Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Concierges and Destinations

Sometime at the turn of the century (this century) an industrious copywriter decided that the word “concierge” was more elegant than “information desk” and suddenly there is an embarrassment of “concierges” all over the United States.  What exactly is a concierge?
In olden times (1999) a concierge was a cranky stout middle-aged French woman who answered your tourist questions with a frown.  She lived full time in France and was installed in almost every French apartment building. A concierge was the manager of information. She might receive packages, hold keys for guests and (if in a good mood) dispense building gossip and give you romantic advice. You were scared of your concierge and grossly dependent on her.

The term “concierge” here in the U.S. is mainly a marketing tool.  If you want to live in the Park Millennium or buy one of the condos in the old Plaza Hotel or possibly in any of the Trump buildings, you probably get a “concierge” for your $6 million dollar one bedroom.    At the Plaza, you not only get a concierge but “Benny the Butler” who will wake you in person, pull the drapes open and draw you a bath. Uh huh uh.
Like everything else (including hot sauce) the concierge concept has been terminally corrupted. The majority of concierges are now virtual.  Instead of dealing with the cranky stout Frenchwoman, the exchange is conducted online or over the phone. Services provide concierge “solutions” for condominiums, corporations, hospitals and individuals. Yes,Your Highness! (do I smell sarcasm here) Concierge Services puts few boundaries on what they are willing to do for you. We lug furniture, arrange flowers, source insurance quotes, reorganize pantries, fly in overseas friends for the weekend, ship cheese to Hong Kong and pay your parking fines in person.

I don’t have any room left for talking about destinations except that the word has been corralled into adjective land as in “destination wedding.” I live in a destination and if you want to have your wedding here I will gladly be your concierge.

BTW a very generous man on the Kindleboards helped me to re-format two of my books after I re-edited them and got rid of some errors.  Thank you, Jeff.  If you want to read a free excerpt, click on any title to the right or leave me a message in the comment box with an e-mail (I'll keep it private.)  I now have five followers.  E-pubishing is the best thing to happen to writers since the printing press.
Yes, think about it.  This week I will get back to my new book and soldier on. 


  1. I enjoyed THE ELEGANCE OF THE HEDGEHOG, which defined the position eloquently and sadly.

  2. Oh, I know. Thought about it too late and wished I had included a reference to the book.
    Sometimes, I write and blog too quickly and have blogger's remorse but I hope it evens out.