I was continually astounded by the stupidity of people who came into my little realm of minding a hotel during the wee hours of the morning. It wasn’t just the exhausted traveler asking me how long the 24 hour pool was open for (I was asked that once a month, no lie), that is more of a brain fart then stupidity, it was people who showed up thinking that they were special. That rules were for other people, not them. And that I, being a lowly desk clerk, was an idiot. As the previous hotel story chapter might have hinted at…I didn’t take that kind of crap from people lightly. And management tended to back me on my decisions once they understood what I asked myself while these nobility wannabe travelers were giving me a hard time. ”Do I really want you in my hotel?” When management figured out that was my litmus test, they left me alone. Well, that and its impossible to find someone who actually wants to work third shift. So lets explore some of these idiots, shall we?
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you want to go to a tourist trap for the July 4th weekend, especially when the 4th lands on a Saturday, you should call ahead of time for reservations because they are going to be sold out early. But not this guy. In his brain, who would want to go to a tourist trap on that weekend? Why, everyone he knows is at home. I’m hoping that was the thought process. Reality was probably much worse. We had the No Vacancy sign up since Thursday. He drives up to my hotel on Saturday night. There isn’t a hotel for 90 miles in any direction. Seriously, we gave up looking for one Friday night for someone. He starts to walk up to the door having apparently missed the giant glowing billboard out front that had “NO VACANCY” in bright, cheerful colors. He notices the sign I put up on the door to catch idiots like him so I wouldn’t have to deal with them. It says, “No Vacancy”. He turns around and starts to get into his car. He then gets back out of the car and comes marching towards the door. His wife gets out and is pleading with him to get back into the car. He was having none of it. I know what he’s going to ask. And I’m ready. He walks up, slaps his hand on the counter (always a sign of intelligence I find), and asks for a room. Here’s the conversation that takes place:
Idiot: I want a room.
Me: I’m sorry sir, we’ve been sold out since earlier this week. There isn’t a hotel room to be had in this town.
Idiot: What the Hell is going on around here that all the rooms are taken?
Now, I compare this statement to somebody going to Daytona Beach, Florida during Spring Break and being amazed that all the hotel rooms are gone. Truly, an idiotic question. His wife has poked her head in with a concerned and apologetic look on her face. But I had the situation under control…
Me: Druid Convention, sir.
Idiot: Druid Convention?
Me: Yes sir! Did you notice the full moon as you drove in?
Me: Well, when the moon is full, all the druids come down from the mountains and take up every room in town. Happens once a month. Really quite crazy to see.
Idiot (looking perplexed and trying to wrap his brain around my comments) So…Druid convention?
Me (cheerfully appearing helpful) Yes sir!
Now his wife knew immediately what was going on. But she knew better. So she covered her mouth and ran back to the car where she probably tried to compose herself before he came back in. I bought her a few minutes by giving him a few areas to try that were 90 or so miles away. I kept a straight face throughout this entire bit. One of my better performances, really.
Now that story was fun for me. Sure he was an idiot, but harmless and it cost me little to deal with him. Our next contestant, on the other hand, pissed me off. Never a good idea. Sometimes in a tourist town you get busy at odd hours on the weekend. People who decided to drive in at the last minute all arriving at the same time. It happens, hazard of the job if you will. This happened on one of those nights. I had a line of people clear out the lobby into the parking lot. I’m by myself and I’m running through them as quick as I can. Fortunately I’m the one who set this particular system up, so I know the ins and outs well enough to short cut things and get people out in a hurry. The line moves briskly, but more people just keep showing up. I think I ended up selling 36 rooms in an hour and a half all told. All walk-ins, no reservations, except the last one. Now this woman walks up to the counter after being in line for a bit. She seems pleasant enough as she starts the conversation:
Woman: Wow, quite the line, huh?
Now, its important at this point to stress she really is pleasant sounding in that sentence. Smiling, inviting tone of voice, the whole 9.
Me: Yes maam, I tried to get through them as quickly as I could.
