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Street Performers vs. City Hall

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  • Street Performers vs. City Hall

    This is the latest information on the battle between city hall and some of the street performers in Ocean City. http://tinyurl.com/3k5jpfn It has caused quite a bit of controversy as Mark Chase has hired a lawyer and has put some pressure on City Hall. The most interesting part for me personally is that I can actually set prices now. I am in the process of getting together my signage, and I am experimenting with setting my prices and what I am specifically offering. (my prices range from 1 - 2 dollars for everything except hats, which range from 1 - 5). It pretty amazing when someone walks away when they hear "1 dollar" and it just goes to show that is the kind of person that was going to take advantage of me anyway. The other thing I have noticed so far, is that the people who were going to tip me, give me extra anyway. The people that were going to try and "get over" on me, are forced to pay a more reasonable price for my material, talent and time. It's really a good thing for me, and I think as long as we can set our prices in a reasonable manner, it's a win win situation for the performers that produce tangible artwork on the boardwalk. So far it has been much better than taking tips and it is FAR less stressful, which means I can devote more time to entertaining the kids, instead of haggling with people. It really has increased the "level" of my performance, I couldn't be happier. It may only last until July 5, when council makes a firm decision, but we will see, for now I feel wonderful, and I get to devote my time to what's important (making the kids smile), instead of trying to "beg" someone to give me more than 30 cents.... it takes away the feeling of being insulted and allows me to peform and concentrate on the whole reason I come down to the boards in the first place (to make people happy, and hopefully enjoy thier vacation a little more)
    Bobby Balloonz
    Ocean City's Fastest Balloon Artist

  • #2
    Re: Street Performers vs. City Hall

    Bobby, you are contradicting yourself. You've gone from wanting to be a "performer" to being a "businessman." I've read all your previous posts and not once did you mention having a problem with working for tips. As a matter of fact, I think you said as long as you were making the kids happy you didn't mind if you were tipped or not. I think Mark has been breathing too miuch of his own medium and you should be careful for what you ask for because you might just get it. This entire discussion has turned me off to street performers all together and I won't deal with any again.

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    • #3
      Re: Street Performers vs. City Hall

      Set and display your prices will make it easier for the tax people, too.Or, are you only going to make $999 this summer ?

      You know what they say......"watchout for what you wish for , you just might get it "
      Ain't nothin' but somthin' to do.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Street Performers vs. City Hall

        ooops.......sorry about the echo hap.
        Ain't nothin' but somthin' to do.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Street Performers vs. City Hall

          SandyC, that's exactly what I said. Issues like this are 2-edged swords. Unfortunately, both cut equally deep.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Street Performers vs. City Hall

            I am trying things out to see what the difference is. The one thing for certain that I have found is that it is SO much less stressful than it is when working strictly for tips. and I have NO PROBLEM when the kids are involved really with the tip process. The "price setting" really comes into play when you are dealing with the teenagers. It's not fair to expect me to give away my talent and time for nothing, however some people feel that the balloons should be free, and they insult you and make you feel very small. Then they continue to show your worth by not leaving anything behind for you. (or even worse, leaving the penny or five cents). While the majority of the time I am able to maintain my objectivity, there are times where it can be very demoralizing. it's not the cost, it's the principal, but it goes with the territory I guess. I'm gonna see how it goes, and see what the city says, I do however like not having to stress with the people, it makes it very easy for me.
            Bobby Balloonz
            Ocean City's Fastest Balloon Artist

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Street Performers vs. City Hall

              I guess I should clarify, and if it "turns you off" to street performers happenstance, so be it, I have found that in the majority of any issues I have posted about on this forum, you have something against whatever I am saying. Please remember, I live in Ocean City, I know dozens of business owners and I sit in on council meetings. I may not always be right, but I certainly do have my finger on the "pulse" of Ocean City. Anyway while I do enjoy making the kids happy, and I love what I do, don't misunderstand me, that I do this for the money. I would not be capable of doing what I do for free. After an evening in the summer, I am in pain, my hands hurt, and I am dripping head to toe in sweat. I have spent hours taking orders, performing, and producing the artwork that I produce while being yelled at by people, and dealing with crazy children (and sometimes even crazier parents). I do this work because I make money doing it. I claim my tips at the end of the year, and this is the way that I pay all my bills and survive for the entire year. Being a street performer in Ocean City spawned a whole business for me, including private parties, events, and a whole retail line of balloon supplies for making the artwork. It also caused me to put up several free tutorial videos on how to make the animals so that anyone with internet access can come learn the trade if they wanted to. Anyway if this makes you mad, I guess you should know that there are professional street performers. I happen to be one of them, there are several in Ocean City, and we try very hard to do things the way the city requests, and abide by the rules, but what I do is also a "job". It's a job that is very rewarding, and also very challenging. I just recently put down the premium on a million dollar liability policy. I take this very seriously as my whole financial well being is based on it. So being called a "businessman" is certainly not hurting my feelings. I'm sorry if you don't like me, but I love what I do, and nothing will change that. I am happier now than I have ever been in my life, and nothing will change that (hopefully). I get to do something that is so much fun, and I get to earn my living that way as well.
              Bobby Balloonz
              Ocean City's Fastest Balloon Artist

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Street Performers vs. City Hall

                Sounds to me like the City is getting it's legal advice and ruling in order since they delayed the vote until the 14th. This obviously isn't settled yet.

