Our friend Ben down in Australia sent a link to a question and answer forum called Quora and the question for the day was "What do rich people do for fun?" One of the answers that popped up was from Brandon Smietana who's list included "Suing People".
Putting aside my own laughter, the truth is that rich people are always and forever going to court for one damned reason or another. It seems that everyone wants to sue them to get some of their money, and likewise the rich seek to accumulate even more wealth by going after someone else with deep pockets.
Just off hand I'd say that suing among the rich is like a game of chess - except that's entirely too intellectual for most of them. It's more like a game of table tennis, slamming the ball back and forth until someone freezes up. For the rich, going to court is not unlike going to Las Vegas: sometimes you win, sometimes you lose - but since you're so insanely rich, it doesn't really matter either way.
I'd also mention that most rich people have law firms on retainer. So it usually doesn't cost much extra to tell them to get off their lazy butts and sue somebody! One favorite game seems to be doing a renovation to the house, agreeing to the bid (including a 20% cost overrun) but then finding dozens of reasons due to faulty or shoddy work to get the final price down. Faced with costly and time consuming lawsuits, the poor contractors almost always cave. In fact, I know of a man who threatened to sue his own attorneys because he lost too much in his divorce proceedings.
I don't know about other rich people but around here my employer has a specific wardrobe for going to court. Usually he appears in public in a fine-tailored bespoke suit (ranging from $25,000 to $75,000) as any gentleman would.
But if he comes downstairs in one of his cheap ill-fitting polyester suits from Walmart or the Men's Warehouse, we know exactly where he's going for the day. In addition, he leaves off his Patek Philippe and wears some godawful fifty-dollar watch from Walgreen's. Apparently whether suing or being sued, it's best not to look too well moneyed in court, right?
I hope this has shed some light. Being rich has it's own unique set of problems, and going to court is just part of the norm. For us, the house staff, it means the old man will be out of our hair for the day, if not several days running. So we don't mind one bit!
As always, thanks for dropping in this evening,
I don't know whether to laugh or cry Andrew. I am the exec housekeeper here and our employer dresses down for court as well. He is a prominent businessman here in Boston and it seems like he spends an awful lot of time in court. Like you said we are glad for the free time when he is away but I still feel sorry for him. EleanorReplyDelete
You have a kind heart Eleanor. It's always nice to hear from fellow house staff. Thanks for reading and taking the time to leave a comment. AndrewDelete
Hi Andrew. Thank you so much for this insight. They say never judge until you hear from all sides, and boy was this side ever an eye opener.ReplyDelete
About a year ago I was reading an article about a domestic staff headhunter for the insanely wealthy who was forever suing his rich clients. Most times the cases never made it to court because he'd use all the gossip the household help would tell him to blackmail said clients. Like he'd tell a movie star if you don't give me a good reference or pay $X he'd tell the tabloids about her cosmetic surgeries or how much she spent on shoes (it was never anything criminal, just things that would be ridiculed if broadcasted to the public).
Anyway, what really got me were the responses. In particular, dozens of posts by general contractors across the country saying that whenever they have a wealthy client, they pad their expenses because wealthy clients always find a reason not to pay the balance when the work was completed, but that it was cost prohibitive to take them to court because the wealthy people could afford the lawyers while even if the contractors eventually won their case, they'd have wasted too much time in court to make it worthwhile.
After reading this post, I now think I may have judged contractors too harshly. I'd thought that perhaps their work had been shoddy or they hadn't done what was requested (watch enough Holmes On Homes on HGTV and you'd get where I was coming from) and how dare they rip people off like that. Now I see, it might have been a legitimate gripe. Who'd have thought that the people who could most afford to pay their bills, would try so hard not to.
Whoa, I hope that headhunter got his just dues. Just adds to rich people's beliefs and paranoia that they're under siege from every angle. Yes, it's certainly in my experience that the rich complain about their bills as much as all the rest of us. Personally I thought being rich meant being liberated from such petty anxieties, but apparently not.Delete