Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sign of the Times

It's 8:15 in the AM hours on a Saturday at the good ol' TL. I have been here since 6am. Thus I have been here for two hours and fifteen minutes (what a mathematician am I? lol).

The reason I am outlining how long I have been here today is because normally on a June 20th at this point I would have seen or talked to at least 5 people by now as they walk through our front lobby. At this point, I have not seen a single soul. It's like I'm working in a ghost town (One of the ex-employees used to swear this building was haunted... I think not).

Ever since the economy started to go downhill earlier this year, I have been saying that the tourism industry would get hit hard. So far I have not been wrong, but even this is worse than I expected. Take last night as an example: Last night we had a total of 8 rooms occupied. 8 ROOMS... 8 ROOMS occupied out of 56 ROOMS. Again I am not a mathematical genius but that's 48 rooms that were completely empty on the night of JUNE 19, 2009.
I am absolutely flabbergasted! Normally I enjoy it when it's nice and slow because that means I rarely have to do much (and let's face it, I'm notoriously lazy), but having only 8 rooms occupied on the eve of the eve of the first official day of summer is quite ridiculous!
Last year on June 19, 2008 we had a total of 25 rooms occupied. I'm not saying that we were completely booked or that we were so busy we had to turn people away, but that is 17 more rooms than we had last night.

This brings me to my current dilemma...
For those of you who actually know me personally, will know how much of a people person I am. For those of you who actually know me personally, will know how much I like to talk.
Those of you who actually know me personally, will know what it's like to talk to me when I haven't had personal contact with another human being for a couple of hours.
Those of you who actually know me personally, can imagine what the first poor shmuck who dares to tip toe into the front lobby, will be faced with.

For those of you who don't know me personally, trust me... it's bad when I finally have contact with another human being after having hours of alone time!

So what is a self proclaimed "people-person" front desk supervisor to do when faced with such a horrible dilemma and feeling of seclusion?
Write in her blog for one, which I have noticed that because of the low occupancy we are currently dealing with, has very little stories to tell. I was thinking about that the other day actually... I thought to myself "How the heck am I supposed to continually update a blog about the goings on of a small local hotel, let alone write a book eventually, if nobody is traveling?" While this Student turned Front Desk Supervisor turned Blog Writer is not too concerned about her current position or employment vanishing anytime soon, I can't help but wonder, what if something happens and all of a sudden there is no longer a TL to tell stories about?
This is a very frightening prospect!

For now though, there is still a TL. With a TL there is still a Front Desk Supervisor. Within this Front Desk Supervisor there are still stories to tell. While the stories may not be as plentiful as they would be with higher occupancy rates, there will still be stories, and as a result there will always be a Tales from the TL.

Thump, Thump.... Thump thump thump thump thump thump... I can hear the footsteps now, coming down the stairs.

I have to go!

Human Contact!


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Guest List: Bank Robbers--> Checked In!

So I realize it's been awhile since I've last posted, however it doesn't mean that the TL has been without excitement. In fact, just last week our lovely little hotel was swarmed with police cruisers. Eight in total to be exact! Let me tell you about my day...

It's 9:30am and a woman from one of the rooms on the top floor calls down and asks me if she can stay another night. I tell her that yes she can but I would need another night's payment by 11am. Less than half an hour later, she comes down and pays for the room with 1 fifty dollar bill, $20 in toonies, $5 in loonies, $22 in quarters, one dime, and three pennies. I thought it was odd that she was paying in such small change but I never asked about it. She joked that she had so much small change because she was a waitress and it was from tips. I thought to myself, "if I was a waitress getting tips wouldn't I try to exchange all those quarters for perhaps a twenty and a toonie... you know, lighten the load?" Of course, I never thought anything further... I was being handed money, that's all that mattered!

Just before eleven, a male guest walked through our front lobby out into the parking lot towards his car. All of a sudden there were three dark SUV's that raced into our parking lot and cornered the guest's car. Two people from each vehicle jumped out, drew their guns, and was forcing this person onto the ground face down. It was quite litterally like something you see on your television!!!

