Archive for category so that happened
I’m exposed to far too much nudity in my line of work, and it’s never been enjoyable. In fact it’s been entirely male nudity as far as I recall. This is especially true at my current property where I’m as much involved in Spa Operations as Hotel Operations. Usually it’s because someone has passed out from one of our heat intensive bath treatments. Extreme heat and booze just don’t mix people.
This particular incident happened this last summer or spring. I know the weather was particularly nice, but hell it’s California, so that doesn’t really narrow it down.
I was just sitting down for lunch at my desk, deli sandwich and emails yum! When my cell phone started ringing. Being a manager I never really “clock out” ever. I’ve also been a line employee and had manager that were horrible about answering their phones whether they were on a break or not, so I take pride in the fact that generally my staff can count on reaching me by phone. I checked the caller ID and saw that it was a fellow manager, our Spa Supervisor who I will call Jelly Bean for a reason that only really makes sense to me and her. She would be quite annoyed if she knew that was her pseudonym actually. Perfect.
I answer the call. “Hi Jelly Bean,” I say with a forced smile in my voice.
“<Hotelnerd> there is a naked man lounging by the pond,” she whispers into her phone. For the record we are no a clothing optional facility.
“Ooookay…” Chuckle. Jelly Bean was still a relatively newly minted manager, in fact this might have been 2 summers ago now that I think of it. “Would you like me to come talk to him?”
“No….I can do it….” there’s strong reluctance and uncomfortableness in her voice though.
I take pity on her. I start standing from my chair. “I’ll be right there.”
It’s about a 30 second walk from my desk to her location. I get out there to find a gentleman sprawled out on a chaise lounge chair, his robe draped across the chair next to him basking in the radiance of the sun. Four chairs down from him sits a lone woman reading a book with a hand up to the side of her face to shield her peripheral vision from the site. Jelly Bean is on the other end of the pond so I give her a little wave as I approach the gentleman. As I approach, I can’t help but get the Full Monty as it were. I really didn’t need to know that this guy believed in waxing….everywhere.
I come up beside him and bend down to speak softly but firmly to him. “Sir. I don’t mean to disturb you, but we’re not a clothing optional facility. I’m going to have to ask you to put your robe back on. Please.”
He opened his eyes and looked at me, “Really?”
“Yeah, I’m afraid so.”
“Fine.” He sighed and rolled his eyes at me.
“Thank you. I appreciate it. Sorry to bother you.” I said and turned to walk away as he got up to put his robe back on.
Jelly Bean circled around her end of the pond and we met out of sight. “Thank you. I really didn’t want to get that close to him.”
I shrugged at her, “Not a problem.”
I walked back to my desk and had just taken a bite of my sandwich when my phone started ringing again. I glared at it accusingly where it sat on my desk. Jelly Bean showed up on my caller ID again. Great.
“Hotelnerd, he has the robe on now, but he has his legs spread straddling the chair and every time the wind blows a little the robe moves and exposes him again.”
Sigh. “I’ll be right there.” I was already out the door.
I repeat the trip over. Approach the gentleman again, but he’s readjusted himself before I could get there so that his legs are stretched out straight now, not spread and his robe is completely folded over him. I just keep walking past him, circle the pond and meet up with Jelly Bean.
“Did you go talk to him?” I ask.
“No he repositioned right after you hung up.”
“Alright well I’ll hang out for a minute to see if he acts up again.” I tell her and we step around the pond so that that it’s less obvious that we’re watching him. He must have felt our eyes on him, because he sat up, swung his legs to the ground and stood.
His robe sash WAS NOT tied shut. A gust of wind blew and his robe flew open, flashing the lady still 4 chairs down trying to read her book. I see her hand fly up again to shield her view. He could have quite easily gotten up the other direction, or tied his robe shut, or done any number of other things, but that obviously wasn’t his goal. He starts walking off down the boardwalk towards the rest of the spa, robe sash still untied and robe billowing out behind him like a cape.
“What’s he doing?” Jelly Bean says in outrage.
I’m wincing as I say, “I think he just gave us the Full Superman.”
I took off at a brisk walk after him. I have long legs and the distance disappeared fast. Yep, still not a single hair on this guy except on his head. Joy.
