Who's In Charge Here?

I've worked in the museum business for a good chunk of time. For a while, I was a traveling exhibit manager, which meant I got to work with a lot of different kinds of technicians, temp laborers, electricians and union workers during the set up and installation of the exhibit. I know what it is like to be a punk kid asking people that have been on the job longer than I have been alive to get work done. Usually I just kill them with kindness. You need to have these people on your side as they can make your life a holy hell. Bring them doughnuts. Don't let them get away with murder, but manslaughter is OK.

So years later I was told this story and shat my pants.

We were bringing in an exhibit to a museum. The exhibit came with a set up coordinator. I had been taking care of the arrangements to bring the exhibit in and had been in constant contact with them. Our museum used the same crew of people for exhibit set up and tear down and they are awesome. There's one guy that runs all the workers and they are efficient, know the building, ask the right questions and get the job done.

When the exhibit arrived at the loading dock, our team of installers was waiting for instructions. The exhibit set up coordinator went down to the loading dock and walked into the group.

"Are you the set up crew?"
Yes, they answered.
"Who's in charge here?"
The man who always runs the crew said, "I guess that would be me."
And the coordinator said, "No. I'm in charge and don't you forget it."

Holy shit. That's the biggest douchebag move on record. Sure you make an impression, but come on.

Of course, in the back of my mind, whenever I go somewhere and am in charge of set up, I love to ask the question, "Who's in charge here?" The labor always wonders why I laugh after saying it.

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