A Little Schooling About Formal Complaints

Let me tell everyone a little something about filing formal complaints about a hotel. If you have issues with the features of your room that are unbearable. Tell the front desk. If you don’t like the “smell” of your room. Tell the front desk. If there is something “missing” from your room. TELL THE FRONT DESK!

Don’t file a formal complaint with our franchise for issues that you NEVER brought forth to the hotel staff upon check in. Did you know that we have to pay a COMPLAINT FINE every time you do that? It’s one thing if the staff was rude to you. But when you fill out your complaint and you can’t even give a negative or positive opinion about the staff? That means your entitled little self never even tried to see if the hotel staff would fix it for you.

No. You just went right to corporate over petty issues so that you could get a free room.

When you’re staying in a hotel, if you have an question, comment, issue, or complaint, let the hotel staff now as soon as you can after your check in so that they may try to fix it for you. Don’t be a prissy little asshole and not even say a word to use so that we can fix it ourselves. Hotels are individually owned. When you take a stab at them like that, you’re taking a stab at a “mom and pop” shop. You’re taking a stab at a locally owned business.

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Preparation Lost on Everyone

Yeah, yeah, it’s been ages since I’ve updated ANYTHING.  I’m terrible at this blog thing, I know, I know.

Summer time here at the hotel has been pretty busy.  We’ve been booked solid for almost two months now.  I’m not working nearly as hard as most of my co-workers are, and I feel guilty for that, really, I do, but I don’t know what else to do.  I can be a slow learner or a fast learner on things.  I’m pretty good at what I do at the desk, but when it’s super busy and things need to be done efficiently and correctly, it’s harder for me to get the full hang of it when I’m trying to learn it.

Anyway, SUMMER TIME IS BUSY!

Okay, I just don’t see why that’s hard to understand.  No, there is no special convention going on in town.  No, there is no fair.  No, there is no concert.  It’s summer.  People travel in the summer.  About 70% of the people staying here made reservations, that’s why I don’t have a room for you when you just walk in.  Yes, I’m aware sometimes it’s hard to plan with how far you will go.  But for crying out loud, don’t act like I’ve murdered your entirely family because this whole town is booked up.

It happens.  Hotels tend to be booked up pretty heavily during summer and holidays.  I know that it’s a tough life living outside of Undertherockville, but sometimes you need to do it.  Get some sunshine, it’s good for you.  In moderation, of course.

Now, maybe I was raised differently than most people, but I’ve always been taught that you try to be as prepared as possible when going on trips, especially if you will be away from home for a few days or longer.  

Hotels do not have a rollaway available for every single room.  For some hotels, that would be 200 or more rollaway beds.  Come on now, what is the likelihood that a hotel is going to need to use 200 rollaways, okay?  

When traveling we’ve always either brought an air mattress with us, or extra blankets and pillows in case 1) beds are uncomfortable, 2) we have more people with us than beds in our room, c) it’s just a smart preparation thing to do.

Like, what I don’t get is WHY… WHY, if you’re traveling with an infant or a baby that uses a pack n play… WHY DON’T YOU PACK THE PACK N PLAY YOU HAVE AT HOME?!  IT’S CALLED A PACK N PLAY FOR A REASON.  YOU. CAN. PACK. IT. IN. YOUR. VEHICLE!  

Or, maybe if mommy and daddy didn’t bring a suitcase full of alcohol, they’d have room in their vehicle for their child’s bedding.

I’ve seen that a lot before, too.  People haul in all kinds of things to their rooms.  Most commonly I see parents in their late 20s to late 30s traveling with copious amounts of alcohol.

Excuse me, but… you have children.  You don’t need THAT much alcohol with you, okay?  Yeah, sure, have a drink or two while you settle in, get comfortable, but don’t drink a six pack a piece while you’ve got small children.  It’s a hotel, not a frikken daycare.  

So, really, why don’t people come prepared?  If you know that you sleep cold, bring an extra blanket or two.  If you know you need more head support, bring some extra pillows.  

