THE king and queen were due soon, and while waiting for them I walked in on Arturo Buendia. He was talking animatedly on the phone. “Mmmm-hmmm,” he said. “No, I don’t think we need any.”
Just outside the door was a tray on which were samples of several different patterns of china; the hotel was contemplating buying new plates for the restaurants. Behind his desk was a glass picture of a steamboat. It said, “Southern Comfort. The Grand Old Drink of the South.”
As the head of purchasing for the hotel, Buendia got a lot of phone calls from suppliers wishing to sell the Plaza some merchandise. Most of the calls were nothing but a nuisance, because they pertained to items Buendia already had plenty of. When these calls arrived, Buendia adopted a ...