With over 2,000 members in the BIHA, one very entertaining aspect of membership is where members reveal amusing stories of some of their hire experiences. The BIHA has a large collection of these true stories. Please see below a small sample of these. Although these types of stories are provided mainly for entertainment, there are usually important lessons which can be learnt from each story (e.g. the importance of correctly securing an inflatable – see story 1 below). Please bear in mind that these sample stories that you are just about to read and the many more in the “members only area” are quite unusual. The great majority of bookings go very smoothly with no problems.
Real life hire story 1
How not to secure a bouncy castle – A very true story!
“Always secure the castle”, those were the last words of advice my manufacturer said to me as I left with my new pride and joy bouncy castle. An hour later, I was on my driveway, ground sheet down, fan secured to the castle and my 3 and 4 year old daughters eagerly awaiting to get on their very own bouncy castle – but not yet. I remembered those words “Always secure the castle”. So one corner was secured around the gate post, and one around the garage post, so far so good. This new venture’s going to be easy! I thought! The car with its tow-bar parked at the side of the castle made another securing point.
Get on kids and off they went, smiles all around. The wife got the camera out and started clicking away, so far so good you may think, until I had a brainstorm (or the lack of one!). You see the pictures were okay, but the car was getting in the way to get a decent shot of the castle and really needed moving. So, without hesitation, I jumped into the car, started it and set off………Now, I’d only gone five feet when I heard the first scream from my wife and I realized what I’d done. Oh b***** hell and oh no! went ringing through my ears. You see, I’d forgotten that the castle was still tied to the car and even worse, my two kids were still or should I say had been bouncing on it!!
So now you can picture the scene….a castle at right angles to my drive, a ripped anchor point and my two kids walking around the garden rubbing their necks and crying. Talk about the ride from hell! I’d only only had the castle a few hours and had already torn off the anchor point and given the kids whiplash!!!
I had to get the castle fixed quick and I told the truth about how it happened to the manufacturer and did they take the mick?? Did they! And from this day forever, I shall never live it down. So just remember a couple of things when it all goes wrong: Never admit to how the castle got torn, this lot will take the mick forever and towing inflated castles to venues is not recommended”!!!
BIHA Note: The author of this true story wanted to stay anonymous for obvious reasons.
Real Life hire story 2
Watch that fish pond!
We had to deliver our biggest castle, a 15ft x 16ft adult unit, to a long narrow garden. At the front end of the garden on the left was a large fish pond and on the right was a small marquee, leaving a narrow gap to get to the rest of the garden. We picked it up quite late at night and there was little light. As we went between the pond and marquee, yep, you guessed it, the wheel on the sack barrow slipped over the side on the pond, and before we could grab it, the castle rolled over into the pond, which turned out to be 6 ft deep. Well, “wet castle” doesn’t really cover it. although we could just reach the straps under the water, there was no way we could lift it, even an inch. Luckily a friend of mine has a lorry with a HIAB crane, and there was a lane running down the side of the garden. The next day we went round and hoisted it out of the pond and over the fence. Luckily the castle had very stout webbing straps, as we reckon it weighed over one and a half tons.
Story supplied by a BIHA member.
Real Life hire story 3
We were delivering a foam sided ball pond to a house that was near the top of a steep hill. There was no drive so we had to park the van on the road. Got the ball pond into the house and set it up, then back to the van for the balls. They are kept in a couple of large nets hanging from hooks in the roof. As I pulled the first one out, the tie caught on a snag and pulled open. Before I could react, 1000 balls went cascading down the hill. It took about an hour to collect up all the balls that hadn’t been run over!
Story supplied by a BIHA member.
Real life hire story 4
Delivering to the wrong house!
I once delivered a 12 x 12 bouncy castle to a house that was in the middle of a long row of terraced houses. I was working on my own and going to and forth with the equipment. On about my fourth trip armed with a mallat and stakes I accidently walked through the wrong door, and found myself in the wrong living room of someone who was not my customer. I realized my mistake immediately – but just as I did the owner of the house came in from the garden, saw me standing in the middle of her living room, screamed at the top of her voice, she then grabbed a broom and chased me out of her house with it.
I told my customer what had happened and she went round to her neighbours house to apologise on my behalf. Within minutes, all her neighbours had a good laugh about it…..I even picked up several referrals as a result!!
Story supplied by a BIHA member.
Real life hire story 5
The weirdest booking of all time?
This real life hire story is one of my all-time favourites (out of all the dozens that have been emailed to the BIHA since December 2000).
This story was written by one of Wibbly’s staff members.
One Sunday morning, myself and another member of staff went to a deliver a bouncy castle to a customer’s house.
