Free To Complain Does Not Mean Free Room

, , , | Right | December 27, 2020

I work at a small hotel on a popular tourist island. After the boats leave for the day, there is no other way to leave the island, and there is no other choice but to stay in a hotel or sleep outside.

This guest is someone who has missed the boat and is desperate for a room. We oblige, though because it is late, this involves calling in housekeepers who are off the clock. It is important to note that normally we are an expensive hotel, but the walk-in rate this time of year is 50% off.

It is about ten minutes after the guest has checked in.

Guest: “Excuse me, I have an issue with my room.”

Me: “I’m so sorry, ma’am. Could you tell me what the problem is so I can help resolve it?”

The guest slams the hot water knob for the bathroom sink onto the counter.

Guest: “I am appalled by your establishment. My son went to use the hot water in the bathroom, and the knob fell right off! I paid a lot of money to be here, and this is unacceptable! I NEED TO SPEAK TO A MANAGER THIS INSTANT!”

I know for a fact that this can’t be true, as I had helped the housekeeper get the room ready, and the knob itself looks like it was ripped forcefully from the base it attaches to. But we have been taught to never question a guest. My manager does not live on the island, so I get ready to fill out the appropriate forms myself.

Me: “I’m so sorry that this happened. Unfortunately, there is not a manager on property right now. However, if I can have you fill out this form, I will make sure you are not charged for the damage, and I will either call maint—”

The guest interrupts before I can give her the options.

Guest: “I know it wasn’t our fault. How dare you accuse me of that?! I can’t believe the service here! I am an important guest here! You need to do something about your behavior! Let me speak to a manager! You don’t deserve to work here!”

I am starting to lose my patience.

Me: “As I said, I’m sorry about the issue you are experiencing, but there is no manager here right now. I will let him know you would like to speak to him tomorrow. Now, I can call maintenance to fix your sink, or I can call someone to clean another room so you can move. What would you like to do?”

Guest: *Starting to yell* “I am an important guest! I don’t deserve this treatment! It’s late and we are tired. Those would take too long. You are forcing us to wash our hands in cold water like dogs!”

Me: *Taken aback* “May I suggest that, if the water is an issue but you don’t want us to fix it tonight, that you use the sink in the kitchenette next to the bathroom?”

The guest shrieks angrily and throws the faucet handle on the floor.

Guest: “I refuse! We will have to use cold water and it is all your fault! I will be back tomorrow to talk to your manager! I’ll have your job! I demand you give me the room for free for this treatment! This is not how you treat VIP guests!”

I am just done with this situation entirely.

Me: “I will see what can be done. Here is my manager’s card.”

The guest takes the card and storms off, still shrieking. I send an email detailing the entire situation to my manager, and the rest of my shift passes uneventfully. The next day, when I come into work, my manager asks to speak to me.

Manager: “I just wanted to let you know you don’t have to worry about the guest from last night.”

Me: “What ended up happening?”

Manager: “The guest told me you were rude and swore and refused to give her a room, and then, once she got one, it was trashed and you wouldn’t do anything. But I know you, and from the report you gave me and the housekeeper’s account, you did nothing wrong. When she checked out, I told her that we wouldn’t be giving her a discount for that, and she ran out screaming that we rob innocent people who just want a place to sleep.”

It turns out that she didn’t want to pay for a room after missing the last ferry boat, and didn’t want to pay for her mistake. I’m just glad that, for once, my manager stood behind me instead of the guest! The things people do…

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