"A lady in line placing a custom printing order once said this to me.
Me: We can have this for you tomorrow afternoon and it will be $255.
Lady: I'll pick it up at noon.
Me: We'll try and get it done for you by noon, but I can't promise it.
Lady: (tsk) Fine. I'll pay when I pick it up.
Me: Sorry, we don't do custom work without pre-payment.
Me: Policy, sorry.
Lady: That may work with other people but not with me. I don't follow that policy.
Me: Then we can't start your order.
Lady: Do you know who I am? Do you know what I do for this city?
Me: No. Not at all. But you're not the person who will fire me if I don't take prepayment on a $255 custom order, so he's most important in this equation.
Lady: You side with whomever you like because I know that Jesus stands by my side and he proclaimeth you "wicked."
Me: Good to know. And if Jesus wanted a banner, I'd ask him to pre-pay as well unless I hear it from Ken that I don't have to. Would you like his phone number? You and Jesus can work something out with him.
I still don't know who she was."
"I worked in the security department of a theme park many years ago. The beer hall was the largest indoor eating facility in the U.S. at the time.
There was a guard post right inside the doorway, which was manned to prevent people from taking their beverages outside. All day, every day, someone would stand there and tell the guests that they had to drink inside, as it was one of two places in the park authorized for consumption. Outside the building, guests are not allowed to drink.
One fine day, I had drawn the duty and was bored out of my mind explaining the same thing over and over and over.
A man walked by, drink in hand, not a care in the world. That was about to change.
I said, 'Excuse me, sir. You can't take that outside.'
He instantly got agitated, because nobody likes being told they can't do something. 'Why not?' he asked, angrily.
'Because, sir,' I replied with my standard answer. 'State law has licensed this building, and the French shop. Not the entire park."
'Do you know who I am?!'
I had to bite my tongue so that my first response wouldn't escape my lips. "No, sir. I have no idea," I answered in a conversational tone.
'I'm Whatever-His-Name-Was, and I sit the board of directors for the company that owns this park!'
'That may very well be, sir, but state law says that you cannot leave this building with your drink,' I said with a smile.
'When I get back to the company's headquarters, I intend to make a formal complaint at the next shareholder's meeting, and I assure you heads will roll!' His face was red, and veins were standing out on his forehead.
'You are perfectly welcome to do exactly that, sir. While you're at it, contact the state alcohol and beverage control board, and see if they'll change the state law.'
He didn't care for that answer, threw his entire full cup in the trash and walked out.
I relayed this exchange to the security manager, who'd been with the company since before the park opened. He knew practically everyone on the Board of Directors.
"'That guy is a janitor in the headquarters. The only way he's ever sat the board of directors is going into the room when nobody is there.'"
"Have you ever heard of Rob Lowe? He's the guy from St.Elmo's Fire and The West Wing. He was even roasted on Comedy Central's "Roast of Rob Lowe" just last year. He's famous!
Anyway, we both live in Santa Barbara, California, where there are plenty of famous people. I don't know him personally, but sometimes I see him paddle boarding at the beach. I leave him alone, like most people. He's very low key and if you weren't paying attention, you might miss him.
So there's this story about three or four years ago, where this little sailboat comes in to dock at the harbor. It's an old weather-beaten boat, but it has a lot of character to it. The white paint looks crisp, the sails are well-maintained, and the three old men in it are completely full of life.
These men are all pushing 70. They are old fishermen in tattered coveralls, totally sunburned after a long leisurely day drinking at sea. As they are tying off the boat and unloading their gear, Rob Lowe happens to walk past. He can't help but admire the boat, complimenting how well-preserved it looks and asking if they caught anything.
The men are all in good spirits and appreciate his interest. A few minutes go by before one of the old men asks Rob, 'What'd you do? You don't strike me as a fisherman.'
'Well, I'm not really much of fisherman, I'm actually an actor.'
'Oh, wow." The old man says. "What do you do, commercials?'
'No, I'm in movies and television.
'Have you been in anything we might know?' Another old man asks.
'Do you know The West Wing?' Rob asks.
'No, sorry.' They say, genuinely confused.
'The Outsiders? St. Elmo's Fire? Californication?'
'Hmm, we haven't heard of any of these.' The first old man says. 'Are these big films?'
'Well yeah, I mean they're major motion pictures.'
'I'm sure they are,' one of the old men says laughing.
'Everybody comes to California wanting to be famous,' the other old man says.
'Well yeah but I mean, The West Wing ran for five to six years. I've been in some pretty big---' Rob is starting to get a little flustered, but he knows it's ridiculous. 'I'm just saying I'm a fairly well established---'
'You know what," the third old man says cutting him off. "I can already tell, you're gonna make it. You've got the fight in you. You're gonna be famous one day. Don't listen to these guys.'