Why not come prepared?  Hotels are meant to offer you a comfortable place to sleep, maybe some breakfast, and some rest from being on the road.  They are not a chance for you to be waited on hand a foot.  The front desk clerk is not your personal assistant.  

Unless you’re staying at some top of the line, five-star, $200 a night hotel, don’t expect the hotel employees to hold your hair back while you puke, mmkay?

Come prepared.  Know the city you’re stopping in.  Check to see if it’s got a store that might be open.  Check for a Wal Mart, make sure you pack enough diapers.  Just.  TRAVEL SMART!

By All Means, Please Take Two

Ah, so as stated from my last post, the pool has been opened for the season at my hotel.  We had an exceptionally busy night at the hotel and in the pool the other night.  To me, it was too cold outside yet to be swapping my sweater for a two-piece, but what do I know?  I’m a Southern Girl in the Midwest Snow.  At one point I counted 15 people in both the pool and hot tub together.

Needless to say, the area was teeming with people.  We keep a healthy supply of towels in the pool room, so, with only 15 people at the max having been in there at once, I should have had plenty of towels.

Not so.  By the end of the night I had five towels left because people insisted on having pillows for their leisurely soak in the hot tub.  Ugh, of course.

You know, it wouldn’t be an annoyance to me if it had been busier in the pool.  But when we’ve got about 50 pool towels and suddely I only have 5?  That’s an issue to me.

So, here I am doing all this laundry because people are helping themselves to two pool towels.

Pool towels.  I’m complaining about pool towels.

It’s still rather slow at the hotel.  Stay tuned for more.

Seriously, though… just use one towel!  Or bring your own pool towel next time.  We don’t just pull clean towels out of our asses, you know!

The Complaints Are In; Summer is Officially Here

Well, I can officially put on my sunscreen to deflect the summer season complaints.

We got our pool and hot tub area up and running on April 1, great day, right?  It only took 13 hours of the pool being open for the first complaint to come in about it.  Let me give you a little back story: it was already about 35-40 degrees Fahrenheit outside, so it was a bit cold to go swimming, in my opinion, anyway.  But, whatever, I guess when you have kids, it doesn’t matter if it’s super cold outside, you’ll let them swim if there’s a pool available.

This particular family decided to complain about the ceiling fans that were on.  Because it made it too cold to swim.

Are you serious?  The fact that it’s still winter outside wasn’t too cold for you?

Nevermind the fact that I couldn’t find the switch to shut them off.  I’ve gotten good at bullshitting my way around doing mundane things for guests.  Maybe that makes me a cynic or a terrible customer service rep, but I don’t care because if I put forth the effort that I am trying, even if I’m not, people will still smile and say “Oh, it’s okay, thank you anyway” with a smile and we’re all happy for the time being.

Ah, since the season is upon us, I’m sure this won’t be the only one I get about the pool.  Just wait until all those summer storms start rolling in and I have to shut down the pool.  That is going to be a whole new barrel of fun, isn’t it?

Summer Is Coming

I can tell that summer is coming by how business has changed in the hotel over the last few weeks.

It has picked up quite a bit and some nights over the last few weeks I haven’t gotten to enjoy the luxuries that I let myself indulge in over the slow winter months.  Like sitting on my ass and watching episodes of old TV shows on Netflix back to back to back.  Or flipping through Facebook for hours on end.

It’s the little things, you know?

I’m glad we’re getting busier because life has gotten a bit dull around the hotel without something to do constantly.  Plus, it keeps the big boss man happier and as a result, the rest of us are happier.

And with the arrival of summer also comes droves of Stupid People.  I mean, they have come in the winter, too, but I know that it will slowly become worse as these people will be sun-drained and have already lost their minds from listening to their children scream in the car for 8+ hours.

