Sunday, September 20, 2009

Weekly Rant: Memo to Front Desk Guy at Nakatomi Plaza

[Still on the comeback trail, The Cooler will soon be back to reviewing movies. In the meantime, I'm introducing a new feature, the Weekly Rant, which might or might not turn out to be weekly but will always be a rant. Readers should expect rants to vary significantly in length, style and seriousness. Rant No. 1 takes issue with a mostly irrelevant scene in 1988’s Die Hard.]

To: Front Desk Guy
From: Nakatomi Plaza Facilities Management
Date: December 31, 1988

Dear Sir,

In reviewing the vast footage of last week’s hostage takeover at Nakatomi Plaza, which was captured by the numerous security cameras at our state-of-the-art facility, we have become aware of several infractions committed by our staff. The first involves you.

On the night of December 24, 1988, you were working the front desk at Nakatomi Plaza when Mr. John McClane entered the building after being dropped off by a black limousine. Careful review of the footage shows that Mr. McClane didn’t introduce himself, so you had no way of knowing that he was a New York detective or that he possessed the kind of savvy and grit that would allow him to single-handedly thwart a terrorist plot and become a national hero in less than 24 hours. Nonetheless we are deeply disappointed with the lack of respect provided to Mr. McClane.

The video records show that after Mr. McClane greeted you with a “Hi,” you responded with an appropriate “Good evening.” You even leaned forward slightly as if to demonstrate to Mr. McClane that you were interested and invested in whatever business brought him to Nakatomi Plaza. This was all very good and according to the Nakatomi manual. However, when Mr. McClane informed you that he was “here to see Holly McClane,” you didn’t attempt to personally help him but instead extended your pencil toward our high-tech computer directory, giving no thought to the scratches you might leave on the screen, and said “Just type it in there.” Frame-by-frame review of the tape suggests that this was your plan all along, and that you leaned toward Mr. McClane not to seem welcoming but to put the computer at arm’s length so you wouldn’t have to experience the inconvenience of personally dealing with a guest, even though that’s your job.

Sir, I shouldn’t have to remind you that this is Nakatomi Plaza, not the DMV. We do not direct our guests to “just type it in.” This does not hold up with our proud tradition of outstanding customer service. We might have been able to look the other way in this case given that Mr. McClane told you he was looking for Holly McClane, when our computer system had the businesswoman in question identified as Holly Gennaro. But after Mr. McClane punched his way through our computer directory, with you pretending to be too busy to assist him, all it took was for Mr. McClane to say “30th floor” in order for you to announce that the person he was looking for must be at the party of our dearly departed Nakatomi president Joseph Takagi, noting that “they’re the only ones left in the building.”

Let’s ignore for the moment that you informed a stranger that only one of the 40 floors of Nakatomi Plaza was currently occupied. We will give you the benefit of the doubt that you sensed that Mr. McClane was not a petty thief hoping to roam the unoccupied floors to steal office supplies (though it must be noted that later events would demonstrate your threat-recognition abilities to be less than perfect). What upsets us most is that you wouldn’t inform Mr. McClane from the beginning that he should proceed to the 30th floor to rendezvous with Mrs. McClane, instead forcing him to through some pointless interaction with the computer directory in what we can only assume was a pathetic demonstration of authority.

This, sir, is not the Nakatomi way. We understand that you were probably bitter to be working on Christmas Eve, and it has come to our attention that fellow Nakatomi workers were teasing you with Night Court jokes earlier in the evening because of your resemblance to John Larroquette. (Disciplinary action will be taken against them as well.) But these factors do not excuse your behavior. However proud you might be of our top-of-the-line computer system, which is now shot to shit, by the way, no thanks to Hans Gruber, we cannot accept your behavior, which failed in terms of both customer service and building security.

We therefore move to terminate you from your position at Nakatomi Plaza. Of course, our security footage also shows that Gruber’s henchmen saw fit to terminate you completely. To this we say, good riddance, you smug, useless prick.


Craig said...

Addendum: As you are in immediate need of employment, it behooves us to inform you the Federal Bureau of Investigation is still in need of more FBI guys.

Hokahey said...

As I recall, the dude who checks Lucius Fox in at the building in Hong Kong in The Dark Knight also slips up big time in regards to Fox's cell phone. Terminate him! Hey, this could make a fun montage! Front Desk Guys get wasted in lots of films. Collateral Damage? Terminator II?

Anonymous said...

Well, since this is a rant post, can I go off topic and mention that there is no word "reoccurring"? Argh; it's recurring.

That is all.

Jason Bellamy said...

Craig: Good addendum!

Hokahey: A montage of front desk person incompetence would be great. Do it!

Anon: Actually, I'm not sure your complaint is off topic. Thanks for pointing out the error.

Daniel Getahun said...

Love the idea of a rant, and the set-up of this first one.

To take nothing away from the ineptitude of the front desk guy, your description of the situation makes me wonder again why Nakatomi was open for business while still under construction. Is that normal? Half of the floors were fully furnished and used while others didn't even have drywall up. You'd think they'd finish the office space on the upper floors and spend resources on leasing them before installing the fountain and fancy directory system.

What a classic, classic movie. Possibly the best pound-for-pound, good guy vs. terrorists action flick in the last three decades.