Feeds

Gates: ‘Wake up and steal the coffee’

The rich have more (of your) money than us, Scott...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

Last Friday Bill Gates of Microsoft plus entourage and NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw plus entourage breezed into the little prairie town of Watertown, South Dakota for coffee with the locals. The Gates Foundation has sprung for some computers for the local library, and NBC "calming force" Brokaw was doing the promo.

The coffee drunk, the interview in the can and the caravan starting to pack up, Gates and Brocaw rise, and leave. Without paying.

The waitress is, according to a Register spy who frequents the establishment, incandescent. But not incandescent enough to go chasing after either royal representative. She pursues the crew, saying, ""I've got a news bulletin for you. The richest man in the world just stiffed me for $6.00!" They look, roll their eyes, leave, the $6 still unpaid.

Not of course that one should be particularly surprised. Billionaires (even some quite marginal billionaires) are habitually oblivious to direct financial transactions of any description. You could put this as them - like our own dear Queen - not carrying any money, but actually they carry along in their wake teams of arrangers with clipboards who generally do the bill-settling for their swings through expensive stores. It's the self-reliant billionaires you've got to watch, as The Register knows to its cost - they don't have money and don't bother with the bill-settling entourage either, so you only figure out they didn't pay for dinner after they left.

Therefore, as a service for potential victims of very rich people pretending to be normal people doing normal things in real places, we offer the following suggestions. Make a quick assessment of the coherence and competence of the entourage(s). You're looking for a harrassed but authoritative-looking person, possibly with a clipboard, barking orders - she (it quite frequently is she) may well order someone to give you $50 in order to get rid of you. In the case of the particular Watertown incident our guess is that the Gates entourage probably was not the one to approach; we've noted that Microsoft entourages, though frequently quite large, tend toward the uncoordinated.

NBC, however, ought to have been a shoo-in. The packers of the leads, obviously, were not about to hand over any money, but somewhere in the wake of Brokaw there was surely one or more of the desired clipboards. Don't hang around, don't hassle them, be firm and clamp yourself onto whoever they nominate to get rid of you. Don't take promises - cash only.

And what do you do if a billionaire blows into your coffee shop and orders a mocha, says he's got no cash when you say "That'll be $3 please," and tells you his people will settle it? Easy. Call the cops, tell them there's a guy in your store pretending to be Bill Gates. ®

* Partially in the interests of balance, but largely out of sheer wonder, we should point out that it has now been alleged to us by a Microsoft employee that the above story is untrue. Trivial, pointless, not worth bothering about are words we'd have deemed more appropriate, ourselves, but we presume he is acting in a personal capacity, rather than representing the full weight and strategic rigour of the Microsoft marketing machine.

Anyway, he tells us he called some colleagues in Watertown, who called the store manageress, who "said that when Bill came in she offered him a cup of cappuccino and had no plan of charging him for it. She said she got a call yesterday from CNN and told them the same thing - that the story is wrong."

Not wishing to make further trouble for the waitress (who indisputably seems not to have got a tip), we do not intend to pursue this ridiculous matter further. Nice to see CNN deploys its resources on the big stories though...

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Spanish village called 'Kill the Jews' mulls rebranding exercise
Not exactly attractive to the Israeli tourist demographic
Forget the beach 'n' boardwalk, check out the Santa Cruz STEVE JOBS FOUNTAIN
Reg reader snaps shot of touching tribute to Apple icon
Oz bank in comedy Heartbleed blog FAIL
Bank: 'We are now safely patched.' Customers: 'You were using OpenSSL?'
Happy 40th Playmobil: Reg looks back at small, rude world of our favourite tiny toys
Little men straddle LOHAN, attend tiny G20 Summit... ah, sweet memories...
Lego is the TOOL OF SATAN, thunders Polish priest
New minifigs like Monster Fighters are turning kids to the dark side
Dark SITH LORD 'Darth Vader' joins battle to rule, er, Ukraine
Only I can 'make an empire out of a republic' intones presidential candidate
Chinese company counters pollution by importing fresh air
Citizens line up for bags of that sweet, sweet mountain air
Google asks April Fools: Want a job? Be our 'Pokemon Master'
Mountain View is prankin' like it's 1999...
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.