And now . . . back to our story.
“You probably picked up on the fact that the Divine Ms. Star reserves her contempt largely for the hourly employees, most of whom — given their positions at the hotel — are unable to defend themselves against her wrath: the operators, the engineers (one of whom was cursed out royally for having the nerve to ask her directly where she wished to have her VCR installed), the front desk staff, etc. This creates a considerable challenge for our management: How to keep morale high when an abusive guest pushes it to a new low. (One of my managers was in my office early this morning saying, ‘Do you know she is addressing our employees with the F-word?’)
“Not surprisingly, we don’t have an exclusive on these hotel ‘horror’ stories. This morning I had breakfast with a friend who handles a hotel across the Atlantic. She said that Barbra Streisand was at that venerable hotel recently and demanded that the maid vacuum the carpet backward toward the door of her suite so that the maid’s footprints would not be seen marring its plush surface. Only Miss Streisand was to have the privilege of taking the first virgin steps onto the carpeting each day.
“Fortunately, we are finding now that Ms. Star follows a routine that keeps her in bed until 11:00 a.m. and out of the hotel by 4:00 p.m. By the time she returns after the show, she’s too drained to do anything but have her dinner and crawl into bed. (This morning when I stopped by the PBX, the operators were debating who would place her wake-up call. One brave soul volunteered and let go a chirpy ‘Good morning, Ms. Star. It’s 11:00 a.m. and 68 degrees outside.’ Her reflexes dulled by sleep, Ms. Star let the operator complete the sentence before hanging up on her.)
“The maids report that she has four or five humidifiers operating around-the-clock in her bedroom now (moisture is beginning to form on the ceiling); she has turned off the air conditioning completely (allowing the room temperature to climb to nearly 90 degrees — ‘Oh, Lordy, it was hot up there!’ said one of our heavyset maids with a hearty chuckle, ‘And her chef a heatin’ up the place with her cookin’); she sleeps with an electric blanket (when you can’t get warmth any other way, you have to buy it I guess); towels cover the marble bathroom floors as well as the vanity; and her son’s framed picture graces her desk. They have been shown what they can and cannot touch — and told how quickly they must work. (‘She’ll be back here in less than 30 minutes,’ the assistant road manager warned. ‘Hurry, and don’t bother to vacuum — you can do that later when she is at the theater!’)
“Incidentally, Maria, Ms. Star’s irrepressible Costa Rican chef, has learned that one of our night cleaners is also from Costa Rico. She is DESPERATE to meet him and has sought assurances from our housekeepers that introductions will be made forthwith.
“Finally, before signing off for now, and to be totally fair, I should tell you that Ms. Star received RAVE reviews for her opening night performance. What do we know?”
Tomorrow: To Reach the Impossible Star
Quote of the Day
Guys, just remember: if you get real lucky, if you make a lot of money, if you go out and buy a lot of stuff, it's gonna break. You got your biggest, fanciest mansion in the world. It has air conditioning. It has a pool. Just think of all the pumps that are going to go out. Or go to a yacht basin any place in the world. Nobody is smiling and I'll tell you why: something broke that morning. The generator's out, the microwave oven doesn't work, the cook's gay. Things just don't mean happiness.~Ross Perot to Harvard B-School students, quoted in Forbes
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