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Would you sue?

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Would you sue?

Post by LisaJoyYoung on Tue Sep 14, 2010 2:50 pm

Hey everyone! I've been lurking for awhile, but this is my first actual post. I need some advice!

For the past two years I'm been working at a local pumpkin farm on a pay per face basis in which I give the owners a percentage of my earnings. The last two years went very well and were, by far, my HUGEST money makers of the year. It also offered great exposure for my business.

This year, I called early this month to ask if the same arrangement would work out. They said it would be fine and that they were happy to have me back. I then put in a large order for what would supply me for the entire season.

Today, I just got a call from them. They told me that this weekend they ordered two airbrush machines that they are going to hire kids at minimum wage to operate. Since they don't want competition with the airbrush, my face painting services were no longer needed.

I'm so angry! Not only does my family rely on this much needed income, but I've already made a large investment in anticipation for the season. I'm thinking about taking them to small claims court and trying to at least get back the money I invested when they told me I was welcome back. Unfortunately, everything was done over the phone, so I'm not sure if I even have a case. Even if I lose, I almost feel like it would be worth it just to file and put them through the hassle.

I don't know, what do you think? Would you take them to court or just let it drop? I'm kind of blinded by emotion right now, so I thought it would be good to get some advice.
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Re: Would you sue?

Post by Perry Noia on Tue Sep 14, 2010 3:11 pm

I think you would be burning a bridge that you don't want to burn right now. It was a very successful and profitable event for you.... they are trying to replace you with inexperienced kids using equipment that they have never handled before... it's going to be a disaster for them. They will most likely have you back next year and you will still be able to use all of the supplies you purchased, they don't go bad that quickly.

Instead, take some time and market yourself to some other halloween events. I am currently advertising locally that I will be face painting from noon to 6pm on Halloween (since it's not a school day this will work) at my house (so I don't have to travel all over creation)... I'm charging my usual pay per face rates, taking appointments and filling in blank spaces with walk-ins. Most of them will be full faces because they want the whole mask for the right costume effects with the possible exception of princess crowns.

One way or another, be the bigger person and let it go for now. If you were to sue them for not having you there, they would then tell all the other businesses and people that they know how "unprofessional" you were from their perspective and whether it really was or not, you get a bad reputation.
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Re: Would you sue?

Post by Tilly - Formerly Punky on Tue Sep 14, 2010 3:18 pm

Well, you have a couple of very valid points; that was a nasty thing for them to do, especially since you've been there before, but also, as you said, it was all over the phone, which would qualify as hear-say (sp?). If you had an acutal contract drawn up with them, then you'd have a very strong case and they would have nothing - contracts are binding.

If you want to still go through and try to settle it by the courts, well that's your perrogotive, but just remember, the courts are not in place to satisfy vendettas without proof. Don't take them to court JUST to hassle them, you could end up being fined for wasting the court's time if they get wind of it - I don't know the laws of your area.

My best advice would be to just take this as a learning expirience. I know it's probably not what you want to hear, but we all have learning expiriences like this along the way somewhere. At least you can still use the supplies you purchased- they won't be wasted- and you won't have to worry about re-ordering for a while now.

I'm sorry if this wasn't very much help, I hope it all turns out well for you!
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Re: Would you sue?

Post by Anita's Faces on Tue Sep 14, 2010 3:22 pm

I would certainly try to get your investment back.
Whether it really become a court cace, I do not know.
But certainly try!!!!!!
So say you miss a lot of income without this business.
Good luck!!!!!
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Re: Would you sue?

Post by CreateFaces on Tue Sep 14, 2010 3:30 pm

Take it as a learning experience for sure. One of the number one pieces of advice experienced painters give to newer painters is to have a signed contract for everything.

The other thing to consider is that this local farm probably interacts with lots of local parents so I don't think the court route would be a good PR move. In all likelihood you will lose any case without a signed contract.

It's a total bummer...and I'm sorry for you.

I have a piece of harsh advice, please dont' take it the wrong way...If you're family depends on your FP income then it's time to step up your game and protect that income by getting contracts and policies in place like any other business would.

