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Miss Uncongenialities In the Making

I honestly don’t know how to categorize this story, but here we go. This happened about two years ago.

I work for one of the major film studios. All of the studios offer a tour of the lot which are extremely popular – so much so that the studio that I work for, offers one every hour. On the tour, you get to visit sets, hear stories of the history of the studio or different productions, you might even get to see someone famous. Anytime I have friends or family come in from out of town, I usually send them on the tour.

One of the buildings that I work in has a coffee shop in the lobby and is understandably popular with the employees usually just before office hours. I always stopped in before I went to my desk, but on one particular morning, I was standing in a line that consisted of myself and one other person, when I saw just right outside the front doors, a swarm of people heading our direction. Most of them were women and they were all wearing sashes stating what state they were from and they were all extremely made up, with a crown pin on their lapels, obviously pageant contestants. They were being herded in by a man who directed them to the line and were told, “Just cut in front of these people ladies so we can get to the tour.”

And they did – 50 grown women in suits and high heels, plus handlers, who had no problem shoving themselves in front of me and the person in front of me who were waiting to order. I was absolutely horrified. Thankfully, the girl behind the counter knew what we wanted and slipped it to us on the side so we didn’t have to wait behind 50 rude Miss Congenialities in the making. 1018-10

{ 40 comments… add one }
  • Kristy October 19, 2010, 9:56 am

    If I were the worker behind the counter I would have said something to begin with and served you first!

  • buggurl October 19, 2010, 10:06 am

    I don’t know if I would automatically paint the contestants with the rude brush. They were on a tour, and for all they knew, people in tour groups got priority at the service counter. IMO, the really rude one in this story was the tour guide.

    He could see that there were 2 people in line waiting to order, yet he directed his group to cut in front. I doubt that waiting for the two of you to order would have seriously impacted his schedule.

    Although, had I been a member of the contestant herd, I would have motioned you to continue ahead of me, because you were there first.

  • DGS October 19, 2010, 10:16 am

    While I’m not a huge fan of the beauty pageant industry for reasons I won’t go into here, I would hesitate to say that the contestants were rude. They may have simply followed the lead of the tour guide, assuming that typically, tour groups would get priority. I’d have hoped that at least one would have had the courtesy to ask you two to go ahead of the group, but I can also see how in the hubbub of a large tour group, that could have gotten overlooked. The tour guide, however, strikes me as being incredibly rude. It wouldn’t have taken very long to have waited for the two of you to get serviced at the coffee shop.

  • My guess October 19, 2010, 10:19 am

    So the 2007 Miss USA pageant was held in LA, and is owned by Trump and gets broadcast on NBC, which is also known as NBC Universal. So the author hasn’t hidden where they work very well.

    For those who have never watched a pageant, they often have video clips of the contestants visiting famous locations, especially those that overlap with the sponsors. For years Miss Teen USA was held in Shreveport LA and they had a video of the contestants on riverboats every year to show off the city.

    So my guess is, since there were handlers, the contestants were on their way to a video shoot of “Contestants going on a tour of Universal Studios!!!” I can’t remember if that was part of that year’s video or not, but I would bet money that’s why they were there, even if it didn’t get put into the final broadcast.

    The handlers should have “handled” things better, but I’d let Brad Pitt cut in line to get coffee if he needed to get back to set by a certain time, and since these girls were likely on a similar schedule, I’d have made the same allowance for them. This wouldn’t have been a “normal” tour.

    Five seconds of googling found this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjHrOyyjmrQ and I doubt that was the only clip they filmed there.

  • Louise October 19, 2010, 10:28 am

    The story doesn’t say the man who directed the women was a tour guide. He said he wanted “to get to the tour,” so he could have been anyone. Whoever he was, he was undeniably rude. OP, I’m glad you didn’t have to wait ages for you drink.

  • Virg October 19, 2010, 11:11 am

    I can’t fault the contestants and handlers for doing what the tour guide told them to do. For all they knew, you two were expecting to step aside since the guide told them to move up, so it’s his rudeness that’s to blame. They all get a pass in this case because of his statement.


  • Rabbit October 19, 2010, 11:38 am

    My goodness, how rude! Grown people should have learned by that age that it’s rude to cut in front of anyone.

  • kero October 19, 2010, 12:04 pm

    buggurl– I doubt there is priority service at coffee shops. It’s just bad all around to ignore a customer for another. And since OP works at the studio, I’m pretty sure her horrified reaction indicates that it is not normal for tours to get priority service.

