Want to fire a servant over some trifle? Delay a wedding? Flake out on your friends or children? No problem: Just blame the national economic collapse. It works even if you're rich.

We know because a variety of self-professed weasels shared their stories with the New York Times. The Sunday Styles story just went online. It contains gems like this, about some poor maid who was fired, by a liar, for asking for half a day off:

After [theater producer Dani Klein] Modisett gave [her] nanny a $500 Christmas bonus... the woman came in the next day and told her she had to leave early on New Year's Eve. "And I don't mean 11 p.m., I mean 11 a.m.," Ms. Modisett recalled.

...Ms. Modisett told the nanny that she had to "downsize" her staff, due to the slowdown...

Soon after, she hired another nanny.

The list goes on and on. A business student a canceled an "Paris or... Caribbean" trip, where he was to propose to his three-year romantic partner, on the pretext of the economic downturn. A magazine editor used the recession as an excuse to buy his boyfriend "a single, ripe tomato" for Valentine's Day. The client of a Manhattan concierge service (read: rich guy) blamed the economy for canceling the annual Aspen vacation for his four kids (they're getting a Wii instead to "stimulate skiing").

What's amazing is so many people went on the record for this story, freely admitting to various lies. How desperate do you have to be to put your name out there in a piece like this? Let's see:

  • Tony Abrams, who outs (by behavior if not name) one of his clients: Hamptons "lifestylist" who, for $7,500 per year, hooks rich Manhattan strivers up with dinner reservations, rented Maybachs, bottle service and "the illest white outfit[s]." He's got to be desperate for clients.
  • Leonora Epstein, who lied to herself, about not being able to afford a gym membership: Blogged her humiliating breakup with microcelebrity guru Rex Sorgatz. Not easily embarrassed, then.
  • Ben Greenman, using the recession as a weapon in a furniture war with his wife: New Yorker editor turned snarky blogger, clearly an extrovert ill-suited to his bookish, reserved workplace. Trying to spread his wings a little bit here, get his name out there, look irreverent.
  • Ike Ude, complaining that his agent blames the recession instead of hard enough on his behalf: Imperious conceptual photographer, apparently still disdainful of those around him.

Well, now's as good time as any to build your brand, guys. We're sure the well-off fabricators using this Times story as a how-to guide will remember and reward you for your belated, servicey confessions, somehow. Just as soon as the economy improves.