“Gif me a visky, ginger ale on the side,
& don' be stingy, baby.”
A production still of me working with Garbo
I am employed by a well known Portland Gourmet Food Emporium as a wine/beer/chocolate/gift buyer & manager. In this capacity I also do the hiring, training, schedules & upkeep for fifteen 19-34 year olds. I have been at this position for a decade & the kids teach me a great deal…& not so much in a good way.
I provide a daily trivia question for the customers, a free coffee drink & pastry for the first correct answer. The question is placed in a frame at the cash registers. The customers seem to think it is fun & I am trivia trippy, which causes consternation in my circle.
Saturday, early morning, I am pondering possibilities for the challenge & my little gay Puerto Rican staff member pops into the office & offers: “Mr. R, how about a question about movies like something about the silent era; how about something about Greta Garbo?”
Stephen: “None of our customers will have any idea who Greta Garbo was…”
Gay Puerto Rican: “Everyone knows Great Garbo. I love her so much & I am positive that most people find her interesting.”
Stephen: “Hmmm… I stand by my claim, in fact I feel certain that 80% of the American Public would have no idea who Garbo was.”
Gay Puerto Rican: “No! Well, a Bette Davis question then. Everyone knows Bette Davis.”
Stephen: “I am afraid you are mistaken young man. Most customers would not know who Bette Davis was. We best go with a Star Wars question.”
Gay Puerto Rican: “Oh! I love Star Wars, but do a Garbo question, please! Please?”
Stephen (sticking his head out of the office, addressing 5 young staff members): “Hey! Listen Up! Can any of you tell me who Greta Garbo is?”
Staff (looking lost): Who? What? Lady Gaga?
Stephen: Can you name a film with Bette Davis?
Staff: (looking frightened): Huh?
Barista Girl: “My mom loves her. She made watch this movie with her… Beaches?"
Stephen: (to gay Puerto Rican): “My point.”
The customer question of the day was: Greta Garbo was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress for this 1930 film. The ad campaign for declared- “Garbo Talks!”, as it was her first talking film. Be the first to name this film & you will win a coffee drink & pastry.
We did 520 transactions that day & not one customer or staff member knew the answer... except the gay Puerto Rican. He enjoyed an Americano & a yummy pain au chocolat. I returned to the office & banged my head against the wall.