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    Powerless To Help

    | Wooster, OH, USA | Crazy Requests, Hotels & Lodging

    (There is a horrible ice storm that knocks out the power to almost the entire city. I am passing a room when a customer in only a towel opens her door and catches me.)

    Customer: “I don’t have power.”

    Me: “I know, ma’am. The power is down.”

    Customer: “When will it be up?”

    Me: “I… don’t know? Whenever the power company can get it back up?”

    (The customer huffs at me and goes back in her room. A few minutes later, I am coming out of the laundry room again. The same customer stops me, still in just her towel.)

    Customer: “I need to dry my hair.”

    Me: “I can get you more towels.”

    Customer: *holds up her hair dryer* “I need this.”

    Me: “As I told you, ma’am, there’s no power.”

    Customer: “Well, can I take it up to the front desk?”

    Me: “…ma’am?”

    Customer: “They have plugs, don’t they?”

    Me: “Yes, ma’am, but they have no power. The power is out all over the city.”

    Customer: “Oh.”

    (The customer closes the door, and opens it again immediately.)

    Customer: “What about the bank?!”

    Me: “The bank…?”

    Customer: “The one across the street! They have power!”

    (I go to the window and look out. The bank and the entire strip it’s part of are dark.)

    Me: “They don’t have power, ma’am.”

    Customer: “This is f****** ridiculous! I just need a f****** plug to plug my hair dryer in! Why can’t you just—”

    (A hand falls on her shoulder from in the room and she’s pulled back inside. Her husband sticks his head out and mouths ‘sorry’ at me before shutting the door.)

    His Room Has Been (Tali)Banned

    | Wilmington, NC, USA | Bigotry, Hotels & Lodging, Top

    (I am a security guard at an upscale downtown hotel. I am a Caucasian male and the other employee at the desk is our concierge, a third generation American whose parents immigrated from Iraq. A drunk guest comes in and glares at her. He is also a Caucasian.)

    Guest: “Hey, security!”

    Me: “Yes, sir?”

    Guest: “There’s a d*** Muslim at the front desk. You’d better keep an eye on her or she’ll blow us all to h***!”

    Me: “Sir, that is our concierge. She’s not going to blow up her place of work. Now, I think it’s time you go to your room.”

    (The guest leaves only to return two more times ranting about our concierge. On the third time I inform him to go up or he’ll be kicked out. He does not take it well.)

    Guest: “You’re a d*** liberal aren’t you? H***, you’d probably help her plant the d*** bombs!”

    Me: *to the concierge* “Please call the police. We have a trespasser.”

    (The guest ends up getting into a fight with the police, is arrested, and barred from coming back. The concierge and I begin dating a few weeks later and now, three years later, are celebrating our first anniversary!)

    Related:
    Her Number Has Been (Tali)Banned

    Acting Cuckoo

    , | Scotland, UK | Food & Drink, Language & Words, Tourists/Travel

    (Our hotel is in a pretty popular tourist area and we frequently get customers who struggle with English, especially with the bar food menu. My colleagues have already had some trouble making themselves understood when I go over to take one table’s order.)

    Me: “Hi, would you like to order some food?”

    Customer: “Yes, we would like food please.”

    (There is a long awkward pause, until I realise they are not going to order on their own.)

    Me: “So… what food would you like?”

    Customer: “Oh! I would like this. This is steak, yes?”

    (The customer is pointing to lamb shank on the menu.)

    Me: “Oh, no, that’s lamb. Lamb shank, it’s like a small leg. We have a steak just here, if you like?”

    (The customer remains pointing at the lamb shank.)

    Customer: “So this… this is steak?”

    Me: “No, no, this is steak…” *I point* “…and that is lamb.”

    Customer: “So this… what animal?”

    Me: “Pardon?”

    Customer: “What animal this?”

    Me: “Oh! Sorry! That’s lamb. Uh, sheep.”

    Customer: “Sheep?”

    Me: “Yes, sheep. Erm…”

    Customer:Maaaaaaaa?”

    (I am puzzled for a second, and then realise he is making a sheep noise!)

    Me: “Yes, baaaaa!”

    Customer: “Oh! Yes! And this?”

    (The customer points to the steak.)

    Me: “Steak. Cow.”

