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Michael Rielly

Why Bass Pro Shops’ longtime Santa won’t be back this Christmas

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Santa Marty
11 hours ago, SCSanta said:

I confess that I make more money per hour than BPS or Mall Santas. However, I spend countless unbilled hours between gigs and in the off season working on scheduling, marketing, wardrobe, insurance, travel, etc. The hourly rate gap closes significantly when you look at the big picture. What I do right now works well for me, but it is not out of the realm of possibility when I retire or get to a point when I cannot keep up with the off-season and between gig demands of running my own Santa business, I could be happy with a single location gig for the season.

It is the same for myself however I am able to schedule complete days off, and pick and choose.  For now, the mall rate of pay either hourly or complete season do not interest me.  At some point, working a single location may be very attractive.  I live in a geographically condensed area, so I do not travel far (always under about 25 to 30 miles) so the travel included and booking time consumed still come out well above current mall rates.  To say, I would NEVER work a mall, is to say Never say Never.

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NCSanta

Just for FYI, Cindy contacted me via Facebook messenger a few days ago and offered me $35 per hour to work the entire 300+ hours at a BPS. So apparently she is getting desperate to fill her positions.  She sent me a contract that is vague and very poorly written, downright amateurish.  I won't be signing it but I wanted to see what she was up to.

Others have commented about unfriending her on Facebook, that is your choice. But I like to keep my friends close and my enemies closer - I want to know what she's up to. I definitely consider her an enemy to the Santa profession.

 

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Nick Hudson

I'm sorry but for some one to make money for booking a person and not do the work just doesn't set right with me.  

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Santa Marty

Tell me what good is a contract for $10.5 K, $50 K, or anything really if there is a high probability that it will be broken?

Honesrly the more desperate she becomes, the better her offers will be.  These better offers will have even a higher probability of not being honored.

Its not BPS that's the problem, it's Cindy.  The sooner someone like this leaves the community the better.

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Santa Gordon
8 hours ago, Santa Marty said:

Tell me what good is a contract for $10.5 K, $50 K, or anything really if there is a high probability that it will be broken?

Honesrly the more desperate she becomes, the better her offers will be.  These better offers will have even a higher probability of not being honored.

Its not BPS that's the problem, it's Cindy.  The sooner someone like this leaves the community the better.

Agreed Marty,

What good is a wonderful and great paying contract that she has no intention of honoring?  To her it is simply a piece of paper, or so I surmise as she has breached contracts with performers and venues both. To be sure, not all performers or all venues, however enough to show a pattern of a willful determination that no matter what, she is not to blame for the problems she causes. What good is housing in a nice hotel if she does not pay for it as per the contract? What good is the promise of compensation if she does not pay it? What good is her word if she does  not hold to it?

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Steelwheels

Do either of you, Gordon or Marty, know if any of the Contracts that were breached by this agent in the past, resolved through the courts?

Edited by Steelwheels

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Santa Johnny Boy

Here's an example of when it went to the media: 

 

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Santa  Kevin

I agree with Marty! What good is a contract, if it isn't honored!  Where can the Newspaper article be found? I'd like to see it? Good Thread everyone

Kris

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Steve Fletcher

There were several posts on the IBRBS Facebook page back in May I believe and again in June.   There was a link to an ABC7News station out of NewYork that mentioned two Santas and the person in question.   At least I think this is the same person.   Here is the link to the ABC News Story:  http://abc7ny.com/1981155/

Steve

Edited by SLFletcher
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Santa  Kevin

Thanks SLFletcher (Santa Steve) I really appreciate The Info....just curious

Blessings,

Kris

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Chris Capstone
On 7/26/2017 at 11:48 AM, Santa Marty said:

Its not BPS that's the problem, it's Cindy.  The sooner someone like this leaves the community the better.

Actually it is also BPS because they have been made aware of her activities by more than one person and yet they choose to continue to work with her for the simple reason that she is cheap. They don't care if she rips off Santas so long as their cost is cheap and their hands are "clean." But boy are they seriously mistaken.

BPS is in for a very unpleasant surprise when an avalanche of negative publicity falls on their heads due to their continued insistance on contracting with her. It's only a matter of time before some enterprising reporter puts two and two together and realizes the company who has already been in the news for not paying Santas is in fact the same company (Cindy) who BPS has chosen to work with.

They may be legally insulated from liability for Cindy's actions but that will mean nothing in the court of public opinion. If the general public gets wind through the media that BPS knowingly contracted with a person who has been ripping off poor old Santa simply because they could save a buck, BPS is gonna have a huge public realtions nightmare.

Edited by Chris Capstone
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Santa  Kevin
2 hours ago, SLFletcher said:

There were several posts on the IBRBS Facebook page back in May I believe and again in June.   There was a link to an ABC7News station out of NewYork that mentioned two Santas and the person in question.   At least I think this is the same person.   Here is the link to the ABC News Story:  http://abc7ny.com/1981155/

Steve

I checked it out..unreal!!  I would never get involved with them...WOW!!!!

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Santa Gordon
9 hours ago, Steelwheels said:

Do either of you, Gordon or Marty, know if any of the Contracts that were breached by this agent in the past, resolved through the courts?