One of the officer's came in yelling, telling us to stay away from the windows and duck behind the front desk. She then told me to figure out which room this guest was tied to then asked if there was someone else in the room. That room was the same one that the woman with all the small change came from! Three other officers ran upstaires. The woman was just closing the room door when they burst through it. I was sitting in the back office and all I could hear is the police officers yelling at her to get down on the ground with her hands behind her back. The woman must not have ever been arrested before because she seemed to be scarred shitless (pardon the language) as she was bawling her eyes out while they brought her downstaires in handcuffs and placing her in one of the awating police cruisers. Once the male suspect noticed that she had been hancuffed and was crying he was trying to console her by telling her everything would be alright, meanwhile he himself was being shoved into a separate police cruiser.

Of course with all this excitement comes the paperwork and so I had to give a statement (which I have never done before... shocking). They took whatever information we had on the two suspects, and the room that they had occupied was under investigation for a little more than 24 hours.

The police at the time only told us that the male was suspected of robbery. However it wasn't until this Tuesday that we read in the paper that not only were these two suspected Bank Robbers, they had robbed 11 banks in the past 7 weeks!!!

Read on...

All I have to say is CRAZYNESS!!! Too much excitement for one day!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

1 Man, 3 Police Cruisers, 6 Police Officers = Frightening!

Alright, so before I go on with the "Main Event" or main point of my story here, I have to tell you a side story which I thought was quite funny yet slightly embarrassing.

Sometimes in all his wittiness, my father will joke about being pulled over by cops. Usually in these situations he jokes by saying "Honest Ociffer..." (pronounced Osiffer... usually indicates a wee bit of intoxication). Anyways, I have always said that because he says it so often, I will one day make the mistake of saying Ociffer instead of Officer...

So the other day just before I got off shift, 3 police cruisers pulled up to the hotel and 6 police officers walk into the lobby. In my happy-go-lucky style I go to say "Hello officers!" but instead out of my mouth comes, "Helloo Ociffers... *shit* Officers". We all laugh at my stupid mistake (they didn't know it came from a joke about driving intoxicated).


So after we shared a quick laugh at my stupidity, one of the officers says "I need you to stop everything you are doing. We are looking for this guy (shows a picture). His credit card statement shows that his credit card was used here this morning."

EEeeeeek, I think to myself, I checked him out of the hotel earlier this morning!!! I proceeded to tell the officers that he had checked out earlier that morning and that I hadn't seen him since. The officers thanked us for our help and said "If he returns CALL 911 IMEDIATELY!"

WTF!!! What does that mean??? I mean obviously it means that they are desperate to find this person whoever he is. Needless to say, ths person is now on our "Do Not Rent List"...


Warning: Athletes (and their parents) are coming! Part 2

Ok so just a note/tip about kids or adolescents staying in hotels. If you are a coach, parent chaperon, teacher, or helper of some sort and you have brought a team or group to a hotel, please make sure you check the rooms with the kids/adolescents to make sure they haven't forgotten anything.

In the past we have found little things in the rooms that young guests have forgotten such as cell phone chargers, cell phones, stray socks and once there was a young girl who accidently left her thong in between the bed sheets. I felt bad for that girl because the adults had checked that room and had made sure to give her thong back to her in the front lobby with every one around.

Anyways, onto my story... About half an hour after Team A checked out and left for the airport, I got a call... "Hello this is the coach from Team A," I reply, "What'd you forget?" He says "well one of the kids forgot their driver's liscence and another forgot his glasses". So I told him that I would have houskeeping look for the items and that we would mail them back to the coach.

Fast forward another half hour, the phone rings... "Hi, I'm one of the players from Team A. I forgot my cell phone in the room. Can you send it with _______'s ID and glasses."

Fast forward to 11:30 am once housekeeping had started cleaning the rooms. This time I get a call from the head housekeeper. "Ok, so I have a list of things to give you to add to the Lost and Found. All items are from the rooms from Team A."

Right now, I'm thinking ok so I am sending them a driver's licence, pair of glasses, and a cell phone... What else could there be???

