“The Art of Coat Checking” by Lisa Medici – Another tale from her series “Latte, Please!”

I had been looking for a job in this slow moving economy, and as an extremely versatile and somewhat adaptable person, in the past had always landed a job within two weeks. Now what seems to be more than six months and almost half-way through my savings, piggy bank, change-purse, and hauling tiny CVS plastic bags to the local commercial bank coin counters in exchange for paper money, it was time to seriously bring home some bacon.


My resume reads like a true double-brain theory, ½ visceral, and ½ cerebral. Case in point, my work experience runs the gamut, from vivacious receptionist, spiritual facialist, dog-sitter, restaurant hostess, human resources extraordinaire, and my real passion, poet/writer. Like my dual personality, due to the fact that I was born on the cusp of Aries and Pisces (water begets fire), my job chakra have been karmic-ly-kissed by playful goddesses (who obviously don’t have to work in Manhattan) and having all the time in their world, waving sparkly enchanted wands to stop and start me with reckless abandonment on my next crusade.


So in keeping with this ritual, I prayed to my higher self. Less than a minute later, I magically get a phone call from a close friend offering an employment opportunity for an unusually high paying coat checking job at a prominent corporate banking company located in the heart of the Flatiron district in Manhattan. “Thank you almighty Goddess’” I sarcastically mimed to the phone, and said yes!
(Next stop) All wands point to Coat Checking.


Each day I race into work, must be there before the clock strikes!
Bad image if the coat check gal is tardy, imagine, clock strikes “open” and the empty counter screams “on strike”! What no one there? What kind of operation is this place running? I learned early on, not being ready was more calamitous than Black Friday during the holidays. A long line of eager bread-liners or breadwinners await eagerly to drop off their ready-to-wear baggage.


So here I sit and sometimes stand like a prison guard protecting the possessions from all walks of life. Oh yes, you can tell a lot about a person by that simultaneous first greet and the exchange of a little pink losable ticket, a symbolic trade for their prized baggage and your organized attention to detail. With that also comes a relief to abandon their albatross with the exotic smiling lady who embraces them with the most unbelievable verbal hug they are gonna get all day, all week and possibly their entire life. All this enthusiasm they spy for the love of a bonafide tip!


That first encounter with any of my patrons will determine the outcome of their tipping spirit. My strategy, leave a long lasting impression until they come back like grubby fashionistas clamoring to snatch up their gear at a designer sample sale. The one’s who are reluctant to tip from the get go, seem almost troubled by my purpose to please and service them with a smile. They’d rather I look subordinate or appear meek and humble rather than radiate like the Madonna of all baggage handlers.
“Good- Morning”, “Your laptop’s safe with me would you like to check it so you can have a free hand?” They smile look around and feel special. It’s their jolt or little boost of attentive energy if you will, before the caffeine has stimulated their circulatory system. Which can elevate their serotonin levels. After all, I did major in Psychology, of course. With this vast knowledge of mine, I managed to come up with some Archetypes:


TYPE: Frantic Diva

Chooses erratically between shoes and bags: what to take what to leave as if on a temporary moving expedition; resents you for looking good and being chipper. But mostly despises you for settling on a mediocre job. Secretly fears this could be her if she ever loses her edge.
Tipping Point: Pretends to forget to tip
Lesson: Don’t sweat the tip: Rather keep all enthusiasm to myself.


TYPE: Inward Andy

Often mistaken for a trench-coat flasher or a mild-mannered serial killer;
Quietly toys with whether or not to leave an unmarked black attaché with the amateur CSI looking intuit who he thinks is playing him by innocently persuading him to let her take this off his hot little hands; will she peek inside and find his naughty passions? He concedes, and I could care less, yet he suspiciously glances back to see if I’ve switched the placement of his case or re-positioned like a dog-eared page in an awkward pose.
Tipping Point: This guy never tips.. Nil by Tip
Lesson: Soon as he comes to retrieve his parcel, have it ready for him without the ticket. This will make him even more paranoid.


TYPE: Helluva Guy Gary

Immediately starts to fantasize about the coat check girl just because she made him smile and stimulated his hormones as effective as watching a pole dancer. Gary always asks, “ Will you be here when I check out?
Tipping Point: Excellent Tipper
Lesson: Always be there when he checks out.


TYPE: Generous Jane

Seems helpless with her current cross to bare, Liz Claiborne luggage ensemble, who confessed after I raved about its wheeling agility, that she just bought it at Marshalls.
Tipping Point: Good tipper and offers me her goodie bag from the party.
Lesson: Flattery will get you everywhere!


TYPE: Papa Plato:

Spends the most time sharing a benevolent philosophy, deep virtues, and
soul-soothing. Keeps the conversation interesting, pauses only to step aside for another ticket holder; he says things like “light always shines even in the darkest places”; I told him if I were genius enough I could rule the world, he says I think you do rule the world in your own corner…
Tipping Point: He tips and I refuse, I said, Sir, that would be over-tipping, your insightful wisdom is priceless.
Lesson: With my magic wand, I can definitely rule the world from the corner of a coat checkroom.




Lisa Medici

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