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Please, please, upgrade me

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I loved the show Frasier back in the day. The pithy, pathetic but pure and pleasing ways of Niles and Mr. Crane warmed the cockles of my heart. One of my favourite episodes was Door Jam. Niles and Frasier had been aspiring to join the elite club. Here's what happened:

Frasier opens a letter and finds an invitation to a place called 'La Porte D'Argent', which neither he or Niles has heard of. There is however a phone number but it requires them to enter their six-digit access code. Thoroughly intrigued by this exclusive new place, they go down there but the receptionist won't even tell Frasier what 'La Porte D'Argent' actually is, even though he has a valid invitation, as Frasier's name isn't on the list. Thankfully, when Niles walks in Frasier calls him Cam Winston - whose name is on the list - so they discover that 'La Porte D'Argent' is an exclusive day spa and are just ecstatic about the service they receive. However, as they are about to pay, they see Senator Ogden going into an area with a gold door. The reservationist tells them that's the gold level, and they can't go in because they aren't on the gold level list.

Understandably, Frasier and Niles are angry that they can't get in and search their Rolodexes in the hope that someone can get them into the gold level. Thankfully, Roz is on hand to help them as Senator Ogden owes her a big favour. The gold level exceeds even Frasier and Niles' expectations but as they sit in the relaxation grotto, Frasier spies a platinum door. Niles is eager to go but can barely walk as he is wrapped up like a mummy but after an attendant tells them they can't go through that door, Frasier picks up his brother and the two of them fling open the platinum door and head to what they believe will be paradise - however it doesn't quite live up to their expectations......

I guess the reason I love this episode is that I know a lot of people who always want to be at the platinum level. They aspire to be in the elite and with the in crowd. I even find people who brush shoulders with me, who think I am the in crowd. I’m not. In fact, most people in the platinum level probably don’t even realise they are in the platinum level. They’re just doing their thing.

The issue with those who aspire is that they can make it too obvious. They appear too aspirational.

I used to have this when I was working in a big company. People would call me sir or Mr. Skinner, and I would go I’m just Chris. You don’t change as you move from graduate to oik to management, or you shouldn’t if you’re human.

Thing is that not everyone is human. I’ve seen many rise through the ranks and get airs and graces. They realise they’re in the platinum club, and they’re going to make that clear. They are happy to do people down, tread on those beneath them, and be that person everyone hates. You know the one. The one that looks down their nose.

I guess that’s the reason why I love that Frasier episode so much, as it’s a reality check. When they finally get through the platinum door, they’re back in the alleyway with the bins. Maybe that’s where they belong.

Ah well, meantime, I really, really, really need that black metal card … oooooh.

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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