Trust me – I’m Honest!!!

If you have to say it, then it is probably not true…
This BLOG is to describe the epitome of double standards…….and yes, I am saying all the things out loud that are usually whispered……..

Have you ever called a second hand book seller? First words out of their mouths, ‘bring the box to me and leave it, so we can look at it and make a decision’….seriously!?!??
Let me understand, you want me to drop off 100 undocumented books, not be given a receipt, and TRUST you to pay me???
Would you EVER allow me to leave your shop with one unpaid book?? I think not.

In the endless clean out of my offices and house, I have uncovered some of the most unpleasant, dishonest, and condescending shop keepers in the city.
Unfortunately, I know I am not the only one to have experienced this unpleasantness, but I am the one exposing the practice.

The used record & CD shops, book sellers, antique shops, high end Vintage Clothing shops, Vintage jewellery, ….where does it end??!

Local art gallery?? …… horrific.

In that particular case, I was trying to help promote an amazing young artist to exhibit his works. Thankfully the gallerist stood me up and never returned my calls.
THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.

Same gallerist is being pursued by artists who she has not paid, and will neither return their calls nor their works. I am SO THANKFUL she stood me up, as I would feel dreadful having given her this gentleman’s works.

Is there no honour among thieves??!!

From high end Vintage Consignment shops who try to convince unsuspecting consignors to ‘’just drop off your bags of goods so we can inspect them’, then claiming they were never received, to saying that articles were sold for a fraction of their true sale price, to, my absolute favourite, claiming to have given my high end designer clothes to charity. In conversations with innumerable others who unfortunately had the same experience, it emerged that the clothes are labeled, stored in the shop’s basement, only to be put back out for sale months later as belonging to the shop owner. Cute trick.

Problem is, people talk, and we ALL know who you are.

Then, of course, are the high end antique shops. One smooth operator would take his unsuspecting female consignors out for a ‘nice lunch’ gossip endlessly over too numerous glasses of wine, and conveniently never give them a consignment sheet. No proof, no cash.
The number of fleeced consignors escalated to a point so extreme, the dealer in question moved shop a couple of times and subsequently left the city. I must know a dozen of the denizens he fleeced, all far too embarrassed and humiliated to come forward publicly.

One of the female consignors however, did have a receipt, and was not about to allow it, so she actually stalked him, waiting outside his hidden second floor gallery to see when he arrived, then calling to see if he would answer and acknowledge he was there. Each time she confronted him, each time she was not paid. He used soo many excuses it was extraordinary, “I have to pay tax, I have a meeting, someone is waiting for me in the car, I don’t feel well…..”
The last time she went, she was not alone, and told him they would detain him if he did not pay her, and they would call the police.
He finally wrote the check, grudgingly.

Another of the so-called most reputable high end antique dealers came to my house to look at certain articles I was seeking to sell. He offered me LESS than 10 cents on the dollar for period antiques and French Bronzeworks.
He had forgotten that I had been in his shop numerous times and taken photographs of items he had for sale, in many cases, not as good as my possessions. Once again, endless excuses for his transgressions……..”he has to earn a living, he has overhead costs, and on it went..”
I found it truly offensive, particularly after seeing his retail prices and his lack of willingness to negotiate prices. I told him so as I was escorting him to the door, and out he went, complaining vigorously, that he really wanted to purchase all my French Bronze curtain pieces…he truly could NOT comprehend why I unceremoniously threw him out.
I promised him that for every dollar he tried to steal from me, I would make him lose 10, and I assure you I have done precisely that. Anyone who asks me about his shop will be told about his intense greed and lack of ethics.
When one friend was contemplating making a purchase from him, I suggested offering 10 cents on the dollar, given that is what he pays!!! Apparently the negotiations did not go so well!!!

High end Vintage Jewellery??? Same problem.
Visit the shop and be told how exclusive, how valuable, how original, how fabulous the piece is.
Try to sell it?? All of a sudden it is only worth the value of scrap metal.

One friend told me to treat jewellery like shoes. Wear it to death, and do not care if it carries any value.
Great advice!!
Wish I had been given it much earlier……..

Buying is easy, selling the goods that you have been oversold is not.

So, be smart, be wise. Make sure you know who you are dealing with. Do references, then do more.
Make your purchase understanding that you may never be able to resell it.
So Love it, Use it, and pass it on……..

Vote for Moi!!!

The Municipal elections are upon us with a vengeance, we are besieged by posters on every lamp post with smiling faces of wannabee candidates promising endless good things from lower taxes to improved services.

They ring the doorbell, stop us at the grocery store or on the street, with huge smiles emanating from the intoxicating scent of power and all its incumbent perquisites. The promise of endless cocktail parties, gallery openings, fame and fortune, access to people and places previously inaccessible….they want you to believe all the wonderful things they will do, JUST FOR YOU!!!…..the perception they are bestowing upon the naïve and uneducated..
But, the truth is, if they are unable to say , ‘thank you’ to all those who helped them during this or previous campaigns, how can we trust them to work for their constituents and not only for themselves?