He then pats Rob on the shoulder and walks away."
"I was waitressing in a little hometown cafe, saving money for college. It's the kind of restaurant where the nearby business owners eat lunch every single day and there's pretty much always the same crowd.
During a very hectic lunch shift, a party of six unfamiliar men in business suits came in and sat in my section. I recognized one but not the rest. As I had two other orders to take before theirs, I gave them water and menus and said I'd be with them in just a minute or two. The well-known guy just happened to be a Senator.
He stood up, grabbed my sleeve and told me they were in a bit of a hurry, and that they really needed me to take their order first. I told him there were two other tables who had sat down ahead of them, and that as promised, I would be right back to take their orders.
That's when he got indignant and said 'Do you know who I am?' I said 'Of course I do, Senator' and he informed me that I would be taking their order ahead of the other tables (all regular, daily customers).
I turned around and in a loud voice, I announced to the entire dining room 'We have Senator X dining with us today, and he would like to be served ahead of all the rest of you. Would that be okay?'
The guy sat back down, turned bright red and never said another word. He waited his turn just like everybody else... and left me a very nice tip."
"I was at a judo tournament and the woman doing registration asked for proof of age. The coach said he would vouch for the athlete's age and she said, 'No, you need a certified birth certificate.' He demanded, 'Do you know who I am?' She answered, 'No, and if I did, I wouldn't care.' I nearly fell over laughing.
In case you're wondering, he'd competed in the Olympics 20 years ago so apparently, all rules didn't apply to him."
"This used to happen fairly often when I was a front-line customs officer. Usually by some minor B-list celebrity or a sports professional. This happened particularly at the international airport I was assigned to.
I never let it affect me, as I knew what my authority was, and the general reasons I was either referring the individual for inspection or was the officer in secondary conducting the exam.
Also, after I became a supervisor and then a manager, this became something I dealt with on a fairly frequent basis. Frequently, the "celebrity" or VIP was actually trying to conceal something like undeclared dutiable merchandise or personal use narcotics.
The truly class VIP's (like U.S. senators, gentlemen sports figures, or entertainers) would simply answer the officer's questions and comply with their directions without complaint. When voices were raised and the, "Do you know who I am?" card was played, we usually knew we were onto some sort of violation. I'd say about half the time we were right, and then we'd process the violation just like we would for anyone else.
Undeclared merchandise resulted in a monetary penalty. Illegal substances usually resulted in a $500 fine or arrest.
I once was attacked by a fairly well-known politician in a room for conducting personal searches. We had found narcotics in his luggage and then progressed to a personal search. Well, the guy was wearing women's undergarments, and apparently was willing to attack two federal officers to keep this a secret. Believe me, we could not have cared less and would never have spoken of it. But we generally draw a pretty stern line about someone laying their hands on us. Needless to say, aside from getting a beating, the rest of his night was spent explaining to a magistrate why he shouldn't be sent straight to jail.
One thing I absolutely forbade the officers under my supervision from doing was ever asking a celebrity for an autograph, selfie, etc. I thought that was the height of unprofessionalism and more than one officer working for me received a sternly worded written reprimand for even attempting such a thing."
"This happened to a friend of mine, but its truly epic:
He was taking an exam at the university, really tight on time. The teacher's assistant, who was not a very pleasant individual, was supervising the test. When time ran out, the TA announced that time was over and to hand over the exams.
My friend was just finishing the last sentence and then ran towards the TA, who had just finished receiving the exams and was starting to walk towards the door. As my friend handed his exam, the TA declined to take it:
TA: I'm sorry, time's up and you didn't submit your exam in time.
My friend: Please, I was just finishing, and it was only 10 seconds late.
TA: Too bad. You're going to fail.
My friend (starting to get angry): Do you know who I am? Do you have any idea who I am?!
TA: Not a clue.
My friend: Perfect.
Then my friend proceeded to grab all the exams from the TA's hands, throw them into the air and mixing all the exams. In the confusion, he slipped his own exam among the chaos, and then quickly exited the room while the TA was left picking up the exams.
My friend passed the course."
"I was working at a bar in North Vancouver as a floor manager on a busy night shift. It may have been a Stanley Cup playoff night, which was always the busiest shifts to work. In British Columbia, it is against the law to serve alcohol to anyone who has already had enough. Obviously, if bars were strict on this rule, they wouldn't make any money, but there is a spectrum between someone who has had "a drink" and "completely smashed." Someone who is on the lower end of the spectrum, but still polite and happy is more likely to get served than someone who is angry and belligerent. Obviously.
As a manager, I always had a policy of letting my servers be the judge, I never went against their judgment. This extended well beyond intoxication; if they were uncomfortable in any way serving someone, I never made them. If it was a matter of them giving the server the wrong 'vibe,' I'd sometimes serve them myself. But, if they were being openly rude, or offensive in some other way, it was my job to ask them to leave and ensure that they did. I'm not a physically imposing guy, or particularly good at confrontation, but I can keep my cool and muster an authoritative demeanor when I need to.