“Sir.” I’ve lost most of my pleasant courtesy at this point. “I need to ask you to tie you robe closed. You’re exposing yourself.”
“Fine. Fine.” He waves his hand at be before snatching up the ends of his robe sash and tying it closed.
“Thank you.” I say as he walks away.
You’d think his nakedness would end there. It didn’t.
I come up to the Spa Front Desk later and hear my staff there talking about a naked man.
“Oh you mean the one out at the pond that Jelly Bean and I dealt with?” I ask.
“He was naked in the lobby!” They tell me.
Apparently after interacting with me for the final time, he made his way all the way back to the locker room, disrobed, then came out into the lobby to ask the Front Desk where the bathroom was. You know….the one he walked right past to reach the locker room. Shocked they quickly directed him to the right door. After using the restroom, he returned to the locker room and put all of his clothes back on. I later found out that he came out into the lobby and was complaining to his friends about how he was trying to relax at the pond but we wouldn’t let him.
Really? Really!?! REALLY!??? I was more than happy to let you relax at the pond. You just had to keep your junk out of sight!
But from now until the end of time Jelly Bean and I will refer to a naked man at the pond as a “Code Superman”
Earlier in the week I posted about my encounter with an Internet Troll via email and how I handled him. This post needs a little follow-up.
To be clear, while I somewhat enjoyed engaging in a semantic argument with the superior asshole and not indulging him, I probably should have indulged him. It just wasn’t great customer service, and it has come back to bite me in the ass. The Troll forwarded our email conversation to a property owner and I have since been chastised by my boss, and the owner is making efforts to try to recover his business.
While it felt great at the time to respond to him the way I did, it was a mistake. Not just because I poked the bear and got in trouble for it, but because as a manager in this business I have to represent the interests and reputation of the property owners and not my own all the time. If I was the owner of this property my response still would have been horrible customer service, but at least then it would have been my place to make that decision. To be honest, I might have responded the same way if this was my hotel. But it’s not, and I knew as soon as I hit the send button on that email that it was probably a huge mistake, and I should have known that it wouldn’t end there. Of course it didn’t.
In customer service it just doesn’t pay to respond to superior assholes in kind. No matter how good it might feel in the moment.
People always say, don’t respond to emails or texts angry. I think I’ll listen to those people next time.
You win this round Internet Trolls.
This one barely qualifies as “Crazy Guest Story” because the guy never actually ended up being a guest, just some jack hole that booked and room, cancelled it and then emailed me to be an Internet Troll. I sat on these emails for over a week now, mostly because this guy pissed me off so much at the time I didn’t even want to consider dealing with this shit. Below you’ll find his original email to me, my response, and then this response to my response. I admit, I probably shouldn’t have responded to his original email at all, at least not in the mindset that it originally left me in. It’s bad to email ticked off. However, I also don’t think there was anything all that out of line in my email. Compared to his initial message I think I was pretty gracious, at least not the condescending ass that his original message made him out to be. In the end my message also had the desired effect I think, it cemented the guy’s desire to never stay with us in the future which if his email is any indication of his actual personality, I don’t want his business anyways.
Here we go. This is his original email to me.
I’ve just canceled a reservation at <my hotel> for April 20th. On your website you notify people you’ll charge a deposit at time of booking. I was surprised to discover I was charged for the full amount 6 months in advance. On calling your front desk, I was told this behavior was part of a new policy and therefore totally normal. It isn’t. Pre-payment happens in the hotel industry, and it’s called just that. The term deposit in the english language means part payment held as security. If you don’t believe me, look it up here http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/deposit. I was also told when canceling my reservation that my deposit would be turned. Apparently no-one you employ understands what that terms means. Unimpressed. Very unimpressed.
This was a straight copy and paste with just one little redaction. The part that irked me the most was his link to the dictionary, especially because he’s reading the definition wrong. And I think it fairly perfectly fits the definition of Internet Troll provided by the Urban Dictionary. Also, when you’re starting an argument like this, maybe you should do some proof reading before you hit send. Even little typos undercut your argument when you’re arguing pure semantics.
Here’s my response.
