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MS. BIG STUFF

An intrepid shop keep tells this tale:

I own a small jewelry and design shop in a city that is becoming more popular with celebrities and musicians.  I think that’s great!  I’ve had quite a few really famous people in the store and for the most part they’re really nice or innocuous.  I welcome everyone who comes into the store the same way and help anyone who asks, but I generally leave them alone.  I don’t want to be pushy.  All that to say that yesterday another famous person came in with five of her friends, and was just crazy demanding and diva-ish.  I knew who she was, but again, I just don’t care.  At some point, she actually sent a lackey over to demand, not ask for, but demand a discount.  When I said no, the “star” literally screamed at me from across the store “Do you have any idea who I am!”  I couldn’t help myself – I actually started laughing and she stormed out.  A few seconds later the same lackey came in asking to talk to the “boss” or the “manager”.  I looked her right in the eye and said “You’re looking right at her, sweetheart.”  She called me a bitch and left.

LISTEN:

Well, I guess she told you.

I don’t know what to say…again, I’m not given a question, I’m told a story.

I know!  I’ll make up some questions!

Wasn’t she awful?

Yes.

Should I have laughed at her?

No.

Why not?

Because it’s poor customer service.  And it’s more fun to wind people up by being perfectly polite.  Imagine how loony she would have gotten if you kept saying “Excuse me?  I don’t really understand what you mean.  We aren’t running a sale,” to her demands for a discount.  Offered in a truly sweet and misunderstanding voice, you could have drawn that out for ages.  Also, you could have said “Oh, yes, of course – you’re the actress on _____________!” – filling in the blank, of course, with the name of some other show.  Preferably one with an actress with which she has a well-known rival, if the opportunity presents.

Why do people act like this?

I can’t find it now, but I remember reading about how one of the Roman Emperors (I’m pretty sure it was Tiberius), when the Senate was clamoring to give him absolute power, begged them not to.  He reasoned that that even a calm, patient, virtuous man would turn crazed and evil with no check on his authority.  Of course, he eventually did seize all the power (I guess he wanted to take it as opposed to have it given him?), went crazy and killed a whole bunch of people.  Those wacky emperors and their killin’.

So it sounds like the same situation on your showroom floor, but writ small, with a tiny little person who is followed around by a camera crew.  The sense of self gets warped, and their behavior becomes extraordinarily bad.  Just be grateful she doesn’t have the ability to have you flensed.

But beware of your own awful nature, too.  I’m not saying you’re alone – we all have it.  We create celebrities and *ahem* celebrate them, partly in anticipation of the almost inevitable fall from grace.  We pick our teeth over the corpse of our own creation, smugly recounting how we laughed at their frustrated desire.

Someone else acting terribly isn’t any excuse for you to do so.  And dear God, people, please lay off the extraneous quotation marks.  Jesus.

I guess you didn’t show them, huh?

So cut it out.

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