How many politicians are working for the public good as opposed to a hidden agenda?
How many are accessible? Are they polite? Condescending? Arrogant? Understanding?
Can they actually relate to the problems faced by many of their constituents??

Do they understand finance? Have they actually worked in a serious business? Run a business? Multilingual?? Highly religious??
Look at their body language, facial expressions, micro expressions, eyes, clothes….can they actually listen or are their eyes searching the room for someone more important? Do they have a vanity project?? …..far, far too many of those around…..just think about how few local Mayors do NOT have a vanity project……

SO, before you cast your vote, STOP, ask yourself these questions, if you can’t answer them about your choice of candidate, it is the wrong candidate!!

Gimme, Gimme, Gimme….

The ‘GUILT” season is now upon us with a vengeance.
Our doorbell has rung twice today with people asking for money for some fake charity.

Just over 2 months to Christmas and the onslaught of extended hands is already obscene.

In the space of one week, solicitations for refugees, women’s center’s, the police pension fund, emails, calls, Facebook, in person, at the door, at the cash.
This week yielded close to 20 solicitations, and apparently it is MY OBLIGATION to contribute. Some of the approaches are insultingly condescending, others offensive, the panhandler running after you on the street and screaming insults because you are ‘rich’.

In the past, I worked for more charities than I care to name, and donated to everything from Cancer, Ballet, various Museums, Political Parties, and much, much more.

In stepping back, what strikes me is that no matter how generous you are, it is never enough. And if the endless charities, foundations and institutions didn’t pay themselves such luxurious salaries and perquisites, perhaps we would not be solicited to such an extent, but people are greedy, and enough is never enough.
Unfortunately, problems do not go away. There is always another world crisis, disease, something.

In giving to one, your name is unceremoniously sold to others, without your consent, and you are solicited even more.

But that is not the end of it. …. Now come the solicitations from the so-called friends, and they have also multiplied out of proportion.

Real Estate Agents who send you house listings asking for help, help this person, she is down on her luck, give money for this sick child, give money to send someone’s child on a class trip, give money so I can travel and take photographs for my next book…….WOW….that one was something else…….buy my sheets, photos, books, come to my fundraiser and GIVE, GIVE, GIVE….

The number of panhandlers has multiplied exponentially as there is no legislation to control them, and some of them are truly frightening, coming up to the window of your car when you are stuck in between cars at a red light and pounding on the window….no where to go…..

Grocery stores and other retailers are also soliciting endlessly, for this crisis, school project, school trip, uniforms for the sports team, scouts, cadets, always someone grabbing your groceries to pack them, ALWAYS BADLY, and expecting a donation.
BTW, eggs or bananas do NOT go on the bottom of the bag……and then there is the nagging offer to add a contribution to this week’s charity on your grocery bill directly.

STOP!!!

NO, I am NOT grumpy, I am OFFENDED beyond belief.

If it is just over 2 months to Christmas, and I have been solicited 20, yes, 20, twenty, times this week, it is just the beginning. So , NO MORE, the answer is NO.

I will decide if and when and to whom, should I wish to donate.

The more I am solicited and insulted, the less likely I will every give to anyone. It is NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY.

If you felt it was only you being harassed, think again. It has become ugly.

Ahhhh, that feels wonderful!!

I feel more relaxed already….!!!

Disruption

The latest excuse for business failure….

…..disruption….everyone is shopping online….

…..we can’t find suitable staff….

……too much competition…..

….we can’t keep abreast of the technology….

Retailers are closing at a terrifying speed, and blaming everything and everyone for their lack of vision.

Senior executives are sitting in their posh corner offices living lavish lives while their shareholders lose their investments.

Whatever happened to ‘managing while walking around’??

Are they only listening to the carefully delivered rhetoric by a few hand picked yes men?? And more importantly, can they be trusted??

Does anyone actually know what their employees are doing ?? Do executives even know who they really ARE any more?? There are so many people working in companies today with hidden agenda’s that having superficial interviews and references are simply not enough. How many times has someone been referred to me only to find out that who they profess to be bears no resemblance to reality?!

Companies are using agencies to do references, and they are only calling the references provided. But REAL, in depth references often bring a stark reality to the true person.

People are inflating their titles, salaries, successes, and more importantly education.
Did you know that there are 800 fake universities out there?? Really.

So, the ‘back door’ reference often tells a very different story.

Doing references is an art form, questions often can be directed in such a way as to elicit extraordinary responses. Using a list of pre-established questions does not leave much to the imagination. Furthermore, depending on exactly how the question is asked, the answers can go from one extreme to the other.

