The Problems With Piggy’s Pork
It only happens on Friday. Every Friday they are half price. I don’t go each week, but about two times a month I visit Piggy’s Bar-B-Que, buy a slab of ribs and take them home so my wife doesn’t have to think about cooking dinner that night. What a nice guy I am!! I love the ribs too. This place has been voted the best bar-b-que in Northeast Missouri every year for the past decade or so. They are good. The ribs hang off both ends of my wife’s largest oblong platter. We usually get three or four meals out of one slab. I love the ribs!!
Last Friday was one of those Fridays. I walked into the restaurant and all I have to do is nod. The owner says, “Slab?” and I nod again. We have this down. But today, as he was bagging my order, he began to talk more than he normally did. He proceeded to tell me that he had just served a party of three who had never been there before. He was really upset. All three of them complained throughout the meal. One (1) said the pulled pork was ‘stale’ while another (2) said the pork steak was too salty and the third (3) didn’t like any of the sauces (there are only about 10 from which to choose). They had told him that they would never be back and he was devastated. He began to try to justify everything, explaining to me that everything is cooked each day; there is no way any of his meat could be stale. . . . .
I stopped him and told him what he already knew. Everyone has different tastes and no two people are alike. This isn’t the first time that this has happened to you and it won’t be the last. Get over it; it means nothing. As long as there are more positive reviews than negative reviews, you are probably doing OK! It sounded like these people were fishing for a free meal; but that’s just my take on it all. I could be wrong.
Slowly he came around. He said, “Yeah, you are right. Some people like Arby’s better than Lion’s Choice, but I like Lion’s Choice better.” I quickly added fuel to his fire by saying, “I like Arby’s much better than Lion’s Choice!” He smiled and said, “See ya next time!’
Your ministry/music business is no different. Allow me to turn those problems into lessons we can use. Let me remind you of three things that you already know.
You do need to make sure that your pork is NOT stale. Make sure that your material is fresh and up to date. Write your own when you can. If you use someone else’s material, you don’t have to use it like it is; there is something that you can do to make it your own. I have seen live performances that turned out much better than the recorded original version of a particular song because a musician took the time to inject his own personality into the song. I have also seen the original version copied by someone who was obviously trying to BE the original artist. That usually does not work. I still enjoy using an old song every now and then, but when we hear it with piano, organ, bass, drums and three guitars it is NOT the same as when when used a box guitar and an accordian! It’s fresh and up to date even though its old. Make sense?
I have seen and heard some new material that was terrible and stale. And yet musicians use it ‘as is,’ because it’s new, and wonder why they can’t get a favorable response! I doesn’t take all that long to make your material fresh. Make the music fit your situation. Make it up to date. Make it fit YOU and your audience. Don’t use stale pork.
I would like to point out that there are some instances when your pork stake CAN be too salty for some and you CAN control that. You should pay attention to the fact that some lines or phrases can be offensive to some people. I don’t think that a lot needs to be said here, but I have changed a word here or there in a song because I knew that someone would be offended by it if I left it like it was. You know who you are singing to and you know when the material is pushing the envelope. I don’t believe that you have to walk on eggshells, but I also don’t think that there is a reason to ignore a situation when you can change a phrase and keep someone happy. You determine how much salt to use in your pork stake.
It wouldn’t matter how many different kinds of sauces you have available for some people, they wouldn’t like any of them. Twenty-five or even fifty choices wouldn’t make a difference, so don’t worry about them. You simply can’t please some people, so move on.
You should try to please everyone, but it simply is NOT possible to do so. Some will identify with you and some will not. Some will like you and others will not. That’s the reality of any business. I repeat: As long as there are more positive reviews than negative reviews, you are probably doing OK!
There are people who will enjoy everything you offer them while others will never be happy with anything that you do. Get over it; move on. You can’t take it personally. Some will praise your style and others will think you don’t know anything. It has always been that way and it will remain that way. As a musician, you should try to offer something for everyone. YOUR favorite style is not the favorite for everyone and you are doing yourself and your ministry a disservice to use only one style of music because that’s what YOU like!
It would be a boring world if we all liked the same music, if we all wore the same style of clothes, if we all drove the same car and we all lived in the same neighborhood!
Think in reverse for a moment. If you hear ten songs, I guarantee you have at least three that you favor over the other seven. Those three just meet your needs better; they fit your personality better and you identify with them easier. Your congregation is exactly the same way. If they hear ten songs during the week, they have their top three favorites just like you do. YOU may be in their top three, but you may not be. It’s nothing personal, its just the way it is. You can gain a lot of rapport with people if they know that you are at least trying to have a well rounded program and trying to have something for all who are listening.
I speak from experience. I used to get bent out of shape when someone didn’t like what I was trying to do, but I have learned to take it in stride. I still don’t like it, but I understand. It’s not a bad thing to try to please everybody, just know that it isn’t going to be that way.
The bottom line is to make sure that your pork isn’t stale, your steaks aren’t too salty and you provide enough choices to please the average listener. Make sure that your material is fresh and exciting and not offensive or untasteful and then do what you can to help people and make them happy, and then don’t worry too much about those who walk away and/or complain because you know that you have done your best!