Category Archives: Impressions

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……..

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….!!!

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???

More telephone madness…..

It never abates, just gets worse.  Clearly our company falls into this category, but it is intentional. After having a published phone number and address for ever, and having to tolerate incredibly rude people actually turning up at the door, and in some cases being threatening, others trying to sell a myriad of unwanted products, and far too many looking for jobs, and having been told by ‘Outplacement Firms’ that turning up at someone’s door unannounced is wise, it has been a choice, and in our case, as our Company has operated ‘Word of Mouth’ from the outset, yes, we are difficult to find.

I have been screamed at by SO many rude sales people calling and insisting on speaking with the President, and calling me every possible name imaginable, when I have politely inquired ,
‘how may I help you’ ??
What they ALL missed, was that they WERE speaking with the President, and were RUDE, RUDE, RUDE.
This is not the case of the corporations where I tried to reach people over the last few weeks. They were ALL FORTUNE 500 companies, listed on the stock exchange, and with thousands of employees.
The latest in the list of corporate insanity, is saving money by eliminating a central phone number and receptionist.
Google their head office phone number, and find a 1-800  customer service number, and a customer service email address, along with a diatribe about their ‘preference’ for email.
Are they for real?!!
When I advised a Vice President of one of these companies about it, he emailed me back and announced that he was also unable to find one and would look into it.
Several weeks later, still no published phone number, in 2 cities.
These companies are ostensibly running businesses for profit,
They have shareholders.
They have customers.
They have employees.
They require NEW customers.
Unless I am seriously missing something, if you can’t EVER reach a human being, why on earth would you ever want to do business with them?  And the bigger question , which is actually the point of this BLOG, is just exactly WHAT HAPPENS IN CASE OF EMERGENCY?
Are you supposed to email an anonymous address may only be read by or answered by someone thousands of miles away in an offshore call center??  It could take days or weeks before someone actually responds, and they are clearly not in any position to do anything.
SO, if someone is walking on the street and sees something happening, there is absolutely NO WAY to contact the company about it, other than to run into the lobby and grab a security guard who probably couldn’t care less.
If there is a crisis at someone’s home, and a neighbour tries to call someone at work to notify them, it is impossible.
Clearly in the rush to automate and save money, the concept that humans actually make up a company has been missed.
My favourites include companies with a central phone number with an automated voice telling you to leave your message in general delivery. Attempts to reach an operator result in the call being
terminated.
The other stroke of genius is when one calls a company only to be rudely interrogated by some snippy receptionist who insists on knowing the reason for your call, and why you do not have the person’s personal mobile number. If she is unsatisfied with your response, she will hang up on you.
I asked one incredibly rude woman if she was actually paid to insult people before hanging up on her. She was seriously incredulous she was so rude.
This is a common complaint from people I know in numerous industries.
Is anyone listening??
Does anyone care??

On Being Angry

Everyone is allowed a momentary fit of anger, in fact it is healthy, hopefully for a good reason, and over quickly, to be handled with a sense of humour, and the ability to make fun of oneself, as well as the ability to apologize to anyone in the cross hairs.

Unfortunately some people are perpetually angry, at themselves, at those around them, and at the world at large for some perceived injustice, however big or small. The anger can start small, over something inconsequential, but over time it has a quiet boil in the background until, for some magical reason the individual erupts, and watch out!!
We see it more and more today, life is hard, and it is a very aggressive world out there.
People pushing and shoving on sidewalks to occupy ‘their’ space, on buses, pushing and shoving their way down the aisle, with no consideration whatsoever to those in their way, people angry because they perceive someone didn’t look at them with respect, whatever that is supposed to be, people fighting over clothing or appliances at sales, or even worse, lipstick.
We see YOUTUBE videos of fights in shops escalating to violence over nothing but a glance, fights over merchandise, fights over parking spots.
Youths walking down a street randomly beating someone to death over an iPhone, or just because they decided they do not like the look of them.

