If you find that you unexpectedly have to work with a rival company, be polite and accommodating by working with them in any activity, but discreetly try to get your boss’ or host’s opinion on whether you should be in photos with them, or whether your characters should be unusually busy on the other side of the event at all times. Ultimately that’s a call only your boss can make, much like the angry call she’ll make later to the clueless event planner.
Reporting Illness and Emergencies
Getting sick happens to all humans, but most especially to party performers. Colds and fevers abound in this profession, because we’re around children and invariably catch any little thing they may be carrying. Much like teachers, we have a reputation for getting sick from little kids frequently. But unlike teachers, we see a different group of fifteen or twenty kids up to four times on weekends, meaning we’re exposed to as many as eighty brand-new children every single week, or three hundred and twenty new children a month, or three thousand, eight hundred and forty different children a year. That’s a lot of potential colds.
I always like playing Cinderella, because she has long gloves that cut down on how much skin contact I have with the kids. But the fact is that no matter how protective your costume, children will hug you, kiss you, sneeze and cough on you and even wipe their noses on you. Sometimes they lick you for absolutely no reason at all. There’s just no way to avoid being constantly exposed to illness.
Because of this, and because it’s unthinkable to do a party while sick and risk infecting a child or infant, we have to be very careful to have backups in place for emergencies. The moment you feel a bit under the weather or a cold coming on, you must tell your boss. Working sick as a party performer is not just unethical, it’s actually much harder than just showing up sick to your office or retail job. Your face looks bad, your energy flags, your voice sounds awful and your entire performance will definitely suffer. Everyone will be able to tell that you’re sick and the parents will not be pleased. I don’t even want to know what would happen if you barfed on a child. A lawsuit, probably.