Hello <Jack Hole>,
I’m sorry there was a misunderstanding over the term “deposit” and if the amount caught you by surprise. The announcement on our website and in the email confirmation both clarify the amount will be for the “room and tax for the entire stay”. We didn’t construct our verbiage to be deliberately misleading or deceptive. Deposit is a commonly used term throughout the industry and we chose to use it over pre-payment. Your own definition from dictionary.com says “to give as security or in part payment.” As I read it, that doesn’t rule out the deposit being the entire amount because it says “as security or in part payment”. Throughout my career and years of travel I’ve seen the two terms used interchangeably at many different hotels. And I believe the agent on the phone was saying that your deposit would be “returned” not “turned”. I’m sorry you won’t be enjoying a stay with us in April.
I’ll admit I could have handled his initial email a number of different ways. I could have even ignored it all together. If he had been a return guest with a positive track record of staying with us (and not being a pain in the ass) I might have even waved the deposit policy for him. If he’d just been a little more gracious and less of an Internet Troll I might have still bent the policy for him. In the end, I just didn’t see the point in trying to recover his business. I know that isn’t necessarily “superior customer service” but he’s hardly a “superior customer” he’s just a “superior ass hole.” I enjoy giving my guests great customer service and making them happy. I really do. But when I’m dealing with people who are just miserable S.O.B.s sometimes it’s nice to handle things in a way that hopefully keeps them from ever being a headache for me or my staff in the future.
The final email in our exchange.
Really? You’re in customer service and that’s your response.
I didn’t respond to him after that. His response told me that my original response had accomplished its mission, and I had better things to do with my day. But what I really wanted to say was,
Yeah. Really. That’s my response. Goodbye.
I know this is a fairly tame story, but I haven’t gotten to share this exchange with much of anyone and I thought this was a descent format to do that in since I could just post pretty much the exact text of our exchange.
This is another old story, but a favorite.
Once again, it was back in my days as a lowly Front Desk Agent. I was working at a mid-range high-end big brand resort. It was a pretty busy day with check-ins for a large corporate group we had in-house. The group was spread throughout the property in various room types depending on where they ranked in the corporate hierarchy.
I don’t even remember checking this woman in, it could have been another agent, but I was the one who caught her when she stormed back up to the Front Desk. She threw her key packet down on the counter and said, “This isn’t right. I should be in a suite.”
In my head I groaned. We were pretty much at capacity, and at the moment I just assumed that the Sales Office had oversold us on suites and downgraded this lady without giving the Front Desk a heads up. It wouldn’t have been the first time. I knew we were at capacity for suites. I never let my stage smile falter though. I recovered her keys from the counter and said, “Alright. I have the group’s contract in the back. If you can wait just a moment I can check the room assignments from your group. I’m sure we can sort it out.”
“No,” she snapped. “You’re going to give me a suite right now.”
Looking back, this is when I should have known that something wasn’t quite above-board.
“I’m afraid I have to check the contract before I can make any changes to your reservation.” I tried to sound as sympathetic as I could, she wasn’t making it easy though. “I promise I’ll be right back. Thank you.”
I turned up my stage smile to 11 and ducked in the back before she could say anything else. My Assistant Manager had been listening and already had the paperwork pulled. We used her room number on the key packet to pull up her reservation and went to work. Change log showed she was always in the standard room type that she was already in – I miss having a PMS that keeps a detailed change log – and marvel of marvels we had a group rooming list that was signed by the group contact (the person in her corporation that booked the group and assigned the room types). It actually looked like the Sales Office hadn’t screwed the pooch, but just to be safe we called the group contact on her cell phone. She verified that the room assignment was right.
I walked back up front with a look that I hoped was sympathetic. “I’m sorry Ms. <GrownUpBaby>, but according to the contract with your company, this is the room you’re supposed to be in. We verified it with Ms. <GroupContact> and she said it was the right assignment. Even if she approved an upgrade, I’m fully reserved for tonight. I don’t have an upgrade to offer unfortunately.”
That really should have been the end of it. All the i’s were dotted and t’s were crossed.
It wasn’t though. I guess here is a good time to somewhat describe this woman. Tall, blonde, moderately attractive, and somewhere in her early to mid 30’s. Definitely too old to act the way she was about to.
“You don’t understand,” she sputtered. “My father is in a suite. I want one like he has.”
