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.

Being a USER

Friendship and all relationships are about balance, there are periods in time when the pendulum swings towards one or the other, as life plays nasty games on us all, we go through periods when life is wonderful, and others when life is truly awful, and how we deal with the bad times is what defines us.

Some people are incredible at making others feel like they are owed everything, others of us quietly slink into a quiet corner to lick our wounds and reappear when life improves. We take care of ourselves, and do not make our particular problems those of everyone around us.

We have all met them, they are charming, they make you feel like part of an exclusive group, welcome. It starts with a small favour, and over time the request for favours escalates until the relationship is totally one sided. If you don’t deliver on the latest request, they throw a temper tantrum which is embarrassing and extremely public, and if the request is not granted after an explanation is requested, you are eliminated from their fabulous lives. Fabulous through your generosity!!

The world has become a cruel place. With social media we are bombarded with pictures of the ‘in crowd’ and their fabulously lavish lifestyles. We see endless pictures of their homes, vacation homes, vacations, cars, jewellery, clothes, and private planes, the ridiculous numbers of Facebook ‘friends’ , Twitter followers, Instagram and whatever else is the social media of the moment. I know several individuals who have thousands of Facebook ‘friends’ but they do not even know 10 % of the people. They portray this incredibly cool image of success and more importantly fun and popularity, so others flock to be in their presence, and there it all begins, little favours asked with a sweet sideways glance and a slight touch, which subsequently escalates to utter insanity. At what point does one become tired of the endless requests for SOMETHING, and there is ALWAYS a request for something. Be it names and contact information for an event, the person who is pleading for this information now has YOUR contact list, and over time the provider of this information becomes irrelevant, as the ‘user’ moves on to fresh prey with a new address book.
I know of several people who have been absolutely drained of their contact lists and subsequently dumped when there is nothing left to gain.
From Political fundraisers, Charity fundraisers, artists hosting events, someone is always demanding more. Nothing is ever enough, ever.

Friendship has to be balanced, as do all relationships. There HAS to be something to be gained for all parties. One person can not always be making requests and expect them to be granted. Some of these USERS are extraordinarily adept at networking and portraying a public face of kindness and generosity, which the givers never quite seem to receive as the USER works their way through the never ending source of the generosity and kindness of others. But wait!! Over time they become less relevant and less in demand. There is always someone new and more exciting standing in the shadows waiting to appear on the horizon, and slowly the USER is left behind. The unfortunate giver is relinquished and left in the shadows……….

On the Take!

Over the last few years we have increasingly heard of companies implementing more and more policies ostensibly around the issue of ethics. Many have web pages speaking loudly about their professionalism and business ethics, and like many things, this falls under ‘thou doth protest too much’, but the reality of these companies couldn’t be farther from the truth.

One large Consulting Firm offers ‘ethics’ lectures to their employees, and distribute booklets on their ‘code of conduct’ while simultaneously the Senior Executives exhibit mind numbingly dishonest behaviour, and will spare no effort or expense to sign a contract. We hear of trips to Florida with expensive escorts, casino nights in the high roller suites, where the huge losses of the poor losers are covered in exchange for the signature on a tasty contract. Other gifts which are widely spoken of in the industry include Mercedes, condos, rumour of one VP receiving a cheque for, yes, get ready for it, $1 million in exchange for a particularly large contract. Another executive is rumoured to have received a 150 foot boat. There is constant chatter in the market, however no one is prepared to go public with these allegations for fear of never being able to work again.

Another huge firm is rumoured to be paying for expensive golf club memberships, apparently the fees at one club in Toronto are in excess of $200,000 annually……private boat trips for executives and their families in exotic locations, some of the payoffs are insane, in some of the smaller firms, one particularly pushy individual (I am being polite) is known for purchasing everything from dishwashers to wall to wall carpet and snazzy cameras to ensure he has exclusivity.
One company we were working with changed their policies along the way, and decided that all their suppliers in IT had to sign a new contract in order to provide Consulting or Search services. We were rushed off our feet by a particularly unpleasant young woman in HR, and as it was the means to an end, we went along with this as several Directors and VP’s had indicated their desire to work with us. I found myself being rushed to sign and deliver the document. Well, when something smells fishy, there are probably rotten fish somewhere …….and there certainly were. The last trip to see her, was different. This time I was actually received in her office instead of a small conference room. When she left the room for a moment to confer with a co-worker, I was able to cast a peek around the room and on the surface of her desk. There were many signs that she favoured a competitor, cups with logos, a leather notebook cover embossed with their logo, snazzy desk accessories, but the real tell was the $2500 Louis Vuitton purse and the silk $500 Hermes scarf carefully draped on the back of her chair. When she re-entered the room, I carefully checked her shoes and clothes, and it was clear that they were not in the least expensive, in fact, quite the opposite.
If she had the means to purchase the purse and scarf, she certainly would have not been wearing $60 shoes and a polyester suit. So, clearly they were gifts which she cherished from our competitor, and the type of gifts that we will NEVER provide.

