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To Eat, Or Not To Eat?

By Mike Nalasco of Creative Sound Recording Mobile DJ Service


After 24 years of being in the mobile disc-jockey business, and after providing music for thousands of private parties, there is still one item of concern that still seems to raise its ugly head. What is the best way to handle DJ's eating and drinking at functions?

If you're like me, it's hard enough to make sure you have everything you need to do a perfect job let alone bringing a cache of food and drink to suck up behind the console or while driving to and from a job. We all know that some of the best food we will ever see is served at these functions which are usually held at meal time anyway. So why not dig in? Should you include the meal as part of your compensation? If you are invited to eat and drink, do you include the time it takes you to sit down and eat as part of your paid performance? Do you park yourself with perfect strangers and pound down a few beers right in front of the Bride and Groom? Or, do you sneak back to the kitchen and kiss up to the caterer?

I'm sure you all have some horror stories on this subject. We've all made stupid mistakes in climbing the learning curve. And, I'm sure some of you may have a firm stand on these issues including absolutely NO ALCOHOL at all at parties. Of course this may vary depending on whether you are a DJ employee or a sole proprietor. I cannot answer every one of these issues for every DJ for every circumstance. What I want to do here is offer a few guidelines based on my own personal experience.

First of all, never, under any circumstances, indulge unless you are invited or it is arranged in advance. Part of being prepared for the job is not going into it hungry. I knew a DJ once who was very embarrassed when, after eating a salad without being invited, had to be excused when it was pointed out that his name was not the one on the place setting. It is quite easy to inquire and feel out the banquet situation during your consultation. Make a place for it on your information sheet so you don't forget. If a plate of food is brought to you, set it aside for awhile if necessary, but don't eat behind your console. If you are invited to the buffet, don't be anywhere near the front of the line. Hang out with the photographer at the end.

Second, surely you must be aware of the legal drinking age in the state you are performing in. Don't break the law, which includes drinking and driving. Personally, the biggest problem I've had with drinking at DJ jobs is the hangover the next day. I guess I've been lucky. Never keep more than a glass of water behind the console. If your client brings you a tall cold one and you're right in the middle of a hot dance set, do not guzzle it in sight of the dance floor. Put on a long play and step aside.

The bottom line in regards to either eating and drinking or not on the job is that you must be professional and remain in control. For some, this may mean serious restrictions, but for others, allowances may be in order. It helps to know your limits, pace yourself, and don't do anything that you would not want a DJ doing for your party.

Comments on these issues may be submitted to:
Mike Nolasco
Creative Sound Recording Mobile Dj Service
El Dorado Hills, California

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