The phone will start ringing off the hook and I’ll have multiple people in the lobby at once wanting to check in or check on rates.  It’ll be difficult to do it all by myself, but I will bring my PC laptop so that I can check people in two at a time.  I will be as prepared as I possibly can and I will smile and be nice, even when they’re being a giant asshole to me.

The air conditioners won’t be cold enough, the pool won’t be big enough, and people will decide that my rates are too high and yell at me for being unkind to those on a budget.  I’ll have something snide to say right on the tip of my tongue about how I only make $8 an hour and I’m sure they are on a salaried wage and make more a month than I do in two months, but instead I will say something like “I’m sorry, I don’t set the rates,” and give them a frowny face of lies.

Not that I not sympathize with them, but you know, it’s the game.  It’s the game of traveling in the summer months.  It’s America, welcome to the jungle.

Ah, but for right now, we have slow nights, we have busy nights, it comes in spurts.  I will enjoy the time before the droves of screaming children come.  I will enjoy the time before the cocky teenagers come thinking they can intimidate me into letting them into the pool after I’ve closed it due to stormy weather.  Just because I’m shorter than you doesn’t mean I scare easily.  With shortness comes great courage, you know.  Or something like that.  Maybe it’s great butt cheeks from having to go up and down step ladders all day.

Who really knows.  But Summer is coming.  Are you ready for it?

Don’t Save The Kitty

Now, if some of you know me personally, you know that I am an animal person.  I was the little kid that would bring home lizards, snails, frogs, snakes, kittens, puppies, whatever from my romps in the neighborhood.  It go to the point that when I started hanging out with friends with driver’s licenses and cars that my mom would always tell me “Don’t you come home with another pet!” when I would leave the house.

Because, well, I would.

Even now, as an adult, I have tried to bring home numerous animals.  Lately, my obsession is cats.  I grew up with dogs, so I am discovering how much I like cats since I was out on my own for a long while.  It started with taking in a beautiful blue girl that was hanging out on my front porch at my apartment. She ended up having babies.  I loved the three of them so much.  I named her Eva.  She was amazing.  She was loving and always so happy to see you.  Sometimes TOO happy.

Then, when I moved to Houston, Frederick came into my life.  I fell in love with him instantly.  Now he is the brother to my dog, Pork Chop.  Such a great story the both of them have, really.  But it is not the point of this entry this week.

You see, my most recent adventure to try to save a kitten from the blustering snow and outdoors landed me in the hospital.

It was a cold Saturday night and I was in the laundry room digging around for the right light bulb with which to change out one in the lobby with.  As I’m climbing down the ladder, I see a plump black kitten romping across the snowy lot.  I immediately jump into action!  I put the light bulb down (honestly surprised I didn’t break it…) and run around the office and outside. I go quietly and try to make myself look smaller by crouching down and talking lightly to the kitten.  It stops and it meows at me quite a bit.  In that cute way that kittens have of meowing with their entire mouth.  I try to coax it in with just my voice.  And then it runs up under a guests’ vehicle.  I think that it is just going to keep running.  No, this baby is smart and immediately climbs up into the truck.  It’s a big truck.  A big Ford truck with an engine a mile deep.

I go back in and grab my coat, then knock on the guests’ door.  I apologize for bothering them but explain that I saw a kitten climb up into their vehicle and that I don’t want it to be trapped there, nor do I want them to find a dead kitten in their engine days later.  We search for 15 minutes.  I was saddened, but I figured it would come out if I had food.  I call my mom and they are luckily just across the street at the store.  They grab me a small can of cat food and bring it on over.

So, the waiting begins.  I have the can stuck outside the truck and the guys have their curtains open so they can watch for it and call me if they see it.

Five hours pass.  In that time, it had come out to eat at some point, the temperature dropped and the food froze and it started to snow again.  Finally, after a group of people I’d been waiting on showed up, the other guest calls me.  The kitten jumped out and is headed for the newly warmed engines.  I grab my coat and head out there with the can of food.