Several months went by, no contact, no mandates, utter silence. No way to reach her, emails not answered, phone calls not answered. One day I called her from the reception area of a client’s office as I was told I would be waiting a while for the client to get back as they were stuck in traffic. I had space and time on my hands, as well as unlimited use of the phone the receptionist kindly provided, so I decided to use my time well. I called our Princess and, lo and behold, she answered immediately with a perky voice!! I introduced myself and politely asked if she had been travelling as she was difficult to reach. Always a good approach. I also mentioned that we had received to mandates or follow up whatsoever to the signing of the contract, at which point she rudely told me that ‘just because you have a contract do NOT expect any business’ ….
So what was all this about?? Why run suppliers off their feet to sign a contract if you have no intention of giving them any business??

Turns out, I spoke to a couple of other individuals in other firms who had the same experience. One gentleman was so angry that he decided to do a LOT of digging…..and was told that purchasing had signed numerous vendors to protect themselves from any image of impropriety, but the reality was that they have 2 ‘Preferred Vendors” who wine and dine them at incredibly lavish restaurants, send them on exquisite trips and buy them fabulous gifts, so unless one is prepared to offer up even better gifties, there is absolutely NO chance of ever doing any business in that firm. ….. . . . And it just gets BETTER………just this week a close business friend was offered a contract in that firm through a personal friend. He went for an interview, and was then sent to meet the Vice President as part of the so called vetting process. On his way to leave, the VP told him that he expected $5.00 per hour in CASH for every hour he worked there. My friend was speechless. He shook the VP’s hand and left. Now he finds himself in the situation where he needs the revenue but has no intention of paying. He is terrified that the VP will find an excuse to terminate him if he doesn’t pay up. THIS IS INCREDULOUS.

For the record, this is a huge semi public corporation, vendors are screened within an inch of their lives, but NO ONE is watching the employees who are making these rules and enforcing them. Increasingly we hear of companies where everyone from the Secretary, Purchasing and Senior VP’s are receiving huge gifts from vendors. Apart from being beyond dishonest, the other serious problem is that this behaviour is stifling small industry.
If start-ups are the driving force for the success of a growing economy, they are systematically being choked out before they have a chance. Many companies are forcing their suppliers to produce their financial records, and allow them to audit their accounts at any time. This is arrogant to a fault.
If a small start-up has an incredible product but a minus cash flow, how are they ever to get their product to market? To say these practices are disgraceful is an understatement.
One last comment on these practices, is that it is also a dishonest power play enabling large corporations to effectively steal great ideas from these little firms as they do not have the financial means to protect themselves.

Where are the ethics in this??

At some point these practices will be exposed and it will be a frightening sight to see the public reaction to this.

