Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Having the Boys Over For, Well, Drunken Revelry!

When I do the night audit at work, there generally comes a time in the evenings (mornings rather) that for all the TV shows I've watched, for all the books I've read and coffee consumed, I get restless.

I get the urge to shut down current activities and DO something. Create something.

Anything really.

The night in question produced a short picture story with the main character inspired by my coworker, who in the end we suspect is eaten by an alligator.

Seeing as how I've got another audit coming up, it behooves me to think of new adventures.

While in the booze section of the local Safeway, I decided to get my main character drunk. Bottle of Cabernet in hand (my spaghetti sauce secret ingredient), I was smacked to a halt by the gleaming bottles of 30 proof and above.

Bottles. Clear bottles, tinted bottles. Faceted bottles cut to impress...and lure you into spending more on looks rather than flavor. More alcohol than needed to give TEN woolly mammoths alcohol poisoning.

I needed to ed-u-ma-kate myself. "I shall have him drink whiskey" I murmured, "and he shall get drunk and possibly pass out in a decorative pond and drown."

This garnered me a fully deserved incredulous look and subsequent sidling away from the skinny Asian boy lugging his 2 liter bottle of Smirnoff melon flavored vodka. I hope he plans on getting help to finish that.

Of all the family names, the Whiskey clan is possibly one of the oldest and most respected of Moonshine County. The County of Tequila sometimes tries to best it in the local version of the Olympics, but it's hard for them to train. All they have to work with are deserts and cacti.

Like Jacob and his 12 sons, the four sons of whiskey are Jim, Jack, Johnny, and James(on). This leads me to believe that Whiskey's first name is James. Similar to the vikings, Jameson, as the eldest, took his name from his father. The triplet younger brothers, unable to have this honor, chose for themselves other names.

Jim Bean, Jack Daniels, and Johnny Walker. Mr. Walker was a great triathlete. Unfortunately, his liver went out on him before he got much older than 47. The others took heed of their brother's misfortune and only drank when they had Wild Turkey ;)

I took mental notes. I bought my wine and gently foaming antibacterial melon scented hand soap. All I need add to the mix now is 1)too little sleep, 2) copious amounts of coffee (diluted with half and half to satisfy my calcium/milk requirement), and 3) a certain twist of the mind that can only happen when I'm wearing my magic tie and vest.

Bring it on.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Mowing the Median

Biking to work today, I saw the reason why we have copious "non pesticide vegetation control" signs up all over the bike road. Orange men walked up and down with weed eaters.

So intent! So community oriented! So....


So carefully watched by the man in the black uniform with badge on the shoulder. Not just community spirit, but encouraged community spirit.

Not a bad idea really; everybody wins.

And then I saw them. The females of the orange vested species.

There were two of them. The males seemed to far outnumber the females who in turn sought comfort in the safety of the each other's company.

Hey, if there were eight other guys with powerful and destructive machinery out there and all I had to defend myself was a rubber traffic cone or two...and couldn't run very far....(trust me), then I suppose I would keep trying to put my companion between me and them.

"Redgirl!" I scolded myself, "they probably just got caught littering and are now picking up after other people!"

Then I passed them and heard "He didn't mean to hurt no one but just 'cause he had a gun--"

Wild theories began forming, the story coagulated.

Steve from the hole in the wall coffee shop on ninth had more than a mild crush on SaraLee who worked at WalMart to support her ailing a sofa-bound late husband's mother-in-law. Things stayed pretty constant: SaraLee would catch Steve following her every now and then, but he didn't seem to mean no harm. It felt kinda nice to have someone acting like he cared.

But one day, it wasn't enough.

Roy, who worked at the locally owned nursery, came to pick up a quart of oil for his burnt umber Chevy came through her checkout line. The moment her hand brushed his accidentally at the 20 items or less aisle, she knew he was special. Sure enough, next week he came in at the same time and bought a vehicle interior freshener shaped like a pine tree. "I'm needin' my truck to smell nice," he said. The next week after that, he offered to take her out to coffee and then drive her home.

She agreed.

It was great not riding the bus, as she usually did. Roy offered to help he in with her things, and SaraLee accepted. Halfway up the walk, Steve emerged from the scrub bushes. "SaraLee!" he entreated, "What's gotten into you? You're MY girl!" He picked up the corn ear that had fallen out of her bag. When he held it towards her, Roy felt the testosterone kick in.