I’m too late.  It has already crawled up into one of the vans.  I only notice which one because of it’s fat little footprints in the snow.  I head back inside because this group of people are having a bit of a game-time and snack time in our breakfast bar.  One of the teenagers comes out with me with a key, its not for the right van.  She goes back in and comes back out a few minutes later with the right key and another guy.  We pop the hood and there’s the little baby looked dazed and confused right on top of the engine block.

Cutest, fluffiest little panther I’ve ever seen.

I was a dumbass and didn’t bring a towel with me and I wasn’t even wearing my gloves.  My hands are frozen and I’m shivering.  I dive and grab it behind the neck, but not well enough.  It bites into my first two fingers on my left hand.  I take the pain and try to sooth it.  I wrap it up in my coat and head inside, fingers oozing blood and covered in engine dirt.  It’s hissing a little bit, but not struggling.  It’s obviously a feral baby.

I get it inside, it runs to hide, I go to rinse off my bloody hands, throw some band aids on, and decide to tend to those later.  No big deal.  I get the sheriff’s department called because the local cat shelter is full and cannot take them, so unfortunately, I had to send this baby to the pound.  I hate that option, but with it being a small town, I’m sure someone will take the little one in.

The officer arrives, I relay the story to him, find a little box for the kitten, and set about trying to get it out of hiding.  I have to move a lot of things around in the office.  I get it grabbed, and I have a good grip on it this time.  It can’t move.  Then I make the grave mistake of trying to turn it around to place it in the box.  Terrified, it grabs a hold of my right index finger and clamps down.  I’m trying to relax my right hand so it will let go, trying to soothe it, trying not to move my finger because I know the more I struggle, the more it will bite.

It wouldn’t let go.  It just kept biting and clamping.  The officer runs back behind the desk and had to pry it’s mouth off of my hand.  All the while I am yelling curses because the pain is just too much at that point.  Because it’s teeth are still sunk into me, it’s not bleeding yet.  Once the officer took off and told me to get it checked out, I  go to the back and just start crying like a little pansy.

I’m not one for pain, blood, or needles.  I’m having a mini panic attack, feeling stupid for trying to rescue this kitten, and feeling like I’m going to pass out at any moment.  I text my fiance who is an amazing jack of all trades, really.  He is a volunteer firefighter and paramedic.  He tells me how to self treat it.  I find a big bottle of peroxide in our storage cabinet and luckily it has a squeeze top.  I drown my fingers in peroxide.  The bites are so painful I don’t even feel the burn of the chemical.  I just keep dousing and dousing.  My right index finger is swollen and red and purple.  I can’t move it and my whole right hand, for that matter, hurts.

Once I get home, my parents are awake because I told them about the whole fiasco.  Mom helps me bathe my finger in peroxide some more and then starts to squeeze the wound like I was instructed.  God, the squeezing was the worst.  Even my dog was so worried that I was being hurt he came to sit at my feet while I’m standing there getting my fingers squeezed.

I take some tylenol and head to bed.  Yeah.  I woke up and I still couldn’t move my finger.  It wasn’t as swollen as before, but god, it hurt.

So, after 3.5 hours in the hospital, two xrays (what ever the hell for???) two blood samples, and a giant bottle of anti-biotics later, I was released.  The doctor said that I was lucky that I didn’t have to be on an IV.  So, all that peroxide saved me from having to sit in the hospital for a day or longer hooked up to an IV, which, honestly, would have probably sent me into panic mode. I was already panicked enough that the first blood draw came out of my hand.  I keep looking at the scab for that one and wondering if I accidentally hit it if blood will spurt everywhere.

Like I sad, I’m afraid of blood.

Moral of the story?  Don’t try to save a kitten while you’re at work unless you’re going to be smart about it.  Cat bites can turn ugly pretty fast.  While my finger is doing much better now (writing this three days later), it still hurts to type or hold a pen correctly.  And I definitely can’t use my index finger when picking items up.