Lying in the Electronic Age

Lies, Lies, Lies
There have always been a variety of types of lies, some cone from a kind and gentle  place, others are motivated by deception, greed, or from psychopaths who simply can’t tell the difference! No morality whatsoever from the liar makes it difficult for the rest of us to differentiate.
Some lies can be for self-aggrandisement, and we all know these people. Bragging endlessly about their fabulous lives and name dropping to enhance their image or perceived self importance.
The down side is that there is no consideration of the potential consequences.
The motivation can be simple or extraordinarily convoluted.
There are kind ‘white lies’ which are meant to spare the feelings of the recipient. If someone asks how something looks, telling them they look cheap, hideous, or fat will not do much to enhance the relationship. Likewise the age old ‘do I look fat in this” well, you just KNOW that you don’t want to tell the truth. It would be unkind and could result in disaster unless the person asking is secure and mature enough to handle the answer. Usually not.
There are lies of omission, to cover up incompetence, lies of one’s whereabouts, lies about one’s wealth, or lack thereof, lies regarding friends, trips, jobs, hobbies, finances, some are insignificant, and  sometimes the response can also be justified if the person asking the questions is inappropriate and rude.
In the electronic age it is even easier than ever to lie, as usually there are no witnesses to see the red flushed face, the downwards glance, the averted eyes, the twitch, the head touch, or whatever the tell. An inanimate screen can’t tell the truth from the lies.
Resumes are enhanced well beyond reality, education, titles and experience manufactured which bear no similarity to reality.
Some lies are exceptionally cruel, spreading false rumours can ruin reputations and careers, often out of sheer jealousy.
Then there is deception or misrepresentation which causes people to believe something which is not true.
Betrayal is another vicious lie. Throwing someone ‘under the bus’ to protect oneself is disgusting, and frightfully dishonest.
Plagiarism or copying someone’s works, be it music, literature, term papers, inventions and calling it one’s own.
Compulsive liars can emerge from a variety of sources. Some have extremely low self esteem and are seeking attention, others have been lying so long they no longer can tell the difference.
There are broken promises, which are a failure to honour a promise or commitment, where there was never any intention to do so. The most common of those being someone saying ‘lets get together for lunch’, or ‘I’ll call you next week’, or,  “ I”m on the phone, I’ll call you right back”, ‘please lend me the money, I will return it tomorrow’…….why say it if you have no intention of delivering?? These are hurtful lies, which other than making the person saying them feel better about themselves, actually hurt the recipient as they create a false expectation.
Fabrication is the lie of claiming a knowledge about something of which you know absolutely nothing.
Bold-faced lies are evil, everyone knows they are absolute lies and they insult the intelligence of the recipient.
There is an old expression, ‘on the internet no one knows you are a dog pretending to be a dog’ , and unfortunately on the internet, it is truer than ever, and really not as funny as it was.
Some businesses have extraordinary web presences, splashy web-sites proclaiming fabulous offices and business competencies. One individual starts a new company every January which he bankrupts every December. This has been going on for 30 years. He re-opens with a slightly different name, with virtually the same logo, but the differences are indiscernible unless you are seriously paying attention. Being an information junkie, we have his ads going back over 30 years, printed, so that it is possible to put them side by side and see the subtle changes.
He proclaims international experience, lavish offices and a vast partnership of senior executives. The truth is, he is living with his mother in law just over the border of Ontario with NO office, having escaped Quebec due to the vast number of bailiffs chasing after him.
His web site is gorgeous, it is meticulously detailed outlining his huge business acumen, however, the truth is far from what the web site portrays.
Just because a company has a fabulous web presence, does not ensure that there is anything behind it. We see many companies with extravagant web sites making claims of successes, but in fact they have $50 per month identity plans in shared offices. The addresses may be impressive, but the reality is not.
Unfortunately, like many things, it is ‘buyer beware’. Just reading the label is not enough.
Then, of course, is my favourite,  LINKEDIN. To say that people lie on that site is the understatement of the year.
We found one small local company where 6 of the 10 employees have the IDENTICAL resume, the most shocking fact is that the President also shares the same one!!! The other employees comprise a secretary, bookkeeper and sales staff.     So, if the President is complicit in this fraudulent practice, how on earth can you trust anything that anyone in this company does or says??
They claim to be Microsoft, Citrix experts……..but I would be terrified of using them.
Another small R & D company with 14 employees shows 10 with identical resumes, all claiming to be SCRUM MASTERS. Again, 10 with the IDENTICAL resume.How is that possible??
We see fabricated education, titles which were never held, jobs where the candidate was fired disappearing completely from resumes, one fellow went so far as to speak of his incredible successes in a job he had held for a mere 3 days!!  He single handedly put together a team of Enterprise Architects and delivered sensational results………..in 3 days??
There seems to be an expectation that these ‘enhancements’ be tolerated, however when someone looks you in the eye and insists that the details are true, without flinching, it is absolutely terrifying to think what else they could lie about. Lying  for some has become an art form.
A couple of years ago I re-interviewed a gentleman who I had previously interviewed on 2 separate occasions. He miraculously had a shiny new MBA on his resume, and the dates and titles did not line up. Titles and dates had morphed, likewise successes.  He lied to my face repeatedly, and was confronted repeatedly. He insisted. I persisted. Finally I took out the 2 previous resumes and showed them to him. The interview ended abruptly.
Personally, having to keep track of lies is way too much work!! I am much too lazy for that!!
We estimate that 60%, yes, indeed, 60% of the resumes posted on LINKEDIN are fraudulent. Unfortunately most of the people doing the first interview do not have the experience or maturity to catch these lies.
As we only work through word of mouth, we have references on the individuals we meet before we meet them, and we do additional personal references afterwards, sometimes as many as 5 if there is any doubt at all.
Dating sites, well I have heard so many horror stories and misrepresentations about these sites it is incredible. One woman actually posted someone else’s photograph. Two men who both know each other were at a party and people were talking about their dating stories. They both met the same woman at different times, only to discover the tall slim blonde was a shorter brunette. She claimed to be a University Professor, and her excuse was that she didn’t want her students to see her photo on the site. This is complete and utter fraud.
So, each of these men took time to go downtown to meet her, paid for gas, parking, cocktails, lost the time,  to meet someone who was not even remotely what they expected.
Co-incidenttally, both men were at the same dinner party discussing their dating disasters, and her name and profile came up. So, everyone at the party heard about this woman’s lies, and learnt her name. Incredibly embarrassing, but very entertaining for the rest of us.
We hear of men posting photographs of themselves from 20 years earlier, women claiming to own huge successful businesses who are seeking a man to pay their rent, it is endless.
The other big lie is Real Estate agents. There are some who spend tens of thousands of dollars advertising themselves in every print form imaginable. Every newspaper, web site, magazine shows their mugs smiling their fake smiles, proclaiming their successes. The give-away is that they hop from agency to agency as they do not actually sell anything, and end up scrapping with the other agents.
One local woman is so unpleasant no will buy from her, but she has become a listing agent due to her endless advertising. She snaps up listings from unsuspecting people who see her face everywhere thinking that she must be incredible. She is. Rude, vulgar and dishonest.
Unfortunately there are many of them out there, it is absolutely mandatory to do research BEFORE signing the listing agreement, otherwise you might find yourself with a house on the market for over a year with no visits whatsoever. The longer it is on the market, the more questionable it is to potential buyers. The market jargon is that the house listing is ‘burned’.
The online presence of many of these agents suggests something far different than the truth. Once again, you can’t believe everything you read.
It is not hard to find a PR company who will enhance your web presence and your web appeal.
Increasingly, many executives, musicians, movie people and others pay a fortune to have an exquisite web presence. For someone in the industry, we know that they embed keywords so that the names of these individuals always turn up in searches.
Their smiling faces and supposed successes are repeated over and over, the poor unsuspecting reader thinking that because it is on line it must be the truth. Unfortunately  it usually is not.
The sad irony is that many highly successful companies and individuals who are highly discreet are overlooked as they refuse to participate in the hype.
Lastly, FACEBOOK. How many people do we all know who have hundreds of FACEBOOK friends but no real friends?? Once again, they have manufactured an image of themselves which is fictitious  but extraordinarily appealing.
One local woman has literally hundreds of friends on Facebook. I actually confronted her one day about it, and inquired where she had met a couple of people she claims are her friends. It did not make any sense to me that they knew one another.   They DON”T.     Whenever she hears a name of someone she thinks is socially important, she immediately sends them a request to be friends, and many people simply accept.  They have never met, probably never will, and would walk by each other on the street.
Apparently this is commonplace, however I find it extremely sad.
Just think how pathetic this appears to the people who are really friends with these individuals, when they inquire where they met so and so, and are told that they don’t know each other. Oops.!!!
So, be careful out there. You could be talking to a dog pretending to be a dog, or worst, you could hire one!!!