                As for Mr. Chase, he has really turned me off to him and those who follow him.
                Ask an OC Insider

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                • #9
                  Re: Street Performers vs. City Hall

                  Bobby,



                  Are you in it for the money or in it to "see kids smile"? Obviously you are in it to make a dollar or you woudn't be doing it.



                  My question is do the street performers have to buy a business liscense? Do they have to pay rents? Do they face the same regulations/inspections/permiting fees/taxes the brick and morter shops have to pay? Do you have to report your income to the town? There is no overhead expenses for insurance, electricity, employees, and all the other expenses a business owner on the boards has to pay. How is that fair?



                  Don't take this personal but I now see these street performers as one step up from a common pan handler anymore, they simply provide a trick for your money. They are able to avoid most of the fees and regulations the businesses on the boardwalk have to absorb while at the same time targeting the same clientele as those businesses that have had to invest time, money and resources to conduct business in town. And they all do so under the guise of "free speech"........... thats what gets me the most. Ok, a one armed individual playing the drums, a guitar while singing thats a street perfomer and could have a tip bucket. No problem in my eyes. You have have a product you sell, thats different. It's not so much a "performance" as it is any other business selling a product or service now.



                  Again not trying to take jabs but heck, I see it analogous to buying a roach coach and selling food to the public while parking in a restaurant parking lot while doing so, and not having to go through the same hassles as the restaurant whos parking lot I am using.



                  How is this different? Again, not taking jabs just educate me as to how the street performers are different from the brick and morter establishments and why they don't have to go through the same hassles, expenses and regulations.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Street Performers vs. City Hall

                    ok for one..I am trying to take this opportunity to make a "full-fledged" business for myself...the other thing, is that it is not like a roach coach in a restaraunt parking lot because for myself personally not one single store in Ocean City sells balloon animals. I do this ultimately for the money, but it is fantastic that I get to see all those kids and other people smile while I do it. I don't know, it's a very difficult thing to be involved with. I am all for requiring the performers to carry insurance (as I now do), and I am for the requirements being more strict, because that would make it so that the level of performance would go up. There are other sides to this as well, for example my wife currently works for someone who leaves the country on a regular basis to maintain his citizenship where he lives, so he can stay tax exempt here in the US. Now, I have come to terms with the fact that I Don't have the same opportunities as other people being a white united states citizen, but that's ok, I will find a way to carve a path out on my own. I feel I am doing the right thing to make something succesful of myself. maybe not everyone sees it that way, but I'm going to keep trying. I definately would not stand on the boardwalk and give away free balloons if I didn't get paid for it no, it's an overwhelming task to make as many balloons as I do on a busy night, and it's a physically demanding thing (come watch me while I am really busy for a while, it's fun to watch), but beyond that, I could never AFFORD to give that many balloons away. it would be like hading every child that walked by 50 cents. it just wouldn't be possible anyway. I have been dealing with the humility of being a street performer for a while now, and it makes me feel like a pan handler, and it makes me feel awful to be honest with you sometimes the way that the public treats you, but I just try to stay focused and keep my goals in mind and know that I can put something together that maybe one day will truely be successful. Who knows, but my goal is not to be a street performer for my entire life, nor a "busker" (which is someone that kinda tramps around doing a trade to get cash to keep traveling). I hope one day I will be respected and that I would like to think that I have done something good with my time and money, but alas, that remains to be seen. I can say for certain as it stands right now, the majority of people that pass me look down on me, but I will keep trying, I will come to work with my clothes clean, and shaven, and I will take pride in what I do for myself, if no one else. I have a wonderful wife who still stands beside me, and has never looked down on me for anything I have tried to do. I can't help but feel like sometimes that I am worthless. Enough people tell you that, and it starts to become true in your mind.
                    Bobby Balloonz
                    Ocean City's Fastest Balloon Artist

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Street Performers vs. City Hall

                      Street performers dates back to antiquity, and occurs all over the world...Street performers have been around for a long time in OC also. They should be charged a fee..a moderate fee...as far as taxes and what they are claiming..I could care less. Then lets just shut the whole boardwalk down..since I'm sure most of the business are under reporting...geesh the tax police is alive and kicking on this board..at least Bobby is not out collecting an unemployment check and placing his burden on the rest of us...I support anyone who wants to earn a buck...as long as it's legal then it's none of my business.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Street Performers vs. City Hall

                        The American inventor and statesman Benjamin Franklin was a street performer. He composed songs, poetry and prose about the current events and went out in public and performed them. He would then sell printed copies of them to the public.

