A lady with a small child looks at me and says, “It’s about time, we’ve been waiting a half hour for a balloon.”
I look at my watch and say, “That interesting, I started at 12:00 and it now 12:15. What were you waiting for?”
“Well it feels like a half hour,” she replies.
If you have ever twisted a balloon at a public event, you will observe that when people have to wait in line, they lose track of time. What are only minutes becomes hours to them, which makes it difficult when a balloon entertainer has to end their line. People become irate and argumentative when informed that the line has closed. It does not matter that I have been standing their twisting balloons for three hours straight, in 90-degree heat—they want a balloon.
Over the years, I have tried every trick in the book to end a balloon line. In fact, it is the most difficult challenge that a balloon entertainer can face. I am constantly trying new and clever ways of ending a line without disappointing kids and adults, but the perfect solution still eludes me. What does work is to have a representative from the event stand at the back of the line and inform people that the line is closed. In the balloon-twisting world, we know these people as the bad guys. This individual takes the heat off the entertainer and keeps any controversy at the end of the line. This allows the action at the front of the line to go uninterrupted.
Multiple balloon lines require you have multiple bad guys. However, event management only sends you one bad guy. Therefore, I developed this trick to help make ending multiple balloon lines simpler. When I work with another entertainer there typically forms two lines. I know how long it will take me to complete the line. If time allows, I will continue twisting to the end of the event, but if there is more people then balloon entertainers, you need to cut off the line. I position my bad guy to end the line 20-30 minutes earlier. Therefore, if my ending time is 2:00, I shoot to have my line finished by 1:30. Once finished, I instruct the bad guy to go to the other balloon guy’s line and close it. Now, there is one long line. I then proceed to count off the next 5-8 people in front of the big balloon line and ask them to come into my line. This reduces the big line, gives the impression that the line is moving, keeps people in the same order, and provides me a smaller group to handle. Having only eight or less in line, I can quickly inform new comers that the balloon line is closed. At this point, the eight people standing there will support you fully when argumentative people approach. Once I finish the small line, I then take another 5-8 people and keep doing so until the big line is finished.
Do you have an idea for ending a line? Share your ideas or stories that have occur while ending a line by leaving a comment. Help educate others on a very typical problem.
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