Be careful with kitties.  Their bites have ended in surgeries or worse.  So, if you get bit by a cat, don’t delay.  Clean that bitch up, go to the doctor.

Now, please enjoy a small slideshow of my injuries.

Bend Over, the Needy & Greedy Are Coming

There are many similarities between working in retail customer service and working in hotel customer service.  However, there are also many differences.  The main one being that people treat you more like a servant as a front desk clerk at a hotel.

I’m sure it’s an easy mistake for people to make, I mean, I’m working in the hospitality business, I should have assumed that a collar and leash came with the deal. But still, that doesn’t mean that I’m going to be so willing to help you out when all you do is abuse me and talk down to me.

Recently, I was already in a grumpy mood when I came into work, so when the first guest I encountered whined about his room before even going in it, I was less than kind about allowing him to be moved.  This man was probably a good two feet taller than me and I still managed to get him to cow down to me by insisting, very firmly, that it made no difference if he was in the outter hallway or inner hallway of the hotel.  Not to mention, don’t you dare try to complain about your room assignment before you’ve even been in there to see if its actually going to be a problem or not.  This isn’t the Hilton or Marriott, asshole.

Then, after getting into his room, he called down to inquire about a straight-backed chair that could be used. I suggested him using the breakfast bar to conduct work, or even the desk in the lobby.  But, before I could suggest that maybe he just take one of the breakfast bar chairs back to his room, he hung up on me in a huff.

Nope, sorry.  I wasn’t even done speaking to you, sir, now you definitely will not get kindness or help from me.  I could have cared less if he wrote a bad review about me, because quite frankly, I am unwilling to show respect to a stranger who is unwilling to show respect for me.  Don’t blame me for our corporate offices wanting us to take desks and chairs out of rooms with two beds.  Blame corporate and let them know how much you dislike it, not us.  We’re just doing what we are told to keep our name.

Then that very same night I encountered a couple that were just outrageous.  First of all, the man did not tell me there would be two people in the room.  He kept referring to himself singularly, so I assumed it was just him.  Yes, I should have asked to make sure, but when someone is speaking in singular terms, it’s usually pretty safe to assume these things.

Well, I got him checked in only to realize about two minutes later that he has a wife who was demanding and rude to me.  They did legitimately have a problem with the first room they were checked into, so I moved them.  She called down at the front desk to alert me of the problem, and I issued keys and headed down the hall to get them moved as quickly as possible.  From the time we hung up on the phone, to the time I made it down the hall, maybe 45-60 seconds had passed.  And no, I am not over exaggerating.

She was huffing and puffing at me and said “well that took you long enough.”

Whoa, slow down woman.  Just because you’re on an oxygen tank doesn’t give you the right to abuse me.  I got there as fast as I could and I put you in a room with an un-broken security latch.  I could have told you tough cookies and left you in there, but I moved you, and even made sure you were able to get all of your luggage into your room easily before I left.

Then I hear on my days off that she rose hellfire to complain about all of the horrible things about the hotel.  My manager simply apologized to her and stated that if they were still having issues with the hotel, then they were free to take their things to another hotel in the area.

They decided to stay another night.

People expect a lot from you in the hotel business, even if you aren’t a high-class hotel.  They expect you, as a desk clerk, to be able to turn into an electrician, plumber, and tour guide at the flip of a hat.  It’s not good enough that you give them the weather forecast for the night or next day in the city they will be travelling to next, you must tell them if there is a chance of rain, what the humidity is, the wind chill, and the heat index.  And you must also tell them the best route to get there, no matter if you’ve never been there before.

It’s not enough that you give them free laundry detergent for the guest washer, they also expect you to listen for it and change it for them.  Nope, sorry dudes, it’s called a guest laundry for a reason.  Not your mom, not your maid.  Want me to do those things for you?  At least tip me or sound sincere when you say thank you.

Oh, look out, here comes an entitled old businessman who believes that because of all of his hard work over the last few decades that I need to get on my hands and knees to shine his shoes.