So far to my limited knowledge there has been no successful suits won (collecting on any judgement) at this time. It is possible nut no one has come forward to tell about it. The amounts are small so it is to Small claims court to redress. Because this is happening across state borders (sometimes several) if you sue and have your facts lined up for the judge, You will win a judgement but collecting a judgement is another story. In may cases it would cost more to drive there and back including housing, to make even a chance of collecting a possibility.

This why no lawyer will touch this as there simply isn't enough money in it to interest them.

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Nick Hudson

Makes me wonder if the person who started Santa at Bass Pro and made great is gone now. I also wonder if there is someone new in charge that doesn't care about anything but cost. My corperate is going the same more with less andbthe heck with the customer.

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Santa Gordon
2 hours ago, Chris Capstone said:

Actually it is also BPS because they have been made aware of her activities by more than one person and yet they choose to continue to work with her for the simple reason that she is cheap. They don't care if she rips off Santas so long as their cost is cheap and their hands are "clean." But boy are they seriously mistaken.

BPS is in for a very unpleasant surprise when an avalanche of negative publicity falls on their heads due to their continued insistance on contracting with her. It's only a matter of time before some enterprising reporter puts two and two together and realizes the company who has already been in the news for not paying Santas is in fact the same company (Cindy) who BPS has chosen to work with.

They may be legally insulated from liability for Cindy's actions but that will mean nothing in the court of public opinion. If the general public gets wind through the media that BPS knowingly contracted with a person who has been ripping off poor old Santa simply because they could save a buck, BPS is gonna have a huge public realtions nightmare.

Well Chris, there are some changes this year that will make a difference.  You seem to lump the past in with the present so the past first.

The contracts were between the individual stores and the agency they decided to use for their program. Yes under the umbrella of the decision of Corporate and the short list of agencies were what the stores were restricted to. There were about 15 Locations last year that hired directly but with the change that NO year round employee could work as Santa at any store kind of put a damper of the situation. When the agent failed to provide the services contracted for, it began and ended at the individual store level.

Current situation has changed much to the dismay of those still working direct as of last year. NO direct hiring at the store level. All Performers must come from one of the "Preferred" vendors (agents).  All employment contracts from the agents are DIRECTLY tied to Bass Pro Corporate at the Corporate level. What that means is if the agent fails (breaches) to provide as contracted they will have to deal directly with Bass Pro Corporate lawyers. Quite a different kettle of fish.

while the same reason no one was able to collect individually  due to crossing state lines with her in Chicago and the stores being far from there  just as with the individuals  that she breached with, NOW it is tied directly to Corporate and they have the resources, ability and Lawyers on retainer to not only bring suit, but to enforce every clause in that contract with the penalties included.

As a side issue it has been indicated to me that if there is a breach with a performer working on a contract under this new agreement, the performer can write about the problem on the Corporate FAce book page and it will be addressed unlike what happened previously. 

If Cynthia Maheras continues her pattern she has followed since 2010, at the end of this season she will have more than the Santa community unhappy with her, she will find herself in court for breach of contract with Bass Pro Corporate .

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Santa Gordon
5 hours ago, SLFletcher said:

There were several posts on the IBRBS Facebook page back in May I believe and again in June.   There was a link to an ABC7News station out of NewYork that mentioned two Santas and the person in question.   At least I think this is the same person.   Here is the link to the ABC News Story:  http://abc7ny.com/1981155/

Steve

Yes that is Cindy Claus aka Cynthia Maheras of Party Palz, The Best Santa Claus Agency and her newest banner The Premier Santa Agency all out of Chicago. I like the end of that video where they ask her why she did this and her answer is classic.

 

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SantaJoe

Sad that she takes advantage of a community she claims to support.

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Chris Capstone

I'm glad to know there will be some protection for the Santa's going forward (we hope.) But it seems idiotic to me that BPS would continue doing business with her and risk the bad publicity especially considering the fact that a news story has already been done about her antics and she still owes money to people for several years. To my mind it is disrespectfull to the community for BPS to continue to work with her. 

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Santa  Kevin

I agree Chris, She will give all BPS a "Black Eye" and ruin, what was a great place to visit with Santa Claus! Not to mention the damage done to those Santas.

