• A Pain In The Nugget
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  • October Theme Of The Month: Halloween!

    Trying To Get In Bed With The Church

    | Roseau, MN, USA | Hotels & Lodging, Liars & Scammers, Religion

    (I am working the front desk at one of the local hotels in town when a car with the ODDEST paint job I’d ever seen pulls into our parking lot. A man gets out and walks to the desk, asking about a room.)

    Me: “Absolutely, sir. What kind of room were you looking for?”

    Customer: “Well, you see, I’m in town selling hand-carved furniture and have hit upon some medical problems. I was told that the local church could assist me with renting a room for the evening.

    (I smile knowingly and nod.)

    Me: “Sure. Can you tell me which church will be assisting you?”

    Customer: “Oh! It’s the Baptist church. I’m a good Southern Baptist.”

    (I nod again, both amused and annoyed: annoyed because I am now almost certain that this fellow is lying to me; amused because there is only ONE Baptist church in town and my father is the pastor of it at this time.)

    Me: “Would you excuse me a moment?”

    (He nods and I fetch my manager who is also part-owner of the hotel. I relay the situation, beginning with, “I think this guy is trying to con us, but I need to call my dad to be sure.” Owner/manager steps out of his office and begins speaking to our potential guest while I dial my cell phone in the back.)

    Church Secretary: “First Baptist Church. This is [Church Secretary]. How can I help you?”

    Me: “Hi, [Church Secretary]. It’s [My Name]. Is my dad around?”

    Church Secretary: “I’m sorry, he’s not.”

    Me: “Shoot. You don’t happen to know if he authorized any assistance to help someone with a hotel stay, do you?”

    Church Secretary: “Sorry. I don’t. I’ll tell him you called if I see him.”

    Me: “Thanks.”

    (I hang up and head back to the desk to find both my boss and the guy have moved outside and are talking. I try Dad’s cell, but it goes to voicemail and I know I’m running out of time. I leave a message, praying that Dad will call back. Both men eventually amble back into the lobby, me exchanging glances with my boss so that he knows that thus far I’ve come up empty. He nods his understanding and talks to the potential guest a bit longer, but eventually has other tasks that must be handled and I’m left alone with our ‘friend.’)

    Customer: “So, did you get everything straightened out with my room?”

    Me: “Not yet. I called the church, but didn’t get any answers so I’m waiting for a call-back. I’m so sorry about your wait.”

    Customer: “It’s all right.”

    (He ambles about the lobby, occasionally stepping out to his outrageously painted vehicle, and I try to get some work done while waiting for my father to return my call. Finally my cell phone rings.)

    Me: “Hi.”

    Dad: “Hey. What’s up?”

    (I explain the situation and ask if he’d authorized a hotel stay. He assures me that he hasn’t — that he couldn’t, in fact.)

    Me: “That’s what I thought. What about the ministerial association?”

    Dad: “Well, if he wanted aid from ANY of the local churches, he’d have to go to the Sheriff’s office.”

    Me: “What?”

    Dad: “In order to protect ourselves from con-men, the local churches all put their charitable funds into a pool. I’m the treasurer, but the Sheriff’s office is the one that gives out the money.”

    Me: “You’re kidding.”

    Dad: “Nope. Cops are used to seeing through lies. Lets us pastors continue to think the best of people and try to help them.”

    Me: “Genius, Dad. Thanks.”

    Dad: “Anytime.”

    (I hang up and walk back to the front desk, explaining to the man that I was informed that he could most certainly get assistance, however he would need to go pick up the check from the Sheriff’s office. He was, understandably, reluctant to do so.)

    Customer: “I was told that I could check in and the Baptist church would take care of it.”

    Me: “You were misinformed. I just spoke to my father, who happens to be the pastor of the only Baptist church in town. He says that all local charity funds are handled by the Sheriff’s office. I can give you directions if you’d like?”

