Thursday, January 8, 2009

In the Inn

I work at a hotel.
Well, technically, it’s an Inn. But the point is, people sleep there. In beds. And when people from many different backgrounds all converge in order to sleep on *your* beds, the following is inevitable.

“Front Desk!” (in a suitably, I’m here to help YOU with your problems tone of voice)
*I’m in room 269…and, well to be honest, the beds are uncomfortable. They are hard”
(momentary panic….what am *I* supposed to say? “did you check for a pea under the mattress” or even worse…”are you sure you’re not imagining things???) I’m so sorry ma’am, could you try a room in the main building? I know we’re replacing mattresses here.”
“Well okaaay…”
(new room is given, second call is received)
“I just got up here, and the beds are the same. And I smell paint in the air. Do you TELL people you are doing renovations when they call?? This is unacceptable” **click**
(up at desk, paraphrased for your convenience/enjoyment)
“Your hotel sucks” (that’s INN folks, and don’t you forget it!!)
“The fact that you are doing renovations makes it seem tacky” (ummm, what’s the point of renovations again??)
“Even though my friends slept great last night, your beds are too hard” (did you ever think YOU were the odd one?? And you expect me to do….what??)
“For 20 dollars more, I could have actually stayed somewhere comfortable. I just don’t want to stay here anymore. I just want to go to sleep. Me and my daughter are tired” (daughter looks tired, like she could really sleep ANYwhere, trying to ignore mom by all appearances).

Now. The Problem.

It was not that she found the accommodations substandard. *You* will get people like that. It was that throughout the entire discourse, she smiled and said things in a cheerful tone, and somewhere in her mind, this allowed her to not be as pleasant with the words she used, gave her a license to say things that were not as polite because she was “being nice” by smiling and sounding happy and laughing every now and then.

So when she hinted at just wanting to leave, hinting (hinting being the operative word here) that there should be no payment, I pulled out policy. I would have had to anyways, once I checked her in, the system will not let me NOT charge her, but we do have a 24 hour cancellation policy. And I didn’t feel any better when she stood there and told me that it shouldn’t apply to her because someone ELSE had made the reservations, and she hadn’t known. (exempt through ignorance….whatever)

All in all? I found her something that would work, her daughter gave me a brilliant smile behind her back, and I got to watch her interact with her family in the exact passive-aggressive way she had towards me. Her daughter and I exchanged smiles with a hint of laughter in them, and I thought:

“I’ve got your number lady. Now that I know what you’re doing, it won’t work on me”

I hope she slept well. I really do.

And that her mother had an OK night too.

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