A Friday morning bustling from the opening of the door. We had a world famous guest arriving in the afternoon and we were behind in our preparations. Shauna, although in her fourth week working at the store, was holding down the fort at the front register. I could tell from the look on her face as she asked a third question, that she needed back-up. I walked in from the garden to survey the situation in the store. A tall man at the register was being rung up and I heard Shauna say “Will that be all for you, these four books?” to which the gentleman replied “Yes, I think so” and I noticed he was holding one of our more popular “Pug in a Rug” greeting cards. I walked up and said “Did you want that card?” and he was a bit embarrassed and said “Oh my, I’ve lost myself for a moment, yes this too please.” and I knew instantly who this was. I touched his arm and said “Oh my gosh, you are one of my favorite people! Can I have your autograph?” It was John Cleese, visiting Carmel for his performance at the Sunset Center.
Well, poor Paul wasn’t in the store at that time because he was still working on the preparations for our special guest. So when I had a moment, I said to Paul, “while you were so diligently working out here in the garden we were visited by a celebrity.” He said “Who? (About this time, realizing we wanted to go see John Cleese at Sunset Center…) Not John Cleese!” Poor guy I thought to myself. “Yes, and he sat and talked to Stephanie (the On Site Consultant Fridays) for the longest time.” Paul squished up his face and said “Oh no, don’t tell me that was John Cleese. Not the man I asked to step away from the jewelry cabinets — no.” I busted up laughing because I remember seeing this really tall man standing by the consultant table sort of in the walkway and apparently feeling in the way. I faintly remember Paul saying something to him when the man exclaimed “Well there’s no place to stand is there!”
Paul had actually hoped John Cleese would come in while he was behind the register. He planned out how he would “go into the basement” to look for a book the John might want; like in the TV skit “The Cheese Shop” and would elicit John to say “There’s no basement!”
Later, we shared this with a customer who told us a John Cleese story. Apparently, John was traveling somewhere and went into a very nice store to buy some thread. It was a particular thread and he took some time and care in explaining the type of thread to the salesperson only to have them assume he was pulling a prank. Well he tried with one salesperson after another and finally left the shop fed up because everyone just laughed at him. I guess being a celebrity doesn’t always get you the best service.
John, if you are out there, we love you. We’ll make room for you the nest time you visit.