jwschwartz
Friday, February 28, 2014 5:17:33 PM
So I was walking the lot of a show set up in one of the local shopping malls the other day with my 5 year old son, and my wife. I was introducing my son to my love of the midway, regaling him with tales of my life as a showman. I had the privilege of working for some of what I would consider to be the best in the business. Dwayne Steck,(Steck Equipment Company) Mike Armstrong (Matt Armstrong Shows) Buster Brown (Brown Amusements) and have booked on to many midways that I considered to be first class. Walking through the "joints" I was called into more than one, always with the reply, "No thanks, I'm with it." Everyoner looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language. The "agent" at the wacky wire store harassed me so bad, I had to take some stock from him. I recall in my day, when someone said that they were "with it" you gave them some slack. Has midway etiquette changed that much. I get that it is a still date, and every mark counts, but I was trying to give them a heads up. I didn't want to take the guys stock at the wire store, but he just wouldn't leave me alone. He was set up in front of a popper, so he called me in on my down the midway, then as we were walking back, the wife decided she wanted a snack, he got downright rude. The exchange went something like this:
Agent: Two tries for $3.00
Me: I already told you boss, I'm with it.
Agent: Well GET with it then, don't be scared!
Me: I would hate for to lose a piece of your $20.00 stock because you won't listen.
Agent: What does that even mean, come one bud, two tries for $3.00 look, let me show you how easy it is.
Me: No need to show me boss, take my $3.00, I'll take the large minion hanging up there.
I did the wire on the first try, and left with a "I told you I was with it, you should have let me walk away."
I know in my day, when someone told me that they were with it, even as a ride-jock I would generally let their kids ride, and chat with them about what show they worked for, etc. I guess the midway has changed, either that or I just look too much like a mark.
Bowler Roller
Friday, February 28, 2014 5:42:09 PM
I carry an R key with me.

Although I rarely see "agents" calling anyone in anymore.
Every crowd has a silver lining - PT Barnum
flamo
  •  flamo
  • 87.94% (Honored)
  • Operations Foreman
Friday, February 28, 2014 7:38:12 PM
Things have changed, big time. We don't have many agents left, mostly clerks. They don't know what "With it" means. Very few can even speak the language any more. Its not just jointees either. Even the ride jocks don't have a clue. Too many only know how to load the ride and push the button to put it in motion. Many can't foreman the ride to move it let alone make any repairs. Many if not most are operators, not foremen. When I started it was generally 2nd or 3d man on the ride. You learned and worked your way up. Same with joints, you got a PC in a hanky pank before moving on to grinds, flats and alibis. We generally played a spot a week. There are few if any circus jumps anymore. (That is close tonight and open tomorrow somewhere else.) It was not uncommon to close tonight tear down, drive, set up the next day and open the day after. Almost all the joints were stick and canvas, rides were rarely trailer mounted. We didn't have hydraulics, cranes, forklifts and cherry pickers. Rides were powered by gas engines. I'd say things have changed.
I'm there, Old, Tired, Broke and Henpecked
Pizzagod
Friday, February 28, 2014 8:22:10 PM
I wasn't born into the business, and after 35 years or so I still feel like I'm a half-breed of sorts. However, there are certain courtesies I expect and extend, and when I tell somebody I'm with it, I expect to at least be left alone.

No, there are nothing but newbies out there, and during the 5 years I ran with NAME it always amazed me that the show people thought I was cool beans because I treated them with respect, gave them discounts, and if nothing else had a good word for them every day.

You did the right thing taking his stock-at least in my opinion.
For one dollar I'll guess your weight, your height, or your sex.
jwschwartz
Friday, February 28, 2014 11:05:11 PM
I never worked a joint, I was always moving rides. But the people that "broke me in" taught me to treat fellow show folk with courtesy. I guess it's just a different world today than when I was on the midway.
Flamo, you hit the nail on the head when I started out, I was the third man on Buster Brown's Falling Star. I spent 3/4 of a season waiting to just operate that thing. My foreman wouldn't let me touch the control panel, until I had proven that I knew how to do maintenance, and was knowledgeable about how to set it up and slough. My first year we circus jumped 3 times. Our regular routine was to slough on Sunday, and then be open Wednesday afternoon.
I am proud to say that my last spot was as the foreman on Dwayne Stecks Himalaya (Love Bugs) it was a ground mount Mack, and I loved that ride. Every member of my crew loved that ride, we always wanted to be #1 when it came time to weigh tickets.
I guess I am old-school, and I guess that's why I am just another mark now.
paulmbe
  •  paulmbe
  • 55.74% (Neutral)
  • Maintenance Supervisor
Monday, March 3, 2014 12:13:48 PM
It certainly has no one has passed on the cracks yet and the help isn't around long enough to learn them. Last time I had joints up I had 28 holes and had turned all but 4 of them over 4 times or more at a state fair !!
"Life's journey is not to arrive safely at the grave, in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting, "Holy *, what a ride!"
lotman
  •  lotman
  • 57.1% (Neutral)
  • Ride Supervisor
Monday, March 10, 2014 8:11:40 AM
Originally Posted by: jwschwartz 