Good luck and search the forum, there's all sorts of advice on setting up contracts and policies.
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Re: Would you sue?

Post by Ginacentral on Tue Sep 14, 2010 3:44 pm

Lisa I have been doing this for over a year now and I still l consider myself a newbie to this business even now but the first thing I did was make a small written contract that basically clearly states what my responsibilities are and what the venue's are. I keep certain things left blank like dates, locations, i have check box for services (though i only face paint and do glitter tattoos now but balloon animals are going to be coming on board shortly). I also have a cancel/deposit fee with every booking. I just feel a short clear contract helps everyone to remain friendly and professional.

I'm going to assume this is a multi day event... If it is I would call him back and just say "Hey I know you are doing the airbrush thing but if for some reason things don't work out give me a call. But I can't guarantee I will be available." That way if you cant find a booking to replace it...and things don't go his way like Perry said then they may just be giving you a ring a ding. And boy would you be the life saver and I bet they wont make that mistake again.

I'm sorry that happened to you that really just plain sucks.
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Re: Would you sue?

Post by LisaJoyYoung on Tue Sep 14, 2010 4:02 pm

Thank you so much for all of your responses! I really needed this! The points about making a bad name for myself, and not really having a case anyway are excellent! And yes, I'm definitely kicking myself for not putting it in writing. Although it was a "newbie" move, I'm definitely not a newbie! Believe me, I have contracts, and I give them to every client. This is the only pay per face event I do all year though, and I just never really thought of it for this situation. Since nothing comes out of the clients pocket for the work I do at their facility, I didn't think a contract was necessary. Well, now I know! I learned from my mistake, and it was a sucky lesson indeed!
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Re: Would you sue?

Post by BluAngL83 on Tue Sep 14, 2010 4:04 pm

I wouldnt bother with the small claims court b/c thats time and money spent as well. I would call other pumpkin patch places and let them know about your services and whom you worked with in the past. I would also call other fall festivals and see if any booths are still available. DEFINITLY try craigslist. I dont know where you are but here in the DC area its a great free place to advertise.
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Re: Would you sue?

Post by CreateFaces on Tue Sep 14, 2010 4:23 pm

LisaJoyYoung wrote: This is the only pay per face event I do all year though, and I just never really thought of it for this situation.

EEK!! Yes, every single event needs a contract. It's not just about money, but an agreement in writing about what's expected from everyone involved. I do a few pro-bono events and yes even they have to sign a contract.
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Re: Would you sue?

Post by Sam on Tue Sep 14, 2010 4:33 pm

So sorry this happened to you! Try another pumpkin farm, they may jump at the chance to let you paint.

(P.S. - love your videos!)
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Re: Would you sue?

Post by CottonKandyClown on Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:15 pm

*big hugs* I'm so glad to see you on here!!! Yay! We were just talking about you today! Was your ears burning? Laughing

Ok, first you do have a case based on a verbal agreement over the phone, but it probably wouldn't be worth it. I know one lawyer that charges $5000 just to take your case. Is that worth it?

I probably would just never do business with them again! I'm sure there is something even better out there for you Smile

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Re: Would you sue?

Post by LisaJoyYoung on Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:27 pm

Thanks for the hugs! Very Happy Yes, I thought it was time to finally start joining the fun of the forum! It's a great place to come for support and I'm going to try to start participating more often.

I'm definitely going to go with all the advice and just let the whole thing drop. I've stopped seeing red now and am starting to think a bit more logically Smile Time to start looking for more opportunities!

Oh yeah, hope the talk about me was all good and not bad Razz
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Re: Would you sue?

Post by CottonKandyClown on Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:47 pm

LOL Yes, all good! Very Happy
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Re: Would you sue?

Post by JBax on Tue Sep 14, 2010 7:16 pm

Well, since I'm late to the party....

Welcome to the group! Love your vids!

And... I second the checking in on the owner to see how the kids are faring with the airbrush. (You know, it's never as easy as the professionals make it look... how bout we try sword swallowing next?) And definitely seek out other pumpkin patches... (I'm reminded of Linus right now... find a Sincere one). Maybe the owner will want you back.