Well... the following is the complete list of items that we need to send to Team A:
- 1 wallet with driver's licence and care card
- 1 pair of glasses
- 1 pair of sunglasses
- 1 bottle of contacts cleanser
- 1 football
- 1 John Deer trucker's hat
- 2 Athlete's First Aid Books
- 5 dirty socks (two black, 3 white)

Oh aannnnd... not 1 but 2 little red foot scooters like the one below.
Needless to say, the moral of the story is, ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS check your hotel room before you leave!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Warning: Athletes (and their parents) are coming! Part 1

Alright! It is March. What happens in March? Spring Break of course! For other hotel sites in more upbeat and popular destinations such as Florida, Spring Break might bring crazy high school and college students who party and get drunk, trash hotel rooms, vomit everywhere, and of course throw the occasional goat into the pool. However, my sleepy little hotel does not receive any of those absurdities (especially not the goat in the pool thing... probably because we don't have a pool).
No no, Spring Break at the TL brings Sports Groups! Mostly hockey teams... and all the "fun" that comes with them! I'm talking adolescent males high on testosterone and adrenaline; running, jumping, stomping up and down the stairs and hallways; disgustingly foul smelling hockey gear; and of course, Hockey Parents!!!

We had two different teams in our lovely little hotel this past weekend,we'll call them Team A and Team B for the sake of anonymity. Team A came in as a group, meaning they had four or five coaches/parent chaperons (all male might I add). Team B had each player's family come individually.

Either way, one night we had a couple of complaints from other guests about noisy people, foul language, and the possibility of these people being drunk at 3:30 in the wee hours of the morning. Normally when we have sports teams come in with adolescents (of either gender), we sometimes worry about those adolescents being rowdy. The interesting thing about these worries is that they almost NEVER come true... for the adolescents at least.

It turns out the COACHES/CHAPERONS of Team A decided to all gather in one room and get completely SMASHED! I'm talking conversations that you can hear word for word in the rooms below that one. Every second word was one only a sailor and an Irish man fit into a normal conversation. When the night shift called up to the room they pretended they had been asleep and that the phone call woke them up. Then when the night shift person went up she saw the main coach scurrying (and I mean scurry... like a squirrel) down the hallway to his room with an armful of liquor bottles giggling away.

The ironic thing about this is that on the team's itinerary it has a portion that says "dress code is in effect" in which it lists the dress code and under the dress code it says "strict code of conduct is in effect". I guess the "strict code of conduct" doesn't apply to the coaches.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bells and Whistles

I thought to myself today, Kari, what has happened this past week at the hotel? What could you write about this week? Then I realized that this week had been pretty amazingly boring!!! How am I ever supposed to write an entire book if nothing happens???
Anyways, so then I remembered that way back in December of 2007 I had written an entry in my personal blog about the fire alarm going off at work and I thought I'd share that with you all!
Sunday, December 16, 2007

If you were staying in a hotel and the fire alarm went off at 6:15 in the wee hours of the morning, would you demand a discount???

I arrived at work at about five minutes to six, and proceeded to chat with the night clerk about anything and everything. We talked until ten after six (as I'm sure you are all aware, I like to talk). He leaves. Two minutes later my ears are in pain as the fire alarm goes off! I didn't even have time to put my purse away.

Not knowing specifically what to do, I grabbed the walk-around phone and the phone numbers list and I high-tailed it out of the building to call anyone and everyone!

Firemen came and went, guests moaned and complained, and I greeted everyone with a bright and happy, yet somewhat hesitant, "good morning!"

What caught me by surprise where the guests that decided that because the fire alarm woke them up at 6:15 in the morning, they deserve no wait, they are entitled to a discount on their rooms! How greedy and money grabbing can we get??? I mean seriously! Even though the building was not actually on fire per say, if it was then this fire alarm just saved your freaking lives!!! I could understand if it was actually our fault that the alarm went off (which it wasn't) but these people had the nerve to say that due to them having to wake up at 6:15 for an event that could have potentially saved their lives, they deserve money! If a fire alarm went off at the local McDonald's, would you demand that you get your money back for your happy meal because your eating was disrupted??? I think NOT!

Now that that ranting is over, let's talk safety kids!
Ever since I was a little girl I was always told that when you hear a fire alarm in the building that you are in, you run your scrawny little ass out of the building to safety! As a result, my first instinct this morning was to get the heck out of the hotel!
Other people's first instincts...?
Hey, thats the fire alarm. I wonder whats going on. Hmmm this must be a false alarm... they happen so often these days! Well, the front desk supervisor is standing outside with a couple of other people. Oh look, firetrucks! Two of them! And with the trucks come firemen! Whats going on? Oh, she's waving me to come downstaires but... gee it's just too cold outside. I'll stay here AND BURN MY A$$ OFF!!!