So, making sure you know who you are hiring is important. Getting rid of them is extremely expensive.

I am fascinated by companies offering services to the public, be it banks, grocery stores, fashion stores…etc.
No one appears to understand business 101 any more.
There is no common sense. No thought …no reason.

The person you are rude to, may be the same person your company is pursuing to acquire their business. Take banks for example, if start-ups are the driver of the economy, has anyone considered that having ‘preferred vendor’ lists is removing any chance of them growing, and how detrimental this is??
It hurts the bank’s future business, and the economy as a whole.

The arrogant clerks who think they are saving money for the corporation by limiting the number of suppliers are actually hurting the very same company and the economy as a whole, and they are limiting creativity. If you only deal with the same handful of suppliers, and lock out anyone else, how can you possibly know if someone has a better, more imaginative product??!!

How many times as a business owner have I been pursued for my custom by the very company who has refused to do business with us because we are not ‘big’ enough??
Does big mean better?? From what I have seen, the answer is NO.

Do you really want to pay a 300 – 400% markup on the same independent Consultant as I can give you???
Do you REALLY think that the big firms have all these people just waiting for your call??

Catch 22, or Economics 101, or , utter lack of common sense.

Or the rude clerk in a grocery store or high end retailer insulting the wife of an executive that is being pursued by the same company?? If your wife comes home from shopping and speaks of the disrespect she has suffered, do you think the executive will then give you his business??

Courtesy and business go hand in hand.

Companies today do not appear to invest in training. They speak publicly of their corporate code of ethics, but what is really happening within their walls??

If certain individuals within these companies only do business with companies who give them a kick back, then how can we possibly give any credence to their so-called ‘code of ethics”?? … but is anyone actually checking?? The answer is NO.

If the management team lies, how can they expect the staff to do anything else??

If the Senior Executives receive millions in bonus’, fly on private jets, eat in the most exclusive clubs and restaurants, at some point the individuals actually doing the work and earning pennies in comparison are going to find a way to compensate themselves.
In NO way am I justifying dishonest behaviour, I am simply pointing out fact.

If the cornerstone of growth in the economy is small business, who are the largest creators of new jobs, then doesn’t it make sense to do business with them instead of systematically closing them out??

Over the last couple of weeks, dinner table conversations have repeatedly reverted to the discussion of on-line shopping versus in store.
Most of the people around the table actually enjoy the sport of shopping, yet in every case, due to the extraordinary unpleasantness they experienced with rude or inexperienced staff, or worse, staff who were not knowledgeable, and gave inaccurate information with an attitude, EVERYONE, each time admitted they found themselves shopping online as they had walked out of an unpleasant shop.

SO, is the problem actually technology based? ie, disruption, or is it human?

Certainly from my own experiences, it has been 100% human.
If I have walked into your store with cash in hand on 5 separate occasions and your staff has been unwelcoming or unpleasant, and I absolutely KNOW my size, why on earth would you think I will return??
If I can make a purchase on line, often for a reduced price, which will be delivered to my door by a delightful man……why should I come back to your store?
Why should I give you my cash?
Why on earth should I recommend you??

There are certain shops in Westmount, in London, I go out of my way to visit…why??

  • Extraordinary Service
  • Knowing I am appreciated
  • Because I am greeted with a hug and a smile, and always leave smiling
  • And YES, I am absolutely prepared to pay more to shop there if necessary.

How do people feel about YOUR business? …. Are they welcomed or humiliated??

Time to go back to mystery shoppers, time to go back to ‘managing by walking around’ , time to go back to the time where clients and suppliers were treated with respect, not as commodities, time to make sure your employees are not running their own fiefdoms within your walls, time to make sure that executives are actually doing what they are being paid to do, time to ensure that plans are in place to ensure your long term survival.

 

Civility and Dignity, rapidly disappearing…..

There is an escalating breakdown in civility and the treatment of others with dignity.

Everyone is in such a hurry to show the world just how UNIMPORTANT they are, no, NOT a typo, extraordinarily bad manners really show the extraordinarily bad manners exhibited by certain people.

In meetings and speaking with a myriad of people from all walks of life, certain disturbing trends in bad behaviour increasingly come to the forefront of conversation.

One actually wonders if there are any corporations monitoring the day to day behaviour of their employees? I am not speaking of call centers where all calls are recorded, but of daily interactions. Methinks not.

From shops with surly cashiers not only refusing to speak to clients in their own language, but actually INSULTING them to their face, assuming (perfect usage of the word!!) they do not understand, to restaurant employees being so discourteous as to actually laugh in the face of their customers, also, assuming they do not understand….in this case, a Chinese restaurant, with the waiters speaking Cantonese, and forgetting the white Gweilo female customer just spoke to them in Cantonese, or the fact that the other white female is the one who invited a group into the same restaurant ……remember ?? she is the one who will decide the tip!!

