January 04, 2012
There is an old axiom, that has nearly become accepted fact, that the richer you get, the more you tend to receive free things. All manner of swag, including suits, gift bags, German automobiles, or even a $3,000 birthday cake that you summarily reject without having to explain why. At least that's the case so far, for LeBron James.
According to the Miami Herald, an area baker named Alethea Hickman was offered heaps of free publicity for designing a cake to be presented to James during his 27th birthday celebration at a Miami nightspot last week. A "sponsorship," and no actual money, was the payoff according to party handler Jared Galbut.
Then the cake, and the communication between Hickman and Galbut, went a bit pear-shaped:
"I don't even know where my cake went," Hickman said. "I was mortified. They had me do it in the middle of the holiday crush and I hired additional people. Someone needs to pay."
Galbut said James' people decided Hickman's work wasn't fit for the king: "It just wasn't what was expected. When LeBron's people saw it, they just didn't want to use it and decided to bring their own cake. I can't tell LeBron James what birthday cake to eat. It's LeBron James, for Christ's sake."
As for how much Galbut would pay Hickman if he were asked, he just said: "That cake couldn't be worth more than $600. It's flour, eggs and water."
No, it's not just "flour, eggs and water," you idiot. It's "workers, hours, wages, delivery, passed-over revenue streams that were let go so as to service James," and also "things that go on and in a cake besides flour, eggs and water."
With that in place, Hickman was probably way off in thinking that the possible publicity from her massive cake could more than make up for the money and effort her company put into creating the confection.
It seems like she was more than willing to allow for the loss of income just to be associated with a star; they have names for people who do these sorts of things, and we shouldn't feel too bad when she was the one who signed off on giving a free birthday cake to LeBron in the first place. It's not his fault he didn't want to eat the thing, much less pay for it after she agreed to provide it pro bono.
All in all, another case of hopelessly entitled people (barely including James, who probably never even saw the cake) and their less-deserving-but-just-as-entitled handlers acting out of touch in an era that doesn't really deserve that sort of disconnect. Marie Antoinette would be proud.
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