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“Dirty Harry” Revenge for People Who Come Late to Meetings

on February 10, 2015

Whenever I’m at a super popular restaurant, desperately waiting for a table, I jokingly threaten that I’m going to go up to the maître de, wave my finger high in the air, and demand they give me a table RIGHT NOW!

“Do you know who I am? DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!”

I know the restaurant host, waiters, and owners are sitting in the kitchen, looking at me, and laughing. They don’t know who they’re dealing with. I’ve got a .44 Magnum of nonexistent influence and intimidation locked and loaded. At any time I want, I could metaphorically say, “Feel lucky, well do ya punk?” and then blow them away.

It’s never ever going to happen.

It’s a “Dirty Harry” fantasy.

In a very recent post, “If You’re Late. If You Flake, I’m Done With You. That’s It,” Peter Shankman posted his own “Dirty Harry” fantasy when he threatened to cut people off who showed up late, even for a few minutes, for a meeting.

“If you don’t respect my time as much as you value your own, you are an asshole, and We. Are. DONE,” said Shankman in his post.

How much different would that comment be if Shankman taunted his latecomers with “Go ahead, make my day.”

Shankman’s post about people being chronically late for calls, podcasts, and meetings hit a major chord with his readers. The post got hundreds of shares, dozens of comments on his blog, and hundreds more comments across social media. From what I could see, everyone sided with Peter. There was a little debate, but in general readers responded with “Amen,” told their annoyed stories of late arrivers, and shouted, “I’m with you Peter.”

Like my faux attempt at maître de intimidation, Peter isn’t really going to follow through with his threats.

Here’s why:

First, Peter is far from being an angel himself.

Just 12 days prior to writing his post, I was on a roundtable podcast where others and I waited for Peter to show up. He was late. I believe his excuse was he was waiting for soup. Seriously.

Second, Peter works in public relations and it simply would be a “PR fail” if he followed through with his “No Peter for you!” Soup Nazi threat.

Third, I asked Peter if he was truly serious about his “ten minutes late and you’re out” threat.

He responded by saying, “I’m not putting the world ‘on notice,’ I’m simply saying ‘be smarter.’ I’m also not saying ‘you’re cut off if you’re late once.’ I’m saying, though, that it does impact on how I think of you.”

Regardless, according to the responses, Peter’s readers, if they could, would blow away these “punk ass” latecomers. “DO YOU KNOW WHO THESE PEOPLE ARE?!”

Peter’s post was a wonderful rant we’d all wish we could do in real life. At least we could watch Peter vicariously tell people off. Unfortunately, Peter’s never going to have a “You’re Fired” Apprentice moment.

The reality is relationships, professionalism, and tolerance are all highly nuanced. We could spend forever debating (as evidenced by the comments to Peter’s post) when is the right and wrong time to cut someone off for being late. There is simply no line you can draw.

Without realizing it, each of us has a “why doesn’t everyone do things like me” sensibility. It’s akin to George Carlin’s “Idiot and Maniac” routine. Whatever speed you’re going at that given time is the right speed. If you’re going too slow, you’re an idiot. If you’re going too fast, you’re a maniac.

If we ever do business together you may think whatever I’m doing is too slow or too fast for you. Regardless, is our table ready? Who am I? Oh, nobody. I was just asking for a friend.


P.S. – If you truly like ranting, please feel free to download my ebook, “80 Annoying Communications That Must End.” It’s only $.99 available through iTunes or Amazon. It’s a lot funnier and cheaper than Peter’s new book, “Zombie Loyalists.”


Creative Commons photo credit to Affiliate Summit and Ben Spark.

Other photo credits to and Warner Home Video.

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