    (The man shakes his head, mumbling something about not wanting to get the police involved, hops into his forest green Crown Victoria with red-orange, yellow, and white chevrons painted all over it (seriously HIDEOUS car) and drives away. I inform my boss that I was correct about him being a con man, then call the other two hotels in town to warn them about a potential guest that might be headed their way. An hour or so later, my cell phone rings again.)

    Me: “Hi, Dad. What’s up?”

    Dad: “Your con artist. Was he an older black man driving a forest green Crown Vic with red and yellow lines on it?”

    Me: “…yeah. How did you know?”

    Dad: “He just tried the same stunt over at the [Other Motel]. They called me.”

    Me: *laughs* “Oops! I forgot about that motel. I called the other two and warned them.”

    Dad: “Well, I told them he’d already tried the same thing with you. They called the police. Either he’ll spend the night in jail or he’ll be out of the county very quickly.”

    Me: “Yep. Thanks for sharing, Dad. I gotta get back to work.”

    Unhappy Holidays, Part 3

    | MD, USA | Holidays, Hotels & Lodging, Theme Of The Month

    Me: “To get to your room take the elevators on the right up to the fifth floor. Enjoy your stay and Happy Holidays.”

    Guest: “No, not Happy Holidays. It’s Merry Christmas.”

    Me: “…”

    Guest: “You don’t want to offend people? Well you’re offending me! It’s Christmas! We’re a Christian nation! We’re the majority and I’m tired of people ignoring that to appease a fringe majority of people out there.”

    Me: “I’m Jewish.”

    Guest: “Well, uh… Happy Hanukkah.”

    Me: “And Merry Christmas to you, sir.”

    Unhappy Holidays, Part 2
    Unhappy Holidays

    Turn Off The Holy Light

    | NC, USA | Crazy Requests, Hotels & Lodging

    (I work at a hotel near a well-known liberal arts university. A dog show was recently hosted at its athletics complex, and some very… interesting… guests were attracted to it. This call took place just before midnight.)

    Me: “Good evening, front desk. This is [My Name].”

    Guest: “Yes, hi, I’m in room [number]. I was wondering if you could help me out. My Pomeranian gets excited when he sees lights shining on buildings, and he won’t stop barking at a nearby building.”

    Me: “Well… could you describe the building to me, ma’am?”

    Guest: “Yes. It’s a tall green steeple with a clock on it, like you’d see on top of a church.”

    Me: “Ma’am, I think you’re describing the chapel at the university.”

    Guest: “Okay. Do you know if they turn the lights off?”

    Me: “They don’t, I’m afraid. Would it be possible just to shut your curtains?”

    Guest: “Oh, I don’t think I can do that. I really need the curtains open… I can’t sleep when it’s totally dark.”

    Me: “Okay, well, if it’s going to be an issue for your dog, I’d be happy to help you move to a room that faces either the courtyard or the golf course.”

    Guest: “Well… I’d rather not do that. Do you think you could just call the university and ask them to turn the lights off?”

    (At this point, I fall silent in astonishment. She’s basically wanting me to call the police department of the university and ask them to turn off the lights on the most recognizable landmark on the campus, simply so her little precious will shut up.)

    Me: “Well, ma’am, I’m afraid that that’s not something I can do. However, again, there are several options, and I’d be happy to accommodate you with any of them.”

    Guest: “So you’re not going to accommodate my request, though?”

    Me: “Ma’am, I am happy to accommodate any requests that are within my power to fulfill. This one is not.”

    Guest: *hangs up*

    (Three days later, I get called into the manager’s office.)

    Manager: “So I got a nasty email from a guest this weekend, saying you wouldn’t help her out. What’s up with this?”

    (I tell the manager the whole story.)

    Manager: “Huh. Well, don’t worry. She was rude to half the staff anyway.”