Either way, it turns out there was somebody playing with matches and lighters and there was black soot all over the desk in one of the rooms. Nothing actually burned in terms of the hotel or hotel accessories but somebody was burning something (although they still deny even being in the room... Stupid Jerk Off!)

So just to recap the main lessons for today, when a fire alarm goes off:
1)Get your sh!t together and get out of the building.

2) Don't expect to get a discount because you were so "rudely interrupted" by a potentially life saving piece of equipment, EVEN if it turns out to be a false alarm.

3) Thank the staff at the place where the alarm is going off for properly maintaining and making sure the fire alarm actually goes off when the building IS onfire!!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Seniors from Newfoundland Are the Best!

This week the local Legion is putting on a curling tournament and has booked four of the eight competing teams in our hotel. We have seniors from BC Yukon, Moncton New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland!!!

Now, I really enjoy it when we get a hotel full of seniors. For the most part, when we have seniors staying at our hotel for Lawn Bowling, Darts, Curling, or any other sport-like function, the seniors that stay with us are usually the type that are always happy, quite funny, and healthy overall.

The group that is currently staying at our hotel is quite lively to start with, but the group from Newfoundland is hard to top! When they come back from the evening get togethers and dinners they are usually the ones who noticeably had a little too much wine! They are also the ones who are most sociable with myself at the front desk.

One senior in particular (I don't actually know his name but let's call him Sam... he seems like a Sam) has been giving out little trinkets almost every time I see him. The first morning they were here, he comes up to me and hands me a Newfoundland Flag pin and says "here young lady, this here is the Newfoundland Flag." Having just taken a vacation to Newfoundland this past summer, I replied "I know! I went there just this past summer!"We then started talking about where and when I visited and he asked me if I spent some time on George Street. (George Street is one street that is probably about a kilometer long and it only has pubs, clubs, and bars, as well as a little stage in the middle where they have outdoor concerts (that's where I saw Trooper!)) I told him that we did spend some time on George Street and that I was actually fortunate enough to take in the George Street Festival. Sam explodes and gets the attention of one of his teammates and says to them, "John! This here young lady's been to George Street!"

I'm not exactly sure why he had made a big fuss about it, but I was all aglow because talking about my trip brought back warm and fuzzy feelings and memories of my wonderful time there.

Later on that day, Sam came back to me and handed me a pen. He says "You'll like this here Newfoundland pen... you know, really it's actually a cheap pen but you put a moose and write Newfoundland on it and they charge you a fortune. For you my dear, it is free!"
I of course went home all beaming and excited to even be able to talk to someone about my trip let alone have little goodies from my favorite place passed on to me!
The next day, Sam comes up to me again and hands me this very colourful calendar and says "a gift from me to you!" I was starting to think I was his favorite person after all the little things this wonderful senior had given me. If only he could bring me something more than a little trinket... haha, I'm joking! I really enjoy listening to most seniors' stories and life experiences but I have yet to have a senior quite a funny, witty, and generous as my Newfie friend Sam!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Cute Kids Make Me Love Valentines Day

I'm not a big Valentines Day fan. In fact, I hate Valentines Day. It has become the epitome of Hallmark Holidays! Having said that, sometimes someone does something so wonderful for another person on Valentines Day that really just changes my mind... if only for a second!

This Valentines Day, we had a mother and her two young children staying at the hotel for a few days. I got to know the kids well, and would play with them in the front lobby if I didn't have much work to do. On Valentines Day, one of the kids (she was 5 years old I think) ran up to me with a large envelope and then ran away as if embarrassed. Her mother came into the lobby shortly after and said "I know you don't really like Valentines Day but she saw the card in the store and really wanted to give it to you." Awww... How cute is that!!!Notice the little scribbles on the left hand side of the card... That is her special secret note to me. I'm pretty sure it says that I am the coolest person in the world!

