“Girls, are you in line?” I asked.
“I don’t remember seeing all of you. If you just arrived, you have to go to the end of the line. No cutting!” I remind them.
I lock eyes with a grateful parent who mouths, “Thank You”.
This happened to me twice this week, older girls gathering in little herds sneaking into the line. Each time I addressed the issue, half the pack of girls would either leave, or go to the end of the line. I could see approval in the parents’ eyes. Parents, not wanting to be the cranky adult or the line monitor, many times bite their tongue and wait patiently.
However, when adults do this they will challenge your authority. With a condescending smile they say, “It’s just one more” or “Their parents are leaving, just sneak them in”.
I have tried comedy, sarcasm, and bluntly telling them, “No” to no avail. These must be the same people who cut in line as a child and still think they’re “special”.
I hold firm, but will bend to avoid a confrontation, after all, it is a balloon we’re talking about and you’re not going to win with self-absorbed individuals.
Line control is important and if you keep some control of the line order, watch for the children sneaking in from the sides, and monitor the groups. Parents will appreciate your efforts to keep control of the situation. It is the little things that matter and line control is just one of the many things you need to master as a balloon entertainer.
8 thoughts on “Line Control – Parents will Thank You”
For larger crowds I like a take-a-number system approach; however, even with a number, folks will still habitually want to get in line.
I have had adults actually scream at me and get animated, etc. While I like to avoid confrontation, I will be less inclined to give in when a parent is acting like a 5 year old. It may just be a balloon, but there’s a principle at work and I don’t reward idiocy.
My favorite are the parents who have one kid stand in line and then, at the last minute, have a bunch more join that one kid. When I tell the latecomers that they need to go to the end of the line the parent tells me, “She was in line. She was waiting for all of them.” I don’t get anywhere by trying to reason with these people about the other kids going to the back if the line, so I usually just say, “Ok, that’s fine. Since only one child stood in line, I’ll make only one balloon for them all to share.” Of course the parents of these kids don’t like it but I just keep going as if this is simply the way we do things. And, yes, the parents behind this family are always grateful.
I have another “twist” on the subject. You see, my son was one of those kids that could never stand in line and I get those kids. I want everyone to be able to enjoy a balloon in their turn. I will save a place for a child that has difficulty or no parent to wait for them. My son wasn’t special needs, but was just a very active child and it took him longer to master the art of waiting in line. I have a heart for those kids too. But I agree. There are always going to be the difficult people who just want to cut in or sneak in beyond the last minute. For those folks, I give my card and show my excitement to coming to their next party.
Usually the other people in line are on your side in dealing with cutters so it makes it a little easier. If a line is long and kids are getting restless I try to get the kids to make a sound like the animal they want, or imitate the character they want for the other kids to guess or raise their hand really high if they’ve been in line a long time, then I tell the parents I know what it’s like, I’ve been in this same line for 30 years.
Paul, I like the ideas of the kids making animals sounds. Clever idea.
It’s the same with face painting… I’ve noticed that kids are very embarrassed when their parents (usually the mom), are pointed out for being cutters – the kids are ready to follow directions and go right to the end of the line but mom’s have no shame… and they stand firmly where they are.. like I didn’t say anything.
Here’s a good one… I point out a cutter and tell them to please be respectful & go to the end of the line… she only goes back about halfway & cuts there & says, “Sorry, this is where the end of the line was when I arrived 10 minutes ago”… What’s wrong with people?