Sunday, August 7, 2011

Buck Presents: Tales from the Hotel: Customers are Fucking Idiots

As a continuation of my previous post, here are a couple of tales from my time as a front desk clerk. These stories wouldn't make much of an article individually, so I slammed three of them together. Enjoy my suffering.

Old Lady vs Parking Lot
I'm working the front desk at the hotel one night, when an old lady comes in. She wants a room for the night. I give her one. She asks where she can park, and I instruct her to drive around to the other side of the building to the very clearly visible and large parking lot that has other cars parked within it. She takes her key, goes back to her car, and she begins to drive off. I watch as she pulls back onto the road and takes off towards the highway. I assume that she is going to take care of whatever other business she has, and think nothing else of it.

About five minutes later she drives back to the front of the hotel. As she walks towards me, I can tell she is a little irritated. She asks me where the parking lot is again, and again I tell her it's on the other side of the building, complete with me pointing the direction for her to go. She accepts the answer, and goes back to her car. This time I watch her, and she gets back on the road and heads towards the highway again. I am befuddled. Roughly five minutes later she comes back, angry at me because I keep giving her wrong directions to the parking lot. Now, I'm not much of a people person, especially when it comes to dumb people. When she got huffy and puffy with me over my directions, it took every ounce of my being to not yell back and/or laugh. Since this old lady is clearly missing some important parts in her brain, I very calmly and slowly explain to her that if she drives forward, stays off of the road, and just drive right along side the building, she will find the parking lot quite easily. She was still pissed as she left, and actually found the parking lot this time.

Naturally, the next day I came in and discovered that she filed a complaint against me to the manager, so I got wrote up. Dumb ass old broad.

Grandma and Grandpa Want Some Alone Time
Sitting around behind the front desk again, and an old couple and what I assumed where their grand kids come in. They get a single room with two beds, and take off (they managed to find the parking lot). A little while later the old guy comes down and asks if we have any kind of divider he can rent. I'm sure I looked at him a little funny, since no one had ever asked if we had something like that. He goes on to explain that he and his wife, direct quote, "want some alone time." I stare at him for a few seconds, and then ask, "What?" He repeats himself. Grandma and Grandpa wanna hump, but don't want to kids to see it. I tell him that I would see if I can find anything for him, but I didn't think we had anything. I tell him I'd give his room a call, and he heads back to his room. I didn't even bother to look, so I called and gave him the negative.

He comes back down about an hour later. Apparently he and his wife really want to get some nasty, so he asks if it is possible to get another room. I tell him yes, and gave him the price of another room. He doesn't like the thought of paying for two rooms, and asks if they could just split the cost of one room over both rooms. Basically, he wanted a free room for the kids to roam around in while they slap their genitals together. Again, I look at him confused, and tell him that there is no way I can do that, and I would probably get fired if I did. I make the offer of a second room again, but he doesn't have enough money for it, so he just sadly walked back to his room.

I felt kind of bad for him. Old man just wanted to get him some, but there wasn't anything I could do unless he was willing to pay.

The Day I Almost Beat Two Guys with a Club
Towards the end of my tenure at the hotel as a front desk clerk, these two road workers came in. I'll call them Frank and Dan. From day one, they were a constant pain in my ass. They didn't like the weekly rate we gave them, which was about $20 a night under the regular price. They demanded to see the list of our taxes, which I refused to show them, mostly because I didn't think we even had such a list. If they didn't have the same room from week to week, they were pissed. They didn't understand the pre-authorization process (basically, a pre-auth makes sure you have enough money on your credit/debit card to cover the room and any other charges), and that pissed them off. For about a full month, every week day they would come down to bitch at me for one reason or another, and every time I would have to explain to them that I couldn't do anything because all the management went home at 5pm, so I was the only person there and they would have to wait until the morning to talk to anyone in charge. They never understood that very complicated idea, so we argued every day.

