Muffie Benson-Perella (muffie AT dealbreaker.com) is an Associate in the Investment Banking Division of a "Bulge Bracket" bank. She holds a B.A. in French and Art from Vassar College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. Her regular column "Heard in the Suite" is a probing (and, ahem, fictional) weekly look into the secret lives and behind the velvet curtains of the investment banking world.
I think I might have mentioned before that international travel is really uncivilized now. Nothing provides a more solid example of this frustrating fact than London Heathrow Airport.
First of all, you are funneled into this hallway, which goes on forever and ever. Why they can't provide some golf-carts or something is beyond me. There always seems to be some old, decrepit senior riding around in the back, as if they have anyplace other than the funeral home to get to in a hurry. Why some sort of transportation isn't provided for professionals on a timetable I will never know.
Eventually you get to these people mover things, but you have to stand the entire time. After the 5 and a half hour flight my shoes are killing me. Why I should be made to stand, and stand behind this idiot with the backpack is also beyond me. And what's with the backpack anyhow? Aren't you going a little gray for college? Ever hear of a scissors? This is what I had to travel with.
McDonald's is apparently trying out a new color motif here in Britain before introducing it to the U.S. You heard it here first on Heard in the Suite!
Then you get funneled again into this escalator. Some creepy guy behind me kept rubbing up against me and saying "Sorry! Sorry!" How about just not touching me in the first place. Ew!
Then you get dumped into this immigration thing. Look at this. A sea of plebes. Ugh. I am all for cute pink crowns on the back pockets of your jeans, but shouldn't they take up just a little less real estate? Somewhere an entire cotton plantation has been depleted to stitch together those jeans. And the brown outfit? You'd think we departed from Newark or something. Bleah. It was right about here that I got yelled at for taking pictures. They claim it was some security thing but it is pretty clear they just didn't want anyone documenting how horrible the conditions were. I mean people wouldn't come to London anymore at all if they knew. I was going to argue but the other associate I was with freaked out and gave me some nonsense about not having any rights in immigration and how you could be held for 4 days without a lawyer or anything. I have watched enough Law and Order to know that's silly, but I was too tired to argue.
If there was any doubt in anyone's mind as to the lack of quality of travelers on my flight, a quick survey of the baggage claim should quash it. I haven't seen this much nylon in one place since my friend told me about the pantyhose section they have in drugstores.
Hello? Outward bound is so last week.
Is it a stuffed duffle bag or an overpacked wheeled bag? Make up your mind. Gawd. I shudder to think how wrinkled everything in there is. I feel like I'm watching the checked baggage for some South or Central American flight where all the weight limits are "flexible."
For crying out loud. Haven't you heard of Federal Express International?
Then you have to walk out to meet your driver as if you are in a zoo. On display to the dregs of the airport hangers on. Gawd.
The other associate was really mad at me because I kept taking pictures. Really he was just cranky from the flight and jealous of my new camera. Anyhow, he took it away from me but then, of course, he started playing with it and ended up taking a picture of my hair. Ugh. It looks awful after hours on the plane.
Next Time: The London Deal