                        Hey Bobby if it was good enough for Ben Franklin....then your in good company..hymm let get some of our ciber sleuths out there to check his tax returns..circa late 1700's.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Street Performers vs. City Hall

                          Don't forget that you are now required to collect MD sales tax and then file with the state. In the end, the performers will lose. You guys should have stayed quiet.
                          Ken

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Street Performers vs. City Hall

                            A traditional street performer (Busker) works for gratuity, period. When a "street performer" has a set price for a service or product is where I think it blurs the line and is more in step with a business providing a service or product for a set price. I personally dont think its fair for all the other business in town and on the boardwalk that have a set price for their service or product. I don't see the difference now, other then "performers" having the ability to bypass the rules and regulations the other brick and mortar business have to endure. And to use "free speech" as a reason why it should be OK to allow these performaers, who now have set pricing, is not what free speech is about and doesn't fit the definition of a busker.




                            Do it for gratuity or donations only then ok, you're a busker and I can see the free speech arguments. Do it for a set fee then it's a business that should abide by the same rules as everyone else, that's where my hang up lies.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Street Performers vs. City Hall

                              I'm all for there being more requirements, but you know that the argument does remain that a great percentage of the stores on the boardwalk are not abiding by these rules anyway. I don't really care to argue, I know a bunch of the owners, and I know that they dodge taxes for a fact. I know they pay employees under the table for a fact. You talk of "doing a little trick" but wouldn't buying a t-shirt and a decal from a distributor for about 2 dollars wholesale and then reselling it for around 30 dollars, as something that is a giant piece of garbage that's going to fall apart after 2 or 3 washes be considered "a little trick?" come on...let's be serious. and if you notice the businesses that do things by the book that have survived are so few and far between. look at kite loft, they are legitimate, they pay everyone and pay taxes, licensce, insurance, etc... man look at the prices they have to charge to do that. I can't even afford to buy a kite there. LOL. it's really a shame the way it REALLY is on the boardwalk, I'm being jumped all over, like people are mad at me for making a dollar, I just don't get it. I mean come on, I make balloon animals for children!!! only 2 stores on the boards even offer balloons (hooters and golden plate) and they are "free" to the kids...but if you don't eat there, go see if they are free.....just like not one single balloon that I paid money for was "free" I give away balloons to children all the time, every single day. There are certain days in the summer that I give away balloons the ENTIRE day for free, just because I want to do it. These business are going to make more money in one weekend then I will see for the entire summer...so why not worry about THEM PAYING THE TAXES? Half the shop owners are TAX EXEMPT because they are here on visas, I mean it doesn't matter that they have been raping our system for 15 years right? let's pick on Bobby the Balloon Man instead.....I think it would be a WHOLE TON more money than I am going to contribute....why does it bother people so much? I guess it's because I am considered a bum...like I am ducking the system..I guess the shop owner that is buying a bunch of trash and taking peoples money and is not required to pay taxes, and doesn't pay workmans comp because when you look it up, they only employees he has listed are his family members in the store, yet...he has 4 times that many employees when you walk in the store..oh wait they are "independent contractors responsible for claiming thier own taxes"... maybe we should be more concerned about him wouldn't you say? and for those of you who think I am just a conspiracy theorist I could care less what you think I am 110% sure of what I am saying. I know owners from almost all the souvenier shops. My wife has worked for a bunch of those shops, there are people that still owe her money, but she can't prove it, it's not set up that way. I have personally seen BOXES of cash that can't go into a bank because it can't be claimed. I have seen this for myself and I know it to be true. I'm all for making the requirements more strict.. Both you and I know it's next to impossible to open a shop on the boards, look at all of them that fail. So what you want me to fail too? does it make you MAD that I might succeed at something and support my family and not get in the welfare line? do you perhaps think that I should have gone to school, gotten a degree, and gone to work for a company to make someone rich, that will eventually lay me off, and not be able to afford my health insurance, and make up some reason to fire me before I am eligible for my pension? If you think I'm a bum, then I guess I am. I hope in 5 years I will be in a better place than I am today, but one thing is for certain that no one can EVER say that I didn't try, and that I didn't stand up for something I believe in. I'm sorry if I offend you. I'm sorry if me doing something that not one single store does on the boardwalk somehow makes you mad as if I am taking market share from them. What's the difference, the people are going to buy a bunch of garbage and get ripped off no matter where they go. I am only talking about souveniers though, not food or drink, that's different. The tip / price thing is still up in the air anyway. But I will say that people are mean, and that they don't think my time, talent or material is worth anything in general. and if the majority of people feel that way ( I can tell because of the amount of money I collect per balloon on average) then I have no choice but to think it's indeed true. I am whatever you say I am. if you think that the balloons should be free, then you can go practice for a couple of decades, then spend an obscene amount of money daily on balloon materials, and give them all away for free if you want. I personally can't afford to do that and I hope that the way I have been doing it continues to work out for me. I hope that the council can come to something good taht will make all parties involved happy. I hope that everyone can have a great summer and actually acomplish the goals that they set out to acheive. I also hope that people can worry about something of consequence, instead of beating up the street performers who are at least trying. /sigh
                              Bobby Balloonz
                              Ocean City's Fastest Balloon Artist

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