    The director (man) and all of the ladies are at fault, but I think if the man was not there to direct them maybe they wouldn’t have done it? But shame on them for following his etiquette breach when they–of all people–should hold grace and patience instead of storming in front of you and the other customer. Oh yeah, 2 people will really delay their order.

    I feel sorry for the barista who will have to make 50 drinks alone–and if the guy was so pressed for time, I really doubt waiting for those 50 drinks was wise time management.

  • RP October 19, 2010, 12:23 pm

    Whoever that guy was needs to be reported to management. He should not be instructing people to dismiss other employees as if they don’t exist. His schedule is not more important than yours and I seriously doubt he has the authority to tell people in the coffee shop who to serve first.

  • Asha October 19, 2010, 1:26 pm

    Pageant contestants aren’t even allowed to have calories, or to have bodily functions such as urination that might interfere with them standing perfectly motionless for hours on end. Why on earth were they getting coffee? And seriously, since when is it inconvenient if there are TWO PEOPLE ahead of you? Ugh.

  • SHOEGAL October 19, 2010, 1:27 pm

    I can’t believe that waiting after 2 people were served their coffee would have caused any major time delays for the tour for these contestants. But 2 employees having to wait after 50 other people is ridiculous – I don’t think a polite, “Excuse me, I was here first,” is unwarranted or rude. The tour guide or whoever that man was is unforgivably rude – acting as if these beauty queens had priority over those two customers.

  • Giles October 19, 2010, 2:13 pm

    You’d think that even if the tour guide told them to cut in front of everyone, at least one of the aspiring perfect human beings would have mentioned how rude it is.

    My experience with pageants is thankfully limited to one instance in which my ten-year-old daughter begged to be in one. I like to think the experience motivated her to be thankful for her family and to work hard in school.

  • PermieWriter October 19, 2010, 2:23 pm

    This sort of thing is why I’m really glad I don’t live in Southern California anymore. Entertainers have the most horrendous attitudes, and the people who fall all over themselves to cater to their whims are even worse. I wouldn’t work in show business for the world.

  • Sharon October 19, 2010, 2:42 pm

    I am floored by the people on here saying that the contestants were not rude… they were extremely rude and so was their guide. It would have taken maybe 5 minutes to let the two people who were already there to get waited on.
    Good GOD… just because a tour guide is an idiot does not mean you have to be one as well. Those contestants were rude and they should have been gracious and told the people who were already there to go ahead.
    Can any of you seriously say that you would not be upset if you and one other person were shoved aside for a group of FIFTY people? Get real.

  • Typo Tat October 19, 2010, 2:46 pm

    @My guess –

    Whether it’s Brad Pitt or Miss USA, they don’t “deserve” priority for being on a schedule. Everyone is on a schedule. OP was on her way to work; why is her time less valuable than someone else’s?

  • Jay October 19, 2010, 3:11 pm

    “Whoever that guy was needs to be reported to management. He should not be instructing people to dismiss other employees as if they don’t exist. His schedule is not more important than yours ”

    Well.. his schedule may in fact be more important than hers, in the sense that one’s boss’s schedule is more important than one’s own. We don’t know.

    Still rude, though. And anyone in a hurry shouldn’t be sending 50+ people to a coffee shop!

  • Allie October 19, 2010, 3:31 pm

    Last I checked, “I was just following orders” was not an acceptable excuse. Sounds like these ladies have a big case of entitlementitis. If only I were young and beautiful, I’d never have to wait in another line…

  • QueenofAllThings October 19, 2010, 3:48 pm

    Uncongenial? Incongenial? Need to go find a dictionary …. hmmm.

    Anyway, since when do FIFTY people get in line for coffee? Why wouldn’t the organizers have coffee and (fat-free!) danish set aside in a room for them? Very odd behavior.

  • My guess October 19, 2010, 4:27 pm

    @Typo Tat – Having worked as an extra multiple times, in fact for a NBC Universal show on occasion, I can assure you that in my time was worth way less than the director, producer, or lead actors. In fact, I can remember one time when we were explicitly told to wait to eat until after the crew was finished serving themselves. Yes, I was at work, and yes I needed to eat and get to wardrobe, but I didn’t have priority over the crew, because they had a schedule to keep that was more important than mine. So for me this isn’t a hypothetical…. if I was in line for water on the set, and Brad Pitt cut in front of me, then I would assume he needs to be somewhere first and that’s the norm, and not rudeness.

