I recently had a midweek corporate mixer. A few games, some line dances, good background music and a nice paycheck. An easy gig for a Tuesday afternoon. I spoke with my contact a few days before to go back over details. Nothing crazy, a nice easy agenda. As we finished wrapping up our conversation she said, “Oh, by the way, no drinking please”. Since this was to be the first time my company was handling the event, I was definitely curious why she felt she had to mention that. My company policy is a zero tolerance for alcohol consumption before or during an event.
My contact told me the DJ they had hired the previous year had a few beers during the event. The reason she knew he had “a few” was because he kept the empty bottles on his table in clear sight. I told her my company policy and assured her she had nothing to worry about. The event came and went. The client was happy and I am looking forward to next year’s event.
Obviously those few beers cost this DJ the event. The bigger picture is that it cost him referrals for other events. I’m taking a leap here, but the fact that the bottles were in plain sight suggests he did not use a façade and his set up probably wasn’t the neatest. Do you really need a few beers to get through a Tuesday afternoon gig? Many mobile DJs operate with a night club mindset. They believe it is OK to have a few while working. In a previous column I wrote about a local DJ who got drunk at a wedding and ended up in handcuffs. It will take him years to recover from that fiasco.
We’ve all been in those situations where the client says to help yourself to anything. I’m sure you’ve had a groom or two come up and demand you do a shot at the bar. Maybe you have done an event for family or close friends (especially backyard events) where everyone kept bringing you drinks. The temptation is always there. The damage drinking can do to your reputation is not worth the risk. How clients and guests view your company and performance is based on your actions at every event. We are constantly being judged and scrutinized.
Our industry is under constant scrutiny. Major wedding publications put out articles about how much to pay DJs, if you even need a DJ (IPod!) and never really show us in a positive light. Can you blame them? We do it to ourselves. As professional as most of us are, the few bad apples are the fuel for the public’s perception of our industry. When I first became a DJ, my mentor told me that the most important asset I have is my reputation. It’s not the big speakers, shiny lights or fancy photo booth. Simply my reputation. Bottom line is alcohol and events do not mix. Please review your alcohol policy and stay away from those $1,000 beers!
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