Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hey! Look at Me! I'm Important!

Today when leaving the gym, I saw a most unusual sticker on someone's car; "NFL Alumni."   The message it sends (to me anyway) is "I used to be important, but I'm not anymore, but look at me, I was in the NFL."  He could have played in one game for one season.  He could have played for 10 years and won big rings.

According to an alumni/alumnus is:
1.  a graduate or former student of a specific school, college, or university.

2. a former associate, employee, member, or the like: He invited all the alumni of the library staff to the party.

No one goes around rocking a t-shirt that says Franklin Middle School Alumni (a shout out to my Wisconsin middle school alma mater) and frankly I'm not impressed with someone who uses their high school career as their claim to fame, unless they are only a freshmen in college.   Definition number 2 supports the NFL sticker.  I'm assuming only former "associates" of the NFL can get that sticker and that it's not readily available on   Where I work we do not call former employees alumni.  Maybe they do go around in secret repeating our company's mission statement as their code.  Maybe not. 

After more than 10 years in the hospitality business, I have run across my share of VIPs.  In general, if you are in fact a VIP we know in advance who you are, where you're from, and why you have the status.   If you have to announce to someone "I'm a VIP," you're not.  Sorry to burst your bubble.  Just saying "I'm important and I deserve a suite or a bottle of wine or a newspaper does not make it so.  You might be a VIP because you a frequent customer.   The person ahead of you in line or with the more expensive bottle of wine might simply be someone's family member.

At one of my previous properties the oatmeal on the breakfast menu was named after a frequent guest of the hotel.   An unusual way to recognize a VIP to be sure, but you can bet that every time he stayed with us and saw that on the menu, he smiled.    This is in sharp contrast the guest who told me 1) he knew some of the owners 2) he is the reason why we served corned beef hash with hollandaise sauce.   I'm not sure who he thought he was impressing with that statement.   Not me. 

Work hard.  Be nice.  Tip well.  Say Thank you.   That's what we remember.   That's what increases your odds of being a VIP.    Take the NFL alumni sticker off your car.   If you're a genuine person who smiles at kids, pets puppies, and stops for squirrels, I'll respect you just the same.

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