The day I almost snapped on them was a day from hell. I came in to work, and was told that we had a very large bus tour coming in and would be giving the hotel a large sum of money, so they took priority over the other guests. So all the road/construction/railroad workers that were used to getting their way would be pissed, and guess who would have to deal with them. Lucky me. After about four or five hours of dealing with large, pissed off workers complaining about not getting the same rooms they usually got, Dan shows up. He is talking on his cell phone as he goes to check in. He and Frank usually get a smoking room, but because of the tour they didn't get one, though we were able to put them on the bottom floor, which has a door to the outside so they can still smoke. As he is filling out the paper work, I point out to him that we had to move them to a different room, which he was ok with. I also informed him that it was a non-smoking room, and pointed out our Non-Smoking Policy (if they smoke in the room, we WILL charge them $250, since it is a non-smoking room). I point out the highlighted $250 on the paperwork, and make him sign it, which means he understands the non-smoking portion. He signs it, gets his key, and goes to his room. 

Frank shows up about 20 minutes later. He is not talking on the phone, so I have his undivided attention. I inform him that they are in a different room, that it is a non-smoking room, that he has to sign the Non-Smoking agreement, all of that. He fills the paper out, signs his name at the bottom, takes his key, and goes to the room. Low and behold, about 15 minutes later here they come, and they look PISSED. They bitch about not having the same room they usually do. I inform them that I told them both about the room change, and they both said that it was fine. Dan said he was on his phone, so I should have made it more clear. I agree with him, but point out that Frank was not incumbered  in any way, and he was fine with it. Then they get into the non-smoking thing. They bitch and bitch and moan and complain, they reserved a smoking room, smokers have rights too, etc etc. I wait for them to stop, calmly take out their individual paper work, and point out that they both signed the non-smoking clause and said they understood it. Dan said he was on his phone, yadda yadda. I ask if he always signs things without understand what he's signing for, and then point out that I had Frank's complete attention, so if he wanted to complain, he should have done so before he signed it. They continue to yell at me, and I just sit back in my chair, and tell them that if they want to do anything about it, they will have to do so in the morning when management is there. They huff and puff their way back to their room.

About an hour later they come back  down. They are both smoking as they walk into the lobby. Our lobby is a non-smoking lobby. They come to tell me that they can smoke wherever they want. They give the hotel almost $400 a week, and that gives them the right to do whatever they want. I tell them that for the same price, they can rent out an apartment for an entire month. Frank blows smoke in my face. I'm a smoker, so it didn't bother me too much, but it did strike me as very disrespectful. I inform them that our lobby is non-smoking, to which they laugh. I then tell them that if they don't leave the lobby, I can have them removed from the hotel, I would charge them $250 a piece for smoking in the lobby, and I would charge them the regular, full price for their room. They said I didn't have the power to do that, which is true. So I called the general manager, informed him of what was going on, and he gave me the go-ahead. I handed the phone to Dan so he could hear it straight from the boss man's mouth. Dan tried to pull some shit, but boss man wasn't having any of it, and told Dan that either they could smoke outside, or stay at another hotel. Dan hangs the phone up, and he and Frank continue to bitch. While this is happening, I just keep thinking about a "key ring" we have that has all the master keys and maintenance keys on it. When I say "ring," I actually mean a solid, wooden club that's about a foot and a half long, and about an inch thick. All I really wanted to do was take the club, and smash them in the face with it. Since I didn't want to go to jail for murder, I instead sat back down in my chair, and told them that if they want to keep bitching, they will have to do so in the morning. They get all red-faced, and head back to their room.

Later that night, I wrote my resignation, telling management that if I didn't quit, I was going to assault them with the club, and probably bring a lawsuit upon the hotel. They appreciated my honesty, and let me resign.

Two weeks after I quit, Frank and Dan fucking left, and never came back.

So, in conclusion, if you ever stay at a hotel, please be nice to the front desk clerks. You never know if they have a solid, blunt object at the ready.

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