The bad behaviour in this restaurant towards white clients has escalated to a point where the waiters often laugh at the clients in their face, and laugh at them using chopsticks.
Have they forgotten these white clients tip double what Chinese clients do??? To be insulted???!!!!!

Have they forgotten just how quickly word gets around these days?? In the blink of an eye in the digital world, everything can change.

Representing companies today in any type of marketing role has become an invitation to be insulted.
Ring up certain individuals today, complete with proper introduction, and be screamed at, and have them hang up on you.

Or, after a polite call, complete with referral, have the individual …get this….aspiring to an open VP position within his company, call back, speak for a couple of minutes, give the name and phone number of his secretary to set up a meeting.
Call the secretary, book the meeting, send a follow up note to the aspiring VP and an Invitation to the meeting as requested.

Turn up for the meeting, after spending 2 hours in traffic crossing the entire city, wait over 40 minutes, only to have an arrogant secretary come down to say that the aspiring VP never heard of the individual, never spoke to them, and is a VERY BUSY IMPORTANT MAN!!

But wait a minute!! He GAVE THE NAME AND PHONE NUMBER OF HIS SECRETARY TO SET UP THE MEETING!!!

Call back to set up a new meeting, no apology from anyone, be told by the arrogant secretary that the aspiring VP has no recollection, and mention AGAIN that he was the one who provided her contact information.

As per the request of the secretary, send off digital proof of the phone calls, emails and invitation only to receive a rude email that the aspiring VP is not looking for any new suppliers. SO why book the meeting in the first place???

SO, he made someone lose an entire day in traffic, lost revenue, cost of travel, and instead of being gracious and APOLOGIZING, slams the door in their face. HUH???

I ask you, what does that say??……..in my mind, he is probably dirty, or just so arrogant he does not think anyone will hear about it……guess what??!! …They already have, and once this BLOG goes live, others may wonder…..

Or, help a senior individual who has been unemployed for months, with his terrible resume, only to have him send it all over on his own, and never return the new finished product. Well, the Executive Position for which he was interviewed is now totally beyond his reach, as his dishonesty ensured that we will not represent him. To answer your question, the position pays more than he has ever earned. He will NEVER know who the client is, and he is STILL unemployed….ah….shucks!!!

Or, another cutie, a certain individual sent their CV for a position in Sherbrooke, but lives in Montreal.
They were invited to come for an interview for a certain position.
Drove to Sherbrooke, 2 hours, lost a day’s work, were interviewed for a totally different position, shown the door with NO thank you for coming to see us, NOTHING.
Then the poor interviewee gets to drive back to Montreal in heavy traffic, another 2 hours lost, gas and car expenses.
No follow up on behalf of the rude company. Please someone, explain to me what that was all about?? Even if you did not like the person, can you not at least say THANK YOU for coming and losing your day???

Is this the new normal??

What happened to honesty, decency and civility??…what happened to treating people the way YOU wish to be treated……..
What happened to all this so called AUTHENTICITY??

Speaking to someone managing a retail store and hearing the horrors of what occurs in the dressing rooms is enough to make you lose your lunch.

What I find so extraordinary, is that ALL these offenders are simply EMPLOYEES, and can be fired at the pleasure of their employer. They are so arrogant, so contemptuous, so inconsiderate, one questions where this comes from.

It is time that corporations pay more attention to the behaviour WITHIN their walls, instead of blaming the changing business landscape. Bank cashiers, store cashiers, wait staff in restaurants, receptionists in Companies, lower level managers, all seem to think they are somehow allowed to behave in a rude, insulting fashion.
They all seem to forget that they do NOT OWN the companies.
The little fellow in the T shirt and sneakers may be a billionaire.
The Blond woman in jeans could be a company President.
Appearances today are EXTREMELY deceptive.

Been to Sears lately?? No need to wonder why they are going out of business. RUDE. RUDE. RUDE.

Bye …bye!!!

In Palm Beach Florida, on more than one occasion, someone has received absolutely awful treatment by someone in a shop or restaurant, and has turned around and purchased the business simply to have the pleasure of FIRING the people who were rude.

Today appearances ARE deceptive. My clients certainly are a great example of that.
The young man with a man bun, unshaven, in sneakers and jeans has a Master’s Degree, owns his own airplane, and is earning in excess of $300 US per year.
Totally shy, very sweet, and unassuming.

More than ever, the louder, flashier, and more outspoken the individual, the more likely they are broke.

Can you really afford to allow your staff to treat your suppliers and clients like trash?? In an increasingly competitive world where information travels in nanoseconds??

Open your eyes folks!!!

“Like me on Facebook”..