“You really need to discuss this with your company’s group contact. She assigned all the rooms.” I replied.
Her nostrils flared and her eyes narrowed at me. “I hope you don’t like she job,” she snarled. Then she whipped out her cell phone like a Bond villain about to detonate her Armageddon machine. I was quaking in my boots. No! Not even close!
Why do they always threaten my job? And as a manager, why do people insist on someone being fired when they complain to me? Does anyone even realize how horrible the affront would have to be for that to happen? I guess reasonable people do. You lose sane person points when you make a demand like that.
She placed the call while staring daggers at me. Meanwhile a line had developed, so I used my secret help button to ring for help and my Ass.Man. came up to work the other station.
I was about to ask her to step to the side so that I could assist the other guest when her call was answered.
“Daddy!” she whined into the phone. “They won’t give me a suite like yours. Make them give me a suite.”
I don’t know how he responded, but she made her dissatisfaction with the response apparent by screaming into the phone and slamming it down on the counter of the Front Desk several times. I’ve only rarely experienced that “record screech” moment that you see on TV and movies. You know where the record screeched to a halt and everyone in the room stops and just stares at some poor bafoon that has just done something totally embarrassing. Yeah, that happened here.
After slamming the ph0ne down repeatedly. She picked it up and screamed into the thing again, totally oblivious to the eyes on her. At that point my Ass.Man. slid up beside me with her cheerful guest smile on and quite pleasantly asked her to please step aside so that we could assist other guests.
She glared at my Ass.Man. but stepped aside from the direct line of the desk. For whatever reason she didn’t leave. My Ass.Man. and I got the line that had developed, and witness the episode moving again and within relatively short order we were once again left with just the prissy little adult baby staring daggers at us. I could tell my Ass.Man. was about to say something to her when a group of men in suits walked into the lobby. One of the men, and older gentleman, tall in a well made suite and an affable look to him, detached himself from his associates and came over to us. He had an entirely unperturbed and pleasant expression on his face until he reached the desk.
He turned to the spoiled little princess leaned in close to her his smile gone, and hissed just loud enough for us on the other side of the desk to hear. “Listen to me you little brat. You’re not getting a suite. Don’t you think if they had one they would have given it to you by now just to get you the fuck away from their desk after the scene you just made.”
Spoiled Brat’s mouth dropped open in what seemed to be genuine astonishment. Then the man turned around, reaching into his pocket and drew out his wallet. My Ass.Man. stepped forward, and with only a hint of the anger and contempt he has just unleashed on the Brat, he pulled out a Platinum Amex and said to my manager in a very calm and almost pleasant voice, “Can you please find make a reservation for her at another hotel tonight. I don’t care where you find her a room tonight, but she’s not staying here.”
He handed my Ass.Man. his Amex, she copied down the number as well as the man’s cell phone number and promised to make her an alternate reservation. He turned around and began to escort her by the arm away, but stopped just a few steps away, turned and said, “Make sure it’s not a suite.”
There was a squeak of protest from the woman before he hauled her back into motion and shot her another withering glare. My Ass.Man. and I were grinning somewhat vindictively as they walked up the stairs in the direction of her current room.
I couldn’t help but think that it was probably her “Daddy’s” fault that she turned out the way she did. I wonder if he ever realized that too?
We made her a reservation on daddies card, across town, in their most basic room, at a resort that was just a step below us. She’s lucky we didn’t just call the Best Western and leave it at that. We didn’t even have to resell her room after she checked out, the group was already paying for it whether we sold it or not.
So other than our crazy Necromancy Lady we haven’t had a lot of crazy guests lately. And crazy guest stories are one of my favorite things about being in the hotel business. Reading the Hotel Opus blog and this post in particular has made me want to share more of the stories I’ve collected in this business. So I decided to dig into the vaults of my mind and pull out an old favorite that I haven’t shared on the blog before. This is likely to be the first of many.
I was still a Front Desk Agent and was working at a medium-sized high-end (major brand) resort. I usually worked the swing shift, 3 PM to 11:30 PM in those days because it complemented my school schedule. I hadn’t been at this resort long, I was only a couple of weeks out of training and just starting to work solo. In fact I still hadn’t decided I was going to make a career out of this business. I was still thinking my plan was to become a lawyer.