Millennials and The Job Market

We hear endlessly how the baby boomers are holding on to their jobs longer and longer and depriving the Millennials from employment opportunities.
This, of course, is utter nonsense. The baby boomers have a business knowledge which no 30 old can even comprehend.

You only have to go to any mall and see the infinite number of ‘help wanted’ signs in their windows, as well as the complaints from small business owners that no one wants to start at the bottom anymore.

Ask most baby boomers how they got their start and you will hear about people holding down 2 – 3 crappy jobs while going to University at night to get a degree. I am one of those.
Did most of us have a career plan ? For the most part, we didn’t even know what that was. Did we have a plan? Some people had a ‘life’ plan, but beyond that, most people had absolutely no idea what they wanted to do in life. However, by working in numerous industries, at one point something jumps out. Many of us continue to work nights and weekends to service clients. The business world does not shut down after 5 pm.

Some of the complaints we hear are due to sheer laziness, others do have merit.
Companies no longer hire dozens of students straight out of University and train them like they did in the past.It is costly, time consuming, and today’s youth do not exhibit the loyalty traits of the past.

But, how is it that the children of first generation immigrants find jobs, buy homes and drive nice cars?? Simple. Because they will do ANYTHING to earn money. No job is too menial, they will hold down 2-3 awful jobs to finance their education and they save, save, save. They don’t expect to wear designer clothes and drink expensive coffees. They often wear hand-me-downs and bring food from home. Some of the stories I have heard over the years about what people went through to come to Canada are extraordinary. From prison camps to just about everything in between. I know many Vietnamese boat people.
These people work hard and NEVER complain. Being in Canada is everything to them.

So, some words of advice in your job hunt:

If you score a job interview,

don’t expect instant gratification. You cannot expect to graduate with no work experience and earn $60,000 or more, furthermore, you are not the only applicant.
* Nothing is worse than interviewing someone who thinks they are too good for the job. You have to START somewhere.

* Your Mother may think you are beautiful, brilliant and special, the rest of us think you are arrogant, self centered and lazy.

* Up-talking and interrupting the interviewer is a guaranteed way to ensure you are NOT hired.

* You have no business experience, yet you sit in the interview voicing opinions on how YOU think the Company could be run better. Really???!!

* If you are even remotely serious about your career, DO NOT tell me about your children or plans to have 5 of them.

* I do NOT care if you think you are green. You are not.

* Having absolutely NO experience of any kind on your resume whether volunteering, or anything else, tells us are extremely lazy and not even remotely ambitious.

* If you turn up for a meeting and are not well dressed, your hair is uncombed or greasy, your hands and nails are dirty, your shoes are unpolished, clothes are not washed or ironed, you do
Not shake hands, do not wait for permission to sit down, do not establish eye contact with the interviewer, and speak to them as if they are stupid, it is over before it has started.

* do NOT tell us how your last boss was stupid. Maybe he was by hiring you.

* If there are no super jobs where you live, don’t complain, MOVE, many of us did.

* Don’t sit in my office and tell me how jealous you are that I get to work in splendid surroundings. I worked 70-90 hour weeks for many years, and continue to do so.

* Just because you actually turned up for the interview does not ensure you will get the job.

* no one cares how busy you are, be on time, or just slightly early. That does NOT mean one hour early. That is rude.

* Playing with your mobile phone, or answering calls during the interview, as if your phone is more important, tells the rest of us you are not even remotely interested, or remotely polite.

* The inability to ask questions regarding either the job, the company or the interviewer does not inspire confidence.

* Telling the interviewer about your vacation plans will ensure that you will be permanently on vacation.

* Do not post a fake resume or fake University degree. Most of us can see past it, and do not want to employ frauds.

* Many companies want to ‘try and buy’ be open to trying a new approach.

* Unless you have a PhD in Astrophysics and speak 5 languages, be realistic about your employment options and salary requirements.

* Don’t tell me you are in a hurry, you are important or you are busy. I will gladly hurry you OUT.

