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.

When My Desk Gets Slammed

Now, I realize now that I am not nearly as much of a hardass as I used to be when it comes to guest service, and part of me is saddened by that because I have seen how I have let people walk over me a bit in the hotel industry.  However, I do still manage to keep the creeps and cheaters away.  For the most part.

One evening, I had a guest come in who I know has stayed with us at least twice before since I started working there back in July.  He comes in every few months for a room.  Well, he probably won’t be now and that is just fine and dandy with me.  He came in inquiring about a room and wanting to know if he could have the same special that he had the last time.  I asked for his last name so that I could look up his previous stay.  I discovered that the deal he got his last stay was a special for that weekend and no longer available.  He was a bit perturbed, but agreed to the current deal anyway.  I told him that his previous stay he was in a room with two bed, and he asked about a room with a king size bed and I explained to him the difference in cost.  He decided on the type he stayed in the last time, and it just so happened that the exact room that he stayed in previously was available, so I put him in that room.

He gave off an air of superiority, but I figured that was just the type of man he was, and during his previous stay, I hadn’t experienced problems with him.  Well, goodness me was I wrong!  Not even three minutes later, he comes back into the lobby and is absolutely irate.  I mean, I could almost literally see the steam coming out of his ears.  I calmly asked him what i could do to help.  

He was angry because there was no desk in his room.  Again, trying to stay calm at his now beligerent yelling, I told him that this was the room he had stayed in before according to the computer system and that he had not had this complaint before.  He demanded to be moved to a room with a desk.  Well, the only rooms with desks are the king rooms which were more money than he was paying.

He lost it.  He absolutely lost it and started bitching and moaning about how he is a member of our rewards program and it is ridiculous that he gets treated this way and blah blah BLAH.

Oh, I was pissed, and the woman who runs the gift shop in the evenings was there as well, and she SYMPATHIZED with him.  Which pissed me off even more.

With quite the edge in my voice, I told him to calm down and realize that it is not my fault, I am not the one treating him like this and if he is so angry, he needed to call the customer service line to complain that yelling at me wasn’t going to change anything.

Then he slammed his hand down on the counter.

That was it.  I yelled at him and said “You can either take your things and go find another hotel or you can suck it up and pay extra money to get your precious desk.  Which will it be because quite frankly, I am done dealing with your abuse!”

I should have kicked him out right then and there or even called the cops, but I was feeling so angry that I would have rather taken his money just for being such an asshole to me than let some other hotel get his money.  Then again, it would have been amazing to have the cops escort him off the property.

The gift shop woman stood and looked between the both of us as I told the man that he was going to be paying more money and that he would have no right to try to fight it later if he tried.  I make sure to cover my bases when someone will be paying more or less than I originally stated.

After he left and moved to his room, the woman from the gift shop went on to tell me how she felt sorry for him.  I shot her an icy glare and told her to never tell me she felt sorry for a guest who verbally abused me like that again.  She apparently didn’t see how he was in the wrong.  It was apparently all of our parent company’s fault that he was feeling that way.  I frankly told her that no “It’s his fault for being a greedy, entitled asshole.”

And then I wrote in his guest folio that he was rude, abusive and that I refuse to deal with him again.  And he has since been placed on the Do Not Rent list.  However, I know he will not be back, and if he comes back while I’m there, I will simply tell him that we have no room left, even if I don’t have a single guest in the hotel.