    Since that is the way of that particular industry, I’m really surprised the OP reacted in this manner. I can only assume that she or he didn’t know that it wasn’t a normal tour and that instead they were there for a promotional spot. If they weren’t there for a promo of some kind, then yes, it was rude. But the televised national pageants have very strict schedules that basically break down to “promotion, rehearsal, competition, sleeping, and eating” so I would be shocked if they were there for fun. They sign contracts that put them at the beck and call of pageant officials for those weeks, and not following directions can get you blacklisted (especially at pageants run by Mr. Trump, who reportedly retains the right to pick members of the top 15 if he chooses). That’s why not a single contestant spoke out, even if they may have felt bad about it.

    • k2 August 1, 2014, 8:41 am

      This is coming in years late but I feel like what you’re describing is a rather different situation than what the OP experienced. I work in a business connected with the film industry and as such a lot of the people in my office are former industry professionals. From the stories I’ve heard from them, craft services and catering do have a certain hierarchy based on how big a name actors are or what role in the film crew you fulfill. In that way, it does make some sense that someone like Brad Pitt should be able to jump the line in front of an extra (though he should still be polite about it).

      OP was in a coffee shop though (granted a coffee shop in a studio building, but still a coffee shop) so the normal rules of the crafty hierarchy should not apply. If I were to be working on a film shoot and was waiting for my food and Brad Pitt jumped the line to grab his coffee, I’d be a little more understanding. But if I were at Starbucks and Brad Pitt suddenly cut in front, insisting he had to be back on set, I’d tell him to find the end of the line because he wasn’t going in front of me (at least not without asking nicely, which none of the ladies in the story or the handlers thought to do).

  • Geekgirl October 19, 2010, 5:28 pm

    They’re ‘beauty’ queens, not Brad Pritt, filming a promo, not an Oscar winning movie. They can wait five minutes so the hardworking people in the backrooms who make them look so good can get a coffee.

  • My guess October 19, 2010, 7:12 pm

    Geekgirl – I’m sure NBC Universal would disagree with you. I’m nearly positive that the attempt to stay on schedule for not just the beauty queens, but the film crew, stylist, wardrobe person, handlers, etc is considered far more important than one person at a desk. If the crew runs late, their other shoots for the day might run late, and then the company is paying overtime rates on several people. If one or two salaried people at a desk is inconvenienced…. then those people come back down a half hour later and get their coffee then.

    It’s the nature of that particular industry that I’ve never really seen anywhere else. People are truly ranked by how useful they are at any particular moment, and the more useful you are, the more priority you get. It’s silly to blame the people being herded through it just because they are temporarily useful as though they were the cause of that system.

  • Kimberly October 19, 2010, 7:20 pm

    I don’t care who they were or what the norm was for someone working at the studio or
    there for whatever reason.

    Plain ol’ common sense would dictate that only two people in line would not take long or
    as making those two people wait for 50 people.

    They may have been in a pageant or whatever, but really? You could not wait for two people
    to get your coffee before your group of 50??

    And really, not one of those 50 young women, who are supposed to be upstanding young
    women of our country, especially if they are vieing for Miss America, could not or would
    not say, “Hey, there are only two people here. You go first” ? If someone representing
    our country could not let one or two people already in a line for coffee, go before 50
    people, than I have serious doubts about that person representing our country.

    But, than I guess that is the norm for USA now…entitlement people, entitlement.

  • Asharah October 19, 2010, 8:18 pm

    Given how much time it would take for all 50 contestants to get their coffee, how much time did they save by butting in front of two people already in line? Reminds me of a story in Readers Digest where a woman with a giant cartful of groceries that would take several minutes to ring up just has to butt in front of the person with a single item because she’s “in a hurry.”

  • Maryann October 20, 2010, 1:04 am

    No excuse for them to cut the line and I’m a little shocked that so many people think there is. You speak as if coffee before the tour is a matter of life and death. That they’re somehow entitled to that. No, it’s just a drink and a tour. You don’t get your coffee first just because you’re pretty and wearing a sash. You’re not entitled to the front just because some random person says so.

    Just say no to rudeness! I stand up to things like that, and had such a thing been said to me, as a contestant, I would have said “What about these ladies?” I would have insisted that they get their coffee before me, at the very least, which would have held up the whole group the same (miniscule) amount of time, and others probably would have followed. The galled looks no doubt on their faces should have said everything about what was happening. It should have been obvious that they were cutting, and dang, there were only two people anyway!

    Imagine going from first in line to fifty-first. That’s all it would take for me to say categorically that I wouldn’t cut them.