* Do NOT name drop. EVER. I don’t care how important you think you are or who you may have seen from a distance. Unless you are interviewing for a Senior Marketing Role or that of a
Government Lobbyist, it is of no interest whatsoever.
A Variety of part-time jobs, spoken languages, travel, University Degrees, and even a PhD are wonderful. Add to that a willingness to travel and learn, and take whatever is thrown at you, will
Guarantee success. Also, remember it is a big world out there with a lot of competition. The world does not stop doing business after 5 pm. Nor does your work day.

If you don’t want Companies to take advantage of you, don’t try and take advantage of them. Salaries, benefits and perks must be earned.
There are endless opportunities out there, it is a big world. Open your eyes, consider the options, EVERYWHERE, and go for it.
You might be surprised.

Hiring in the New World!

Due to the nature of our business, everyday someone calls me and complains about the lack of courtesy shown by large corporations towards potential employees.
People send resumes through job sites and never ever hear anything from the company again.

The problem with this, is that often these are the same companies selling to the very people they are ignoring. Whether a financial institution, clothing retailer or grocery chain, the lack of response can often result in the individual taking their business elsewhere, and telling their friends, which results in hundreds of thousands of dollars of lost revenue, simply because no one considered following up with a response.

The rhetoric that there are too many candidates and not enough time is not valid. A simple, polite form letter is at least a beginning.

Some large corporations have such outrageous hiring practices that they have rendered themselves impenetrable, the employees hiding behind their ludicrous policies in some cases are arrogant beyond belief, on one hand publicly decrying the difficulty in recruiting new talent while all the while putting up huge barriers. Massive arrogant, unimaginative HR departments who hide behind policies and voicemail. The instigators hiding behind meetings, outrageous rules, systematically blocking out new ideas and small creative companies who could bring them the imagination required to help compete in a fast paced global economy.

Having only ‘preferred vendors’ who meet ridiculous criteria, often set out by the vendors themselves to limit the entry of new players onto the field. Smaller players who are creative and have a different approach are not even reviewed, which is outrageous. Many use software packages to receive and filter resumes based on ‘key words’, but that eliminates all those who did not know what the critical ‘key word’ was. Someone may have extraordinary experience and imagination, but as they are missing 2-3 keywords on a resume, they are overlooked.
This is people being evaluated, not widgets. Understandably, if it is a technical widget which must be exact to the millimeter, that is one thing, but humans with varied knowledge, educations, experience and life history cannot be evaluated this way. Using software to go through resumes is insanity. Part-time employment, awards, international travel or experience, a variety of spoken languages, hobbies are not evaluated. The ability to learn is not. Like many things, if you have experience in a variety of industries, learning a new one is not a big stretch. Someone who has worked in complicated manufacturing can easily understand banking or retail, it is simply a matter of learning a new vocabulary and applying the ability to learn.

The other problem with these huge HR departments is that recruiters are trying to work cross industry. A 24 year old clerk with no business industry experience is simply not qualified to interview engineers, accountants, lawyers and IT professionals. Each of these specialties seek different skill sets, and only someone from the industry can understand the differences.
The example I have been using of late is the new replacement of the Champlain Bridge. There will be a requirement for a multitude of engineers, Structural Engineers, Seismic Engineers, Oceanic Engineers, Engineers specialized in Cement, Steel, Load Bearing and Balancing, and more. These people MUST be interviewed by their peers, not a 24 year old with no experience in the industry.

We need to put the hiring back in the hands of the Managers, so potential candidates can be evaluated and hired by their peers. Likewise doing references, as HR or a background checking company will NEVER get the type of references someone will acquire by going through the back door. The best references are NOT official. They are off the record.

Creative, competent, motivated people are the key to a successful company.

Proper hiring can be time consuming, expensive, but can make or break a company’s success. The knowledge base of every company walks out the door at night, and hopefully returns the next day. Without the people, there is no company. People need to be hired and managed with respect and decency, not treated with contempt.

Preferred vendors, price wars on recruiters and consulting firms, job boards, on-line job boards are not the best way to seek out the brightest and the best, they are the way to seek the mediocre, and the job hoppers. The best people are usually not seeking employment and need to be sought out and wooed. They must NOT be treated like a commodity.

Then comes the rhetoric on salary scales. Once again the so called research by HR and specialized firms does not take into account all the possibilities for compensation, as well as the fact that not everyone is motivated by same thing. The one of a kind skill must be compensated as such, and not put into the category of people with ‘x’ years of experience and a specific education.

Currently there is a huge demand for people with ANALYTICS experience, and we actually have interviewed many people with those skills. Someone with NO university education and 20 years of IT experience in 3 companies is NOT the same as someone with a PhD in Physics and Mathematics with 10 years of experience working with advanced technology and having been educated in 3 countries at the best universities in the world, speaking 3 languages and extensive experience developing algorithms to solve a variety of problems.

Trying to suggest that the PhD only has a few years of experience and planning to compensate him based upon years of experience is ludicrous and frankly insulting. The company with the imagination to pay him the REAL market value for his skills will hire a genius, and there are companies out there who will do just that. New York and California corporations are hiring these individuals for $500,000 plus incentives. Offering them $90,000 is simply insulting and ignorant, and will ensure that they will stay for a short while and then be gone, the knowledge along with them.
Our Company is a small independent Consultancy working with Fortune 100 and 1000 clients internationally, as well as funky start-ups. Salary scales range from $100 – 500,000. We meet people from all over the world with extraordinary backgrounds and life experiences, which give them a view on the world and best practices from afar.
For example, we are currently working with one individual with extensive experience in Banking and Mobile applications to seek a position within a Financial Institution in Hong Kong. He is not Asian.