Join my network on Linkedin, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat……

Social media has become the new personal ad agency for millions. They no longer use social media to stay in touch with distant or lost friends, but now it has become an exercise in absolute hype, with certain people adding everyone they meet, and everywhere they go, and everything they hear about to make themselves appear more ‘hip’ and popular.

We hear more and more about “ Click Agencies” where you pay a fee to have incremental ‘clicks’ or ‘likes’ in order to appear more popular or even more fabulous, and some are paying even more to be selected to go to the top of Google Searches through Google Analytics.

For some individuals, life has become nothing more than an endless stream of shallowness, photos taken trying on fabulous clothes, shoes or handbags in high end shops that are never purchased, which is grotesquely cruel to the shop clerk working on commission, and spending their time on someone who has neither the money nor intention to actually purchase the goods, but simply wasting their time trying to look fabulous for the 15 seconds required to take a selfie and post it on social media.

Photos of cocktails in posh clubs, dinner plates in fabulous restaurants, in doorways of private clubs…all to enhance one’s perceived fabulousness….all fake, all shallow, all over in 15 seconds, but with a photo which lives on forever….

So, are they really trying to impress us or themselves? Certainly, I have asked numerous people about some of their so-called ‘friends’, and have been repeatedly told that they have no idea who the individual is, however as they were asked to be ‘friends’ they added them to increase their public footprint and media presence…….seriously???!!??

I receive an endless stream of invitations to add people on Linkedin due to my International network, when I invariably email those I know personally to advise that I do not participate, it is fascinating to see how few actually reach out to say hello. Most never reply. So it is painfully obvious that they were fishing for my contacts and were caught……..one or two inadvertently admitted it………

There is a dark side to this behaviour, these people have shown their true colours, and I know truly they are, and they will be avoided.

The latest buzzwords are ‘Transparency” and “ Authenticity” ….but the reality is that the large majority of people blasting these concepts around are anything but.

Like most things in life, there has to be a balance, if one is a student of human behaviour, which clearly I am, I tend to monitor trends, behaviour, speech patterns, body language, and actions over words. Invariably people get found out. …

“Thou doest protest too much…..” if someone has to post endlessly about their “ Authenticity” , fabulousness, or brag about their sheer volume of followers, there is something fundamentally wrong…..

Life is to be lived, with real live humans, for more than 15 second installments, and ideally in private….

The Collapse of Newsprint

Over the last several months we have read repeatedly about the impending collapse of newsprint, however, other than blaming the explosion of digital media, no one has taken a step back to look at the bigger picture.

From my perspective, I see a much larger and more frightening issue, and that is the utter failure of our educators to instill the interest or ability to read.

Students arrive in classrooms with mobile phones, laptops, and iPads, and are constantly distracted by the never ending streams of nothingness on their phones. There appears to be no attempt to silence the noise, to insist that phones not only be turned off, but placed where they cannot be seen during class.

In the past, students were taught history, literature, English composition and current events. Reading newspapers was actually part of the curriculum, as well as the ability to communicate with others. Everyone of a certain age and education remembers the horrors of being obliged to stand in front of the class and make a presentation. From early days in school, no matter how shy or insecure the student, everyone was forced to stand in front of the class and speak.

If later on one read Law, then Moot Court ensured that everyone was able to defend themselves verbally, and the weakest did not survive.

Today one wonders if any social skills are taught either in homes or educational facilities, and more importantly, the ability to write or interest to read. If no one teaches current affaires as an adjunct to history, being that it is history in the making, how are the youth to be even remotely interested in reading a newspaper or magazine??

If life is lived in nanoseconds through Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook, surely there is more to life than seeing some pretend celebrity taking selfie’s in a posh Hotel lobby or trying on expensive shoes in a high end shop……life experienced in microseconds and then it is over……..
It is neither real nor news, nor even remotely important, yet the ability to quote the fabulously ‘famous’ seems to imply their own ‘fabulousness’.
Even more frightening, is the ability to purchase ‘followers’ to make oneself appear more important or popular, which sends a frightening example to an impressionable youth.

But to know what is actually happening in the real world is of little interest unless there are multiple deaths and breath taking explosions, at which point their so called ‘friends’ are reposting the images, in which case they instantly jump on the band wagon and post something, anything, to feel they are part of the crowd, and their word is heard. Image is everything, as well as being perceived as cool, hip and aware. Otherwise, real world news is of little interest or consequence in their sad little lives.

When life is lived through the eyes of others, and the perceived acceptance of others, whether or not they actually know who you are, it is a very sad existence.

Actually looking someone in the eyes and having a REAL conversation, where both parties are allowed the freedom to speak and express themselves is less frequent than walking around the streets watching a 3 inch screen.

So until people learn to read, write and actually communicate with others, and more importantly, actually LISTEN to what they say, the written word will quietly disappear, except for those few who actually choose to educate themselves both from an educational and personal improvement point of view.

Do You Know Who I AM ???