  • Me October 20, 2010, 5:43 am

    I was in a hurry to get to work this morning. If I didn’t get to work on time, the office would have opened late, which would have put many peoples schedules out. Guess that means I coulda pushed in front of everyone else at the coffee shop.

  • Bint October 20, 2010, 6:33 am

    If they need to be somewhere urgently, they say to the others ‘We’re so sorry, would it be possible to be served in front of you?’

    If Brad Pitt asked me if he could go ahead of me, fine. If he just cut in, I’d think he was an arrogant prick and tell him I was there first. Just because Brad is busy doesn’t mean he doesn’t have to bother with manners.

    It’s not about whose time is important – it’s about having the courtesy to acknowledge that this means you may inconvenience someone else, and not go barging in without even asking. *That’s* rude.

  • Goldie October 20, 2010, 8:21 am

    First of all, mad props to the coffee shop employee for making the OP’s and the other person’s coffee “on the side”.

    Second, I don’t understand. If the group was that important, why didn’t they have their coffee catered? I mean, if it’s true that at NBC Studios one’s importance determines their place in line, then, hypothetically, what if the contestants walked into the coffee shop and, instead of the OP and one other person, saw a hundred A-listers standing in line? 😉 Why take chances?

    I also kind of want to hear the rest of the story – you know, an hour later, all that coffee has taken its toll, and the fifty contestants barge into a restroom, shoving aside whoever’s already there ;)))

  • jenna October 20, 2010, 10:17 am

    I do believe “My guess” that that’s the way things are in that particular industry – doesn’t make it right, but it does mean that people who say “I just wouldn’t accept it! I’d speak up!” wouldn’t last in that industry. Fortunately, none of them (I presume!) would want to work in it anyway!

    It WAS rude, of both the director and the contestants, no question there…but I get the feeling from my limited knowledge of both the working culture of Trump’s many businesses and the entertainment industry that rude and entitled is the norm, not the exception.

    I do also wonder at the event planning skills of whoever organized the tour: as was mentioned before, who puts 50 people in line for coffee when they’re “in a hurry” – you pre-arrange to have coffee available for them.

    I work in a field that is not entertainment-related but still requires me to be at events, seminars, training courses etc. with up to two hundred people (usually closer to 25-50 but it can get up into the hundreds). We usually have refreshments on hand and nobody would dream of putting all the attendees in a line at a coffee shop! The coffee / tea / snacks / water are pre-ordered, arranged for delivery and brought in and set out on a table to the side. That’s just how it’s done! It’s good event planning! Seriously!

  • RP October 20, 2010, 11:17 am

    @Jay and @My guess – Unless and until the OP’s manager tells them that yes, people in positions X, Y, and Z have priority and that it’s better for the OP to be late if X, Y, Z people say they need to do or get something first then no, as far as the OP is concerned the time of some random handler is not more important than the OP’s time.

  • Robert October 20, 2010, 2:35 pm

    “Typo Tat: Whether it’s Brad Pitt or Miss USA, they don’t “deserve” priority for being on a schedule. Everyone is on a schedule. OP was on her way to work; why is her time less valuable than someone else’s?”

    I think the expression “cutting off your nose to spite your face” is apt here. If I am paid $10/hour and my co-worker is paid $20/hour then my co-workers time, quite literally, is more valuable to the company than mine. To state that all employees time is equally valuable is absolutely ridiculous.

  • Simone October 21, 2010, 12:31 am

    I agree with Bint that even given that there ARE people whose time is more valuable it is still not necessary to be rude about it. In fact given the possibility for negative publicity I would say it is unprofessional to be rude in the entertainment industry. This is hardly good publicity for the contest is it?

    Imagine if the minder had said “I’m so sorry, it’s vital that we save as much time as possible, I hope you don’t mind but we’ll have to cut in” and the contestants gave the OP a smile and a “thank you so much”. The elements are still the same, the OP still doesn’t really have a choice in the matter, the beauty queens still have thier coffee and their position of importance.

    In this scenario though there is no post to etiquette hell, no-one forms the opinion that beauty queens are less beautiful inside and everyone’s day is just that little bit nicer. It’s really not that hard.

  • Miss Raven, sneering October 21, 2010, 12:34 am

    I think the bigger question is why coffee is necessary? Unless buying a cup of coffee is mandatory for entrance to the tour, if they have a schedule to keep they need to skip the cappuccinoes and proceed as planned. Not one of those 50 women is entitled to a cup of coffee, stat, if that cup of coffee will inconvenience not only the other people waiting for drinks, but also the solo barista and more than likely everyone involved in the production of the segment.

