• Thu, May 3 2012

7 Business Meal Horror Stories That Will Kill Your Appetite

Stuck in a glass case AKA bathroom of horrors

A number of years ago I had applied for a job at a marketing company here in New York City, and the president of the company asked me to meet him for a 7:30am breakfast interview at the Royalton Hotel in midtown Manhattan. The Royalton is well known for many of its cool design features including, at that time, the lobby men’s room which was covered in wall-to-wall mirrors plus a famous Philippe Starck-designed “stainless steel waterfall urinal wall” (see photo below.)

Anyway, as I said, the meeting was to be at 7:30am. I got there at 7:15am to ensure that I was on time. With 15 minutes to kill, I relaxingly strolled around the lobby and scouted out the restaurant area (and the breakfast
menu: $17 for French Toast!), and decided I’d quickly run into the famous bathroom to freshen up before the meeting.

So I go in and wash my hands in the fancy communal hand washing sink, check my hair — and my watch — and prepare to exit the bathroom for my big interview with the company president.  But as I turn and pull on the door knob to exit, nothing happens. The knob turns loosely in circles in both directions, but does nothing else. The door
is jammed shut and I cannot get it to open. I keep twisting it and turning it and prying it and banging it, but I simply cannot open it. It’s now 7:30am and I’m late. Starting to panic, I bang on the door for someone on the other side to let me out, but no one can hear me: The mirrored door is a few inches thick, and the lobby was completely deserted at that early hour.

Running out of options, I try once more to twist and yank the door knob with all my might. only for it to come off in my hands and send me flying backward across the room, hitting the back of my head on the sink and sending my eyeglasses flying! So there I am, lying on my back on the floor of this fancy restroom, in my best suit and tie, with my briefcase strap wrapped around my neck, drenched in sweat, with the back of my head pounding, and the room spinning. I try to stand up to look for my glasses, but as I am completely dizzy, made worse by the 360-degree mirrored room and unable to see anything without my glasses, I stagger forward into the urinal waterfall wall. Reaching out my hands against the stainless steel wall to keep from falling in, the automatic motion detector turns the urinal waterfall on, sending cascades of water pouring down my wrists and sleeves – soaking my shirt, suit, tie, and Movado watch.

With arms now completely soaked, I blindly crawl around the bathroom floor on hands and knees in search of my glasses, feeling for them and hoping to find them before I step on them.  Then I hear someone on the other side trying to open the door to get into the bathroom. I scream out, “Hey! I’m stuck in here. get me out!” So the guy on the other side, with all his force, pushes the door open, and I’m finally free.

He finds my glasses for me, I put them on, thank him (in complete embarrassment), and race out to the restaurant area. It’s now 8:00am, and I’m officially a half hour late as I see the guy I’m supposed to be meeting with sitting all alone in the corner booth eating his breakfast. He’s the only person in the entire restaurant. And he doesn’t look happy. I introduce myself, apologize profusely for being late, and say, “You won’t believe what just happened to me.”

He didn’t.

-Todd Charles

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  • Lisa M

    Oh, man, interview meals. I didn’t even know that was a thing, and then I had an early morning interview and the interviewers were finishing up breakfast. Like, I knew that they were squeezing my interview in while they were in town, but they were like “Hey, want anything?” and I was like “Ummmmm I already ate, thanks.”

    Fortunately, after that, it wasn’t awkward. It helps that they were very good people who were easy to talk to.