Saturday, July 23, 2016

If Only I Could Be "Platinum Elite!"

I wouldn't know, because I haven't worked in Corporate America for over 15 years, but it seems like there's been a development in that time, where every company from airlines to hotels to amusement parks and gyms feels the need to create increasingly fractured levels of status for everything. And each of these things has fancy-sounding names like "Platinum Elite."

Truly and obscenely wealthy people don't need Disneyland Fast Passes (TM), of course. They already have a Disneyland Fast Pass to Life. They are self-segregated by their wealth. They live in gated communities or on private islands; they fly in private planes at private airports; they have entire staffs of people to meet their every need and personal assistants to manage it all. 

And it's not just famous people, either. It's plain old ordinary anonymous rich people whose obscene quantities of money basically buy them total insulation from everyone and everything that MIGHT remind them they aren't the only people in the world. 

I'm not saying these people are bad people, though surely some of them are. I'm just pointing out that their habits of conspicuous consumption drive the desires and preposterous ambitions of everyone else.

For everyone else, it's like corporate boardrooms everywhere have figured out that regular or semi-rich people will do anything to feel like VIPs, even when the thing that's being offered to make them feel special is objectively laughable if they would only just stop to think about it for even five seconds.

Like this "Platinum Elite" parking space. The sign says "this parking space reserved for Marriott Rewards PLATINUM ELITE guests." Whoa. Platinum! That's more fancy than gold! And Elite? That means VERY SPECIAL! Right?!

Nevermind that in the very next space is a rented Chrysler minivan with zero special status. Your loyalty to this hotel chain just bought you a parking space two inches to the left of the regular old proletariat guests. Also, free cookies on the "concierge level," where I can only assume one is waited on hand and foot by a staff of thick-accented, interchangeable name-tag wearing hotel staff clad in maroon polyester.

Just like the rich and famous.

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