Some blame it on the violence we see on TV, personally I do not see any co-relation whatsoever. As a Tomboy, my preferences have always been guns (toy), fast cars, fast airplanes, helicopters, martial arts and films with gratuitous violence and lots of spectacular explosions. My absolute favourites are usually some ex-military who are now CIA or MI5 with great plots. Does that mean I am violent?? Hardly. It is pure escapism, the adrenaline rush, the great plot to decipher, great action, great acting, and special effects.
Some of the people I have met who eschew violence and are holier than thou, are the most dishonest and unpleasant around.

For me, there is nothing like a fabulous explosion on TV which lifts me out of my seat!!

Anger shows its ugly face more and more, people use the excuse of religion, job stress, illness, financial difficulties, and have no problem sharing their anger.But why does it become the problem of those around you?? If you are having a bad day, why take it out on some unsuspecting stranger?? We all have our own problems, sometimes much more profound, but have been brought up to keep it to ourselves.

I am often horrified to hear of incidents in shops over sale merchandise. There is always another TV, another lipstick, another day. Why humiliate yourself over a thing??
Shopkeepers deal with excessive theft these days, incredibly rude condescending clients, but now they are dealing with anger, rearing its ugly face and turning into violence. Fist fights over a new lipstick colour?? Seriously?? And this from so called ‘Society Women”” how totally embarrassing.

A client I visited recently gave me a tour of their executive offices which are quite beautiful. He is in charge of all their on-line marketing, and his department is growing exponentially. He now has his own area with the newest technology, as well as his own photography studios. We had a lovely time, and he enjoyed my knowledge of the issues at hand.
At one point he mentioned they offer discounts of 50% to their employees, and offered me the opportunity to make a purchase, which I politely declined, he was surprised. I explained. He smiled, then giggled, and told me that once a year they have a VIP, by invitation only, sale day, where merchandise is offered at 75% off. I declined to be included in that as well, again with an explanation. He was surprisingly pleased with my refusal, so I inquired as to why. It appeared to be a strange response. His answer was that he respected the fact I wasn’t interested in doing business with him for discounts, and that unfortunately mob scenes and fights erupt regularly at these events, and my lack of interest said a lot about me. He respects me more.
We both had a good laugh, but wait……..how sick is that?? People are invited to a VIP, one day sale and behave like savages over discounted merchandise?!??

I mentioned that I prefer shopping early in the day when the shops are empty, and paying the price rather than reducing myself to some depraved lunatic who can only think of the ‘DEAL”.
No thanks. There is nothing I need that badly, and the day I do, is the day I cease shopping……

We shook hands, and he is referring me to another executive within the Company. I thanked him for a wonderful visit. He thanked me for being refreshing.

People need to consider others and not only themselves. The sale, the parking spot, the glance, the mis-placed anger and violence are disgraceful.
The consequences can be deadly.

Frightening.

Very Busy Important Man

Well, I am thrilled that I never promised no to write on this subject again, because the stories from friends, acquaintances and my own personal experiences make it difficult to hold my pen back, sometimes it simply can’t help itself, and here it is again, 1:30 in the morning on January 4, 2016, and my pen is racing across a sheet of paper with a mind of its own!!

In my business and personal life, I meet and have met an extraordinary cross section of people, judges, lawyers, doctors, people with titles, politicians, business executives, entrepreneurs, artists, and just about everything in between.
Most of the people I work with are highly educated, highly intelligent, and well travelled. Some have extraordinary life stories to share. So why is it, we all keep running into self important losers, or better, posers, who are loud, vulgar, self promoting and constantly reminding us that they are ‘very busy important people’ ???!!!

Last month someone finally called me back after my having left 3 messages over the course of the month. After 3 messages I usually deem the person rude and do not bother to call them again. He apologized, but then ruined the moment by telling me he is a ‘busy man’

STRIKE 1.

He then took the time to speak with me, and promised me a resume within a week. That was 2 weeks ago. Still haven’t heard a word from him.

