Sunday, November 30, 2014

Dear Hotel Guests

Working in the hotel industry, I get a different side of things from everyone staying at the hotel.  Whereas they are out to supposedly have a relaxing time away from home, I am trying to earn a living without having to gently sob at my desk at least three hours every day.  However, guests rarely hold up their end of the bargain, making me break mine.  It almost feels like the majority of people become even more edgy and prickish when they stay at a hotel.  Normal people suddenly feel the need to be pampered and preened by people barely making minimum wage, and if they don't get what they want, they throw hissy fits and threaten to post bad things on TripAdvisor.  Well guess what?  I don't negotiate with terrorists.  Maybe they feel like since they have to pay to stay there, they are owed everything, but in reality, I am just renting you a room for a finite amount of time.  The right there is where one of the dumbest things I see in my line of work occurs.

We are very clear with people that check in time starts at 3PM, and that you must check out of your room by 11AM.  We are not a large hotel, and we have to get the rooms cleaned up for the next arrival.  I'd say 70% of the arguments people have with me on any given day stem from their not wanting to honor our checkin or checkout times.  Fine.  Ok.  I get it.  You want in earlier and out later.  This is somewhat understandable, but not practical, so that's not what this letter is about.  It is about checkouts though.

I've worked my job for eight years.  Somehow, it still amazes me every time that when people come to the Front Desk to check out, I have to ask them, "Are you completely out of the room?"  I have to do this, because there is a 50% chance I will get an answer somewhere along the lines of, "No, I just have to go back in and get my things" or "No, I'll be out in 30 minutes though".  You cannot check out of a room if you are planning on going back into that room.  It negates the entire purpose of checking out, yet people think it is a perfectly natural thing to do.  By that very same logic, I should be able to check you in at 3PM, and not let you into the room for a couple hours.  Something tells me you'd have a pretty big problem with that one, but hey, why listen to the guy that does this for a living?  You know more than I do anyway. 

Everyone lately is so damned worried about not shopping on Thanksgiving.  Do you care the other 364 days of the year when you mock, berate, and make life hell for customer service workers?  Does anyone care when they book hotel rooms or go to restaurants on Thanksgiving or Christmas, or do we only care that the good people of Radio Shack get to have turkey with their families?

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