Getting in Touch with the Masses, Facebook Style

The divide between how most of us live, and how those in the spotlight live has probably not been so disjointed since the times of Dickens.

I read an article recently with disdain about how Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is on a nationwide tour to have conversations with “real” people to see how they think and what they’re thinking about.

What a jerk.

Apparently, he has been in Facebook-land too long and lost touch with the good people of the Earth. So be it. But to cure it all, he makes a stink about going to off-the-beaten-path places, demanding that they don’t tell anyone he’s coming and sending advance people to check things out and make sure no one would be there to disrupt his mission of “being with the common folk.”

In some cases, I read, he has asked small businesses to shut down for a time – likely compensating them, but maybe not.

I don’t know about you, but I find this rather unpalatable.

If he wants to learn about people, he should go out and make some friends. Maybe he’s important enough to want some protection, but honestly, many people on his tour didn’t even know him.

One group of people apparently had never heard of a Facebook.

But this is the kind of time we live in, even here in Boston. Those of us at the ground level are hammering out conversations and living lives like regular people, while those in the limelight try to figure out every now and then (usually during election time or when they want something of us) what makes us tick.

It’s astounding that humans can’t figure out other humans, but it is the case.

I’m reminded of a friend of mine who owned a small specialty store all the way out in Forest Hills and Roslindale.

One week, he noticed a suspicious guy poking around the store, looking at the merchandise and mapping out the layout of the store in his head. Apparently the guy never bought anything, but looked around a lot.

Now, my buddy is pretty street savvy, he didn’t just roll out of bed, so he pegged the guy as some sort of advance man.

He wasn’t but a few days later that the man called him on the phone and made his intentions known.

He had been Tom Brady’s assistant, and apparently Tom Terrific and his wife wanted to shop in the store – but not with “people.”

Nice.

The fella said Tom and Giselle wanted to see if he’d close his store on a Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. They would probably come in for an hour during that time and wanted a private viewing with staff present.

“Is he going to buy anything?” asked my friend frankly, because he’s a guy all about the bottom line.

The assistant said they couldn’t promise to make a purchase.

“Is he going to pay my staff and also the receipts for a typical Saturday afternoon?” asked my friend.

That, too, was certainly not in the realm of possibilities either, the assistant said.

“So he wants me to close down, lose an entire day of business, so that he can come in and browse without having to deal with any real people, and he might not even buy anything?” asked my friend.

“Well, yeah, but don’t you want Tom Brady to come to the store?” asked the assistant, surprised at the pushback.

“My store’s just like my toilets – for paying customers only,” returned my friend.

And he hung up.

And on that day, it was a small victory for all the working stills over the Zuckerbergs of the world.

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