STRIKE 2.

Once again, the salary he is currently earning is $80,000 below the position for which I am seeking someone. This is a role over $200,000, and highly visible. It is a life changer for the right person.
Guess what?? We are done. I am no longer interested in him. Clearly his career is not his primary concern, so he is no longer mine.

STRIKE 3.
There is an ART Gallery owner I have known for years who appears to think she has reached the pinnacle, and no longer has to return phone calls.
After leaving 5 messages on her mobile phone, 3 emails, and a visit to the Gallery for a vernissage, at which she was to have attended, and did not, yup, her OWN gallery, she never showed up for an opening……..full of guests and the artist……..yikes!!

I am still waiting for her to return my call, well, not really. The irony, is that I was bringing her a new fabulous artist to review for her gallery. He is well known, and has sold to a great many prominent Quebecers, and would be a major catch for her gallery. He is also super connected.
But she is TOO BUSY. Too important.
She never even looked at the portfolio.

Incroyable!!!

Over the holidays this same person posted on FACEBOOK that she had been really busy and that people should not expect her to return their calls, yet she posted endless photos of herself out partying.
Really?!!

How can anyone run a successful business and PUBLICLY announce that they are too busy to return anyone’s phone calls??!!
If there was a serious illness in the family it would be understandable, and an apology with an explanation would have been the correct thing to do, but there was no illness, just an arrogant woman out partying, and posting pictures of herself doing so.

So, if someone was ringing up to make a huge purchase?? Too bad, so sad. She was too busy to call them back??

Utter insanity.

You simply can’t make this up. It is the absolute height of bad manners.
How is it the busiest, most successful people answer their OWN phones, get things done, and the low level totally insignificant ones need this rhetoric??

This morning, January 4, 2016, I received an email from a CIO referring me to someone in his firm, a call from a friend who is a Judge wanting to wish me a Happy New Year in person, and a Senior Sales Executive, all 15 minutes apart.
They are all seriously busy. All of them took the time.

All of them really are ‘busy important people’ but with manners. What an old fashioned and oft forgotten concept, but certainly appreciated.

I shared the anecdote about the Gallery owner with the Senior Sales Executive, we have known each other for an incredibly long time, I thought he was going to cry he was laughing so hard in utter disbelief. He thanked me for the laugh, and said he hadn’t heard something so incredibly ludicrous for a while. Nothing like good old fashioned laughter to start the day!!!

So, a big THANK YOU to all of those who provide me with the inspiration for these BLOGS. You are obviously too arrogant to be aware, but you certainly keep us all entertained.

And to the rest of the readers out there, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

The True Cost of Social Climbing in Montreal

As someone who has travelled the world and has friends from every possible walk of life, I am absolutely fascinated by some of the questions people ask of me.

