Is this Funny, Creepy or Just Plain Wrong?

July 20, 2019 by Michael Cordeiro

One of the many unwanted hats we wear at events is that of lost and found manager. It’s not enough to be the host, entertainer, DJ, lighting designer, photo booth operator, babysitter, the “Your lights are on” and “It’s last call” guy and whatever else a venue throws at us. Now we have to make endless announcements about lost wallets, shoes, hats, gloves, false teeth and phones. There always is a certain question of ethics and responsibility to do the right thing with other people’s property. Sometimes it might be a little too easy to cross the line, especially when technology is involved.

A good question was posted on one of the private DJ groups I belong to. Here’s the scenario: someone brings up a lost phone to you at a gig. Do you A. just announce the type of phone and see if someone comes up., B. turn it over to the staff and make it their problem, or C. try to unlock the screen and see if you can find a name to identify the owner? As an extra caveat, while you’re in the phone (if it’s unlocked) do you take a selfie and post it on the owner’s social media? Is that crossing the line?

Usually when someone brings me a lost item I try to find some quick way to identify the owner. If it’s a man’s wallet I may flip it open to see if there is a license or an I.D. visible. I don’t go rummaging through the pockets. If it’s a lady’s purse I stay out of it. My wife and I have been together twenty years. I have no idea what she keeps in her purse. I’m actually a little afraid of knowing. When it comes to phones I try to see if there is a screen picture of the owner. I match that picture with a guest in the room, quietly walk over hand it to them and look like the hero. If the screen is locked I don’t mess with it.

Conversely, if the phone is unlocked I don’t think it’s prudent to go searching through their contacts, albums or social media profiles. I understand the temptation to take a selfie and put it on their phone, but to me that is like coming into my house, grabbing my Polaroid camera, snapping a pic of you making a sandwich and then leaving it on my refrigerator. Get it? A persons phone is like a miniature version of their house, just really mobile. It’s not yours, stay out of it.

Everyone wants to be the cool guy or the funny man. Oh, that crazy DJ took a selfie on my phone. Not really sure how that is going to go over. All too often we act without thinking it out first. We, as an industry, tend to be very spur of the moment. Our jobs dictate that we be ready to respond quickly to anything that might happen at an event. How do you avoid having something that was meant to be a joke turn into a sour moment for the guests or client?

Think about, create and actually write an operating procedure for your company to handle unique situations. Think about all the crazy things that could happen at one of your events and have a solid smart plan to deal with them. If you own a multi-op, then train all your employees and have real honest discussions with them about ethics, honesty and morality. You might be surprised at the feedback. In the meantime, I’m going to go ask my wife what actually is in her purse. Wish me luck.

Filed Under: Digital DJing, Event DJ Tips, Mobile DJ Business, Mobile DJ Career Development, Mobile DJ Misc, Mobile DJ Performance Tips