Friday, April 15, 2011

You're (Still) More of an Idiot Than You Think: Rants from a Different Counter

As I continue to attempt to figure out how I plan to crank out regular posts, enjoy another guest post by my good friend The Towel Fairy. You can read her other guest post on Prose Therapy here.

People have some serious nerve these days. Personal responsibility seems to be a thing of the past. An outdated concept, crowded to the outskirts of the human psyche by a demanding nature and a me-first attitude. Until I started working in the hotel industry I was at peace with the way the world worked. I certainly considered myself to be a reasonable, rational, and above all polite person and I thought that, in general, the rest of the world was as well. In the past two years I have worked at two different hotels in both the food and beverage department and at the front desk. And in those two years I have met the sleaziest, slimiest, sorriest excuses for human beings imaginable. People who are so inconsiderate that they can’t even conceive that their “small requests” are the most demanding and complex tasks to accomplish. There are no “pleases” or “thank yous”. There are just demands. If you have never worked in the service industry, I challenge you to step outside your shoes and try to see things from a different perspective. If you HAVE worked in the service industry, this will seem all too familiar.

So begins my rant.

Ah’ll Be Bahck

One of the largest annual conventions in the world is hosted in our city on the first weekend in March, a three-day-long competition for both amateur and professional gymnasts, cheerleaders, dancers, fencers, hockey players, weightlifters, and body builders. There is also an entire exhibit hall which houses vendors of things like vitamin supplements, Muscle Milk, energy drinks like Red Bull and Monster, and other performance enhancing pharmaceuticals. Every hotel in the entire city is sold out for this one weekend. These people actually try to make their reservations for the next year on the same day they check out.

For the purposes of this story we will be focusing our attention on the weightlifters and body builders. Never before have I seen so gross a display of both vanity and douchebaggery (except maybe once on an episode of Jersey Shore). Men and women prance about the hotel lobby wearing skimpy bikinis and man thongs while flexing every (and I do mean EVERY) muscle on display. Their overly spray tanned bodies bathe the lobby in a soft orange glow while their jaundice-tinted eyes survey the competition. Checking these people in to the hotel is a nightmare. The second something goes wrong, veins begin to bulge and the yelling commences. Let me be clear. We know this group is coming each year, and the two weeks leading up to the main event are spent painstakingly reviewing every single reservation to make sure there are no errors. So when a problem occurs upon check in, it usually their fault, not ours.

A few guests in particular had made their reservations for the wrong hotel. One man was 6’ 5” and close to 300 pounds – and all of it was muscle. I explained that we didn’t have his reservation. He told me that I was incorrect and that I should look in my system again. I asked for a confirmation number, which he promptly and matter-of-factly provided. I didn’t need to look in the system again because I recognized the format of the confirmation number he recited. It was not our confirmation number; his reservation was at a hotel 15 minutes away. I politely explained the situation.

“You’re wrong,” he said, “I know for a fact I book a room at THIS hotel!”

“Sir, let me give the other hotel a call to verify.”

*Belabored sigh* “FINE!”

I called the other hotel and they did indeed have his reservation – including a matching confirmation number. I explain to him once again that we did not have his reservation and handed him directions to the correct hotel.

“This is IMPOSSIBLE! I can’t believe you guys transferred my reservation to another hotel without telling me! I’m going to report you to the Better Business Bureau!”

“Sir,” I said, “It is impossible for us to transfer reservations from one hotel to the other. We all have different operating systems, which do not communicate with each other. And the hotel in question is not even a part of our brand.”

“But I want to stay HERE!”

“I’m sorry sir, we’re sold out. We’ve been sold out for the past four months.”

“What am I supposed to do now?!”

“May I help the next in line please?”

This scenario played out at least 8 different times during MY shift… I can’t begin to imagine the hell that 2nd shift experienced.

“Do You KNOW What A Happy Ending Is?!”

About a month ago we had some VIP guests staying in the hotel. I can’t release their names, but I can tell you that they were VERY famous musicians. They were also VERY demanding. They stayed in our hotel for a day and a half and ran us ragged the entire time.

One of the band members called down to the desk to arrange for an in room massage. No big deal, we schedule these all the time. We have two different masseuses on call: Lisa, who can only work on weekdays, and Bob, who is available every day of the week. It was Saturday, so I set up the appointment with Bob.

About 15 minutes before his massage was schedule to begin, the guest called down to the front desk to make sure I had scheduled his appointment with a FEMALE masseuse. I explained that the only masseuse we had available on the weekends was Bob and that he was great at his job and came highly recommended.

“No! This isn’t gonna work! I NEED a FEMALE masseuse!”

“I’m sorry sir, Bob is the only one that is available.”

“Naw, you don’ undastan’ ME. I NEED a female. Do you KNOW what a happy ending is?!”

“I do understand sir. But unfortunately our female masseuse is not available today. And even if she were, I can guarantee that she does not perform those types of services.”

“FINE. I’ll wait fo’ tha nigga Bob.”

Side note: Bob is white.

The Last Train To Clarksville – The Very Last

Asinine questions are commonplace where I work. But sometimes we get a question that astounds even the most seasoned guest service representative.

A guest called the front desk from a guest room.

“Yes, where is the nearest train station?”

“I’m sorry ma’am, a… a train station?”

“Yes, I need to take a train.”

“I’m not sure ma’am, I’ll have to google it. Let me put you on hold for a moment.”

10 Minutes of extensive, confusing googling…

[Bagel Fairy's note: We live in a small city where the idea of taking a train is associated with Europe and Agatha Christie.]

“Ma’am? The closest Amtrak station is a 2 hour drive from here.”

“Oh, I thought there was one here.”

“There was ma’am. But they shut it down in 1977.”

“Well, can you make me a reservation for tomorrow?”


“Of course ma’am. Where do you need to go?”

“I need to get to Puerto Rico.”

… huh?

“Ma’am… isn’t… I mean… Puerto Rico is an island.”


“…Ma’am… trains don’t go… underwater…”

My coworker slowly looks up from her paperwork and gives me a quizzical look. I reply with a facepalm.

“What I mean is, ma’am, there’s an airport 20 minutes from here.”

*Angry sigh* “Never mind, I’ll do it myself!” CLICK.


Bagel Fairy's Note: If any of my fellow bloggers or readers is interested in doing a guest post à la Towel Fairy, let me know in the comment section.


  1. Actually there is one train which goes under water and it is the one which goes under the English channel from England to France.

    And I know how you feel with idiot customers, that is why I got out of working with the public.

  2. This is true, OT. I totally forgot about the Eurostar. But I'm pretty sure it doesn't go to Puerto Rico.


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