Good Luck!
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Re: Would you sue?

Post by Metina on Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:51 pm

I think they are going to get really burned in the end. Not only have they invested in really expensive equipment that is hard to use, they are hiring kids to use it. Hmmm...I sure hope they are insured.

I would be willing to bet good money that after one week of this they will be coming to you hat in hand.

Love, Love, Love your vids by the way!

-Metina


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Re: Would you sue?

Post by Tash on Tue Sep 14, 2010 9:33 pm

I would have probably written them a very nice email saying that small children are often scared of the airbrushes but not of the paintbrush so airbrushing and face painting actually compliment eachother and people will often get both. I would also mention that airbrush systems are quite difficult to operate if something goes wrong - blockages, powerloss etc so having someone experienced with them around is a good idea.
I would also mention that I had purchased products in anticipation of working their wonderful event so if after the fist day they decide they would like face painting I would appreciate them contacting me to come in last minute as I would like to recoup my product costs but I can't guarantee I will still be available at that time.
**This way you can put some concerns in their head that perhaps they hadn't even considered and also leave it open for them to get you last min, at worst if they respond you will have proof in the email that they verbally agreed to have you there and then changed their minds.
I agree with the lovelies above - don't burn your bridges - especially if you know you are right and they are being stupid - eventually common sense will prevail and they will realise how much money they are losing - and back they will come.
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Re: Would you sue?

Post by facefantasy on Tue Sep 14, 2010 9:38 pm

Love your vids, so sorry this happened to you!
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Re: Would you sue?

Post by Daizy on Wed Sep 15, 2010 1:03 am

It is totally their loss!!! I agree with the others though! So sorry that happened to you though, hope what ever happens you do well though, which I am sure you will.

Hehe, looks like you have quite a few fans here... me included. I was just watching your youtube clips last night and you have me (and my husband) all inspired!

Welcome to the forum... hope to see you around lots more Smile
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Re: Would you sue?

Post by LisaJoyYoung on Wed Sep 15, 2010 1:37 am

Thank you so much! I'm glad you like the videos. I have a lot of fun putting them together Smile
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Re: Would you sue?

Post by MichelleLA on Wed Sep 15, 2010 2:30 am

Another fan here -- thanks for the great videos from a very appreciative newbie!

Sorry about the $^#%$*^ I mean client Smile The other posters advice to take the high road is right on the money but it's fun to imagine going to the pumpkin patch's biggest competitor and offering your services to them
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Re: Would you sue?

Post by ChangingFaceDesigns on Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:17 am

Hi Lisa, glad to see you here....welcom. Because of you I do great flowers now Very Happy I am still working on that persephone design you did. I am determined to achieve that but I really gotta practice my symmetry when painting on myself...... Your symmetry on that design was really great.

Anyway welcome again, and I am sorry you missed out on that event, but you know the saying you get what you pay for.... well if they are gonna hire inexperienced people to do the work...they can expect some less than happy customers.
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Re: Would you sue?

Post by Psalmbook on Wed Sep 15, 2010 9:17 am

Lisa, I didn't realilze it was you! Yes, great videos!

Who knows... maybe you'll get an event even better than the one you lost! I've had that happen before!
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Re: Would you sue?

Post by BluAngL83 on Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:14 am

BTW have you signed up withe West Coast Face Painters Forum (or whatever its called)? They often have gigs the pass out or around. That could also help too!
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Re: Would you sue?

Post by LisaJoyYoung on Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:06 am

Thanks, BluAngle! I'll definitely check that out, along with Craigs list!
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LisaJoyYoung

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Re: Would you sue?

Post by BarbieSmith on Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:27 pm

Lisa, I just want to say please don't let this weirdness get to you... we LOVE having you here! I just mentioned here yesterday how I loved to watch your videos - you are so sweet and smart and pretty! Hopefully SL has gotten it all out of her system now, and you can have a lovely stay with us (not a dig at you SL, I don't know the situation, just I know how sometimes things can well up within us and then escape all in one go!) Smile

Barbie

Ps: my post no longer makes sense, the posts were removed... Smile Peace and hugs.


Last edited by BarbieSmith on Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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