world. Getting free drinks is a major issue after a show & I've seen people get mad if you aren't doing that for models and people involved in the shows.

Not to mention that fashion people have contacts, looks & some even have money. That would be the crowd any high level venue would want to attract & keep as customers. I don't recall hearing about Studio 54 being horrid to fashion people though they built their business around keeping people out & being exclusive. I have been to a number of fashion shows in my time (even before I was modeling in them myself) & that has never happened at any show I went to or participated in.

Well, for whatever reason, the manager at the venue we were at decided to curse out the designer, shoved a model, banished all the photographers (and I knew at least one who was there) & open the curtain where models were in stages of undress. Apparently, the night crowd was more important than this fashion show or maintaining goodwill at this high level event. I saw the organizer of the event later on (who is a Facebook friend I hadn't previously met in person) & told her if they wanted to look into legal action to contact me since I know a ton of attorneys and happen to be an entertainment one myself.

I also made sure to mention this little failing on Yelp and on their Facebook page along with telling the model I knew that if the girl who got shoved or anyone else wanted to pursue legal action, they could contact me. That really pisses me off since I have modeled myself & this jerk easily could have tried that with me. If he had, he'd have lived to regret it & I surely would have told him he just shoved an attorney.

This was far worse than what I saw when I did the show at the Empire Hotel the week before. That manager, a woman, apparently had a problem with the designer pulling out clothes to show models who were waiting outside the bathroom (since we were told we couldn't stay in the bathroom once we had changed & obviously couldn't go out where the general public was since you can't have people seeing your outfit before a fashion show). We end up getting moved to a darkened area with almost no lighting for anyone to see dresses & with no actual bathroom or formal changing area. There were gaps between this part & the part where we had to come out to model (which was quite lighted & filled with members of the general public alongside photographers, who we're used to seeing & aren't being a bunch of leering creepers trying to see naked ladies for sport). There wasn't really a changing area per se so we were getting dressed in this darkness near the non-curtained windows (though we were at the rooftop on a very high floor).

Now, one thing you should know about being a model is you can't be one of those super bashful girls when it comes to changing clothes. You're not likely to get a private changing area & junior high changing may not work for you depending on the outfit. I'm an expert in junior high changing (this is when you change your clothes in plain sight & do it without any glimpse of private parts) but there are garments you can't do that with. Sports bras are one of them. Pantyhose would be another.

If you've been to Joyce Leslie & tried anything on, you can't be bashful there either since they don't have fitting rooms but instead have one large room that women folk have to change in (at least at the one I went to near 8th Street & I was trying on a bra that day). Being in entertainment or going to Joyce Leslie should cure you of that bashfulness about changing in front of other women; you're too busy trying to get yourself ready & as others would point out "we all have the same stuff" so it's not worth freaking out over.

At the same time, there is a principle at work so I made sure to mention it to someone I knew. Still need to work on that Yelp review but been so busy lately with other things.

All these events irk me for another reason, though. Why in God's name are these managers being paid a salary by these venues to be shitty to guests? There are far more mature ways to handle a conflict than cursing someone out, shoving people, invading their privacy & so forth. I own a business & if I had a manager doing that in my business, I would fire their ass in a second. I don't know if they have contracts for the events but regardless, what about hospitality? These jerks are in the hospitality business; you're supposed to be NICE to people in it. If you hate people, don't work in that field. Come to think of it, there are lots of fields you should stay out of if you hate people. Not those who have done something to piss you off or are liars/jerks/etc.: I'm referring to hating people as your default position.

How many people are unemployed or underemployed in NYC? How many would do twice the work at half the pay & be damn appreciative and glad to have a job in the first place? What business owner would pay a manager to be a dickhead to people who are bringing crowds, alcohol sales & the like to their venue? What did I just say about fashion people & fashion shows? Why in the Hell would you want to alienate those people? You should be doing everything you can to make those people happy & get them to come back, invite their friends, talk you up & have a positive experience.

Not to mention the legal liability involved in making people change clothes in the dark, shoving women wearing very high heels & breaching contracts (oral or written). What if someone had gotten injured & ended up having to go to the hospital? Guess who'd be getting sued? The shitty manager might get named but the venue has deeper pockets so YOU owner(s) would be fucked over in that situation.

So along with bad PR, legal liability, potential backlash in desired demographics (I also don't advise pissing off photographers since they're actually fun people), high employee turnover (since God help the people who have to work for these assholes; the other staff members involved in these incidents were fine, including the security people) & creating a workplace where immaturity is allowed among so-called "professionals," why in the world would anyone with half a brain keep that kind of manager employed in their company? I, as a model, would certainly not feel comfortable modeling at the Dream Hotel Downtown if that asshole was in charge since who knows if that fucker would go invade MY privacy or lay a hand on ME? Where's the safety to models & anyone else providing entertainment at an event? If I'm thinking this, you know others have to be as well.

If someone told me "Oh, they were drunk," that would make me even less happy with a venue. How many episodes of Bar Rescue do you see where Jon Taffer is berating an owner for letting employees drink on the job & lecturing people about drinking at work? That's just announcing your workplace is unprofessional & a lawsuit waiting to happen.

The next day, still fired up from the Dream Downtown incident the night before, I went to Target & ended up calling up the manager to complain about a lazy fuck who refused to provide me with service when I asked for a rain check on an item. He apparently thought I was supposed to go get him an item number from a section when I don't work at Target, wouldn't know where the item number was & there's no real staffing in the section. He couldn't even be bothered to get a circular to look for the item! I would never have done that when I worked in retail & gee, we have phones so he could have called and tried to get the information but just wanted to be lazy.

At the end of the day, my attitude is "I earned my position & had to work for my paycheck. You need to be doing the same or getting the hell out of the way so someone who gives a damn will actually do the job." You have no sympathy from me when you're being unprofessional, rude, nasty, etc. & you work in customer service or hospitality. Low wages, my ass!

I worked in retail for 7 years & I didn't take out my unhappiness or attitude about my employer onto the customers (I also didn't hate my job or take one I know I would hate 100%). It's not their fault YOU hate your life or your job. That's a problem YOU need to deal with. Either make an attempt to change your lot in life or accept it; regardless, don't come bitching to customers about it. They do not care. Why is it that I got this lesson at 15 while there are people far older than I am now who don't get it? If you are a manager & you try defending laziness/unprofessionalism/so on & so forth against me & mine, I will give you hell for it. Just a fair warning.

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