STINKING RICH Tales from a barista's diary

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IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT A REALLY RICH PERSON SMELLS LIKE,  then next time you're in an airport, go to the bar that offers the nicest selection of alcohol.

I work in one of these airport bars and know that all rich people—really rich people—smell amazing.

Maybe it's the limousine that drove them in from their hotel? They never smell like they've been in a rancid taxi or rubbed against a homeless man on a bus. Or maybe it's the cologne worth a week of my wages properly applied so that its gentle notes dance about them.

Or  maybe it's just the smell of money—money you and I cannot even imagine.

We're taught, as servers and bartenders, to keep an eye out for these people and to know their telltale signs. Like the flash of a watch worth more than a car. We need to know who the big sharks are well before they sit down at a table.

And why wouldn't we? As servers, we make our living on tips, and a customer who spends $300 in 30 minutes and leaves a $125 tip is far, far more important to us than someone who leaves $5 after sitting at a table for three hours chewing on a sandwich and sipping free water with lemon.

But there's something more to their smell than just money. It's something equally fear-evoking and sexual. It makes you part your lips with lust and spikes your fight or flight drive. It's more than the smell of cologne.

It’s the smell of power
It's the smell of power. Power to buy off cops and judges, power to funnel millions into offshore accounts, power to send you, your family, and everyone you know to ruin if desired.

And it is that smell of power that sets those customers apart. They ripple with power and they know it, and they know we know it.

Next time you’re in an airport, find a seat at the bar with the nicest selection of alcohol and keep an eye out for the people in tailored clothes who are quickly brought to a quiet and clean table. Watch how the servers react to them. If you’re there long enough you may see the subtle flash of the matte­ black Centurion American Express Card. You know, the one the credit company invites you to carry when you spend between a rumoured annual $250,000 to $450,000.

The mystery people
Take a long look at that person's face. Understand the power they hold in this world. And then take the time to consider how they're not even the wealthiest people at the airport. The true elite don't spend time in airport bars because they're driven directly to their private planes.

The super elite have the money to bypass the airport completely. They do not have to go through security. Customs officers will board their private planes to check their documents and bags while they're sipping from their own favorite bottle of wine.

You will never get to know their faces because they live in a world so remote that ordinary people never get a glimpse of them. It is those mystery people who truly hold the power that makes this capitalist world spin.

I wonder what they smell like.


This article was originally published by The Canadian Labour Institute.  

Reprinted with permission for CALM Members use.