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!

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.

By All Means, Please Go Jump in the Empty Concrete Pit

Winter rolls in in the middle of the night while Autumn is still teasing us with her warm days and nights and cold breezes.  You think to yourself, I can go swimming one last time.

Then you realize it’s December and you’d rather cuddle under the blankets than step outside into the massive freezer that is Earth.

Thus is the reason why many hotels will shut down their pool areas during the winter.  Yes, even the indoor ones.  Why you ask?

Because hotels turn into The Shining in the winter and there are hardly any people there to justify keeping all of those pumps and water running for the occasional person who wants to freeze their nuts off in the pool, then kamikaze jump into the hot tub.  Plus, it’s nice to be able to clean up after a hard summer of unbathed children and adults getting into the pool and hot tub with their 12 hour drive funk.

“What do you mean your pool and hot tub are closed?”

“It’s winter.”

“But that’s when people want the hot tub the most!”

“I can rent you our three-room suite with a whirlpool tub if you need that.”

“No!  That’s too expensive.  God, is there ANYWHERE ELSE in this town that has a pool?”

“Only two other hotels have a pool, and they’re both outdoor and neither have a hot tub.  But they do have jacuzzi suites.  I’m sure they will be able to give you more information.”

“Well, we’ll just be moving along then.”

“Yes, have a good evening, good luck.”

I have this conversation with people almost nightly.  It’s ridiculous.  Yes, I realize that our pool is indoor, but the pool itself isn’t heated and even in September when it was still warm outside, barely anyone was in the pool.  It’s just not cost effective.  However, if you would like to see that our pool is “really closed,” by all means, I’ll let you go see the empty concrete pit that sits there.  I’m sure if you dump your water bottle over your head, it will stimulate the effects of me attempting to drown you in your precious chemical-filled water.

It’s hard to tell which is worse, people complaining that the pool is shut down due to bad weather, or people complaining that it is shut down in the winter.  This isn’t Texas where it’s warm most of the year.  This is Nebraska and sorry to say, it gets COLD here.

Have fun when you catch pneumonia, you prick.

 

A Little Story About a Hotel Called SHUT UP

As an employee of a hotel, I get a lot of people who want to talk to me.  Some people just want to tell me about their day, others want to tell me their life story.

And then there are those who want to use me as a therapist.

It’s nights like that when I wish the phone would ring off the hook or someone would come in to try to rob the place.  I mean, I don’t really want us to get robbed, but I would like to be saved from the chatters.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t like to hear about people’s lives or the awesome things that they have gotten to do or see, I actually like that a lot.  For a moment, I can vicariously live through this person’s past or present experiences and it’s rather cool and exciting.  Sometimes other people have way cooler lives than I can ever dream of having.

Like for instance, several weeks ago, a guest came to stay in the hotel that legitimately wrote music for Nat King Cole back in the day.  His stories were amazing to listen to and I even managed to get his autograph for my mom who is a big fan of Nat King Cole’s music.

An example of something I don’t want to hear is when you are experiencing relationship issues that are no one’s fault but your own.  I don’t care, I don’t want to listen, and I most definitely don’t want to listen to it multiple times a week.  There’s a big difference between a one time thing and something drawn out.

Iv’e had guests want to sit in the lobby while they drank their beers and then proceeded to cry into the bottom of the can or bottle.  Before things got out of hand a few months back, it really wasn’t a big deal if a guest wanted to have a beer in the lobby, because it was normally later at night when no one was walking in very often.  Especially because they would normally finish a beer and leave.

Now it’s a big deal and because of issues I’ve had in the past, they have to keep that crap in their room.  I don’t want to deal with it.

I will make polite conversation because it’s my job, or I will let you continue your story because I am too polite and nice for my own good sometimes and have even let people talk my ear off for two hours because I couldn’t find a polite way of saying, “Please shut up, I really, honestly do not care, and I’m trying to watch Netflix in between guests. Oh, and I suppose I could dust something. But just, please, go away.”

Oh, it gets bad, and it seems the slower the hotel is, the more people want to talk to me.

I get it a lot on the phone, too.  Someone will call to ask about availability and rates and five minutes later, I am finally giving them the cost.  Because, oh my, they just had to tell me why they are calling me, where they are from, where they are going, and WHY before they can actually get around to letting me do my job, which is to try to rent out a room to them.

I don’t want to know how many grandchildren you have, I don’t want to hear about how you are being stepped all over by your partner, and I most certainly don’t want you to hang around in here and try to hit on me when you see a ring on my finger.

Go home, go to your room, go to sleep.  Hotel Shut Up is closed.

Open-Ended!

So, before I began back with my regular weekly updates (promise I’ll actually be better this time because some are set up in the queue now!), I would like to open this up for people to ask questions.  Ask me anything you think is relevant to this blog 😀  I’ll do my best to answer them the way you want me to.

