I was reading Pickles thread about a slow paying client and it stirred in me some repressed anguish I have been experiencing lately. Willace posed the question of why do people think they can get away with treating us unprofessionally. Why are we different from dentists, doctors, mechanics or any other service provider?? Here is the situation I have been finding myself in lately... what would you do?? I do very little advertising and the majority of my shows are booked via word of mouth. When i first moved to Little Rock I did a one year birthday for an Indian family and from that have booked several other events... I have had issues with this same problem at nearly every one... The father informed me they would like me to start at 7pm. I told him my part of the party would last one hour (7-8), magic show followed by balloons and face painting (my fiance paints while I twist) In further texts with address and confirmation of date and time he said "See you at 6:30!" He was a bit high strung so I thought perhaps they had someone before who had shown up late so he wanted me there early just in case. No big deal I was planning on being there at 6:50, whats 20 minutes if it put him at ease. When we arrived at a few minutes before 6:30 we found the father and the grandfather decorating for the party. We set up and waited... and waited... At 7 it was still just us and the 2 gentlemen. So we waited... SLOWLY guests started to arrive and there were finally enough kids to actually start the show at about 7:40. I did the show and started into the face painting and balloon portion of my time (which had now come and gone) We had to shut down the lines for the cake cutting and a few other events. They had more kids than we had discussed and it was 9:30 before we were done. My one hour had grown to three. We finished, they thanked us for doing a great job, no thanks for all the extra time and the delayed start... and NO tip... THIS BLEW MY MIND! They had me there for 2 hours longer than we discussed and NOT EVEN A THANK YOU let alone a tip. It is not my problem if your guests are late, or if you are just running behind yourself. My time is my time and it was supposed to start at 7 and last for 1 hour per our agreement. But how do you say that to a client? Do you walk out with half done balloons and say sorry tough luck? The children wouldn't understand. Do you go to the mechanic and pay them for one hour of labor but expect them to drop and rebuild your engine? How do you walk the line of customer service and understanding with out being abused and taken advantage of?