Bad economy, easy job, $30/hour. Where're the applicants?

The Ritz-Carlton on South Beach was without a tanning butler. The last one, Malcolm, was a part-time male model who'd held the position for a year, about as long as each of the previous three tanning butlers, who were, coincidentally, also part-time male models.

And now, with summer approaching and the guests needing him most — for sunblock on hard-to-reach spots, sun protection factor explanations or just a gentle Evian spritz to the face — Malcolm was gone, not buttling elsewhere, but painting houses in Maui.

A hiring panel was quickly convened, consisting of the pool manager, along with assorted public relations types and celebrity guest Vivica A. Fox. Candidates were invited to apply in person at the hotel Sunday afternoon, with only the first 250 to be considered. Pay would be $30 an hour, plus tips. Nevertheless, 245 candidates failed to show.

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