A week or so ago, I was chatting with someone who owns a very high end fashion shop, his merchandise starts at around $1000 per item, and goes to well in excess of $100,000. We have known each other for over 20 years (yes, we met when we were VERY young!!) and have shared some terribly entertaining conversations over the years. His clientele are primarily aspiring socialites who want to be seen in the ‘right’ clothes, and yes, I am trying hard to be politically correct, but at times it is extremely difficult. Although he is wealthy, he is looked down upon as a shopkeeper, hence the conversation and the segue, from social climbing, real estate and eventually death, not much was missed.
Interestingly I had a similar conversation with a lovely Barrister in London a few months earlier, who is currently residing in London England and was having a difficult time meeting people. I gave her some tips as she requested, she had  been astonished by the breadth of my contacts and Social Life in London over the years, considering I live in Montreal!!   When we last conversed, she had been following my advice and was beginning to enjoy a social  life in London.
For the last few years I have been admittedly absent from the social scene, and enjoying being relatively invisible, which has definite advantages. The never ending solicitations to purchase tickets to someone’s pet charity of the week have subsided, the requests for fundraising, and the never ending calls just simply asking for money or time have all but evaporated, and the calm is wonderful.
The last event I worked on was hugely successful, however an incredible amount of time and money was poured into its success. It was done willingly, there was no coercion, but being thanked properly would have been a nice touch, and it never came., It was the proverbial straw that broke this camel’s back.
So you must be wondering where this is leading…
My wealthy shopkeeper friend asked me what steps he must take to become ‘socially connected’ and as we are good friends, he asked me what the associated costs could be. He was genuine in this, although he knows all the ‘right people’ due to his line of business, he actually does not get to socialize with them, and was curious as to what one actually does to be seriously ‘out there’.
I described an extremely aggressively social climbing businesswoman I know who has been fired in each job she has ever held, yet goes from strength to strength. Yes, you have read about her before, and the answer is that she uses the same ‘head hunter’ who is pleased to reap a huge fee every 1 1/2 to 2 years moving her from client to client. Ethical?? Not for a second, but with fees of well over $50,000 each time, this firm’s so called ‘ethics’ can be bought, and you now know the price!!!
She has a PR firm on retainer and every employer gets to pay the bills for the PR firm and for her very public social life. For every party she attends, her name and face hit the newspapers so the public are wowed by her apparent success and image. She is but one following this practice, there are many. It is not uncommon at all.
PR firms develop an image and promote the public face of many executives and politicians.
SO, to answer your question, the ‘right’ house downtown or in Westmount, absolutely lowest possible entry price is $1.5 million, for the condo or home, but $5 million is seriously more acceptable. The ‘right’ car, a large Range Rover, BMW or Mercedes SUV in the driveway, spending over a certain amount every year at 3-4 high end stores in the city so that invitations to private events are forthcoming, and the requisite mention in the social pages.
The ‘right’ clothes at the ‘right’ balls, tickets starting at $1000 per person and rising exponentially from there. Ideally a great table starts at $25,000 so that one is close to the ‘head table’ again, depending on the event, that number can easily rise to $100,000. Yup. You did read that number correctly.
Then there are the clothes for the event, figure minimum $5000 for a gown, but $10,000 for a more important designer, something from a house in Paris will start at $50,000. Hair, makeup, nails, shoes, jewellery, purse, wrap, and of course, his tuxedo, nothing under $2500 will do. Estimate, over $10,000 for each event, and,, Heaven forbid!! One couldn’t possibly be seen in the same gown at two consecutive events!!
As with everything there are pathetic cheats, and inevitably society learns about them and whispers nasty words behind their skinny backs. One ever aspiring socialite has a reputation for purchasing gowns for $10,000, bringing them to her dressmaker to copy, stealing a label and leaving the price tag firmly attached, then returning them within 48 hours. She has been rumoured to take gowns from consignment stores home to ‘show her husband’, then wearing them to an event and bringing them back the next day.  Her arrogance however had her caught, as she was photographed on a couple of occasions in these gowns, and now the shop owners will not allow her to remove anything from the stores unless it is paid in full and not returnable.
This woman is now in her 60’s and has been scratching and clawing her way up the social ladder for years. She is still in the same place as ever, with the same handful of friends, it has been a costly exercise to stay in the same place because she is not a nice person. Her husband, who is equally unpleasant just pays the price to keep her quiet. He is always striving to sell SOMETHING to someone at these events, so over the years everyone who is anyone absolutely runs from them.