The World has changed.

I grew up in a world where the vocabulary was, ‘yes please’, ‘no thank you’, ‘how do you do’, ‘no thank you’, ‘pardon me’.

Today, on this continent, it appears that manners are a sign of weakness.

Since when does society reward the loud, vulgar and obnoxious at the expense of others? It appears that if they are loud and holler out, ‘do you know who I am’?!!!

With the correct swagger and aggression, they are rewarded with the great table in a restaurant, a free cocktail, and lavished with attention from all the servers, while the quiet, polite, unassuming individual is given the dreadful table in Siberia, and is lucky to be served.

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, never ending selfies often with a ‘fish pout’, vulgar clothing, even more vulgar comportment, and a level of exposure that leaves little to the imagination, and is neither sexy nor elegant. The importance of having one’s face plastered all over the digital world has become de-riguer, and the more followers, or ‘friends’ the better. Now to make things even worse, we have people posting ‘live’ feeds of themselves doing everything from going to the hairdresser to humiliating themselves chasing someone they perceive as important to have themselves in a photo frame with them. SOO embarrassing…….

The Grand Prix was just held in Montreal, and some of the outfits at the events were extraordinary. Frankly, I do not know why some of the women even bothered putting clothes on, they left so little to the imagination……..

Today, behaving like a Lady or a Gentleman with manners can feel socially detrimental. Certain individuals, clearly dragged and not brought up, can actually be rude towards someone who is polite to them. Gone are the days when someone actually says ‘Thank You’ for holding a door.

How many cocktail parties have you gone to where you are speaking with someone and they are looking over your shoulder to see if someone more famous enters the room?

One dreadful woman who is 50, unmarried, with a blackmail child, and desperately seeking a RICH husband to pay her bills actually asks people, OUT LOUD, ‘Who are you?? Are you important?!!! “

Yes, you read it.

Yes, I wrote it.

Yes, she SAYS it.

Even worse, yes, she MEANS it.

In a local restaurant she frequents, she had ignored a friend of mine for years, whenever a friend of hers would speak with him, she would make it clear she did not find him important enough to even look at.

One day, she saw a massive ring on one hand, the piece is  a large vintage ring surrounded by many diamonds, and a spectacular bracelet on his wrist . Her head literally SNAPPED, and she turned around and  headed back to his table and actually, in a public restaurant, asked him out loud if he was rich!!!

Well, as his friend for over 25 years, I can attest to the fact that he is a multimillionaire, but he is also gay and in a long term relationship. He also has an absolutely wicked sense of humour.

He had heard rumours about her, but presumed that it was pure cattiness until he experienced it personally. He quietly told her that he was not rich enough to satisfy her needs, and off she went.

As you can imagine, when I visited him a week later, he was still reeling from the experience, and had me doubled over, laughing so hard I was practically in tears as he recounted the story with much drama inserted!!

Seriously, you can’t make this up!!  It is another case of life being more absurd than fiction!!

But, I digress.

The mere idea that someone could actually say out loud, ‘Do you know who I AM!??”

Or , ‘Are you rich??!!”,   “Are you important??!!” denotes such an extreme lack of class that it boggles the mind.

The real question is, who are they actually trying to convince???

IS THE GLASS HALF FULL??

We have our own histories, realities, perceptions, interpretations and opinions based upon our own life history, optics, and experiences.

Some people, like moi, tend to question, and are, by certain individuals, considered to be cynical, others simply accept whatever is thrown at them as the truth.

Society today, bombarded with the faces and manufactured stories of the rich and famous, clamour to be part of that experience. Life is lived instantaneously through images captured and posted online to make the perpetrator feel somehow more important, connected. Some people, like myself, were brought up NOT to brag, not to ever use the name of another to promote ourselves, are somehow lost in the wind…and forced, unwittingly to do some level of self promotion otherwise we are perceived as weak, or somehow, losers.

Remember when the elegant Society Queens said there were only 3 times in ones’ life that your name should appear in the newspaper?? Birth, Engagement and Death. Period.

Today if your name is not plastered everywhere in social media, you are somehow considered to be ‘out of it’ not ‘with it’ . Unimportant. Passe…..

Women in particular, were brought up to gush positivity, never say anything negative about anyone, and smile. Unfortunately, today, people lie incessantly, and promote themselves ruthlessly. From the Social Pages with the gushing social editor ranting endlessly about all these Fabulous people and their equally fabulous lives and careers, to those who have carefully crafted  public personae, to worse, those who pay a fortune to PR’s to spin their fabulousness, and ensure they are invited to the BEST parties, and photographed …..

One acquaintance brags incessantly about her fabulous life, her international business….to hear her speak one would believe she is earning millions. Reality is a far cry from the rhetoric. She is broke and seriously in debt.