After the delivery, I phoned the boss (Wibbly) and ORDERED him to phone me back on my mobile. He debated doing this but curiosity got the better of him. My mobile rang and it was Wibbly ringing. I answered and my first words were “Boss, I ain’t Happy!!!”
Now you may be wondering where this is all leading… well let me enlighten you, Imagine the worst ever booking you have ever done, a few things spring to mind, bratty kids, dog poo or horse poo, a garden that is too small, snow! Many possibilities there, but all wrong. On sunday morning I got the weirdest, freakiest, strangest and downright shocking booking you could ever imagine. Oh my Goodness, I hear you all cry, what can be so bad!!….. Let me explain………
Myself and the other member of staff arrive at the booking, it is a christening, we think no problem, should be easy. How wrong we were! As we arrive, the customer opens the door and says “Hi, we were waiting for you, the kids are looking forward to the castle” sounds promising, doesn’t it? So I ask, “Where’s it going love?” she says “Just round the back in that garden across the courtyard”. I walk over to the fence, taking note of the sign on the gate which says “Garden of Tranquility” I should have realised at this point but no, I thought that’s nice, a place for the family to relax. I survey the site, and find nothing wrong with it, so I say to the customer, “Where can we plug the extension into?” she says “ how long is your lead? “ biting back a rude comment I say “ how long does it need to be as I have 2 x 25 metre extensions” “Well if it is long enough, do you want to put it in the house or the storeroom over there?” I say “ the storeroom is probably better, as you won’t have to step over the cable all day.” Fine” she says “ I will just go open it”.
So off to the van I go and start to unload, I hand the extensions to the other member of staff and say “ Go with the lady and plug it in” and off they go. I get everything on site and start setting up, after everything is done I look round for the other member of staff for the electrics, no sign, so round the side of the house to the courtyard I go, no sign, round to the storeroom and I shout to the staff member , they come out of the storeroom still with extension cables in their hands, but their face is white as a sheet. I ask “ What have you been up to for all this time? “ they respond “ B…B…B…B…B…B…B…B…B…” I say “What are you on about?” “ B…B…Bo…Bo….Bo…Bo” To which I getting annoyed say “ Don’t bother, I will do it” so taking extensions I go into the storeroom and come straight back out. I shout to the customer who says “ Is there a problem? “ I say “ Yes you could say that, come here” taking customer into the storeroom I say “ That is a problem, so is that, and that, but that one is the worst” She says “why?”
Now at this point I must mention that the 4 that I mention above were in fact about six foot long, 2 foot high and about 3 foot wide at the largest part, Wood looked a bit like pine, satin lined, lids off, 3 were empty, thank God, but 1 wasn’t. 4 Chuffing coffins, supposed to be a sodding christening in a !*!*!*! funeral parlour. Why did I ever get involved in this business!
So, as you can tell, I was not happy. So after completing the delivery I phoned Wibbly, and he does not believe me. He thinks I am on a wind up, so I say “you can come on pick up boss”, he says “fine, not a problem”, he thinks he’s going to call my bluff.
So around comes the pick up time, and he says come on then. So we get in van, he’s smirking ‘cos he thinks it’s a wind up. We get to booking and customer says “hello again”, I say “Hi” and I say to Wibbly “ The electrics are in there” pointing to the storeroom, he says fine and wanders over, walks in and stops, I walk over to see his reaction, only to find the coffins are no longer there, he is grinning like a cheshire cat and says “ did you really think I would fall for that?” at which point from behind a curtain comes the undertaker pushing a trolley which has a open casket that is occupied by a recently departed old lady, Wibbly just stares at it as it is wheeled past, when it disappears around the corner he says “ let’s just pack up and never mention this to any body ever okay?” I say “sure boss whatever you say” he then leaves me and walks to the van, climbs into the back, sits down and does not move again until we arrive back at the warehouse at which point, he enters his office, closes the door and when we go to see if he is alright about 10 minutes later we notice the drinks cabinet is now empty, the 3 empty bottles on the floor explain why Wibbly is a little bit drunk.
So as you can see, I think this now qualifies as the single worst booking ever.
Anybody reckon they can beat it, let me see ya try!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Story supplied by Wibbly’s Staff.
If you would like to read lots more of these true hire stories – please sign up or log in.
If you are not yet a BIHA member – please request an information pack and also an application form from the link on the home-page at www.biha.org.uk Once you become a member you will be able to read many more of these types of stories and enjoy other membership benefits as well.
N.B. If you run an inflatable hire company and have experienced an interesting or amusing booking – please email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org ……Thank you.
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