"Don't you make a move on her!" He reached inside of the polyester purple windbreaker he sported and SaraLee saw something shiny. Steve the Stalker must have too, because he dove at Roy's legs and knocked him into SaraLee. Her bags went flying everywhere--the tinkle of broken glass and squashing vegetables sharp and wet (respectively) on the concrete.

As the two men struggled, SaraLee watched in stunned awe at the two men fighting over her. Into the melee came Officer Smithyjones. When the two men saw him, they stopped, eyes and flailing limbs stilled. Steve jumped up and limped back into the bushes as if her were in some kind of trouble with the law.

Roy left because he DID have trouble with the law, and possession of that gun was breaking his parole.

SaraLee wrung her hands. "Oh thank you officer, I was so afraid they were going to hurt each other! How did you come in time?"

Officer Smithyjones sighed and nudged the shards of glass with his foot. The biggest one zinged over to hit the box of a sleek green clock radio. "They caught you stealing that clock radio and those now broken champagne flutes on the surveillance cameras." He said "I'm arresting you on the charge of petty have the right to remain silent..."

Or maybe it was just the littering.

I've got to get to work now, anyways.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Selective Hearing

It was tournament weekend.

Volleyball tournament weekend.

I had a team from a state university checking in little by little. Every few hours, a car with a few more players would trickle in. I was just waiting until the coach person came to sign the paperwork.

At 10:30pm:

Woman with a number of girls come in.

Me: Are you Some State Volleyball?

Her: Yes, that's us!

Me: So are you the one who has the credit card for the team and will sign the paperwork?

Her: Yes, I am the ONE to do all that

Me: Ok....

I get her credit card, auth it for the $1,200 (roughly) for Some State Volleyball team and have her sign the registration card....which has "Some State Volleyball" printed as the name of the group. When it's all done, I put the last 5 rooms worth of keys on the desk:

Her: Oh! We only have ONE room!

Me: You said you were Some State Volleyball????

Her: Ah ha ha...I guess I only heard the word "Volleyball". Last name is Hwang...

I just pulled out the proper reg card, had her sign it and gave her the one room key set. Didn't bother telling her how much I had auth'd her card for.

I mean really....I had asked every question, done it ALL. There's only so much a (red)girl can do.....



Mel just sent me a link to a blog. It's fantastic. In fact, if you find my blogs reMOTley interesting, you'll find his hilarious :) And that's a promise.

Friday, March 12, 2010

All Boundaries


Redgirl sits at front desk, minding own business

Action Begins:

Phone rings


Me: Happy Hotel in Danville! This is Redgirl...

Yolanda: It's Yolanda...I have an emergency! I work with you guys in PR and I need some rooms tonight!

Me: Ok, how many rooms?

Yolanda: Like three or four!

Me: What sort of rate do you usually get? (I'm figuring if she works for or "with" us, she might have a special rate)

Yolanda: Oh, she usually drops it down to $90 or comps them (blah blah blah)

Me: If you'll give me last names, I'll see what she did before...

Yolanda: (starts throwing out names, but I have already identified a problem. She doesn't speak very clearly. With just about every name she said, I had a general impression of what she said, but not enough to even type it in the computer. Every time I would ask her to spell an easy sounding name, she would start spelling something completely different.)


Me: I'm so sorry, I don't have any of those names in my system, so the most I'd be able to offer you is our AAA rate, and that doesn't sound like what you're after, and I can't call my manager (...for YOUR emergency on a WEEKEND at EIGHT PM)

Yolanda: Oh! I need those rooms....I'll just...I'll just...I'll call (owner). He'll take care of it... (click)

Me: (well, if you have (owner)'s personal number and you think this is the time to use it...go ahead. But I know for a fact that he's snowed in an airport in the south and probably won't take kindly to your call...especially as he doesn't insert himself in the business to that extent)

So I basically forget all about the call. It's still filed away for sure, but unless anything else comes of it, there's no reason to keep it in the front of my mind and keep stressing about it.

The next section I find out about on Monday morning from my general manager, who I'll call Lindsey. Lindsey says she is in bed and *beeeeep* gets a text from an unknown number. It reads (she showed it to me) "need comp or reduced rate rooms 2nite emergency!" So of course, she has to call the number, because she doesn't know who it is or if it's actually important. She tells Yolanda that she can do a $90 rate, but comp is out of the question (b/c of the lateness of the call). If Yolanda wants this rate, she must call by 11pm. She does this because she doesn't want the night auditor to have to deal with it.

