Posts Tagged Bad People

Don’t be a Scrooge This Holiday Season

No one wants a Scrooge staying at their Hotel

I’ve talked a lot about tipping before. Specifically about tipping the hospitality professionals that service you when you’re at a hotel. That’s an important word “professionals” we don’t do it for fun. OK…not just for fun. We do it to get paid as much as because we find some enjoyment from it (those of us that aren’t twisted bitter Gollum like creatures). I’m of the firm belief that tipping is one of the smaller expenses you encounter while traveling, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. Far from it, and the nicer of a place you’re staying at, the less of a cheap bastard you should be.

A fellow blogger and hotel worker, The Hook, had a recent post on this exact matter. Here is his post: The Hook’s Definitive Guide to Tipping and Service I recommend you read it if you travel even a little. Even if you’re staying at a Motel6 you should tip your housekeeper at least.

I left a comment on his post that I felt like highlighting here.

Don’t forget that tipping your Housekeeper, Concierge and the Valet is just as important as the Bellman. And the 55 cents you had at the bottom of your pocket and you dumped on the dresser and didn’t feel like picking back up before leaving doesn’t count as a tip for housekeeping, it should just count as littering you cheap douchebag. How much did your car cost? Or how much will it cost if the valet dings up your rental? Throw the guy a tip or park your own car. And you know how the Concierge knows about that really awesome restaurant they sent you to? They went and eat there, and only occasionally did they get some sort of “industry deal” to do it, and the hotel likely didn’t pick up the tab. They likely paid for it out of their own pocket, so that they could experience it, recommend it to you, and improve your vacation, throw a few bucks into the cause. If you don’t have cash hit the ATM. If you’re not willing to tip, then stay at a Motel 6 or stay home.
And I can’t agree more that you need to actually express to the Front Desk what your expectations and needs are. And it’s so much easier to accommodate those requests if you ask while you’re at the desk, before you get into the room. We’re not mind readers. But we are very good listeners.

It’s nothing I haven’t said before. But I think it bared repeating.

Lastly, I wanted to share these two pictures I snapped from my phone while checking rooms a couple of weeks ago. These rooms were right next door to one another, are identical in size and layout, and yet one was noticeably messier than the other, there was also one other noticeable difference.

You're a bad person if you do this.

All the piles put together added to a little under $4, which for the size of the room is descent. If everyone left $4 I wouldn’t have anything to complain about. This was just insulting because they don’t know that I’m going to come along, find this crap, scoop it up, and turn it into dollar bills for my housekeepers. I can’t even tell if they were trying to send a literal message or not. It doesn’t seem to spell anything to me. Seems more like coins stacked into a giant middle finger, or at least that was the message I received. It’s not like they were too lazy to go out, get dollar bills, and leave a real tip, this probably too more energy than that. And this wasn’t just the bottom change in their pocket that they dumped out the night before and decided they didn’t want to bother picking up. This was someone’s idea of a joke. One of my female staff said “That would be like a guy offering to buy me a drink at a bar and ordering a water!”

You're a rock star

This is far and above what they needed to leave. This person probably has worked in some sort of service industry in the past. Either that or has money and doesn’t mind sharing it around. Either way they’re awesome in my book. That’s a tip that says “I know there are some cheap bastards out there. I’m going to make up for it.”

Now does anyone want to guess which room was a bigger mess? The stacks of change or the $20 bill?

I won’t even dignify that with an answer. I think we all know what the truth is.

Good day to you.

I SAID GOOD DAY!

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Crazy Hotel Guest Story – The Naked Superman

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”

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Crazy Hotel Guest Story – Slaying The Email Troll

The Internet Troll: A vile creature that lurks in dark dank rooms, using the internet to say nasty things that he just can't say in real life.

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.

Best wishes,

<hotelnerd>

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.

Sometimes being an asshole just doesn't get you what you want.

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.

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Crazy Hotel Guest Story – The Cougar and Her Cubs

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.

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