At one point when I worked at the airport we had a new manager. The airport seemed to go through a thousand managers a week, who would come in with big ideas, big dreams and big shoes and throw them out there like glitter, only to watch them sink beneath the pond-like indifference of the staff they managed. This new manager was no different – energetic, firm, qualified. She lasted about a month. But on this day she took me away from my weird collection desk, where I did a weird, semi-unexplainable job, and told me to fill in at the perfumes register. I told her I didn’t know anything about perfume, and she told me patiently that I was just going to be processing sales.
Within a few minutes of taking my place behind the fragrant cash register, a weird hush swept through the store. People were giving furtive looks to a group of people walking slowly through check in, girls running back and forth, customers openly staring. I didn’t really notice any of this, because as per usual, I was deep in thought about elven languages and magical gems.
I was interrupted by a really, really enormous person in a suit, who said to me ‘Yo, wheres your Chanel at?’
I told him I would show him, and only when I reached the stand, did I realise that there was another similarly large gentleman, and a person with baggy pants, who I thought looked like a rapper, which may have been an example of racial profiling, except that in my defence, it was true, it was the rapper Flo Rida.
Flo Rida picked a bottle of Chanel No.5, and then pointed to a bottle of the Homme Sport.
‘Can I try this on?’ he asked me.
‘Yeah sure’ I said, before walking away.
Later on the Chanel assistant told everyone how cool I’d acted when serving Flo Rida, but then I told her that I didn’t know who Flo Rida was, which meant that I was the opposite of cool. I didn’t know I was serving someone famous. I am just a really bad salesperson.
I told this story many years later, and it was only at that moment that I realised his name was spelled like the US state ‘Florida’. To this day, I don’t know any of his songs. I often think fondly of Flo Rida.