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Barkeeps Should Rule The World, But That Doesn’t Mean They Do

, , , | Right | December 1, 2020

I’m the executive housekeeper of our hotel. We are hosting a wedding tonight and wedding guests tend to arrive early, usually trying to get a free early check-in, if they can. We’re usually happy to accommodate, but we can’t this time, as we had a lot of late-checkouts this morning. Most rooms could only be cleaned starting at noon, and these guests arrive at 12:30 pm.

I am busy helping the housekeepers to clean as fast as possible when my phone rings.

Front Desk Agent: “Hi, [My Name], could we clean room forty-seven immediately? The guest is already here.”

To be honest, I can feel my blood boil as I hear this. Front desk only informed me of all the late checkouts — about 90% of all arrival rooms for today — this morning when I got in. All the rooms are a mess — food, garbage, glasses, and bottles scattered all over — so we’re already in a pickle to get everything done by three pm. Usually, I don’t mind doing a room first, but not if I have to try to systematically power through a mess like this.

Me: “Sorry, [Front Desk Agent], it’s not looking good. Did they book an early check-in?”

Front Desk Agent: “No. But they are here, and they’re kind of angry already.”

Me: *Sighs* “Okay. But just this one. Seriously, we can’t do this multiple times today.”

Front Desk Agent: “Okay, thanks! Ten minutes okay?”

Me: “Twenty-five! I’ll let you know if we’re faster.”

My housekeepers work their magic and we’re actually done in fifteen minutes. I call down and the guest comes upstairs immediately. She still looks grumpy. Oh, well.

Five minutes later, the elevator opens and six guests come pouring out, rushing to their rooms, which are not ready yet. One couple surprises one of my housekeepers who’s busy cleaning a bathroom.

Housekeeper: “Oh! I’m sorry, but this room is not ready yet!”

Guest #1: “I can see that! Can’t you hurry up?”

Me: *Rushing over* “Excuse me! Would you please wait in the lobby while we clean your room? We’ll let you know immediately when it’s ready for you.”

Guest #1: *Eyeroll* “Yeah… but you better hurry! I’ve got to change before the wedding, you know!”

They waltz off to the one room that’s already done and decide to hang out there — not that I checked or cleared that room for check-in either, of course. Immediately, I run down to the front desk to check what’s going on. On my way there, I meet my general manager.

General Manager: “Are you all right? You look stressed!”

Me: “Well, six guests just tried to get into their rooms right now, so I’d like to know what’s going on.”

General Manager: “Wait… Front desk didn’t check with you first?”

Me: “No.” 

General Manager: *Sighs* “All right, I’ll handle this. Where are the guests now?”

Me: “Room forty-seven.”

General Manager: “Okay, I’ll talk to the front desk and then I’ll come upstairs to talk to the guests.”

I am really happy to get back to my housekeepers, so I leave immediately. Shortly, I get a call from my general manager.

General Manager: “Hi, so, they told front desk that the owner told them their rooms would be ready, so she didn’t question that and just sent them up. I’m so sorry! I reminded her to always check with you first. Are the guests still in room forty-seven?”

Me: “They are. But they keep peeking out the door and glaring at my housekeepers.”

General Manager: “Oh, great. I’ll be there in a minute.”

My general manager knocks and joins the guests in the room. When she comes out, she has an “I’d like to murder you, but I’m a pro at customer service” smile on her face. Here is the conversation she relays to me.

General Manager: “I’m terribly sorry for the wait. Unfortunately, we had a lot of late checkouts today and our front desk forgot to check with housekeeping before checking you in. We’re doing our best to accommodate you as soon as possible.”

She was ready to upgrade the couple to a suite that was already ready, but…

Guest #2: *Snooty* “You should be! Your boss told me all our rooms would be ready at twelve!”

General Manager: “Oh, [Owner] guaranteed that your rooms would be ready?”

Guest #3: “No. Not [Owner], your boss! [Head Barkeeper]!”

General Manager: “I’m sorry, but [Head Barkeeper] is not our owner. He is in charge of our bar. He can’t guarantee when a room will be ready.”

Guest #3: “How long have you been working here?! He’s the general manager!”

Aaaaand, they lost their upgrade.

General Manager: *Stumped* “Mr. [Head Barkeeper] is our head barkeeper. Not our general manager or our owner.”

Guest #4: “Don’t you know you own d*** boss?? He told us that all rooms would be ready for us!”

General Manager: “Um. Our owner is Mr. [Owner], and I am the general manager. I’m sorry, but neither I, nor the front desk or housekeeping, have been informed of any early check-ins for today.”

Guest #3: “Well, that’s not my problem. I want my room done; I need to take a shower.”

General Manager: “We’ll try our best to make that possible for you, but I can’t promise anything, madam. Check-in starts at three pm. I hope you’ll enjoy your stay with us.”

The general manager’s order for me?

General Manager: “Don’t stress over them. Do the rooms in the order that’s most convenient for you and let them wait until three pm if that’s how you like it. I’m gonna back you up.”

In total, the wedding was a horror story from start to finish. Everyone tried to use their acquaintance with our head barkeeper to get freebies and discounts, culminating in a showdown between the bride and the general manager about a special cleaning fee for messing up the hardwood floor in the ballroom. They made a royal mess and changed rooms for ludicrous reasons.

I’ve never been happier to see a wedding party go. Neither has our head barkeeper; he apparently never guaranteed anything and was completely embarrassed by the spectacle everyone put on.

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Why Barkeeps Should Rule The World

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