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    Lodging A Compliment

    | Truro, England, UK | Awesome Customers, Hotels & Lodging

    (I work on the reception of a large hotel chain. We do a deal where you can get cheap nights at a hotel under three circumstances: 1) you book and pay in advance, 2) you don’t alter the booking in ANY way, and 3) you book online. As there’s minimal person-to-person interaction, there are plenty of people who tick the ‘terms and conditions’ without reading them. The biggest catch is that if you cancel, as you’ve paid in advance, the hotel still charges you the stay.)

    Me: “Hello, this is [hotel and chain] and I’m [name]. How can I help you today?”

    Customer: “Hello, I’ve made a booking for the 21st until the 23rd but I’ve changed my mind, and I’d like to come the following weekend instead. Could you change this for me?”

    Me: “One moment, sir. I’ll just bring up your booking…”

    (I take his details and quickly notice he’s on this deal, and therefore I cannot make any changes.)

    Me: “I’m sorry, sir, it’s not possible for me to change it. You’ve booked through our [offer system] and therefore we can’t make any alterations to the booking.”

    Customer: “What do you mean? I just want you to change the dates. What’s so difficult?”

    Me: “I understand, sir, but you’ve made this booking under the deal, and part of the contract of that is that there cannot be any changes to the booking.”

    Customer: “What?! What contract? I signed no contract!”

    Me: “The details of the offer are in the Terms and Conditions when you made the booking. We do advise you read those.”

    Customer: “Fine! I don’t want to come to your hotel now at all. Just cancel the booking.”

    Me: “Of course, sir, but you must know that we’ll still charge you for the stay. That’s also in the terms and conditions. If you cancel for whatever reason, [chain] will still charge the money.”

    (The customer explodes down the phone at me, and I have to hold the phone away from my ear because of the noise level. He begins threatening to go to the media, ruining the chain’s reputation and generally being abrasive. At this point, two women walk into the reception and I ask them politely to wait as I’m currently dealing with the customer on the phone. They both lean on the counter and can clearly hear the man on the other end shouting at me. Finally, he calms somewhat.)

    Me: “I completely understand your predicament, sir. I have been wondering if my system would allow me to change the dates of the stay in such an event but haven’t been able to do so for obvious reasons. The only thing I can offer you is that I, out of curiosity, change the dates on your booking. I warn you, I have no idea if this will be successful, as I’ve not attempted it before. If I change it you may still be charged. This is the best I can offer you. Do you understand?”

    Customer: “Yes, I understand. You’re going to try to change it, but your system might not allow it?”

    Me: “Yes, sir.”

    Customer: “And if the system doesn’t allow it, I may be charged.”

    Me: “Yes, sir.”

    Customer: “Let’s do it, then!”

    (I change the dates and luckily, it allows it. He is still on the offer, but on different days. I explain this to him.)

    Me: “So, you’re booked in for [dates] which will cost you [price] and I do suggest that, next time, you don’t use this offer. It’s quite tempting, but if you aren’t absolutely certain on the dates of your stay, it’ll cost you extra.”

    Customer: “Thank you so much! I’ve written down your name, I’ll enjoy meeting you. You’ve been such a help and I’ll bring you a bottle of bourbon for you when I get there.”

    (I end the call, and make a note of his attitude on his booking, as warning for other receptionists that might encounter him. I look up sheepishly at the two women still waiting to be checked in.)

    Me: “How can I help you today?”

    Woman #1: “Get your manager down here right now.”

    (I call down the manager, knowing what they’ve heard me do is against company policy, and that I could be in a lot of trouble for doing it.)

    Manager: “What can I do for you, ladies?”

    Woman #2: “This girl has just shown the best customer service we’ve ever seen.”

    Woman #1: “Yes, we stay in these hotels all the time, and I’ve never seen anyone handle a bad customer like that.”

    Woman #2: “It was amazing! You should’ve seen it! She deserves a medal for keeping her cool. Definite customer satisfaction, and she hasn’t even checked us in yet!”

    Manager: “Thank you, ladies, I’ll make a note of it. If that’s all, I’ll leave her to check you in?”

    (I got a commendation from head office for my conduct, although they weren’t entirely clear on the details of why I should get it. It’s not monetary reward, but having ‘outstanding customer service award’ from one of the leading hotel chains in the UK does look rather good on my CV… and all for breaking company policy!)

    (P.S. The man didn’t bring me the bourbon after all!)

    Long Distance Phoney Call

    | New York, NY, USA | Hotels & Lodging, Liars & Scammers

    (A guest comes up to the front desk with a copy of her room charges that was placed under her door. For various reasons, the list of charges gives little detail. Detailed receipts can be acquired upon request.)

    Guest: “I’d like to know why I was charged for these phone calls!”

    (I look at her receipt and it lists two calls stating only ‘Long Distance Call’ and the rate she was charged for each.)

    Me: “The charges are for the long distance calls you made from the room.”