So I was walking the lot of a show set up in one of the local shopping malls the other day with my 5 year old son, and my wife. I was introducing my son to my love of the midway, regaling him with tales of my life as a showman. I had the privilege of working for some of what I would consider to be the best in the business. Dwayne Steck,(Steck Equipment Company) Mike Armstrong (Matt Armstrong Shows) Buster Brown (Brown Amusements) and have booked on to many midways that I considered to be first class. Walking through the "joints" I was called into more than one, always with the reply, "No thanks, I'm with it." Everyoner looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language. The "agent" at the wacky wire store harassed me so bad, I had to take some stock from him. I recall in my day, when someone said that they were "with it" you gave them some slack. Has midway etiquette changed that much. I get that it is a still date, and every mark counts, but I was trying to give them a heads up. I didn't want to take the guys stock at the wire store, but he just wouldn't leave me alone. He was set up in front of a popper, so he called me in on my down the midway, then as we were walking back, the wife decided she wanted a snack, he got downright rude. The exchange went something like this:
Agent: Two tries for $3.00
Me: I already told you boss, I'm with it.
Agent: Well GET with it then, don't be scared!
Me: I would hate for to lose a piece of your $20.00 stock because you won't listen.
Agent: What does that even mean, come one bud, two tries for $3.00 look, let me show you how easy it is.
Me: No need to show me boss, take my $3.00, I'll take the large minion hanging up there.
I did the wire on the first try, and left with a "I told you I was with it, you should have let me walk away."
I know in my day, when someone told me that they were with it, even as a ride-jock I would generally let their kids ride, and chat with them about what show they worked for, etc. I guess the midway has changed, either that or I just look too much like a mark.






Maybe the kid behind the counter was doing what the owner of the joint wanted him to do. Call everyone in and don't give up the first time. Today the games need to deal in volume, not just beat a few marks like "back in the day" . So who did you beat, the agent or the owner? Who learned the lesson, the agent, the owner,or your 5 year old son? If you are truly "with it" you don't let your ego get in the way of a hard working man trying to earn a living. He will soon learn what being "with it" is all about. When I walk on someone else's midway and get called in I just smile and say no thanks.

Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.
Mark Twain
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin
powersmidways.com
britt
  •  britt
  • 97.96% (Exalted)
  • Operations Foreman
Monday, March 10, 2014 8:38:56 AM
Originally Posted by: lotman 

Maybe the kid behind the counter was doing what the owner of the joint wanted him to do. Call everyone in and don't give up the first time. Today the games need to deal in volume, not just beat a few marks like "back in the day" . So who did you beat, the agent or the owner? Who learned the lesson, the agent, the owner,or your 5 year old son? If you are truly "with it" you don't let your ego get in the way of a hard working man trying to earn a living. He will soon learn what being "with it" is all about. When I walk on someone else's midway and get called in I just smile and say no thanks.




spoken from a man who is in the business, knows the business, and has adapted to change in the business to keep up with the times. he puts the joints up every week and oversees a the midway. he actually works sometimes also. lol

jwschwartz
Monday, March 10, 2014 9:19:42 PM
Originally Posted by: lotman 

Maybe the kid behind the counter was doing what the owner of the joint wanted him to do. Call everyone in and don't give up the first time. Today the games need to deal in volume, not just beat a few marks like "back in the day" . So who did you beat, the agent or the owner? Who learned the lesson, the agent, the owner,or your 5 year old son? If you are truly "with it" you don't let your ego get in the way of a hard working man trying to earn a living. He will soon learn what being "with it" is all about. When I walk on someone else's midway and get called in I just smile and say no thanks.



Great perspective! I did not only say "no" once, but four different times. I would have left it alone if it were not for the "Don't be scared" crack he gave to me after the fourth no. I am not sure whom the lesson was taught to, but someone needed to learn it. Persistence is fine, but when you start with un-necessary remarks, it needs to stop.