The ‘Season’ generally commences mid September and goes to the end of December, then restarts in March through to June. During this time it is expected that one is seen at a minimum   of 5 important events per month, and during the ‘down time’ one is to be seen vacationing in a hot climate, and skiing in Europe. It is socially acceptable to fly economy, but one MUST either stay with friends or in a posh, known hotel, and to be seen out at fine restaurants with glamorous friends which can easily cost upwards of $1000 per evening, as one must order a decent bottle of wine or two.
When summer finally arrives, one’s Country home is opened for never ending ‘casual entertaining’ and enough bedrooms and bathrooms to accommodate the never ending stream of guests, many of which will be required to stay overnight due to their level of inebriation, (which is a fabulous excuse for a night out and no costs involved ) and unfortunately there are far too many of those  famed for this  behaviour.
So you ask, what is the cost of all this? It can run easily into $100,000 per year and climb exponentially. If one participates in the  annual Grand Prix madness, a weekend can easily run to over $50,000 to acquire the best tickets and invitation to the many events with the drivers and their entourages. Hopefully one owns a company with deep pockets which can pick up these insane costs, otherwise you had better be earning serious money, but with all this, regardless of attending the ‘right’ Museum ball, supporting the ‘right’ charities, wearing the ‘right clothes’, if certain socialites do not like you, GOOD LUCK, as their social cattiness will destroy any whiff of success……..
Many of these social denizens actually come from actually nothing, but they have clawed and scratched their way up the social ladder, re-inventing themselves with every new and improved marriage to the next more successful and wealthy  husband. Stealing someone’s husband is unfortunate but often necessary. They are ever so quick to deny their backgrounds, as their surgically enhanced noses tilt higher and higher towards the sky.
Is this only Montreal? Absolutely NOT. It is the same in every international city worldwide, the only difference being a different set of rules and costs. Some of the house costs can be mind numbing, the event costs even more so, and depending on your manners and behaviour, acceptance becomes more and more difficult.
With homes in Holland Park, London now reaching the $100 Million range, yes, indeed, one must be a Billionaire today to get in to that particular social stratosphere. The ‘Right’ Country Seat, minimum 20 rooms if it is the ‘Right’ address, but at least 50 is de rigeur, with lots of surrounding park land for privacy, and another residence somewhere warm, with a Private Jet and Helicopter to get you to your destination at a moment’s notice.
Can one have an exciting social life in London without that level of wealth?? Absolutely, but one had better speak a minimum of 2 languages, 4 is more acceptable, have travelled extensively, know about art, economics, and have an absolutely wonderful sense of humour, so that your personality is your introduction instead of your wallet.
Ten years ago, at a very exclusive Gallery Opening, I was introduced to a Gentleman who looked like he had just escaped from an 18th Century Painting. He wore a white frilly shirt, a black leather Frock Coat, Breeches, and fabulous over the knee boots, long blond curly hair and bottle green eyes completed the package, with the most absolutely stained hands I have ever seen. An oxymoron……..but a twinkle in his eye and a huge smile on his face. He was surrounded!! He was funny!! His position in life?? He owned a leather company, but nothing you would expect. He made all his own clothing which was spectacular, but he was actually under non-disclosure as he was working for a Saudi Prince, and was doing leather work on his private boat, and we are speaking of something in excess of 300 feet of private boat. Furniture, walls, floors, you name it.  A massive contract in the millions of pounds, and here he was, the life of the party. He looked like a pirate, but was anything but. He was to do the Private Plane of the Prince once the boat was completed.
So, he was meeting some of the wealthiest people in the world and travelling to exotic locales with his team, so they could complete their work. Should the Prince decide they were off to a new port, he and his staff were abord to continue the work, so provisions were constantly being loaded to ensure they had what they needed.
So why Death?? …..Seems like a strange inclusion in a BLOG about Social Climbing. The conclusion is simple, no matter who you know, how rich you are, how popular  you are, what parties you attended, it all boils down to a very humbling ending. You will be all alone in that wood box for eternity. I have been to a frightening number of funerals, and seen behaviour which is horrifying.
At the end of the day the only things that really matter were the acts of kindness people remember, generosity to those who have a better life due to your kindness, and it need not be monetary, those whose life you may have changed by your assistance or the time you spent with them.
Non of the rest really matters, it is superficial, it is fake.
Please leave your affairs in order so that we do not hear about the absolutely disgustingly greedy behaviour of your heirs at your funeral. It will be the only thing anyone will remember.