Making A Deposit Of Facts

, , , , | Right | May 6, 2021

For the last six weeks, we’ve had a lady coming to my hotel location every week for one night per visit. Every time, she pays in all cash, including the $100 deposit that’s required for cash-paying guests; we give this back during checkout after the room has been inspected.

My coworkers and my boss suspect she’s a sex worker, which isn’t legal in my state, but we haven’t had any hard evidence to consider reporting it yet. She always pays cash only and gives us the wrong phone number. She always checks in alone, but it’s clear that someone else has been in the room with her when housekeeping comes to clean the room for the next guest.

My personal guess is that she’s probably cheating and is giving the wrong information so that her significant other doesn’t find out about it. She’s always checked in on my days off so I’ve never seen her until today.

Everything has been fine up until a couple of weeks ago. Apparently, she did some… things to her room two weeks ago and we had a repeat of the same issue again last week.

She comes in again.

Guest: “Hello, I’d like to rent a room for tonight. Just use the deposit that I left here from last time for today’s deposit, please.”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, I can’t do that. I was left notes here about your previous stay with us stating that you had left your room smoked in, as well as some… damage in the room.”

Guest: “What? Do I look like I smoke to you? I don’t do any of that stuff. Quit joking around and just use my deposit that I left here from last week; it should be in your drawer.”

She waves her hand in the direction of our cash drawer where we would normally keep our deposits.

Me: “Once again, I’m sorry, but I’m not able to do that, ma’am. Your previous deposit was forfeited for the smoking and damage done to the room. I’m not able to use your deposit again because your deposit is no longer here. Management took your deposit and used it to deep clean and repair the damage that you caused to your room.”

Guest: “I’m tellin’ you, I ain’t done no damages to the room, and I didn’t smoke in it, neither. Just use my deposit again and let me pay for my room.”

Me: “Ma’am, even if that was the case, your deposit isn’t here; I have no deposit waiting here for you. We don’t normally keep deposits here for weeks on end because you are supposed to come to the front desk to have us inspect your room before we can give you your deposit back. The front desk notes state that you kept forgetting them here. When we make attempts to call you so that you can come retrieve your deposit back, someone answers the phone and states that you gave us the wrong number and for us to remove the number from our system. Deposits aren’t supposed to be carried over for the next visit; you’re supposed to retrieve it from us as you leave our hotel.”

Guest: “That’s clearly a lie. [Coworker #1] knows to just leave it in the drawer for me for when I come back every week.”

Me: “That’s because [Coworker #1] can’t contact you because you keep giving us the same wrong number. She tries to reach you in order for you to come get your deposit, but since it’s the wrong number, we are unable to contact you.”

Guest: “Well, I live outside of town, so I just leave my deposit here each time so I don’t have to keep doing it. Just call [Coworker #1]. She knows me; she’ll tell you to do this for me.”

Me: “Ma’am, neither [Coworker #1] nor I can use your deposit from last week because you smoked and damaged the room both last week and the week before. The first time it happened, my manager let it slide, but you repeated the same damages and smoked in the room again so she had to decline the return of your deposit to use toward fixing the issue.”

Guest: “You keep saying I smoked and damaged the room. I already told you, I don’t smoke. What do you guys claim I damaged in the room, anyway?”

Me: “Well, um… the notes state that both last week and the week before, you smoked marijuana and peed the bed during both visits, ma’am.”

Guest: “What? This is ridiculous. I didn’t piss in no bed!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but that’s what my notes state. I only have that to go off of; I have no more say in the matter.”

Guest: “This is crazy! Call [Coworker #1] so she can sort you out and get me checked in.”

Me: “[Coworker #1] isn’t a manager, and neither am I, so neither of us can do anything else. Only my boss can decide if she wants to return your deposit at this point. The deposit is no longer here and so neither myself, nor [Coworker #1], will be able to use it.”

Guest: “Well, what the h*** am I supposed to do, then? You guys won’t sell me a room anymore?”

Me: “We can still sell you a room, but we won’t be able to use your old deposit. We aren’t supposed to do it that way, anyway, because then we would be liable if it got misplaced or went missing by the time you decided you wanted it back. You’re supposed to retrieve it during check-out after each visit. If you want to check into a room today, you will have to pay for the room and leave a new deposit with us. There is nothing else I can do because it’s out of my hands and only the manager can do anything for you.”

Guest: “Well, when is she coming in? I want this sorted out, and I’m not giving you guys more money for a deposit; you’re going to give it back to me.”

Me: “She’ll be here in the morning. I don’t know if she’ll do anything for you because we are technically allowed to charge cards $250 just for smoking in the rooms, but since you did cash and most aren’t okay with having to pull out $250 in cash, we request $100. She’s already lost $150 for the smoking and damages from this event, so I wouldn’t keep your hopes up; since you didn’t attempt to collect your deposit at check-out, she can’t re-examine the room to see if your claims are valid anymore because the room has since been cleaned and repaired.”

Guest: “Well, I guess we’ll just have to find out and see, now, won’t we? I’ll be making sure I call her in the morning. Make sure she knows to expect my call!”

She huffed and walked back out the door. I guess she decided not to stay.

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