On this particular evening, I was manning the Front Desk by myself. The mid shift had gone home already, as had my departmental manager. We were short on managers at that time so the properties Director of Operations was in his office and occasionally walking around as the property manager on duty (MOD). There was a large corporate group in-house, and while they hadn’t bought out the hotel, they had the majority of it and they had taken over the lobby that evening. I can’t remember if it was an official event of not.
I was working through my check-list of shift duties when a lady swayed her way up to my desk. I won’t lie, I had already noticed her in the lobby. She was sitting on a couch with an older gentleman dead center in my eye line whenever I looked up. And though she was at least 20 years older than my 19 or 20 something, she still looked pretty good. Definite Cougar territory. Although with the haze of memory it might have been a “Good from far. Far from good” type situation. She and the gentleman on the couch had been there for quite a while and had worked their way through several glasses of wine, and they had gotten a little more cozy with each one.
I smiled at the Cougar and said “Good evening. How may I assist you?” as I had been trained.
“Can you give me a room for like half an hour so that my boss and I can go screw.” I swear on Captain Picard’s bald head those were her exact words.
My mouth dropped open and just hung there for a second before I could stammer a reply, “Ummm…uh…I can’t just give you a room. I’d have to charge you something.”
“Really?” she pouted “We really just need it for 20 minutes so we can go make love.”
“Really. The room would have to be cleaned. I can find you my lowest rate, but it couldn’t be free.” I insisted.
“Well what would that be? Because we just need it for 15 minutes so we can go fuck.” She was getting a little testy with me now and the booze was starting to show through her sober act.
I guess I could have told her, “We’re a 4 star resort. We don’t have hourly rates let alone rates by the minute.” But I didn’t. I looked through my rate screen and found the lowest rate that I could justify handing out to a walk-in that night.
“It would be $195 plus tax.” I said after half a minute of scanning my screen.
“We just need the room for 10 minutes,” She pleaded. At this point I’m thinking, Damn, give the guy a little credit.
“I’m really sorry, but that’s the best I can do.” I replied. I tried for a sympathetic smile, but either it missed the mark or she didn’t appreciate it.
“Is there anyone else you could ask? It’ll just take 5 minutes I promise.” I’m not sure how the damsel in distress routine is supposed to work in this situation.
As I mentioned before, the MOD for the property was our Director of Operations, a man I had had almost no interaction with since my interview with him. He seemed nice enough, but I did not want to call him and ask this question. So I lied.
“I’m sorry. There’s no one else for me to ask. It’s just me. That’s really the best I can do.”
Maybe she smelled the lie. Maybe she was just a dirty horrible person, but she scowled at me and said “Fine. I guess my kids will just have to wait down in the lobby.” And then stomped off in a huff like I was some kind of monster.
My jaw dropped open again and hung there for considerably longer this time. Really? I’m a bad person, because you’re sleeping with your boss and making your kids wait in the lobby is your best option? Gee, I wonder why they couldn’t go back to his room? And was making your kids wait in the lobby really the only other alternative? One of you two must have a car.
The bellman on duty that evening had been lurking in the back office and slowly came around to the front of the desk equally as astonished. He had been at that property for nearly 16 years at that point and so I asked him, “Do you think I should have just given her a room?” Maybe I was just way off the mark here. He busted up laughing at that point and said, “No, I was surprised you offered the rate you did.”
He and I did a quick instant replay of the conversation. The bellman also threw in some extra juicy information. He had checked the lady into her room that day, but had also helped her husband out when he had come and dropped off the kids with her last-minute. There were 5 kids up there ranging from 3 to 12. I wonder why her husband dropped them off last-minute? Hmmmmm….
We both laughed for a few minutes until the bellman finally asked, “What are we supposed to do if she sends her kids down here?” He was a dad and a little conservative and after our chuckle was a little outraged. “Shouldn’t we call child protective services? It’s just wrong.”
I shook my head in befuddlement. “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there. Maybe they’ll think of a better solution.”
So twenty minutes goes by, and no kids show up in the lobby. I breathe a little sigh of relief. Another guest comes in and checks in with me, and the bellman shows them to their room and helps with their luggage. He comes back afterwards his jaw hanging open in astonishment.
