'Downton Abbey' Makes People Want Butlers, So Head to England If You're Looking For a Job
How much do you love Downton Abbey? Have you ever found yourself with the thought, "I'd love a butler because I want to be like a character on that show?" Probably not, but Downton Abbey 's popularity has increased the demand for butlers. Don't worry, people aren't eschewing their normal financial responsibilities to be able to afford a butler ("Pay for the plumber? Why, no! I'd rather have a butler!") — this trend is strictly happening amongst the very, very, very, wealthy.
David Katz wrote a piece in GQ that stated that this increased demand for assistance is happening within the ".001 percent," but he wrote that:
Thirty-five years ago [...] there were only a few hundred butlers left in Britain; today there are roughly 10,000, plus thousands more abroad.
But apparently, this isn't about just hiring someone to serve you dinner or clean up around the house. This is a status symbol more than anything. Katz told NPR's Arun Rath that:
When you're talking about hiring a proper British butler — the guy in the uniform who obeys a certain protocol of service — what you're hiring is essentially a status symbol.
And since Downton Abby exemplifies this high-status style of living, albeit in another time period with really amazing clothes, it must have set off little bells in the heads of the very rich folks who binge-watch the show. You know, like how some people watch Breaking Bad and all of a sudden start thinking about cooking meth (bad idea, guys! Not legal! Not cool!). It's also not the first time Downton has launched a trend; its popularity set off a real estate trend in England.
TV certainly has the power of persuasion — not because someone comes out and says, "Hey, hire a butler!," but because it can incidentally plant seeds in people's heads. And sometimes, when you're very rich, it's easy to let those seeds grow into full-fledged butlers.