Another scratching social climber  from a poor immigrant family, is nauseatingly sweet to those who she feels will promote her pretend fabulousness, while ruthlessly destroying the reputation of anyone in her path.  Over the last few years I have unfortunately found myself increasingly distancing myself from both the self-promoters and the believers. The believers feel that having the self-promotors in their lives somehow makes them more complete, part of the ‘in crowd’ whatever that is.

They describe these individuals as brilliant, kind, exceptional, whereas others of us can’t get far enough away from them. Watching from a safe distance, however, is an absolutely fascinating experience. From speech patterns, eye movements, body language, being an observer as opposed to a participant is amazing.

There is one particularly pushy individual putting on airs and speaking with a fake English accent, trying to convey his British Upper-Class status. Unfortunately, both his actual behaviour and speech patterns convey the exact opposite.

The vocabulary is wrong, and most importantly, anyone from an important British family would NEVER publicly humiliate someone else ……it is simply NOT done. This individual is famous for it. Cross him in any possible way and be screamed down, with absolutely no consideration as to who is watching…..

There are several older socialites who continue to scratch and claw their way up the social ladder, utterly ruthless as to destroying anyone who is not helping them reach whatever heights they are seeking. One publicly exclaimed that she no longer speaks to those not in her social class….Seriously?!??!  she comes from nothing, and by making this statement, it speaks volumes to the fact she has zero class.

Go to London, associate with the powerful and find a totally different reality. They are incredibly polite and speak  to everyone.

I am always fascinated by elderly women still wearing Princess garb to balls at 70 years old. The description of ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ comes immediately to mind, scratching to reach some mysterious place which continues to elude them.

But true civility and elegance are timeless, and anyone watching from afar simply sees them as sad.

Another of my favourites are those who speak with soft kittenish voices, trying to show their current prey how sweet, kind and considerate they are.

In truth, most are pure poison.

From trying to lure a potential  man to the shop-keeper trying to elicit the secrets of those around her, with this fake sweet, ‘do come sit with me and tell me all about it’

But do something to cross these women and experience the most vicious attack ever, and the sweet soft voice immediately becomes loud and vulgar and seriously cruel.

If, in life, something appears too good to be true, then usually it is precisely that. From the investment yielding profit margins that exceed anything on the market, to Real Estate deals……. remember the old jokes about buying swamp land in Florida??

It is increasingly difficult today to know what is real.

From company web pages extolling their incredible success, and international reach, then find out the business is in someone’s basement and the so called successful President with the incredible resume has been fired from every job he has ever had. …but the web page is extraordinary, impressive. If you are a believer you will be taken in, and it will cost you dearly.

A certain politician has now been documented with 440 lies. …this is mind blowing. Many of those who voted for him, still believe in him, and will not be convinced that he lied.

They believe the rhetoric, drank the kool-aid, still do not doubt even though the truth is in front of their eyes.

True believers.

So, one could argue either way, cynic or realist?? Doubter or believer??

Many people do not wish to question, they are safe and content and unthreatened in their ignorance. It is easy. Safe.

How many times does someone need to say they are honest, kind, generous, popular, successful before others blindly embrace this false truth?? That you have been lied to, used, and nothing was real.

Is the glass half empty???

Shoplifting – The Latest Expression of Entitlement

Some of us have had to do a myriad of jobs to support ourselves, one of my summer jobs was store detective for the opening of a new department store. How I ended up there is a whole other story!!

It turned out to be an absolutely fascinating experience.