“What?” I asked with a sinking feeling in my stomach. The new guests checking in had been just a couple of doors down from the Cougar.
“There are 5 kids in pajamas sitting outside room ### in the hall.” He whispered. “And I could hear the mom and her boss inside the room from the hallway.” ICK!
I winced and sighed. “I’ll call the MOD…”
I gave him the Reader’s Digest version of what happened over the phone. He was only slightly less astonished than me. He said he’d have security check it out, and if the kids were still in the hall, that we’d have to interrupt the Cougar. By the time security arrived the kids weren’t in the room. I guess her original time estimate was pretty close to the mark. I’m told that security knocked anyways and explained to the Cougar that her children can’t be left unattended in the halls or any public areas of the hotel.
Alright so the only thing Hobbit like about me is my somewhat hairy feet, but I still love that title.
Last weekend my lovely fiancée and I went on our much-anticipated trip to Las Vegas. It was her third or fourth time, and my first. Over all it was an astounding experience. The two greatest highlights being, watching my fiancée win a $2,200 jackpot on the penny slots and the absolutely mind-blowing experience of seeing Garth Brooks live. I have some notes at home on my Xoom of some traveling/Hotel stuff that I’d like to talk about in a later post. I don’t have them with me at the moment, so I thought I would just talk about the trip tonight.
We flew out last Thursday night, and that brought a certain degree of madness with it, because of the power outage in San Diego which had cancelled a number of flights and people were running around trying to find new flights that would bring them close enough to San Diego to drive the rest of the way. The flight to Vegas was one of the louder more boisterous ones I’ve ever been on. I guess that’s to be expected right? I got to blow my fiancée’s mind though when I insisted that we sit in the Emergency Escape row. This was a South West flight and we had pretty good A priority boarding so we actually had the option. She had never sat in the emergency row before, but I’m quite tall, so it’s something I do whenever I get the chance. She hadn’t realized just how much more space there was. So much so that she snapped a picture with her iPhone and uploaded it to Facebook before our departure. We got into Vegas around 11:30 at night. We checked-in to our room, ran upstairs and dumped our carry on bags and went back downstairs to the casino to start our gambling.
We stayed at New York New York, and over all the best part of the casino was the Party Pit, the little area of tables (mostly Black Jack) where they have a stage in the middle and hot cage dancers up on it. I knew at that moment, that despite the ever-present cigarette smoke, I was going to like Vegas! I didn’t snap the picture above, but that’s a pretty accurate representation of what I found. And I only have a mild case of whiplash from all the girls on bachelorette parties running around in low and short cut dressed. Apparently Halloween is the holiday when every girl gets permission to Ho it up, but Vegas is the city where ever girl gets the same permission. I’m not complaining. I love that city now!
The fiancée showed me how to play the penny slots. And by the end of the evening I was $80 up, which was nice. Too bad it didn’t stay that way. Vegas ended up keeping $240ish from my bank account, but that’s what I had gone into it being comfortable loosing.
We had massages the next more which were so-so. Honestly, New York New York isn’t exactly known for their spa, but the Spa facilities set my expectations pretty high for the massage itself, and it just didn’t live up to the expectation. Nothing worst in a masseuse then cold hands. And I know they’re in the middle of a dessert and it’s fraking hot outside (it was 90 degrees when we got off the plane at 11:30!), but the room doesn’t need to be freezing cold either, that probably contributed to the masseuse’s cold hands. Over all the whole service was just very rushed, her hands were moving at a frantic pace. And I couldn’t tell if that was just her “style” if she was phoning it in or what. I was talking to the Spa Director at my property and he said that there are a lot of half assed massage schools in Vegas where they just crank out massage therapists like any other trade school. It was a very weird experience for me, because I’ve had so many great massages where I work, and from a large variety of therapists. At first I just thought that maybe I wasn’t shutting off my manager brain and I was being too analytical about it. In the end, I did ask to speak with the spa manager after my massage. She came down and not wanting to be one of “those guests” I prefaced the conversation with my business card and saying “I’m in the industry, you don’t have to do anything for me, but I feel like you need this feedback.” I told her how the facilities were spotless, the Reception staff and Locker Room attendants were great, and then I gave her my big but about the massage itself. I prefaced the whole thing by saying she didn’t have to do anything for me, and so she didn’t do anything but thank me for taking the time to give her the feedback. It was a very practiced and easy customer service response on her part. And afterwards I felt better for having at least gotten it off my chest. Next time we’re in Vegas I want to try the spa at one of the places that are more known for having a mind-blowing spa. I already have some suggestions from my Spa Director who says his favorite place in the world is Vegas.
