Weird Asks

During college I had a work-study job as a stage manager for the CU College of Music. When outside performers came in, I took care of them in the “green room.” Esteemed artists had requests, such as a six pack of Fresca with a plate of sliced limes. Occasionally, it became one of those very-specific “weird asks,” such as for the room to be deodorized with cinnamon air freshener between 10-20 minutes in advance.

I’ve heard that some big-time celebrities go large with the weird asks. For example, Katy Perry reportedly likes her dressing room draped in cream or soft pink, asks for modern furniture, and requests flower arrangements, but specifies NO CARNATIONS. Kanye West has requested an alcoholic slushy machine. Justin Bieber is known for some of the most extravagant requests: The Biebs once had a Jacuzzi flown in, required a helicopter on standby, and made sure his essential oils were supplied in an “Indian Yoga Casket,” whatever that is.

The whole idea of requiring something difficult in a unique way, unlike the common folk, gives one the aura of a mysterious sovereign. Perhaps from time to time, we could behave this way in everyday interactions to shed our so-so vibe. Some suggestions:

When the barista asks if you’d like “room for cream” on your coffee order, say, “Yes, leave some room…I’m not partial to cream but, certainly, leave some room in there for it to breathe.”

At McDonald’s, request fries without salt. Any salt. “I’m deathly allergic. In fact, I’ll take the whole meal uncontaminated by that vile substance.”

“Is this for here or to go?” This is an excellent opportunity to retort “Why? Are you tracking me?” Or, to respond in meter, “I must take it away / But shall pay for a tray.”

Order a cheeseburger without the cheese. When the kid at the counter says, “don’t you just want a hamburger?” respond with “I don’t appreciate being told what to order.”

Okay, so a few non-food ones:

If anyone offers to take your coat at a function, pause for a few seconds and respond, “Well, if you must…please ensure that Cole touches no other coats.”

At the hotel check-in counter, wear sunglasses and a large hat. Anytime the assistant says your name, pull down the glasses and wink, saying “sure….” Then when you are given your keycard, “remind” the assistant that you’ll be expecting room service to bring soda water and crackers at seven minutes past the hour.

Anytime you are asked if you want a printed receipt, respond with “Handwritten and signed, please…those finicky accountants, right?”

Go to a retail customer service to return a $5 or so item “that just wasn’t right.” If the associate asks to credit the balance back to a card, say “Hand me your card and the money is yours.” If instead they give you cash, act offended, push it back, and retort, “I’m sure you know someone who needs this more.”

When asked “paper or plastic?” (should you live in a state that gives you this option), explain that you need your items in plastic bags, combined into one large paper bag. “As it should be.”

May you have success ushering in the royal vibe, even if only briefly, with your performance. I make no guarantee of how you may be received or of an altercation-free experience.

Copyright © 2022 Richard Berndt – All Rights Reserved.

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