Getting this card from the little girl made my heart go from this...
To this...I'm still not a big fan of Valentines Day, but this little girl did make me swoon for her Valentines Day card!

We are Porn Stars! You Can Watch.

So every now and then (sometimes more often than not) I get people checking in to the hotel that really just make your skin crawl! I'm talking of course about those people, the majority of whom are men, who feel the need to throw derogatory sexual remarks my way while I am attempting to check them in. Sometimes I just let it roll off my back (most of the time the situation occurs because the said male is ridiculously drunk), however there are those times when it just gets to be too much!

Example A: The other day I checked in a guest early in the morning, who when I asked if the room was just for himself, felt the need to tell me that he was getting the room for him and his sex buddy. "Alright" I say in a slightly hesitant tone. I try not to judge all the people that walk through my doors too much. It must be due to my social work courses wherein the core value is "believing in the dignity and worth of all people." Sometimes some people make it really really really hard for me to believe in their dignity and worth, but I digress.

So then the guest, (let's call him Mr. Bojangles... Bo for short, respectively) goes on to ask me whether the linens have been cleaned since the last "sex party" that I had. Of course, when you work at a hotel, not to mention a small three and a half star hotel in a small town, you tend to cringe at the idea of spending a night in certain rooms because there are some things about past guests in those rooms that seem to be etched in your brain (like when housekeeping walks into a room and finds a man completely passed out in the buff with a video camera on a tripod facing towards the bed... but that's another story); thus this idea of me having a "sex party" in this room makes my skin crawl!

Again, I try my best to simply get the paperwork done and over with and get this guy out of my front lobby before I hurl. So I give him the registration card and ask him to fill it out and sign it, to which he says "so long as you don't tie me up and beat me, however you are very pretty, it could be fun." At this point I am regretting having said that we have availability. In fact at this point I am looking for some reason to not let him in... I really hope your credit card is declined. Oh YES! It is!!! YES YES YES! Oh, you have interac... CRAP! But there may not be enough money in your account! ...Oh, there is. Damnit! Ah, but you probably don't have valid ID! ...Oh, you do. SHIT! Trying to keep my cool I simply reply "Don't worry, I wont". At this point Mr. Bojangles said something which I can't quite remember at this time (I must have repressed it in my memory) which made me reply "I don't need to know what goes on behind closed doors" which of course only inspires Mr. Bojangles to say "Yes you do! We're PORN STARS my f**k buddy and I!" (wow proper grammar... I never would have expected it) Yes, that's right, Mr. Bojangles the PORN STAR! (haha, I like making up my own names for guests) "You can come and watch!!! She wont mind." (Insert nervous laughter here) "Uh, No thanks, I'm good!"

By this time I thankfully have all his information and money that I need. I have given Mr. Bojangles and his Porn Star f**k buddy a key to the room and hope to god they stay there until I leave later that afternoon! Of course just before I thought I'd be ok, he calls down to the front desk and asks if there are any porn channels on our t.v.'s. There is not. Then he asks if I have any porn at the front desk that I can bring down to him. I do not. Then he says his t.v. does not work and asks if I can come down and fix it. I sent him our maintenance guy... he doesn't take shit from no one! Mr. Bojangles and his sex buddy did not stay long. Thank Goodness!!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Tell the Police that You Wont Give Me My Money

Have you ever had someone ask you to call the cops on yourself???
It is something that happens very rarely and as you will see, it was probably not the best decision a particular guest made just last week.

It was a wonderful Tuesday afternoon. I had just gotten off work and Sarah (not her real name) was just starting her very first shift working alone. Due to my school schedule and the fact that I had been up since 5am I decided to go home and take a nap. Not one hour into my nap I got a phone call. It was Sarah telling me that a former guest (let's call him Jordan), whom we had kicked out just three days earlier, was here demanding to get his one night's worth of money back.

You see, three days before we had asked Jordan to leave one day earlier than he was scheduled to. When we asked him to leave we returned his one night's payment for leaving early and due to some damage in the room we only gave him half of his deposit back.