 

I want to get involved with my readers, and I want you guys to get involved with me!  Go!

Wrong Number

Everyone dials a wrong number here and there, it’s just how life goes.  Most people are humble enough to realize their mistake right away, but others will try to argue with your or become suspicious of your answers.

That was the case here tonight (as I sit at work and type this quick entry out for all to enjoy).

Woman:”hi, is your hotel right next to the airport?” 
Me: “Uhm… ma’am…”
Woman: “Yeah, the Philadelphia Airport…”
Me: “I think you called the wrong number because this is a hotel in Nebraska.”
Woman: “Nebraska? This is the hotel though, isn’t it?”
Me: “Yes, but for one in Nebraska.”
Woman: “So is this a main headquarters number?”
Me: “Nope, you probably just transposed a number.”
Woman: “Oh. Uh. Bye.”

It was hard to tell if she was embarrassed or still not satisfied with my responses to her.  Either way, the fact that she kept trying to get information out of me that I didn’t have was hilarious and made this incredibly slow night just a tad bit better.

The Pool is Optional

When I was small, my father worked in the hotel business.  I was too young to understand anything other than what was placed right in front of me at that point in time.  Now I understand how frustrating of a business it is no matter what your job title is with the hotel.

The hotel I work at is one of the few with a pool, let alone an indoor pool, so that’s always a big ticket item and it’s why a lot of people choose to stay at our hotel in the summer.  I mean, even as a kid travelling with my parents, I remember hoping beyond hope that each place we stopped at would have a pool, because there’s nothing cooler than getting to swim at a pool that isn’t where you normally go swim at!

It’s one thing when it’s a disappointment to the kids that the pool is closed for maintenance or bad weather.  They will pout and get over it within a few minutes.  It’s another when it’s an adult upset about it.  They assume that just because they’re adults and they’re paying for a room that that gives them the right to use the pool.

First of all, a hotel having a pool is an added, optional amenity.  Second of all, it doesn’t matter if it’s a pool set outdoors or indoors, if there is lightning in the area, the pool will be closed because I’m not risking my job or the hotel’s reputation because I let you guys swim and the building to hit with lightning.  NEWS FLASH! The building gets struck by lightning?  Guess where all of those toasty electrical currents are headed?  That’s right, straight for your fat ass floating around the pool.  Nuh, uh.  You can go sit in your bathtub if you want to be in the water during bad weather.  At least then it’s not my or the hotel’s responsibility when you turn out to be a bit fried.

Yeah, swim at your own risk, but I’m still responsible for the guests in my hotel during my shift and I really don’t feel like calling 911 or filling out incident reports and getting all these people involved.  Not worth it, thanks.  I get paid to get you a room, answer your questions, and give you some extra towels or a toothbrush.  I don’t get paid to clean up your dumbass mess.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a person demand a discount because the pool was closed or the hot tub was out of order.  No, I’m not discounting your room because we have a severe thunderstorm, and no I’m not discounting your room because the hot tub randomly decided to shut off.  Those are things we can’t predict.  It’s not like a car lot having a hail sale after a storm.  Let me just send out flier for our “Lightning Storm Room Discount.”  I can get those to press before the storm passes, right?

I even had one lady ask me if I “planned” on having severe weather when they got there.  It took a lot of will power to bite my tongue and not respond with “Oh, yes, ma’am, we should see a pretty nasty system rolling in around 7:13pm, around the time you estimate you will be arriving at my lovely establishment.”

Instead, I sarcastically said “Well, no one really plans on bad weather, but there are predictions for it in our area, and if it happens to come through around that time, the pool will be close and no one can use it.”

One night while storms were rolling in and out of the area I had one kid pester the ever-living hell out of me about the pool.  I was about to phone up his parents in the room, where they were, not watching their kid, and tell them to pick up their kid.  The mother finally came down and used the lobby computer for a while and then herded him back up the room when she was finished.  I was thankful for that.

Then a group of teenagers the same night kept pestering me, too.  Out of sheer annoyance, even after the threat of severe weather passed, I kept the pool closed because I was so damn pissed off about being bugged so much.  Plus, I didn’t feel like tracking these people down to tell them it was open.  There was no point in opening the pool for that last half hour anyway.  All they would have done is bitched and moaned that I had to close the pool while they were still having fun.

Other people like to moan about it being “too cold” and “why isn’t it heated?” Uhm, first of all it’s 102 outside and you want a heated pool? Are you fucking nuts?  Second of all, the water is room temperature at all times, grow a pair and jump in.  It’s not like you’re jumping into the Colorado River of Icy Doom.  Shit, that water is even still cold as it cycles down into New Braunfels.  Bone-chillingly so.

I cannot wait until it’s closed for the season.  Then again, I’ll have to listen to the “isn’t it heated?” complaint all over again.