The fiancée and I spent out afternoon gambling and getting lunch. At one point I topped out at about $125 up after hitting the black jack tables (minus the dancers because of the time of day), but that all got sucked back away. I was across the casino watching another $20 drain away into a penny slot when the fiancée called me. I could barely hear her over the noise of the casino finally she’s like “Can you just come here. I don’t know, but there’s something wrong with the machine I think.” I got there to find flashing lights, and her machine’s screen announcing her $2220 jackpot and asking her to please wait for an attendant to come give her her money! It was a really cool experience even though it didn’t happen to me. We drew the attention of a couple of onlookers, the general sentiment being “I didn’t know a penny slot could give out that much!” and “How did you do that?” Really? Like we can replicate it with an exact series of steps? I’m pretty sure if we could, we’d never ever leave Vegas. We’d be professional penny slot players!
Once we had her money firmly in hand (she let me hold it a little bit). We went off to a bar for a celebratory drink. Then up to the rooms to get ready for the concert.
I’ll say more, but I’ll just preface the story by saying, Best. Concert. EVAR.
Garth Brooks is a consummate show man and entertainer and from the very moment he walked out on that stage he was electric. I didn’t do very much research into the show before we went, but it’s literally a one man show. He doesn’t have a band out there with him. It’s just Garth, a guitar, and a couple of bottles of water. The theater is incredibly tinny (maybe 1,500 people?) which is an incredibly intimate experience when you’re dealing with such a seasoned performer. Before he “retired” he was playing packed stadiums and blowing people away. In a space that small, you could just feel every body in the theater quiver at the same frequency as his guitar strings. And he’s out there incredibly casually, just some black boots, jeans, a checkered button up shirt with a T-shirt underneath, and a ball cap. It’s like he came out to play the stage at his favorite dive bar. The first half of the show is Garth talking about his life and growing up and the music that influenced him most on his path to becoming a performer. He sprinkles the show with stories and little covers of songs that were meaningful to him from other artists or highlight the story he’s telling, and you laugh a lot throughout the show. It’s almost stand up comedy between his little bits of music, but it’s more like you have a good friend who’s great a captivating a room with funny anecdotes. Then about half way through the show, he dives into his own catalog of music and it just cranks up to 11 from there. At least half the audience is singing along, either out loud or just under their breaths. And then comes the most amazing part, he turns up the house lights and takes audience requests and questions. He only took about 4, but that’s mostly because every song has a whole story around it for him to tell. I’m not ashamed to say that when considering all the songs of his that I just love, that I froze in a moment of pure overload and couldn’t even attempt to stand up to be one of those 4 requests because I had no idea what I would say if he called on me. I’m kind of glad I didn’t know about that part of the show before hand because I would have been contemplating it for the last 2 months since we bought the tickets.
Anyways, it was an amazing experience. If you even half way like Garth Brooks, go and see the show because you will not be disappointed.
The rest of our trip was kind of a whirl wind. We went out for a very late dinner with one of my fiancée’s friends from high school. He lives in Vegas now and he showed us around a little bit. We wandered around the Venetian and Palazzo Hotels. The concert was in the Wynn and that was an absolutely beautiful hotel. All 3 of them impressed me far more than New York New York which I just found a little cheesy. How can you even compare the New York New York to the Venetian especially the freaking canals through the hotel? Really? Although the price probably reflects that….
I think that just about wraps up our trip. The flight home was quiet and uneventful. We got back exhausted and a little forlorn to not be away somewhere adventurous together. We’re already plotting our possible return trips. I want to see David Copperfield next!
Apparently if you type in “shyster necromancy” on Google, I’m the #2 result. This post will probably only raise my SEO on that search term…
You would think from the title of this post that this was going to be one of my nerdier posts. It’s not. It’s purely work related, and that just makes it even odder.