Then Lindsey calls me: Did you just speak with a very frantic woman named Yolonda?

Me: Yes, yes I did...

Lindsey: (she tells me what's up; including something along the lines of "who the **** does she think she is to be texting me on a weekend?)

So I basically put the entire thing out of my mind. Because again, if she calls, I'll remember what to do, but if not, I don't need to worry about it.

Fast forward to 11:00pm:

Night auditor arrives, then promptly scurries off before I can remind her (again) to stay at the front desk. You see, as soon as 11 hits, it's her job to aid me in getting out of there as soon as possible, not to run off to the kitchen for who-knows-what. Phone 11:10pm. Guess who?



Yolanda: Hi!! I think Lindsey spoke with you about a special rate...?

Me: (in the midst of counting out my nickles) Well...I did speak with her. (pause) I know she told you to call by 11. (pause) It is now 11:10. (pause) But since I'm still here I'll see what I can do. (pause) I need to finish counting out first...can you hold for a few minutes?

Yolanda: Oh yes!

I finish counting out my nickles and pennies, then print it. Maybe 1 min 30 sec. Maybe 2 min. Point is, she's hung up when I go back to the phone. "Oh well," I figure, "I didn't actually promise her anything, and I have to leave. The entire point was to have it not involve our night auditor."
I finish doing my end of shift things, relay all pertinent details to the NA. I also give her the bare details of what Yolanda and I were doing so that, even though she won't be making any reservations, that she knows what the lady is talking about. Right as I'm about to take off...


Me: I'm not answering that.

NA: Happy Hotel in Danville....I'm sorry...I don't know anything about that....No, she had to leave. (makes eyes at me) Please hold. (to me) She's already sent them over!


Me: I didn't promise anything...she hung up on me!!! Hmm..ok. Go through all the names of the people she has coming and verify that she doesn't have any reservation numbers. Ask her if I actually even made reservations with her. Then, say that you'll try to get a hold of me, but that you can't promise anything; and that you'll call her back in 5 minutes.

She does all this. During the five minutes, I tell her the next script. "I was able to get a hold of her. She said she waited for your return call, but had to clock out. She gave me special permission to extend to you the rate of $90 that Lindsey and you discussed." Then I advised her to NOT try to make the reservations on the phone, because Yolanda was indecipherable. She agreed. She called Yolanda back and repeated what I'd said.

Conclusion Time:

What did I want? I wanted an apology of some sort...all the things she did "wrong". I really don't know what I expected though....

(a) She called with HER emergency and tried to make it MY emergency--it wasn't

(b) Called my manager on a WEEKEND at NIGHT from an unknown number to demand rooms. Honestly, if I had a manager's personal cell phone, I would save my emergency card for something more serious

(c) Was given a specific time HOURS in the future that she had to call by...and called a clear 10 minutes AFTER

(d) Hung up on ME and neglected to call back for 15 minutes

(e) Had the presumption to send people over before we had even made arraignments

(f) Acted like the offended party and insinuated that "of course I had taken care of everything"

So in every area possible, she muddled over all professional boundaries. Obviously, this was a normal thing for her. So I don't know why I expected an apology. What she said was, after the last little bit "Oh, I'm so sorry she left before I could call her back." Yup. Now it's my fault again.

Remember the last time that happened? Spoon Man. Grrr

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bug-Eyed and Twitchy

It all starts with a smile, a laugh.

Little do you know the horror that lurks 'round the proverbial corner.

That's right. Nice Ms. Jones turns into passive-aggressive Ms. Hyde and you find guerrilla warfare on you hands.

Not wanting you, the gentle reader to stain your hands with your own blood, dribbling out through holes punched in your abdoman by barbed words, I am going to give you tips and clues. You need to know who...or what you're dealing with.

Let's get started.

It's the quiet ones that get you. Remember back to her? They start out quiet...and then


I'll use a recent example to explain.

Last week, I got a call from a woman for a reservation. The first tip-off that things would take a turn for the worse was when she had the wrong information about our rates. Let's call her Patty. Patty was a BET of the first order (Bug Eyed and Twitchy). When I got done establishing that merely because someone gave her the wrong information did not necessitate me honoring it, I was only on the first relay.

Redgirl's Tip #1

BETs will let you win a battle at the beginning in order to soften you up for the main assault. They want you to think that they're nice and reasonable when in fact they're trying to put you off guard.

