Today I just have a few amusing anecdotes about some of the ridiculous questions we get from time to time. These are from a few coworkers as well as some I've had myself.
A few weeks ago, those of us in the United States just "sprang ahead" and had to move our clocks ahead one hour for Daylight Savings Time. My colleague received a call from one of our guests who asked "What time is it?" Now, in this day and age, that's kind of a ridiculous question as there are most likely at least 3 clocks in the room: the actual clock, the TV, and the guest's smartphone. My colleague, being a professional, doesn't laugh at the crazy question and answers "Good Afternoon, it is 1:20pm." The guest replies "No, but we just jumped ahead. What time is it?" My colleague, once again the professional, replies "Yes sir, it is 1:20pm." The guest once again, now irate: "No, you don't understand. We jumped ahead last night. What time is it now?" Once again, he replies: "It is 1:20pm." The guest then hangs up on him. It amuses me that this guest not only didn't look at his own devices but, when told the time by an employee, believed he was either being lied to or thought my coworker was so stupid that he either A.) did not understand the question or B.) did not know the simple math involved if our clocks didn't automatically update. Welcome to Hospitality.
Due to Covid-19 my city, just like many others, implemented a ban on dining in restaurants. Restaurants and bars can only do take-out or delivery service. No exceptions. One of my colleagues at the Front Desk received a call just yesterday asking if our restaurant is open. "Unfortunately, due to the State of Emergency and the declaration by the Governor, (restaurant name here) is closed until further notice." "Oh okay.. Well can you make a reservation for next Monday for lunch?" "Unfortunately, sir, we cannot break the law and open the restaurant." Welcome to Hospitality.
This is one of my first stories in hospitality. I was a bellman at a coastal hotel that had five buildings across its campus. Three of these buildings were almost their own hotels; they each had multiple rooms for different guests but guests still had to check in at the main building. The remaining two were cottages that a single family could rent which were very expensive compared to our normal rooms. The particular buildings in this story are Outer Building (OB) and Oceanview Cottage (OC). OC has 5 bedrooms, a kitchen, living room, 3 bathrooms, and a view of the ocean. Also note it was raised, so you had to take a small set of steps up to the actual building. These two buildings are the two farthest apart buildings on property; there is no clear-cut path from one to the other with a bell cart.
One hot, humid, sunny day a massive SUV pulls up and out pours a family of five with the largest amount of luggage I had ever seen. They check-in at the main building and one of my bellman agrees to meet them over at OB to help them unpack. While it's strenuous work, he gets it done and that's the end of it. Or, should be the end of it. A few hours later, we get a few complaints from the other guests in the building that there is screaming and children being way too loud in OB. Well we are almost sold out so the only place we can move them to is OC. We offer this move complimentary as there is no other option to move them too and they are disturbing our other guests. The family agrees and I'm sent over to move their bags. Normally, this wouldn't be an issue: load the bags into the SUV and meet them at the other building to unpack. That is not what happened. This family decided they just wanted to drive and get settled in so I was tasked with dragging every bag they had to OC with my bell cart. I smile and agree because that's my job and I'm already sweating through my uniform. So the family drives off and I start dragging their bags to my cart which eventually fills up to the literal edges. There isn't space for a mouse to fart on this cart.
Remember, OB and OC are the farthest apart buildings (a couple hundred yards) but this is where it's tricky. There are two ways to go: A.) drag the cart down the sidewalk on the main road which is hilly and dangerous or B.) drag it through a dirt parking lot and grassy backyard of the OC. I chose option B. So there I am, dragging a metric tonne of luggage in 80+F weather with ungodly humidity, pulling this cart over dirt and gravel, through hedges, over untamed grass, and through an alley between a fence and the building that I had no business fitting through. Finally I get to the OC, drenched in sweat and gasping for air. I put on as much professionalism as I can and start dragging the bags up the staircase. They do not offer assistance. Once I'm done, I let them know if they need anything else, to please call the Front Desk. I usually said this A.) to let them know I was done and to get their wallets ready if they so chose and B.) to genuinely let them know if they needed anything, that we were always around. The patriarch thanks me and says he doesn't have cash so he'll have to get me later. (Right...) I don't have the energy to even be disappointed and I usually don't expect tips anyway since that way I'm never disappointed so it's fine. I drag my cart back to the Main Building and attempt to not go into cardiac arrest, thankful that I won't have to deal with them anymore.
I come into work the next day happy and ready for a new day. The humidity and heat from the day prior have disappeared and given way to clouds which threaten to open up at any minute. I'm thrilled since there is nothing quite like watching a thunderstorm roll over the ocean from the deck of your hotel. It's just amazing. About halfway through my shift, the rain starts and it. is. a. downpour. This is like that scene in Forrest Gump where he's in Vietnam and drawls "Little bitty stingin' rain, and big ol' fat rain, rain that flew in sideways, and sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath. Shoot, it even rained at night." I was loving it. Then we get a call. "We need to move rooms! Our room is going to flood! We don't feel safe!" Guess who? Yup. Family of 5. Well, we are sold out, that was a comp upgrade, and they are not flooding. The building it raised and it has not rained nearly enough to even come close to "flooding". My 5'0 manager tells them as such and offers come down, in the pouring rain, to talk to them and see about the flooding. The guests agree anxiously and my manager dons a rain coat that goes down to her shins, removes her heels, and walks down barefoot in the driving rain, to meet with the guests. (She was such a badass. I was giggling like a madman the entire time.) They insist on moving to the Main Building where they can be safe. They "don't even need rooms, they can just sleep on cots in the hallway!" That's not happening for a long list of reasons (guest safety, fire safety, hotel policy, just not happening, to name a few).
Long story short, they agree to stay in OC but my manager drives their 7ft tall SUV up to the main building so the engine doesn't get flooded by an inch and a half of water. I believe they did end up moving one more time but I was not the lucky one to move them back up to the main building. Oh, and that tip he forgot to give me? $3. For over a dozen bags dragged across kingdom come, he gave me $3. They came back the next year but that is a story for another time.
I have nearly a decade of experience in hospitality across the country. With this experience comes some stories to tell and advice to give.