    Guest: “I didn’t make the second call! Someone must have snuck into my room and made a call from my phone!”

    Me: “Okay, no problem; what is the phone number for the call you are disputing?”

    (I pull up her detailed bill in my computer. She rattles off the correct phone number for the call she ‘didn’t make’.)

    Me: “And since a stranger came into your room and made that call while you were out, how did you come to know the number called?”

    Guest: *turns red and quickly leaves*

    (Lucky for me I left detailed notes about the encounter. I came back the next day to additional notes from a coworker saying she had tried the same tactic again!)

    Locked, Off The Clock, And Blocked

    | California, USA | Extra Stupid, Hotels & Lodging

    (I’m a night auditor at a hotel. I’m doing some paperwork at 4am when a mildly perturbed customer comes to the front desk. He says that his key isn’t working, so I reprogram it and he leaves. He comes back a few minutes later, fuming, saying that the key is still not working. I decide to go to his room and try it myself, and confirm that it’s not working. I try my master key, but still nothing.)

    Me: “I’m sorry about this, sir. I’ll get the maintenance guy up here in a few minutes. He’s off the clock, but lives in the hotel.”

    Guest: “So, what are you going to do to fix this? Are you going to comp my room? Do you just want to give me some blankets and pillows so I can sleep on the f***ing floor?!”

    Me: “Like I said, sir, the maintenance guy is on his way. If this is our fault, we can gladly give you a discount pending manager approval.”

    Guest: “See that you do! This is f***ing ridiculous!”

    (I return to the front desk, and the maintenance guy comes to pick up his tools. He starts to walk towards the room when the customer bursts in.)

    Guest: “I demand to see a manager!”

    Me: “Sorry, but the manager isn’t in right now.”

    Guest: “Then give me your name!” *snaps his fingers at the maintenance guy* “And you, hurry your a** up! Freaking ridiculous!”

    (10 minutes later, the poor maintenance guy comes back to the front desk.)

    Me: “How’d it go?”

    Maintenance Guy: “You were right; he was an a**hole.”

    Me: “I told you. What happened with the door? Did you get it open?”

    Maintenance Guy: “You’re not going to believe this. I start to jimmy the door open, and the noise woke the guy’s grandma, who was sleeping inside, and had hard-locked the door. She opened the door, I flipped the lock, and the key worked perfectly.”

    Me: “Wow. Did he say anything?”

    Maintenance Guy: “He still wanted a full refund!”

    His Story Isn’t Rat-ified

    | Boston, MA, USA | Bizarre, Criminal/Illegal, Hotels & Lodging, Pets & Animals, Top, Wild & Unruly

    (I am waiting to check in to a small hotel. When I walk up to the front desk, the concierge is answering the phone. The speaker is loud enough that I can follow most of the conversation.)

    Concierge: “Hello, front desk.”

    Caller: “There’s a squirrel in my room!”

    Concierge: “A squirrel in your room? Please be careful, sir. We’ll send someone along right away to remove it.”

    Caller: “Better hurry, it’s a big one! It opened the window!”

    Concierge: “Sorry, did you say the squirrel was able to open the window?”

    Caller: “Yeah, with its little hands!”

    Concierge: “You should leave your room right now and we’ll send someone along.”

    Concierge: *over the radio* “Security to room [number] to remove a squirrel, please.”

    (I check in. As I do so, the concierge is very flustered and apologetic about the squirrel issue.)

    Security: *radio* “Uh, front desk, this ain’t a squirrel.”

    Concierge: “What? What is it?”

    Security: “A raccoon. And the windows sealed shut.”

    (My spouse works in animal control and I know we’re in an area that has a rabies problem, so I feel the need to speak up.)

    Me: “There’s a rabies risk here, so you should really call animal control.”

    Concierge: “Okay, I’m gonna—”

    Security: “Also, this guy’s drunk as s***, and he’s telling me the raccoon is his pet cat.”

    Concierge: “F*** it. I’m calling the cops.”

    (Luckily, the raccoon was healthy, but the unfortunate hotel guest was deemed drunk, disorderly, and in possession of a local zoo’s stolen raccoon!)

    The Price For Room To Improve

    | Omaha, NE, USA | Extra Stupid, Hotels & Lodging, Money

    Me: “Good evening, how can I help you?”

    Caller: “What are your rooms at for Thursday night?”

    Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, we’ve sold out. Would you—”

    Caller: “Okay, but what are the prices?”

    Me: “Well, the prices are based on availability, so I can’t give an exact quote, but I can—”

    Caller: “What do you mean?! Why can’t you just give me the price?!”

    Me: “Well, based on other nights, it would be between $169 and $199, plus the local tax, but we are sold—”

    Caller: “No! You’re not hearing me! What’s the exact amount!?!”

    Me: “That would be $222.88, ma’am.”

    Caller: *in a very condescending tone* “There! That wasn’t so hard, was it!?”

    Me: “Uh…”

    Caller: “So, how many of those do you have left?”

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