May God Bless and protect us all +++

Kris

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SantadSpirit

Hi guys.  As I promised I would report my experience with Cindy once it had concluded.  As I had mentioned before I was the Bass Pro Santa at the Lawrenceville (Atlanta) Ga store from the beginning and we are not looking at season 8.  I was advised by Bass Pro Assistant Manager last month (June) that BP corporate had made a decision to book all of their Santa's through one of four agencies and in my case that meant Party Palz dbi "The Best Santa Claus" agency.  I met with BP and discussed the change and as they explained the local store has no real control over the agency they are assigned and are expected to work with them.  So, being fair to my local store they really have no input into who will be their next Santa other than to make a request to Cindy that they would like for me to return, which they did.  After about a week I received a phone message asking me to give her a call.  I did and waited for 4 days for her return call which never came so I called again and caught up with her as she was traveling to meet with a client.  She explained most of what we all know regarding her association with BP and then she asked what I would be asking per hour to return.  I told her and it was more than she was willing to pay, obviously, because she told me that Bass Pro Corporate had put a cap on the amount the agency can pay the Santa and it is only $35 per hour.  Whether I believe that or not I was not going to return for that amount of money and I told her as much.  She said that she was not in a position to change the cap but that she would go back to corporate and see what they would have to say.  I told her that would be fine but that I would expect a firm response by today (Monday 07/31) which gave her all last week since it was Tuesday I spoke with her.  As expected I never heard from her again which means I am returning to my roots as an independent Santa.  Am I upset?  No, not really although it was a good paying position and nice to only have to work out of one location.  It will of course take me a while to rebuild my business and client base but that is something most of us do on a regular basis anyway so it is just a matter of getting busy.  I am especially pleased to have been able to read all the opinions and experiences of my brother Santa's which made it easy for me to make the decision I have.  I thank all of you for that!  So, my final thoughts on this issue is we need to keep our community informed about dishonest agents and agencies and there is no better forum than ClausNet to do it from. 

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MyraNick
On 7/28/2017 at 11:10 AM, Kris Kringle Kevin said:

I agree Chris, She will give all BPS a "Black Eye" and ruin, what was a great place to visit with Santa Claus! Not to mention the damage done to those Santas.

May God Bless and protect us all +++

Kris

As members of the Brotherhood, we could always email Johnny L. Morris. I would imagine after a few dozen emails he MIGHT take a harder look at these shell companies from Chicago...

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Santa Marty
3 hours ago, SantadSpirit said:

As I promised I would report my experience with Cindy once it had concluded. 

Thanks so much for following up, and the report back to your fellow ClausNet Members.  

Just one thing, do you really think BPS puts any caps on anything other that what they will pay the vendor?  In this case Cindy's company, what ever she is calling it this season.  Again, with her track record... her inability to keep her word or contracts, who really would want to enter into a business dealing with her?  

The more we know as a group, the better off we are.  Again, my thanks to SantadSpirit for the update.

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Santa Johnny Boy

So Santas are paid $35 an hour max?  I wonder what her cut is?

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SantadSpirit
6 hours ago, Santa Marty said:

Thanks so much for following up, and the report back to your fellow ClausNet Members.  

Just one thing, do you really think BPS puts any caps on anything other that what they will pay the vendor?  In this case Cindy's company, what ever she is calling it this season.  Again, with her track record... her inability to keep her word or contracts, who really would want to enter into a business dealing with her?  

The more we know as a group, the better off we are.  Again, my thanks to SantadSpirit for the update.

Well, of course I don't believe that and as much as told her in one of my messages back.  Like you, and through my experience with agents, they give BP a quote and if it fits BP budget then that is what they work with.  From that the agent then will bargain with the Santa and do their best to keep as much of the income and give the Santa as little as they can.  It was insulting for her to think I would even buy into that.  She knows that I have been in the business for 47 years and to tell me something like that was insulting.  Because of who she is I pretty much blew it off because there was never any way I was going to sign on with her but being that this is a business and her being as unscrupulous as she is one of us needs to take the high road and that is what I chose.  Ours is an honorable community of folks and none of us need to stoop as low as she is and also be a bottom feeder.  You know just as I do that she will find some new Santa with a year or two of experience who will jump at the opportunity to work a Bass Pro Shop, totally unaware of the huge number of children he will be seeing -- for me last year was 26,680.  I only wish that all of our community was aware of the value, and the amount of valuable information provided by our members here on ClausNet.  Bottom line, we are the professionals and we need to maintain the high moral standard of business that we have come to be known for, at least in most cases.

Edited by SantadSpirit
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Santa Gordon
17 hours ago, Santa Johnny Boy said:

So Santas are paid $35 an hour max?  I wonder what her cut is?

No, the offer is $25 an hour and if you are offered $35 get it in advance by the end of September as you may well not get paid at all.

What the placement company makes really isn't part of the equation. You either accept the offer or you walk away. The information you seek is "Proprietary" and not for open discussion under the contract with BPS corporate. This I know for a fact. In apples to apples terms You would have to make around $12,000 working a full Mall seat for 50 days before you make $25 an hour with the 10 to 14 hour days you are on site each day. You work only 175 hours over 44 days to earn a total of $4375.

Your power and control in this situation is to accept or walk away. I can say that BPS corporate has cut the compensation to the agency on the current contract and that at least one of those agencies is still offering the same rate of pay this year as last. $25 an hour. That agency has NO record of non payment and a great record of working with the performers.

You do not do yourself a service by speculating "How Much?" the other guy makes. What you should look at is how you could make such a contract work for you as part of your total season which includes outside bookings that do not conflict with the schedule you might have working for BPS.

That in a nutshell are your options in this particular job offer through Bass Pro Shop. Look at it, look at what this could do for you and your bottom line and then simply decide if it is for you or not. These positions will fill very shortly and if you wait, you will lose the opportunity.

Feel free to contact me for any other information I can offer.

 

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