First, we were told about the various motivations which drive people to steal. The most obvious is extreme poverty, driving a need for food, but unfortunately, it is not the critical driver. Most people steal for the thrill, and many of them steal inconsequential, really small items which they not only can easily afford, but in many cases, have no need for the item.
We were then given extensive training in comportement, which included kinesiology, or body language. As someone who is highly visual to start with, it was brilliant.
A total life and career change later, the ability to instantly recognize a shoplifter is still very much a part of my awareness.
Over the  period of 5 days, recently witnessed two blatant examples of shoplifting, and was subsequently served by a very teary young lady who had just been obliged to call the police over a shoplifter, and was extremely upset, so she was thrilled to have someone with whom to share her experience. The thief was an older woman well known to the police. When she was informed that she had to stay in the shop under supervision to wait for the arrival of the police, she calmly sat and read a newspaper. The sales clerk was in tears.  The police arrived and not only recognized her, but remembered her name and all the shops she had robbed.
The sales clerk was devestated at having to arrest this old woman, and the thief was totally calm. A huge tell about them as individuals.
The previous week in this same shop, they had made a $500 sale to another older woman, only to witness her on camera stealing another $60 worth of merchandise on her way out of the store. When confronted at the door, she exclaimed that she had ‘paid them enough, and she deserved it’ .. Once again, the police were called. This one was not so calm about being obliged to wait.
In this particular store, which is a very high end craft and decorative item shop, the clerk told me that they had to install cameras throughout the store due to the increasingly high incidence of theft, and that almost ALL those stealing were older  women who could easily afford to pay for the merchandise.
The Palm Beach Post recently posted an article about a young girl being caught stealing $454. From Sephora. Her excuse was that she wanted to give it to her best friend for her birthday. She is a student at the University of Florida, and should know better.
She now has a criminal record which will hamper her career for life. Brilliant!!
In their idiotic drive to reduce plastic shopping bags, which in my mind is utter insanity  as everything is in styrofoam and shrink wrap, heavy plastic, or plasticized cardboard, the incidence of shoplifting in pharmacies and grocery stores has skyrocketed. We see people dragging zippered trolleys which are overflowing with stolen merchandise. Pay attention next time you are in a grocery store which does not give out plastic bags.  People walk around with their shopping cart and their trolley. One cheap item in the shopping cart, when they think no-one is looking, one expensive item into the trolley. I was told that the item stolen the most is expensive steak. They go to the till, and pay for the items in the shopping cart, which is but a small percentage of the value of the items which made their way into the trolley. Virtually  NO cashiers have asked to see what is in the trolleys.
At a lingerie store, clients often walk in with 10 items to try on, then make sure they take long enough that the sales clerk has wandered off, only to exit and hand off 3 items, wearing 7 items cleverly hidden under their clothes. Do you REALLY want to make people strip??!! ….    For merchandise which costs $.50 to manufacture in southeast Asia??
Standing in line at a high end organic grocery store, we watched a woman pay for all the articles in the top tray of her trolley. The bottom was full. She was on her way out the door when I pointed it out to the cashier who called her back and made her pay for it.
She was absolutely furious, and it was clear through her body language that this was a regular occurrence  but  this was the first time she was caught. She clearly knew where the cameras were and cleverly avoided having her face picked up when she was obliged to pay. She was hunched over with her head down.
Any normal person making this mistake would have been horrified, and would have expressed their utter embarrassment, and apologized. She was angry at being caught.
How would you have reacted??
An older man at a pharmacy rudely rushed everyone in the queue  out of the way and ran with  a shopping cart filled with merchandise out the store. Non of the coloured tags to indicate it had been paid for were on any of the merchandise. He ran through the parking lot to his car on the other side of the lot. From what I could see, non of the articles in the cart were life necessities, but luxury items such as potato chips, soft drinks, bottled water, candy bars, toilet paper, etc.
We are ALL paying for this in increased prices, and the cost of increased surveillance.
A certain Westmount socialite living in a multi-million dollar home and with ample funds to attend black tie galas dressed in expensive gowns has stolen from every single one of her friends, and many of their friends.
At first someone thought was an accident, until by fluke one evening, someone mentioned that they had a sense when she had been in their home that things conveniently disappeared. Heads bobbed up and then everyone joined in mentioning they had all been robbed, and never wanted to mention it. Jewellery, Hermes gloves, scarves, cashmere scarves, and more jewellery and cash .
Interestingly, as this woman is popular and her name regularly appears in the social columns as being someone fabulous, the assumption was that she couldn’t possibly be stealing, but as the conversation ensued, it became clear that no one was safe from her. Worse, when they recognized things on her, they were under the assumption that they had been given as gifts. It was not a particularly pleasant evening as it became clear that this ‘fabulous’ woman was a serious kleptomaniac. Then came the stories of shopping in her presence, and being afraid of being caught as she was equally light fingered in stores, mostly taking inconsequential items such as lipstick, candy bars and the like.
As there are no coincidences in life, I decided to go educate myself, so I went to the Westmount Police Station 12, and spent an interesting hour with a lovely police officer who was kind enough to discuss this with me.   The big question was about shops who do not persecute shoplifters.
What I learned was that several companies do not prosecute, for the simple reason that the cost of merchandise versus the cost of 1-2 employees spending a day in court, and their expenses was not justified.
The other compelling reason for not stopping shoplifters was the safety of their employees.
For the majority however, as soon as someone was seen pocketing merchandise, they were stopped and escorted to a private locked room by 2 security guards while awaiting the police.
So, it was not my imagination, the police officer confirmed my sense that shoplifting was seriously on the rise.
By the end of our chat, I had him in hysterics when I mentioned how obsessed I am about never doing anything which could effect my Security Clearance, and described a funny incident at the Toronto airport when I gave the blond customs official a paper with $3000 in purchases written on it. She could not believe anyone actually wanted to do that, same explanation, and she understood why I was pleased to pay, and charged me a very fair amount.  He said the police congratulate me and wish there were more like me as we are an anomaly.
Neither of us can understand why someone would risk their career and reputation to steal an item valued under $10.
So, be vigilant, and be careful.
You are indeed being watched.

Trying to get perspective