I’m sitting at my desk, just minding my own business, when my phone rings. It’s one of my agents calling me from reservations. She insists that I have to come up and take over this call, because she’s been on the phone with the same person for nearly 45 minutes and can’t make any headway in finishing the reservation because the lady just keeps babbling about nonsense. I’ll be honest I rolled my eyes in annoyance.
“Really? You’re serious?” I ask.
“Yeah, I can’t take it anymore. You have to take over.”
Reluctant sigh, “Alright. I’ll be right there.”
I drudge up the stairs and come into the office with a hefty glare prepared. All the ladies at the desk are all in a tizzy of laughter and bafflement over this call I’ve been brought in to finish up. I glare them into silence, because this just seems ridiculous to me at this point. I’ve been in this business for 12+ years, and I’ve never had a phone call or guest at the desk so nuts that I couldn’t get my job done. I get on the phone and make some lame excuse about how my agent was called away to assist another guest who needed her personal assistance, but that I’m her manager and happy to assist with completing her reservation.
I can’t really accurately describe the next 25 to 30 minutes that followed, it was that surreal. There’s a certain level of crazy babbling that you can absorb, but the rest just becomes white noise after a while that your brain can’t even begin to try to decode. Trying to absorb it all is useless because you have no common point of reference to start from. Sure we’re both speaking the same language, fluently, but we’re coming from totally different subjective realities.
So here was my strategy. She babbled a lot of nonsense that I couldn’t really understand, but a lot of it was weird magical malarkey. She had concerns that during her bath service in the spa that the attendants were going to be shapeshifters that would work necromancy on her. She babbled about faeries & the fey and King Arthur and Merlin. She used the word shyster and shystery constantly. She changed words using “Blah” at the beginning or “ery” at the end constantly. Every now and then she would say “that’s just a little joke of mine” but never tied to anything that seemed remotely related to a joke. So in between murmuring non-committal agreements, I worked in the questions I needed to get answered to get her reservation made and her off the phone. So gradually over the course of our phone call I got all the information I needed, but could barely keep myself from laughing. And the most awkward part was that she wanted a full description of the agent that was helping her so that she could thank her for all of her help when she arrives later this week. But she also wants me to screen her for being a shapeshifter by looking for 30 to 40 seconds into her eyes to see if I see small crosses in them or the color change. And she has to hold her face very still, but I can’t tell her that’s what I’m checking for. There was also some magic word that I was supposed to say that might make her react if she was a shapeshifter. She’s never seen it happen, but she was told about it when she was in France. Then I got to ear about her trip to “London or Blahndon as I call it, then I fled across the pond to France” and on and on and on. Her conversations with the Taxi driver that drove her over 100 miles from one city to the next on this trip, because she doesn’t drive herself. I pity that driver. She told me about the people at the front desk of the hotel she’s staying at now, and what she thinks about them and their energies. She had a brief commentary on Christianity and the Bible, but “I’m not a Bible thumper mind you” It also might be an ill omen that her reservation needs two confirmation numbers (because she’s changing rooms during her stay and thus has two reservations). I’m supposed to check in a couple of hours to make sure her reservation is still there and that no shystery is taking place. Because if it’s going to happen that’s when it would be. Oh and her groceries from Whole Foods got stolen from outside her hotel room in Monterrey. No really this all just happened.
You’d think I was making all this up. I’m not.
I wonder what her phone bill is like….
I honestly wish that we recorded our calls so that I could share this with more people, because even the people in the office watching me on this call can’t really comprehend what she was saying and I can’t remember enough of it to do the experience any justice. Only one person can even come close to understanding what happened and that’s the initial agent who talked to her. Of course, she’ll be here soon and then they’ll all understand I imagine.
So, she’s arriving in 3 days, and I don’t know whether to look forward to it, for the amazing story that might come out of interacting with this mad woman, or to dread the enormous waste in my time she’s going to cause in my day. I’m going to likely err on the side of enjoying the hilarity she is likely to bring to my day, as long as she stays pleasantly insane and doesn’t become nasty or start causing a scene.
In the end, when I finally got off the phone. I just sat there and laughed with my staff for a good 5 or 10 minutes. There isn’t much else to do in that scenario. And of course accuse them all of being shapeshifters and necromancers!