Before I can finish the sentence, which would have been “I’m sorry you had to wait so long, how can I help you”, she says:
Woman: Welcome to the real world.
She says this in a snarl. There is disgust and anger dripping from her voice. At this point I prayed she didn’t have a reservation so I could just get rid of her. But no, she’s got one. I look it up… 1st floor, back building, facing the outdoor pool, non smoking. These are, of course, the most sought after rooms in the hotel. Well, seeing as she was so nice to welcome me to the real world, I decided to pay her back in kind.
Me: Hmm. I’m terribly sorry maam, but it appears the guests who were due to check out of those rooms today stayed over. Its not company policy to move people unless we have to so we had to move you to a different room. And the only non smoking rooms we had available are in the 1st building, 4th floor.
You couldn’t possibly find a room further from the outdoor pool then the shithole I put her in. Free advice to everyone, never…and I do mean never, be mean to someone in the service industry at 2 or 3 in the morning. Its not going to end well for you. If you’re ordering food, expect it to have spit in it. If its a repair man, expect them to find more then what’s really wrong. And if its a hotel employee at check in, expect to find yourself in a room that I, personally, would have slept in my own damn car rather then sleep in that moldy ass room. I think she figured out as I typed away that she had screwed up, but her pride wouldn’t allow her to apologize. She took the keys, and her medicine, and scurried off to her room. Welcome to the real world, indeed.
Finally we have a man who was too drunk for his own good. We had a car show in town, and those are always huge pains in the ass. I’ve never understood the concept of paying rack rate for a hotel room (Just in case, you know the God-awfully expensive price you see on a piece of paper usually on the back of the hotel room door? That’s called the rack rate. Its the highest price the hotel can legally charge you for a room), spending untold amount of money getting your muscle car that gets like 5 miles to the gallon from a place that is usually two or three states away, and then either cruising up and down the strip at 3 miles per hour (if you’re lucky) for like the entire day and into the night or sitting in a lawn chair with a cooler full of beer and watch said cars drive 3 miles an hour past you all day long. That’s all these people do. We figured it out that they were spending, at a minimum, 700 bucks to do this. Insane. So with this as the backdrop, we have a gentleman who has a room directly above the lobby. He wants to make a phone call. Now this hotel is not what you would call high class. Or even medium class. We were pretty low class. I later moved to a much better one, but this place was a dump and the only thing we didn’t charge you for was the ice. There was another hotel in town, recently voted one of the 10 worst in America to absolute no surprise to me, that did charge for the ice. For phone calls you either had to have paid with a credit card so we could have one on file, or pay a 10 dollar phone deposit. This guy is furious about that fact. He calls me 3 times telling me to turn his phone on. I won’t budge. So he says he’ll come down to talk to me.
He comes storming into the lobby, throws 2 quarters at me (local calls were 50 cents…yes really), and demands to be able to order a pizza or he was going to shove those two quarters up my ass. Now, I have a rule. Its a simple rule. You can cuss me out, you can call me an idiot, you can bitch and moan all you want and I will stand there and sympathetically tell you I’m sorry and there’s nothing I can do for you. I won’t react to your words one bit…unless you threaten me. When you do that? All bets are off. This guy stood about 5 foot 6. I’m about 6 foot 4. So I stand up to my full height and look down at him.
Me: Let me explain to you what’s going to happen. You are going to leave my lobby and never come back in here. You are going to go back to your room and I don’t want to hear another peep out of you or I will call the cops and toss your ass onto the street. Should you try to carry through with your threat with the quarters, I will beat the ever living shit out of you, take my cane and shove it up your ass, call the cops, and put on a big display showing them how much of a cripple I am. The boys in the cellblock will just LOVE to hear about you getting your ass whipped by a crippled. Do we have an understanding or am I going to have to shove this cane (taps the cane) up your ass?
He mumbled something and left. Never did hear another peep out of him though. I kept the 50 cents. Seriously, don’t fuck with the Night Audit.