    Dishrag For The Hag

    | VA, USA | Bad Behavior, Crazy Requests, Hotels & Lodging

    (I’m currently working in a hotel helping out at our breakfast bar as the assistant to the usual hostess. She would usually work alone but since we sold out she asked me to come in and help attend to the guests’ needs. I’m cleaning a table when I glance around and see a woman with a rather irritated look on her face…)

    Me: “Good morning, ma’am. Is everything to your liking this morning?”

    Guest: “NO! The carpet in the halls smell horrible, the rooms are overpriced and small, the gym for your place is across the road, and you let pets stay here. This hotel is the worst I ever stayed at.”

    Me: “I’m so sorry to hear that. We always try our best to please our guests and provide a clean facility. We apologize about the workout center being across the road but we didn’t have room to build it into the hotel at our last renovation.”

    (While saying all this I was thinking if she can’t even cross a road she probably isn’t much of a fitness person.)

    Me:  “Is there anything I can get for you from our breakfast bar? I might be able to place a special order if you would like.”

    Guest: “Nothing you have to offer can make up for a crappy place like this. As soon as my husband is finished we’re leaving.”

    Me: *trying to act politely interested* “Okay. Well. I hope you enjoy your trip today, Where are you two heading? Do you need any direc—”

    Guest: “Don’t! Just. Stop. Talking. I hate talking to everyone in the morning and you’re only annoying me.”

    Me: *at this point I want to throw my dishrag at her but merely smile* “Okay. Let me know if you do need something.”

    (A moment later, as I continue cleaning another table, another guest comes up to sit at the recently cleaned seat.)

    Other Guest: “I have no clue what she was talking about because this place is the best stop we made our whole trip. This town is great and the customer service is excellent here. I don’t know how you kept your cool with her; I would have choked her with that dishrag.”

    (I’m laughing inside since I wasn’t the only one to think this. After a while I tell my coworker what happened and she goes to talk to the husband while the wife is away. She comes back to assure me that everything is fine with a suppressed smile on her face.)

    Coworker: “I asked if he needed anything and he replied ‘a new wife! She’s driving me crazy this trip and has complained everywhere we went!'”

    (I wanted to offer him my dishrag for the road.)

    Plenty Of (Full) Room To Hone Your Skills

    | USA | Crazy Requests, Hotels & Lodging, Politics

    (I enter the lobby of a hotel I’m staying at to find the receptionist face to face with a very red-faced woman.)

    Woman: “Look, stop with the bull about being full! I KNOW you always have a few rooms that you keep open for emergencies!”

    Receptionist: “Ma’am, while I am sincerely sorry, we are located at the hub of a major metropolitan area that draws over three million tourists per year. Typically we get reservations non-stop from Memorial Day to Labor Day. If we were to examine this from a logical and an economic perspective, wouldn’t it make more sense to give every room we have to those who wish to reserve them, rather than keep one or two open and thus deny ourselves the profit from them?”

    (The lady gawks and sputters, turning redder by the second.)

    Woman: “Well… what if President Obama came in and asked for a room, huh? What if one of his family came in? Would you turn them away?”

    Receptionist: “Yes, we would.”

    Woman: “Exactly! So why can’t you… wait… what?”

    Receptionist: “With all due respect, Ma’am, the President would have the sense to plan ahead so neither he nor his family would need to ask for a room. What’s more he doesn’t stay at this hotel when he comes to the area; he stays at [other hotel].”

    Woman: “But…”

    Receptionist: “FURTHERMORE, I don’t think the President would want the bad publicity from asking us to throw someone out of their room so he could take it. Therefore, why should we do that for you?”

    (The woman sputters some more, then finally just screams, loud enough that I have to cover my ears, and runs out the door to her car.)

    Receptionist: “I apologize that you had to be witness to that, sir.”

    Me: “I… uh… no, I think the apologies should go to you, as well as the congratulations for the way you handled that. Never seen someone get driven away by the force of logic.”

    Receptionist: “Yeah, well, don’t be too impressed. I’m only able to do that because I’ve had plenty of customers just like her to hone my skills on.”

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