Often we find ourselves seeking individuals with ‘tough skills’. These are people who are highly valued and can bring enormous success to the right company. Why would we want to put them in a corporation obsessed with salary scales based on ridiculous criteria like age and number of years of experience?? A company which does not value imagination or a cross section of types of experience will only seek to pigeonhole people and the bright ones will not thrive, they will leave.

Companies need to recognize that 10 people with 5 years of experience and a Bachelor’s degree are not great criteria for establishing worth.
Have they travelled? Worked abroad? Speak other languages? Held part-time employment? Have super hobbies?
Someone who has worked in a small start-up where people worked on average 50-60 hours a week and had to get involved in just about everything imaginable in order for the company to survive, is not the same as someone who worked 35 hours a week in a huge corporation on one system. So how can a large company even begin to suggest that they should be paid the same?

Whether seeking individuals for permanent or Consulting mandates, all the above criteria MUST be evaluated.

Huge multi-national Consultancies are putting very junior associates on assignments for exorbitant hourly rates into companies to give advice which is frightening. Knowing how to ask questions and write a massive report but having absolutely NO industry experience is not a guarantee for success.

A much smaller more nimble firm will have the freedom to seek out the expert with industry experience who may not be the best at writing comprehensive pretty reports, but will certainly understand the issues and can formulate ideas which make sense in the global marketplace of today, and for a fraction of the cost.

How do you want to write your legacy?? Genius like Steve Jobs who totally thought outside the box and hired some of the brightest people imaginable with totally different skill sets, and paid them a fortune, or someone who hid in their office and followed the rules??

Up to you.

Customer Satisfaction

We live in an incredibly fast changing global world, many of the old rules no longer apply, however, many Fortune 100 Companies are exhibiting behaviour which defies logic.

Recently one huge multi-national announced they were removing all land lines from their offices as the under 30 never answer their phones, as well as removing voice-mail. Now one must communicate with them by email.

Clearly I am at a loss with this decision. So, if you wish to call this company, there is absolutely no way to call and find out who does what or how to reach them. The excuse is that they can be reached by email…..but WHO do you reach and how do you find them????
Are we expected to be perpetually on-line??
What happened to real people speaking to real people??
What if it is not a generic question??

Perhaps a more logical and intelligent move would be to teach phone etiquette to these arrogant people who do not think their phones are important enough to be answered. After all, unless I am mistaken, when one works for a company it is to provide a SERVICE……….

We continue to see companies outsourcing call centers to India, Puerto Rico, Mexico and various other countries claiming that it is more efficient…….for whom exactly???
Usually the poor caller finds themselves on hold for 20 minutes before being answered by someone with a thick accent reading from a script, and absolutely no technical competence whatsoever with the product. I have spoken about this before, but the practice continues……..and everyone complains…….
My personal solution??? Do not do business with this corporations, and in our case, we no longer refer them to our clients……
If my call and my time are of absolutely no value to these companies, why on earth should I give them my cash or my endorsement?

Without a doubt, the most incredible customer service continues to be from Apple, humans answer the phone, and spend the necessary time to resolve the problem in a clear and pleasant manner. Wow!! A recent visit to an Apple store about my new mini iPad resulted in 2 staff and a service call lasting 20 minutes, and the problem solved amidst much laughter. It was wonderful!

Then there is the huge retailer who doesn’t make any of their clothes larger than a size 10-12, or footwear in larger than a size 9. They are complaining that their business is not growing, yet the answer is right under their noses. The population are becoming larger, taller, and with this, they are losing as much as 40% potential growth in this market. They have also turned over 65% of their executives and staff in the last year. Everyone is to blame for the lack of growth…….but……..have they actually looked at they size of their potential clients and realized they are not only not serving them but offending them in the process?
I tried to make a few purchases, unsuccessfully I might add. I will never return to their stores.

I spoke to a Senior Vice President of that particular corporation on more than one occasion, unfortunately his area is not on the design side of the business. He also voiced his frustrations, and finally has decided to look for opportunities elsewhere…..lose, lose, lose. ….

Another high-end retailer constantly asks its clients for their email addresses so they can be sent promotions and event invitations. I have personally been asked no less than 25 times, they ask at the cash with each purchase, and as yet, nothing. Nada, niet. Nope. Nary an invite. I know many others who have voiced the same objections, and who are equally offended. Just how difficult is it to add a name to a list??
What have many of us done?? Sought out high end designer clothes and shoes elsewhere.

Or the grocery store with the surly cashiers who actually find it funny that clients wish to be served in English….simple solution, shop elsewhere. Unless it is a blizzard and I do not wish to drive more than 5 minutes, I will absolutely NOT go to their store, they have lost tens of thousands of dollars in business from me alone, and I have told many other friends where to shop for better prices and lovely service.