    There is absolutely no scenario in my mind in which this action of blatant disregard for others was necessary or defensible, no matter how much each contestant’s time was “worth”. Anyone actually defending this, please imagine fully what happened here. The coffee shop is empty, there is one person in line ahead of you, and suddenly the two of you are rushed by more than 50 other women who push themselves in front of you and bump you all the way to the back of what would at that point cease to be a line, and instead become a total mob. It’s like something out of a bad sitcom.

  • Maryann October 23, 2010, 10:02 am

    @Miss Raven: See, that’s my biggest problem. Something they truly *had* to do in a hurry, it might be okay to say “Excuse us, we really need to _____ right away, would you please _____?” But coffee? And cutting to get it? No. Just no.

  • DEEM October 24, 2010, 4:14 am

    The contestants are adults with the power of independent thinking, in theory at least. I am surprised no one spoke up and said that two people already waiting should go first. Someone may tell me to cut in line ahead of others, but that is something I would decline to do because that’s no the way I behave.

  • Princesssimmi October 24, 2010, 6:06 am

    @Asharah- I do the opposite, I allow the person behind me with one grocery item to go ahead of me
    when I have a full cart. Normally this is late when there are few people, or when it’s someone elderly. But some people are plain rude.

  • Twik October 30, 2010, 9:45 pm

    I had a good friend compete in the Miss Canada pageant one year. The stories she told on her return were rather hair-raising, and I can’t quite fault the young women, who may have been so used to being driven from one point to another like cattle that expecting them to stand up for the rights of others in line at that point would be unrealistic.

  • Jane October 31, 2010, 9:18 am

    I worked in film and entertainment for years and still do from time to time. The abuse of power, entitlement and just plain rudeness is endemic. Extras are treated like cattle (extra’s holding is the name of the area they keep extras, and from where they are herded to and from the set.)

    Production Assistants (runners and gophers who want to be producers or directors some day) are completely abused – I actually saw a B-C-List actor talking to his girlfriend on his cellphone outside of his trailer (bad reception inside the trailer was the excuse) during a thunderstorm, while a P.A. stood outside holding an umbrella over the actors head. The P.A. got soaked to the bone and was exposed to lightning. There was no family emergency, nothing important, the actor just wanted to chat with his girlfriend – who he would see later. It was just critical that he have that call at that particular moment… during a thunderstorm. This actor was a rising star at this time (mid 90s) with serious potential. You don’t see him in much anymore and much of it has to do with behavior and attitudes like that.

    Many times actors and other talent are put into awkward positions by “handlers” such as Assistant Directors, managers and P.A.s , who will do things like drag them to the front of a line or seat them in front of someone else. There are many people in the industry (including A- listers) who do not buy into that and are really decent people. They will actually put themselves at the end of a line.

    It’s a business in which it’s o.k to be rude and bad behavior is indulged, and the more money you bring in the more you are indulged. Sad but true.

  • Kate August 16, 2011, 9:17 am

    I’m not sure you can totally blame the models. I mean, yeah, they were rude, but I’ve been in a few very ‘proper’ extracurriculars (modeling, pagents, horse back riding, golf, diving, and dance) and anyone who was even semi-decent was told they were better then everyone else. And it amazed me when I saw how many people believed it! Then they would grow to expect getting thing either first, or if not, getting the best, but usually both.
    I did quit quite a few of the extracurriculars, and honestly, I’m glad.
    Anyways, the point I’m trying to make is that you should blame their hobbies as much as the contestants themselves. Not that I’m saying it was nice of them in the first place.

  • MM October 9, 2011, 2:16 am

    That Brad Pitt example doesn’t hold water. If it was one person, important celebrity or not, and they were in a hurry, they would probably say “I’m sorry, I’m very late, etc., would it be all right if I go ahead?” Even many celebrities would probably be polite about it. Some might be jerks about it, but that’s for another day. 🙂

    Plus, one Brad Pitt isn’t 50 A-list actors and handlers, ALL breaking in the line. If it were imperative these women get someplace NOW, and can’t wait for two little ol’ regular folks to go ahead, there wouldn’t be time to stop there at all. There’s time for 50 + maybe another 10 or even 50 people, but not time for 50+50+2? That’s a lot of confidence in the time it takes to make a double-macchiato-no-fat-double-vanilla-soy-latte! They would have it catered it if were that important they buy coffee right.this.minute.

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