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    All Smoke, No Mirrors

    | Chicago, IL, USA | Bizarre, Crazy Requests, Hotels & Lodging, Technology

    (A guest I checked in less than two hours ago is walking up to the front desk with all her luggage, ready to leave.)

    Me: “How may I help you?”

    Guest: “I want to check out!”

    Me: “Is everything all right? I see you are checking out early.”

    Guest: “I don’t want to talk about it; I want a receipt stating that I have a zero balance.”

    Me: “All right, one moment. Let me get your receipt out of the back. My printer is down.”

    (I come back a few seconds later with her receipt.)

    Me: “Are you sure everything is all right? You seem upset and I don’t want you leaving upset.”

    Guest: “Yes, actually, you can tell your people I do not appreciate them recording me while I am sleeping!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, what do you mean?”

    Guest: “There was a little red light flashing above my bed!”

    Me: “Oh! You mean the smoke detector. That isn’t a recording device.”

    Guest: “You don’t think I know the difference between a smoke detector and a recording device?! I know that if there is a blinking red that means the camera is on and recording! So please delete any footage you have of me.”

    Me: “Ma’am, I am really sorry. I promise you we do not have recording devices in our guests rooms. It honestly was a smoke detector.”

    Guest: “IT WAS NOT A SMOKE DETECTOR!”

    The Mother (Nature) Of Stupid Complaints

    | GA, USA | Crazy Requests, Hotels & Lodging, Pets & Animals

    (I’m a night auditor, and the only staff member on duty. I see that the office phone is being rung from a room that has only just checked in:)

    Me: “Front desk. How may I help you?”

    Irate Guest: “How dare you rent me this room! There are bugs! Oh, my God! Bugs!”

    Me: “I’m so very sorry, ma’am. The exterminator comes regularly to prevent this sort of thing, and we have an excellent housekeeping department, but this being Georgia, and the rooms opening to the outside, sometimes it happens. Would you like to move to a different room, or would you prefer a refund?”

    Irate Guest: “Well, a different room won’t do me any good. The bugs are all over the place outside. In the shrubs and around the lights and just everywhere!”

    Me: “Wait. You called to complain because there are bugs outdoors?”

    Irate Guest: “Yes! I’ve never seen such horrible things in my life!”

    Me: “Ma’am, your registration information shows me that you live in Florida. I’ve been to Florida. Y’all have bugs.”

    Irate Guest: “I just want a refund.”

    Me: “Ma’am, I can’t give you a refund based on the fact that you think we should remove bugs from the great outdoors. You can talk to the manager in the morning.”

     

    (The guest slammed the phone down. Minutes later, I saw her car speed out of the parking lot. I briefed the owner/manager the following morning. We had a good laugh, and an even better one after guest came back to demand her refund.)

    A Sad Depiction Of Eviction

    | NJ, USA | Crazy Requests, Criminal/Illegal, Hotels & Lodging

    (I work second shift front desk at an extended stay [Brand] hotel. Of 140+ rooms we have only a couple of two bedroom suites, the largest of our [Brand]’s suites.)

    Caller: “Are you owned or managed by [Some Company]?”

    Me: “No we are owned by [Company #1] and managed by [Company #2].”

    (I never get asked this.)

    Caller: “I’m interesting in seeing the two bedroom suite.”

    Me: “Sure, if you can come by tomorrow I can have someone show you the room.”

    Caller: “Could I see it tonight? I want to stay for three months. I’ll have [Related Brand] hotel shuttle drop me off.”

    Me: “The room hasn’t been cleaned yet…”

    Caller: “That is okay.”

    (It being a Sunday night with only a few check-ins left, I figure it would be okay if I took 15 minutes to land a three-month stay in our most expensive room.)

    Me: “Great, I’ll show you the room when you arrive.”

    (The shuttle drops them off.)

    Me: “Welcome to [Hotel].”

    Caller: “You aren’t owned or operated by [Company #3], are you?”

    Me: “Nope!”

    (I’m getting a bit worried about this; nobody asks this question or is so interested. I show them the room and they tell me about how they need more chairs, a desk for their son, etc. They come across as very needy. This does not bode well.)

    Caller: “We will be living here until our house is ready, and we will need to use the van to pick up our son from school and to do errands.”

    (Red flag: They have a house under construction but they don’t own a car!)

    Me: “For all these things especially the extra furniture and preferential van scheduling will need management approval.”

    Caller: “Okay, let’s book this and your manager can get back to us.”

    Me: “Great, I just need a [Loyalty Card] number and a credit card.”

    Caller: “Okay here is the [Loyalty Card] number and let me read you the CC number.”

    (With confirmation number in hand they called Related Brand hotel and got the shuttle back. At this point I checked their Loyalty Card history. They had been in two hotels for 12 months. I wanted to know why they are changing hotels and what is going on and what they aren’t telling me. I left a note for my manager to call Related Brand hotel and find out why they are leaving. My manager called the other hotel. No sooner did she say the guest’s name, the other manager burst into tears. In New Jersey, if you live in a hotel long enough, you are entitled to protection under the eviction laws. That means the hotel has to take you to court if you haven’t paid your bill. For the first 60 days they paid on time and in full but as soon as the eviction rules kicked in they stopped paying. As a result the hotel had impounded their car. The hotel, having had them evicted, was in the process of extracting money owed for the room, totalling something like $80k. The family was also being investigated by the FBI for committing wire fraud from the hotel’s business center. Naturally my manager cancelled their reservation and I got a $20 gift card to Olive Garden for saving us tens of thousands of dollars of pain. If they hadn’t been so d*** needy we wouldn’t have known until it was too late!)

    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.”

    Related:
    Unhappy Holidays, Part 2
    Unhappy Holidays

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