Target, Future Shop and many others are closing their doors, unfortunately no one seems to be educating the floor staff that the client is king. If someone has gone out of their way to come to your store to look at something, drop what you are doing and go serve them. Chatting about your date, your meal, or your boyfriend is not important. If the client comes to the store on more than one occasion and is not served politely, it is unlikely they will ever be back. They will go to the competition and if they are well served they are forever gone.

In my case, I travel several miles for groceries where I am served with smiling faces in English, get prices which are on average 50% lower, yes, really, free parking, and in one case, unlimited free plastic bags or small boxes to carry my merchandise. Who could ask for more??!!

Retailers and Restaurateurs bemoan the fact that their clients are not loyal, yet they never stop to consider that it is poor service or inferior merchandise driving them away. When portions are forever shrinking, the quality of the food is inferior , service is unpleasant and condescending, people will give the provider a couple of chances on the chances it is just an off night, then it is OVER. How many of us have frequented a restaurant, introduced our friends, hosted events, in my case LOTS and LOTS of events, having been the President of DPMA and hosting monthly lunches, huge Christmas parties, conferences,client lunches, birthday parties, then seen someone who is loud and pushy be offered complimentary drinks and appetizers, then order the cheapest meal on the menu, and seen this repeatedly? I no longer frequent ANY of these establishments, if you do not understand the value of my custom, or show any signs of appreciation, I will not be back.
I know at least 3 of these establishments have gone out of business, and I heard one other is probably on the way ….
The message to be learned?? You have to thank the huge client, and not reward the cheap noisy one.

So, is it that people like me are not loyal or is it that we are simply fed up of poor customer service??

Recently I have been cleaning up my huge desk drawer of the business cards I amassed all over the world, and yes, I have more than a huge drawer full. They are in business card holders arranged alphabetically, and are overflowing. I am absolutely gob-smacked at the number of huge corporations, restaurants and hotels which no longer exist. However, upon deeper reflection, the restaurant staff in many cases were arrogant, they made people wait unnecessarily, and had a process of seating the ‘beautiful’ people in the best tables while making others wait indeterminably. The problem more than ever, particularly in my industry which is high tech, the young male 30 year old teckie millionaires tend to be shy, dressed in jeans and sneakers, they are certainly not the ‘beautiful people’, but they can buy them all out before breakfast.

So they receive poor seats, even poorer service, and never go back. So the arrogant clip-board person at the door with the haughty attitude will become unemployed when the word gets around, but unfortunately all the other staff do too.

The concept of ‘Secret Shoppers” seems to be lost. It used to be that shops and restaurants would send poorly dressed people into their stores and restaurants to eat or make purchases and report back about the experience. This practice seems to be lost, and should seriously be re-instituted quickly by any establishment which is service oriented.

Yes, you have seen some of these issues discussed before, however it appears that as service declines, it is more important than ever to be vigilant.

BLOG – Restaurant Etiquette, or not

….Seems to be an oxymoron these days, as one sees less and less etiquette being practiced, only extraordinarily bad manners and a distinct show of dis-respect to other restaurant goers and the staff.

Who doesn’t like to eat out?! A new location to discover, new type of cuisine, and often, new people.
It used to be that people would put on their finest and go out with their best friends for a meal. It was an event. Today, groups of people who barely know one another will go out for an evening, where they plan on going to several locations over the course of the evening, so they treat the establishment as if it is only there for their own personal enjoyment. The other patrons ignored. As they get louder and more intoxicated, the discomfort in the room becomes increasingly unpalatable , then, off to the next venue with utter disregard for those whose evening they ruined.

In the past, table etiquette was not only taught, but heavily enforced at home. Elbows off the table, Chew with your mouth closed, speak to the person at your right, at your left, across the table from you with full eye contact, and you were to SMILE!!

There were no phones allowed, no distractions. A meal was an event to be shared with the others at the table. Conversation other than religion or politics was encouraged.

No one knows this better than the Chinese, who went as far as to create DIM SUM, which is basically little tastes. The idea being that one can sit in a restaurant and socialize with friends over an extended period of time, and share their nibbles with friends. Food is a huge part of their social life, and great food is very important.

One does not get the feeling today that many people understand the concept of dining. Today it is about eating and running off to the next event, although to be fair, there are some restaurants who are looking to turn the table as many times as they can in an evening, and are not exactly encouraging people to stay. If I ever go to a restaurant and am told they need the table, it is unlikely I will ever return. The only time this is acceptable, is if it was established prior to going. Good restaurant management however, will try and allow you to keep the table if you are continuing to dine.Sitting for an hour over a cheap coffee does not count.

Restaurant no-no’s include, but are not limited to:

CHILDREN

You may think your child is adorable. I do not. Keep it seated. Keep it quiet, or leave it at home. It is not cute to have it’s dirty fingers in my food, standing at my table asking questions and interrupting, or running around the restaurant screaming. Do NOT lecture me that it is only a child. The Chinese bring their children to restaurants from the time they are born, and they are QUIET. It is disrespectful to the other diners. We are paying for the privilege of eating there. You are not paying for us. If a BILLION Chinese have figured it out, so can you.