In order to try and avoid my having to get out of bed I decided to try and talk to him over the phone. He simply started to yell at me telling me that I was a thief and a liar (why is it that "thief" and "liar" always seem to go together?) and that he simply wanted his one night's payment back. I told him that we have already given him what money we owed him and that if he wanted to argue with someone he could argue with the General Manager.
To which he replies, "I don't want to talk with the General Manager, I just want you to stop ****ing lying to me and give me my money back. If you don't come down here and give me back my money I will ****ing kill you and this other b****!"

I decided that this might be worth getting out of bed for. So off I went back to the hotel. By the time I got there my friend Jordan was very unhappy. I showed him the paperwork that shows that we gave him back his night's payment and that we held half of his deposit for damages (which he of course signed). This of course is when his story changes. "All I want is the rest of my deposit back!" he says adding, "If you are not getting me my deposit back then let's get the cops involved!!"

I love these words!

"Call the cops and tell them that you are ****ing stealing my money from me!"

This is the conversation between me and the woman at the police station:
Me: Hi could I get the police to come down here please
Woman: Ok, can you tell me what the matter is
Me: uh, yes, well, I work at the hotel and one of our former guests would like you to send the cops down here because I apparently stole his money
Jordan: She ****ing stole my money. Make her give it back!
Woman: I'm sorry, what? Are you calling on behalf of someone else?
Me: Um, yes I am calling the police on myself, on behalf of a former guest.
Woman: Ok then, I'll send them down.

So the police came. Talked to him for a bit. I showed one of the officers the damage in the room then came back to the lobby greeted with "if you don't make her give me my money back now I am going to kill her!" Sarah with her wonderful wittiness says to one of the officer's "is he uttering threats?"

The officer's agreed and told him to take his stuff and leave immediately otherwise they'd arrest him for uttering threats. Jordan uttered something else under his breath, went to grab his bag and leave when a big ziploc bag full of "white stuff" fell out. In what seemed like half a minute the officer's determined that the bag contained illegal drugs (duh!) and they pinned him to the ground and arrested him for possession.

Moral of the story: Don't call the cops on yourself when you are in possession of illegal substances. Especially not for a measly $50.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Welcome to Tales From the TL

Hello and Welcome to Tales From the TL!

This blog will be dedicated to the memoirs and diary entries of one Front Desk Supervisor (that's me!) who works at a small hotel in her hometown.

My intention is to entertain and inform the general (cyber) public about the ins and outs of running, managing, and surviving in the hotel industry.

Yes, it is a cutthroat and fast-paced-never-a-dull-moment form of employment. Except of course at this point in time during which I am currently writing/creating a new blog to keep myself busy, while watching "Meat Loaf: To Hell and Back" on Much More Music.

Yes, there are always people walking in and out of the front lobby, and there is always something going on in the hotel. Again, except for right now because well, it's Sunday and everybody who was staying over the weekend, has checked out and those who are not checking out are sleeping... like normal people do!

Alright, so maybe I'm not working in the busiest, most high end, cutthroat, always-on-your-feet (in fact I'm sure that I spend 95% of my time on my rear end), full to the max 5 star hotel (in fact we're only a three and a half star hotel... the half stars count though!).
However, just because it is Sunday and just because we're only a small-ish hotel in a small-ish town doesn't mean that we're totally sleepy. In fact, I could tell you stories!!! Many many stories! Stories about Love, Hate, Despair, Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll. I can tell you stories that include Weddings, Sports, Addiction, Mental Illness, the Elderly, Families, Funerals, Children, and even the Hells Angels! In fact, I've got so many stories to tell that I could write a book... or even a blog!!!

Thus, I will write. We'll start with a blog and perhaps move on from there. Did you know that some people have become famous simply by starting a blog? I mean wow! Look at Perez Hilton... he just started writing a blog and then sprung up out of nowhere. The person who started that blog about passive agressive notes now has two books I believe. WOW!

Anywho, to make sure that I am not hurting anybody or violating anybody's privacy and whatnot all of the names in the stories that I write about will be changed (except mine of course...). So don't be suprized if you suddenly notice that there may be a lot of Sherry's or Bob's or Gabrielle's who happen to show up at the TL. (I'll try to be more creative but I can't promise anything).

Please note however, I will not make up any of these stories! Anything and everything in this blog will be true life events (not including the names).

Anyways, I hope you enjoy your stay.

Thank you for choosing Tales From the TL!