In Her Words
The Devil Eats Chocolate Macaroons
Even working as a slave to a slave has an upside
By: Katie Egan
My first day on the job, she wanted macaroons – chocolate ones. I left the office at 21st and Broadway in Manhattan and headed toward the Dean & DeLuca near Union Square. On my way, I made a crucial phone call.
“Mom! I need your help. What exactly are macaroons? My boss wants some.”
“Well, they’re coconut cookie-type… things.”
Indeed, Dean & DeLuca had the cookie-type things in stock, but only the normal coconut variety.
“You can order chocolate ones on our Web site,” they informed me, clueless to the dire nature of my request.
I popped into four more bakeries before returning to the office empty-handed.
Such was my life as an intern/assistant/slave at one of the top fashion and lifestyle public relations firms in New York. I’d wanted the job more than any other and had nailed the interview. After a month, I got a call from the firm president’s first assistant asking if I’d like to be promoted from intern to an administrative role.
“You’d essentially be the second assistant to the president,” I was told.
Ignorantly thrilled, I accepted the offer.
I’d been working in my new position for about a week when the first assistant tossed a copy of Hamptons Cottages & Gardens onto my desk.
“I need you to find where this painting came from.”
The magazine was open to a photograph of a lovely breakfast nook. On the wall above the dining table was the painting of interest. After a close study of the photo, I realized this was no typical piece of artwork. It was a sketch drawn directly onto the wall, and an artist’s signature was nowhere to be seen.
“This is your only task for the day,” the first assistant informed me, adding that Monica* wanted the painting for her own Hamptons house as soon as possible.
After over an hour of Googling, I approached the first assistant. “This appears to be an original piece of artwork. It’s a mural, probably commissioned by the homeowner.”
“Well, Monica says she recognizes the piece. So, no, it’s not an original.” There was no getting out of this one.
Eventually, I discovered the artist’s name: Hermes. The drawing was copied from a design on an old Hermes scarf, which I was able to purchase for my boss on eBay. When the scarf was delivered to the office, Monica tried her best to conceal her expression of complete shock. She had been trying to pull a fast one on me, and I’d triumphed. I think I basked in my glory for a full 30 seconds before the first assistant brought me back down to earth.
“Monica is having a red-themed birthday party. She wants 300 ruby costume rings, but she doesn’t want them all to look the same. And they can’t be tacky. Classy ones only.”
By the end of the week, I was best friends with every Halloween-shop owner in Manhattan. I got discounts on the rings and on anything else I wanted. It turns out the devil was in the details – and the details came with perks.
*Name has been changed for tail-saving purposes.