SNAPPING FINGERS AT THE WAIT STAFF

Really??? Do you actually think you are that important? Unless you advised the staff you were in a hurry at the outset, and they abandoned you, if you must get someone’s attention, quietly go see the Maitre’D and request assistance. PERIOD.
LOUD TALKING

Your conversation is YOUR conversation. The rest of us are do not need to hear it, nor do we find it entertaining. We came to be with the people at OUR table, not yours.
MOBILE PHONES

Turn them OFF, or go outside to have your conversation. If you are expecting an urgent call, announce it to the guests at your table, apologize for the impending interruption, then excuse yourself when it happens. Once again, the rest of us do not need to hear your side of a conversation.
TABLE HOPPING

The absolutely rudest most disrespectful thing anyone can do. It suggests that the people at your table are unimportant. If you came with them, STAY with them. If you absolutely must speak to someone at another table, wait until everyone has finished their meal, excuse yourself, briefly confer with the individual at the other table and return. If seeing them was so important, you should have gone to dinner with THEM and not your table mates.
PLAYING WITH FOOD

A very wealthy and generous gentleman I know entertains a great deal, and always orders sufficient food and drink for the table, and plenty to spare. On numerous occasions I have witnessed selfish guests ordering extra plates, then playing with the food. Why?? Because they felt they could, certainly not because there was lack of either food or choice. It is rude to the host and the chef. On several occasions the table was absolutely groaning with the weight of the food. Why on earth be so arrogant and wasteful as to order more?! Particularly as a non-paying guest. It is the height of bad manners.
SENDING PLATES BACK

Unless the eggs or chicken is raw, be quiet and eat it.
In my case, I stress that I have severe food allergies, which could be lethal. BLUE Cheese tops the list, and I have no tolerance for raw garlic or onions, or MSG. They render me totally nauseous.
If the dish comes dripping with onions or garlic, you can be sure it will go back.

Some people however, make it a power game, and send things back because they want to be noticed. Unless it is grotesquely undercooked, overcooked, or just plain disastrous, shut up and eat it. You ordered it.
DIETARY PREFERENCES – ALLERGIES

See above.
For some it is just being fussy. Please do NOT say you have allergies if you simply have dietary preferences, otherwise the other guests will be fearful throughout the meal. If you are going to be difficult, then just go to a vegan or vegetarian restaurant.
RESERVATIONS

If you make them, KEEP THEM. If you can’t, then cancel in a respectful amount of time so that the restaurant can offer the table to other patrons. It is totally disrespectful to not cancel if you will not be going. The restaurant has provisioned food and staff on your behalf which costs them money.
CUTLERY

If you do not know how to use a knife or fork properly, BUY A BOOK ON TABLE ETIQUETTE. It is extremely unpleasant to watch someone spearing their food, using their knife as a spoon, or holding their fork as a spear.
FOOD ON YOUR CLOTHES

They made napkins for a reason. Accidents do happen, but there are some people who simply do not pay attention and end up with half the meal on their shirts. It is extremely unattractive.
CHEWING WITH AN OPEN MOUTH

CLOSE IT. We don’t want to watch you masticate your food, nor do we want to hear you smacking your lips.
TALKING WITH A MOUTH FULL OF FOOD

See above.
USING YOUR FINGERS

Asparagus
Chicken wings
Ribs.

PERIOD.
ELBOWS ON THE TABLE

Are you so bored with the company that you need to hold up your head? No?!! Then leave the elbows off the table.
STICKING YOUR FORK INTO OTHER”S PLATES

Unless you are with your significant other and are trying new dishes and have agreed to share, then LEAVE IT ALONE.
If you are with a group of friends and everyone offers a taste to everyone, that is another story. I have been out where it was understood we were all going to share so we could try it.
That is perfectly fine.
Most people however, order a meal with the intention of eating it by themselves.
If you are absolutely determined to taste something because it just looks to good to be true, then a polite, “Oh my, does that taste as amazing as it smells?” may prompt a small taste. If not, then KEEP OFF.
TEMPER TANTRUMS

Oh my, where to start.

I was at NOBU several years ago, and a wealthy Montrealer was also there with a group at another table. He is rich, loud and exceedingly vulgar.
He did not receive several of the items he ordered, which is to be expected in a SUSHI restaurant, things come at the pace of the chef, and in a specific order. He wanted them immediately, and created a scene.
I was actually with the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Hotel having dinner. He excused himself, and went over to the other table to calm down the loud patron, and explain the reason for the delays. There was a period of calm, then another outburst. Obviously too much sake and too much self importance.
End result??!! He is now barred from the Hotel and the Restaurant. Apparently this was not the first outburst, nor was it the first time that the tablecloth with all its contents had found the floor, but it was certainly the last.
I was later informed that this same person has a reputation in Montreal, New York and London, and has been barred from numerous establishments.
Well, that explains the fact he now has a private chef.

Another aspiring Montreal Socialite has been barred from several restaurants for creating a scene and constantly complaining about her bill, even though she did order what was charged.
In one Japanese Restaurant, the owner told her never to come to her restaurant again, then ran after her and threw salt on her and the entrance to her restaurant to eliminate the bad Karma.
Ouch!!
How incredibly embarrassing.

I could go on, but I think those were enough to make the point.
If you absolutely positively must throw a tantrum, do it at home and don’t humiliate yourself in public. We are watching, and we WILL remember.!!

Trying to get perspective