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Cowardly Corporate Can’t Cleans Crumbs

, , , , , | Working | January 10, 2020

(I have just begun working at a privately-owned hotel for the summer; this incident occurs during my first week as a new front desk employee. The contract that guests sign upon arriving states, “Guests must inform the front desk of any problems in their room within thirty minutes of check-in to give us the opportunity to correct it. After thirty minutes have passed, no refunds or room changes will be given.” I check a guest, his wife, and their daughter into their room. Approximately twenty minutes later, the husband comes back to the front desk, furious.)

Guest: “My room is filthy!”

Me: “I’m sorry, I see that housekeeping noted that they’ve cleaned that room. I’ll go grab the cleaner in charge of that room and send him back up. It shouldn’t take long.”

Guest: “No, I don’t want to stay in that room; it’s filthy! I don’t want to stay here. Your prices are ridiculous. I want a refund; I’m leaving!”

Me: “Let me go speak to my manager.”

(I walk into the employee area behind the front desk and find one of the owners of the hotel in his office, which is within view and earshot of the angry guest. I explain the problem, including that the guest wants to leave right now so he isn’t just trying to get a free room for the night.)

Owner: “No refunds. Do not give him a refund. Switch him to the room next door, but do not upgrade his room or give him a refund.”

(I walk back to the front desk.)

Me: “Sir, I can switch you to another, clean room. It’s right next door to the one you have so that you don’t have to wait for the cleaners. Let me show you—”

Guest: “NO! I don’t want to see another room. The room you put my family into is filthy! All of your rooms are probably filthy. Your whole hotel is disgusting! I want a refund. Where is your manager? I want to speak to your manager!”

(I go back to the owner’s office.)

Me: “He wants to speak to a manager.”

Owner: “When you are on the front desk, you are the manager. I’m not going out there so he can yell at me; you deal with it. He can either move into the other room, wait for his room to be cleaned, or leave without a refund. He will not get a refund; I’m sick of people wanting refunds.”

(I went back out. The guest stood there for forty-five minutes, screaming at me — and later, other guests trying to check in — about how filthy the room was, demanding a refund and a manager every few minutes, before he decided to just dispute the charges on his credit card and stomped out. The guest, while rude, aggressive, and pigheaded may have been entitled to a refund under the ambiguous contract. When I checked the room, I found cracker crumbs in a corner that may have been missed by the vacuum or dropped by the guest’s daughter, though the room was otherwise clean. This story belongs in Not Always Working because the owner of the hotel sat in his office, watching and listening to this guest scream at a new employee for forty-five minutes through a cracked office door because of his own stinginess and cowardice.)

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