We can agree to dis-agree, but I don't think many owners would be OK with the agent or clerk being overly aggressive. Ask me once, fine, twice OK after that it begins to become almost harassing. When I politely decline the fourth time, to start being agressive with your comments, well either your mark is going to leave the midway, or their wallet will magically become sown shut, because of the perception that all carnies are "just trying to thieve my money."

If that is the only way you OR your help knows how to tip your joint, then I would think that some time needs to be spent learning a few more tricks of the trade.

Again, I could be wrong, that is just MHO.

lotman
  •  lotman
  • 57.1% (Neutral)
  • Ride Supervisor
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 10:18:30 AM
Originally Posted by: jwschwartz 

Great perspective! I did not only say "no" once, but four different times. I would have left it alone if it were not for the "Don't be scared" crack he gave to me after the fourth no. I am not sure whom the lesson was taught to, but someone needed to learn it. Persistence is fine, but when you start with un-necessary remarks, it needs to stop.

We can agree to dis-agree, but I don't think many owners would be OK with the agent or clerk being overly aggressive. Ask me once, fine, twice OK after that it begins to become almost harassing. When I politely decline the fourth time, to start being agressive with your comments, well either your mark is going to leave the midway, or their wallet will magically become sown shut, because of the perception that all carnies are "just trying to thieve my money."

If that is the only way you OR your help knows how to tip your joint, then I would think that some time needs to be spent learning a few more tricks of the trade.

Again, I could be wrong, that is just MHO.



You could be wrong if you have not seen my operation to judge it. I haven't survived over 40 years in this business without gaining some knowledge of how things work. I also learn something new everyday, that's why I can't wait till tomorrow.
IMHO the "don't be scared" crack is not overly aggressive or harassing. I do agree that there are certain boundaries that should not be crossed.
The agent gets paid on points I imagine, so he got paid, the owner kicked a piece to someone who used to be "with it" and it may have helped in the long run with the piece going out on the midway. These games work on volume and the owners know that they are going to be beat once in awhile by people that know the joint. It's part of doing business.
I refer back to your own version of the conversation between you and the agent. It does not sound like he was doing anything but trying to get you to play. He may have been green and did not know what being "with it " meant. Me I'm still "with it" and my ego is not that fragile that I would lose my integrity over someone calling me in. I just don't beat fellow showmen. "Don't be scared" to ignore the agent and let him move to the next customer, and if you are really offended go to the office or concession manager.
Then again I could be wrong also......

Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.
Mark Twain
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin
powersmidways.com
JustJeff
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 10:33:00 AM
As is usually the case ,I can see both sides to the story...I sometimes have a piece of stock or 2 with me as I stroll midways with my kids that we won at some hanky-pank so I understand the guys/gals calling me in.

I found the best method to get them to let me be is to pat my pockets ans say "Broke dude" or "they got it all"--lol--Works almost every time..

Years ago I took a big piece at the State fair in a bottle up,but it did take a couple tries...I had mixed emotions over the integrity of it,but I got over it real quick---Hell I remember years ago up in New York some guys would stock their joint by jumping around to area festivals and then crying when the same thing happened to them..LOL...No names are needed---jeff
jwschwartz
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 9:08:00 PM
Originally Posted by: lotman 

You could be wrong if you have not seen my operation to judge it. I haven't survived over 40 years in this business without gaining some knowledge of how things work. I also learn something new everyday, that's why I can't wait till tomorrow.
IMHO the "don't be scared" crack is not overly aggressive or harassing. I do agree that there are certain boundaries that should not be crossed.
The agent gets paid on points I imagine, so he got paid, the owner kicked a piece to someone who used to be "with it" and it may have helped in the long run with the piece going out on the midway. These games work on volume and the owners know that they are going to be beat once in awhile by people that know the joint. It's part of doing business.
I refer back to your own version of the conversation between you and the agent. It does not sound like he was doing anything but trying to get you to play. He may have been green and did not know what being "with it " meant. Me I'm still "with it" and my ego is not that fragile that I would lose my integrity over someone calling me in. I just don't beat fellow showmen. "Don't be scared" to ignore the agent and let him move to the next customer, and if you are really offended go to the office or concession manager.
Then again I could be wrong also......



Once again, great point. I was not, just to be clear refering to your operation. I have not had the priviledge of seeing it, so I couldn't say. I know when I had my concessions, (just a Hy-Striker, and a guess your weight) I always trained my clerks to call in twice, and if the got two "no's", leave it alone. I possibly should have trained them otherwise to maximize my income.
In retrospect, I did parade that piece around the midway, and even told a few people where I won it, so hopefully I took some of the sting away.
Either way, you have given me a diffrent way to view the encounter, and possibly a different way to handle it should the situation arise again. Thank you![drinking3
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