Today, for the first time ever in my career, I cancelled on a client.
The back story: A few weeks ago, I was hired to play music for a wedding ceremony tomorrow afternoon. The father-of-the bride and I reached an oral agreement and he then put his daughter in touch to discuss the specifics of the event.
The bride called me a few hours later. In our initial conversation, she told me that she had a compilation CD with some modern Israeli songs she really liked, and I told her I'd be happy to transcribe/play any of them she wanted. She promised to email the artists/song titles when she got home, and drop off the CD if I needed it.
Then, nothing. No phone calls or emails. After several days of this, I left a message on her cell asking her to call me/email the information. No response.
Finally, today, the day before her afternoon wedding --I do have an evening gig as well tomorrow-- she answered the phone when I called and proceeded to make lame excuses about why she hadn't been in touch; saying that since it's so close to the gig, maybe she should just play CD's instead, because I don't know the songs she wants. Since she's never ID'd them, I can't say this for certain, but based on her description of the compilation CD she liked, I'd say that there's an 80% chance I know those songs, a 95% chance I have the sheet music for them, and a 100% chance I could have played them had she gotten me the CD even a day or two ago.
Based on comments she made in our conversation, my impression is that this was purely anti-Orthodox bias. (Her dad is Orthodox. She isn't.) She seemed to feel that an Orthodox musician would be incapable of playing an instrumental version of an Israeli pop song. Remember, we're not talking vocals here, where there could be an issue of accent, etc.
At that point, after listening to several rude comments, I called her on her inconsiderate behavior, read her the set list of Israeli pop tunes I'm playing at tomorrow evenings affair, told her I would no longer be available to play her affair, and that she should use her CD's. I also wished her the best of luck in her marriage, and advised her that I hope she treats the other vendors more appropriately.
It's amazing what some people think they can get away with. If she didn't want me to play her affair, she had plenty of opportunity to be honest about her concerns early on. Passive aggressive behavior like this is grossly unfair to the musician, who may have turned down other work for the slot and made plans around their performance schedule and it's just not "mentchlikh."