The thread about temping over in the morons in management forum reminded me of this fun little story from one of my short temp jobs. This happened about three years ago now, but it still makes me laugh.
This is a bit of a long background for a short story, but here goes:
It wasn't a very long temp job, but it was demanding. 60 hours in five days, setting up, running, and then breaking down a conference. The attendees came in two flavors: medical companies looking for investors, and investors looking for companies they liked. My part during the conference itself was to keep an eye on the meeting rooms and deliver lunch to those holding meetings during that hour. I was given two garbled sheets to work with, listing who was where by company name, and by time slot. Rather than rely on those, I made myself a simple grid on notebook paper of which rooms were occupied at which times. It saved me a lot of time because I could tell at a glance if rooms were free for impromptu meetings or if a group could set up early, and I got compliments from both the conference director and the attendees for it.
Of course, you're always going to have a SC or two in that environment. Some people just couldn't understand that empty rooms were first-come, first-served and EVERYONE wants to meet in the early afternoon so there were no rooms empty. I was very firm but very polite with everyone, so I never actually had to call for help sorting things out. (I got a lot of positive comments from smaller companies for that part too.)
Then there was this one gentleman. He had a fair amount of presence; I noticed him very early in the conference. Utterly dignified and utterly self-confident. And I looooooved his accent, very proper and British. I suppose the difference between the picture he presented and how he acted is why I always laugh at what happened.
The first time I had to actually talk to him was on the second morning. He simply wanted to know if he could go to his meeting room early, but I had to inform him that there was a meeting already in progress. You could see the gears in his head just grind to a halt, like he hadn't been told 'no' in a very long time. After a pause, he said (and this is a direct quote) "I'm too important to be seen loitering in hallways!" I guess he was expecting a response, because after a pause, he went back down the elevator muttering about getting coffee.
He spent the rest of the day looking down his nose at me every time he saw me. I mean, literally. I was actually getting the feeling that he couldn't believe this random American nobody was ordering him around. (I was probably giving my imagination too much freedom, but it was funny.) I couldn't resist being overly cheeful and helpful directing him to his meetings after that...
I got to throw him out of a meeting room later in the evening, too. His group ran over their time, I had no rooms free, and though the next group insisted on (and did) wait five minutes for them to finish up, I got to march in and insist they leave. Oh, did he give me a nasty look for that one. Apparently it was all my fault that the meeting times were so short and I cound have cost him the contract. Not my fault he couldn't keep his presentation under 30 minutes!