Patty read off her credit card number for me. I couldn't tell if it was tax exempt, so I asked her for confirmation:

Patty: I'm a federal employee, of course I'm tax exempt.

Me: Do you have a tax exempt credit card?

Patty: Yes, but I don't like to carry it with me

Me: Okay, well just make sure to bring it this time, because that's the only way we can avoid charging you tax

Patty: I have a problem with carrying credit cards, so I'm going to pay with something else (like what exactly? frogs? bales of wool?)

Me: I have the forms, but the City of *Danville* makes us charge tax unless that credit card is used.

Redgirl's Tip #2

Trying to cite a higher authority such as the City is a good idea. It's a bloody great idea in fact. Except it doesn't work with a BET. BETs then lump you in with this "higher authority" and threaten a firestorm on you all.

Patty: Your CITY says that? Well, that's just wrong. I'm a federal employee. It's illegal to charge me tax! (oh goody, the illegal card)

Me: Well, I'm sure you could speak to a manager about that....

Patty: Yes. I'll talk to a manager when I get there. Do you have internet?

Me: We have wireless...(realizes she's checking in on a Sunday... a day I get to work) Ma'am, are you sure you wouldn't rather talk to a manger now? Get it sorted before you get--

Patty: I don't have time. *click*

Redgirl's Tip #3

BETs will want to speak to a manager at some point. Even if they don't end up doing it, they will say it in an ill-fated attempt to frighten you. Be not afraid. They're only trying to mess with you. Remember, victory is yours in the end. If you show cowardace though, and waver, I will have no pity. Calm, and with a healthy dose of aggressive politeness. (don't know what this is? I may have blogged about it before...)

I spoke with a senior collegue about it to double-check my knowledge on the subject. Not only was I right, but we had a happy leaflet from the city's codes and ordinances to prove it. (Score a point for Redgirl!) I alert all staff about the future guest and wait for Sunday.

Sunday dawns bright and cold.

I'm guessing about this, because I'm rarely up to see the dawn >:D

A lady comes up to check in. She is thin, with protruding eyes of a bug-like quality. Her face is scored with expressive lines. She wears a disarming smile. "Checking in?" I say with a pleasant expression. "Yes" she says, "Jones. Patty Jones." (Shaken, not stirred)

Redgirl's Tip #4

As the name describes, BETs are bug-eyed and twitchy. Bug-eyed because their eyes are open to the fullest in order to convey to the hapless clerk their disbelief in the utter rip off which is being perpetrated. They are twitchy, and therefore thin...their bodies reduced to starvation mode as their mouths open to exude castigation rather than intake helpful nutrients. Plus, I'm guessin' it takes a lot of energy to always care that much about what slights are being done to you. Just sayin'.

It was her.

Me: Oh hi! I think I spoke with you on the phone!

Patty: Hello there...

Me: I just need a credit card and ID

Patty: (gives debit card) And the tax exemption form?

Me: (I hand her the memo) You can fill it out, but I can't guarantee--

Patty: (has glanced at the appropriate paragraph) I see. (lips pursed) I'll take that tax exempt form. The Department of (Nimbshwabbles) will have a thing or two to address about that.

Me: (smiles, checks her in)

Patty: And your Internet?

Me: I have the wireless code here...

Patty: I can't use wireless...government computer.

Me: One lady with that problem hooked up to the cable in our business center..

Patty: (gives me condescending look) I'll be in my pajamas. I'll not want to be down here.

I discussed the situation with the colleague mentioned previously. Her plot is to get you to agree or sympathize with some part of what she has said. Then the argument is turned around so that you agreed with her, when it never happened.

Redgirl's Tip #5

Keep the issue on track. When she plays the "you have credit cards, so you understand" ploy, you can agree...if you want. But whatever you do, bring it back to the original issue. "I apologize ma'am but I am unable to exempt you without that specific card". Hold firm.

Redgirl's Tip #6

The above conversation has been edited for your convenience. After being subtly threatened with suing, the clerk in question may be concerned. Not so! With the next three days off, and the next people on all aware of the situation, the clerk must merely get the guest checked in. That's your job. That's it! After that, it's someone else's problem.

Remember, you can only do this in good conscience if they are made aware of the situation, and that you did everything you could do.

I'm sure she'll find out at some point that there aren't any cable connections in the room.

But I won't be there.

Got tips for dealing with passive aggressive people? Share!