    Customer:Moooo?”

    Me: “Yes, mooooo!”

    (The customer points to each successive meat dish in turn, and eventually I begin to make the animal noises before he does, to save time. I manage to keep a straight face, because I don’t want him to feel patronised, but his impressions are very funny.)

    Customer: “And this?”

    (The customer points at the last menu item, which is a venison dish.)

    Customer: “What animal, this?”

    Me: “That’s venison, which means deer.”

    Customer: “Deer? What is deer?”

    Me: “Erm…”

    (I stop dead as I realise that I haven’t the faintest idea what noise a deer makes, and am certainly not capable of reproducing it.)

    Me: “It’s… ah… deer… well, it’s… stag. You know, stag?”

    (In desperation, I hold my hands above my head in the shape of antlers. The man looks puzzled for a moment, then seemingly has an epiphany.)

    Customer: “Ah! STAG! Stag…”

    (The customer looks questioningly at his wife, and then at me, seemingly without getting the help he needs.)

    Customer: “I… like… stag?”

    (The customer did end up getting the venison dish, and was very pleased with it. His wife had ‘chicken cluck cluck’ and was likewise satisfied.)

    A Perfectly Natural Request

    | Scotland, UK | Crazy Requests, Hotels & Lodging

    (I’m an off duty, live-in receptionist who has been called back to work because of a guest complaint that no one seems to know how to deal with. I phone up to the guest’s room.)

    Me: “Hello, sir, I understand you have a complaint about your room. What seems to be the problem?”

    Guest: “Yes, it’s raining too loudly outside, and I can’t fall asleep!”

    Tip Top Service

    , | Scotland, UK | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Money, Technology

    (Our card readers are set up to offer an option to add a tip to the total. This isn’t typical for card readers in our location, and it gives some customers a lot of problems, especially if they need reading glasses or don’t look at the screen.)

    Me: “Okay, sir, I just need to you to follow the instructions on the card reader now while it asks a few questions. The green button is yes, and the yellow button is no.”

    Customer: “Fine, fine, okay.”

    Me: “So, first it just asks if that’s the correct total, then it’ll give an option to add a tip if you’d like. Just press the yellow button if you’d prefer to skip it.”

    (I don’t usually spell it out quite this much, but I have the feeling that this man isn’t really listening.)

    Customer: “Yeah, fine, fine.”

    (The customer presses the buttons worryingly fast, then swears.)

    Customer: “Hey, why is it asking for my PIN again? I just entered that! Stupid machine.”

    Me: “Oh dear, I’m sorry but I think you may have entered your PIN as a tip. I’d better cancel the transaction to make sure it—”

    Customer: “No, no, it’s fine. I didn’t put in a tip.”

    Me: “Are you sure you definitely pressed ‘no’? The only way it’d ask for your PIN again is if the first time was the tip prompt, not the PIN prompt. It’s easily done. It’s happened before—”

    Customer: “Are you calling me stupid? Are you trying to suggest I can’t follow simple instructions? I’m a high-level manager at [Department Store Chain]. Do you think I can’t work a simple machine?”

    Me: “Really sir, I think it would be safer if I redo the transaction just in case.”

    (The customer sighs theatrically.)

    Customer: “Fine, then, just to prove to you that I’m not a moron.”

    (I cancel the transaction and the receipts print out. I see a tip had been added, and I only have to glance at the first digit to see that it could not have been intentional. I quickly hand the receipt over to protect the customer’s PIN privacy, without looking at the full number.)

    Me: “Here’s the cancellation receipts, sir, and I’m giving you both copies so that you can keep your PIN private.”

    (The customer takes the receipts and his eyes go wide. He seems to swell up, and for a moment I think he’s going to start screaming at me, before he suddenly deflates.)

    Customer: “Oh god, I’m so sorry. Thank you, you just saved me from a serious talking-to by accounts.”

    Me: “I’m sure your credit card company wouldn’t have authorised it anyway, sir, so it would’ve been fine. As I said, don’t worry. It’s happened before.”

    Customer: “No, you don’t understand. This company card has a £15,000 credit limit.”

    (I’m still not sure if the credit card would have authorised that size of transaction, but we still joke about the ’1000 per cent tip.’ Just for comparison, that first digit was a 6…)


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