So that night, one my servers who was working on the patio, which was easily the largest section, came to me and said that they weren't comfortable serving a new table that had just come in. Two men, in, I would guess their forties or fifties. Somewhat rough around the edges, for lack of a better description. It was pretty obvious from the way they carried themselves that they had had a lot to drink, and so we couldn't serve them. I informed them of this, and as most people in this situation tend to do, they argued about it. Arguments of 'we're not drinking' eventually devolved into the pair telling me how stupid I was, and eventually, one of them calmed down, looked me square in the eye, and the following exchange occurred:
'Who are you?'
'I'm the manager on duty tonight, and I need you and your friend to leave.'
'Do you know who I am?'
'No I do not.'
And then he and his friend got up and left without any further argument or complaint. No idea who they were, or why they thought they were people of importance, but for the rest of the night I half-expected to be the target of a gangland-style execution."
"I was on a plane settling in before take-off when my brother-in-law, who was a cabin crew member on the flight, was walking down the aisle checking that passengers had fastened their seat belts. A passenger directly across the aisle from me suddenly stood up to rummage in his bag which had already been stowed away in the overhead compartment. My brother-in-law told him to please sit down and fasten his seat belt since we were about to take off. The not-so gentlemanly passenger said, 'Wait a minute, I need...'
'Now please; you can get what you need after take-off.'
The passenger, visibly miffed, quite loudly said, 'How rude, do you know who I am? Do you?'
My brother-in-law, with half a smile, looked at the passenger in the next seat and asked the startled man 'Do you know this man? He appears to have forgotten his name!'
As the whole row, including me, chuckled, the irate passenger ruefully smiled, muttering a quick apology.
Apparently, he was a very nervous flyer.
"I saw it happen at a bar one time. The guy was a local minor TV celebrity, and not well-liked due to his arrogance.
He asked if he could set up a tab for the evening. His waitress was not impressed by him, and she delayed giving him permission to run a tab.
He yelled at her, 'Do you know who I am?' and then she announced to the whole place, 'We have a gentleman here who has forgotten who he is... can anyone help him?'
He stomped out of there and everyone laughed."
"I've only heard it once. My wife and I were in a family owned Mexican restaurant in Las Vegas. We'd been to this place several times since we moved to town and enjoyed both the food and the atmosphere. This was back in the time in which restaurants offered smoking and non-smoking sections. We asked for non-smoking and were seated in a booth in an almost empty section of the restaurant.
A few minutes later a party of eight to 10 people was seated at a table near where we were sitting. The guy who was apparently the ramrod of the group immediately lit up a smoke. The host, one of the owners' sons, walked over and told the man his party was seated in a nonsmoking section and offered to move the party to another section and designate the area as a smoking section. The ramrod said, 'But, I want to smoke here.' I offered to move to avoid a scene. The host refused my offer. The guy who was determined to smoke at his choice of tables asked, 'Do you know who I am?' The young host said, 'Yeah, you're the one who has three choices: move to another table and smoke, sit here and not smoke, or leave. Your choice.' The guy actually made his entire party get up and leave the restaurant. That young man got a large tip that evening."
"On my third day working in a shoe store in a very exclusive neighborhood my boss looks at a woman approaching the door and whispered to me, 'That's Mrs. M. She's a real PITA and will tell you who she is the moment she walks in.' I knew from the name that she was heir to a regional grocery store chain that had been really something when I was a kid but by this time had been reduced to only one or two remaining stores. He followed with, 'You take her.' I was on commission so I thought 'yoo-hoo.'
I greeted her and asked what she needed. I had her first selection halfway on her foot when she asked me, 'Do you know who I am?' 'No, sorry I don't,' I said in my most ingratiating retail slug voice. 'I am Mrs. M. of the M Food Chain,' I put on a puzzled expression.
'Food chain? You mean like grocery stores or something?'
'Yes, surely you've heard of it.'
'Can't say that I remember it. Was it local or somewhere else maybe?'
'You must not be from around here. We have a store on every corner.'
'Oh, no, I've lived here all my life. You sure that was the name of it? Maybe you had a different sign on the door?'
'Oh, no. The name was prominently displayed.'
'Sorry, so where are the stores? I don't remember seeing them around anywhere.'
'Well, we've closed all but one,' and she gave its address.
'That's nice. If I'm ever in that part of town I'll be sure to stop in and look around. It's just been a real pleasure meeting you. Did you want to write a check or pay cash for the shoes.'
I don't remember if she bought the shoes or not. I do remember that for the next seven years she never once returned. My boss thanked me for that.