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Past The Tipping Point

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: mstarrbrannigan | August 2, 2022

It was just after four and I was chilling at the desk waiting for the housekeepers to finish up their last rooms. The head of housekeeping’s radio blew up with one of the girls yelling about something. She gave an exasperated, “Ay Dios mío Santo,” as she came over to the camera monitors and pointed out that a housekeeping cart had fallen over. More specifically, according to the housekeeper on the radio, someone had just tipped it over. The head of housekeeping headed down to where it occurred to help clean up and figure out what happened.

She called me when she got there and explained that a woman had walked by and just tipped the cart over for what seemed to be no reason. She didn’t know who the woman was or if she was a guest or not. I asked her to find out who the woman was. The woman refused to identify herself (highly suspicious) and said she was going to come and talk to me.

The woman came to the desk, her attitude all “Oh, woe is me.”

Woman: “The housekeeper was blocking the stairs, and I was just trying to move the cart and it accidentally fell over!”

I asked her what room she was and she refused to identify herself again, which only made me assume she was lying. If you really think you’ve been wronged, why wouldn’t you say who you are? Her mommy called in the middle of me trying to figure out who she was, and her mom backed her up. She only relented when I informed her that if she was going to refuse to identify herself to staff, I’d have her removed from the property without a refund.

Woman: “I asked the housekeeper to move the cart, and she just stared at me for two whole minutes!”

Me: “[Housekeeper] doesn’t speak very much English. But surely you could have just gone around the cart? Or not pushed it so far that it would fall over?”

Woman: “It was an accident!”

Meanwhile, her boyfriend, who could probably smell the impending trouble, dipped out with their two dogs while she headed back to their room.

I really didn’t want to deal with this. There was no good camera angle on what happened, so it seemed like a case of “she said, she said,” but the housekeepers were understandably livid and I’m generally inclined to take their side on things. The owner agreed we should stand by the girls and told me to get the lady out. I called up to her room to tell her.

Me: “Hello, this is [My Name] at the front desk. Because of what happened a few minutes ago, the owner has decided that you need to leave tonight—”

She was apparently also on the phone with her mom, because at that point, she started crying on the phone to her mom that she had to leave by the end of the night, which you’ll note is not what I said. I tried to get her attention so I could get the rest of my sentence out, but she wasn’t listening to me. I heard her call end and she told me she was going to call the police on me before hanging up.

A moment later, the phone rang and an angry woman was on the other end of the line.

Woman’s Mother: “Are you the manager?”

Me: “I’m the manager on duty, yes.”

Woman’s Mother: *With all the attitude* “Oh, you’re the manager on duty.”

Me: “…yes?”

Woman’s Mother: “I don’t appreciate the way my daughter is being treated there. She accidentally knocked over a housekeeping cart and now she has to leave by the end of the night?”

Me: “No, she needs to leave in the next half-hour.”

Woman’s Mother: “Oh, so now it’s half an hour?”

Me: “No, it was always half an hour; she just misunderstood me.”

Woman’s Mother: “Well, we need a refund, because this is unacceptable.”

Me: “We do not provide refunds when we evict guests.”

Woman’s Mother: “Oh, so that’s what this scam is? You just make up reasons to kick people out and then keep their money?”

Me: “She knocked over a housekeeping cart; we didn’t make anything up, ma’am. Can you please tell your daughter she has a half-hour to leave the property before we call the police?”

Woman’s Mother: “No, we’re going to call the police and file a report on you.”

Me: “All right, I guess I’ll just skip right to calling them, too.”

I hung up and wearily called up the police. Meanwhile, the head of housekeeping managed to find a camera angle that picked up the incident, albeit from a distance so it looked like it was filmed by a long-range potato. But even from that distance, it was painfully obvious that the woman knew exactly what she was doing.

The police must have been bored or nearby because an officer showed up just a few minutes later. I filled him in on what had happened and he headed down to make sure the guest was leaving.

She met him outside but not somewhere close enough to a camera with a mic, so I couldn’t eavesdrop. She left, and the officer came back to the desk after she was gone.

Officer: “The woman refused to identify herself to me, but as she wasn’t being detained, that’s her right. I did inform her that she’ll be charged with trespassing if she comes back. She tried to file a report against you, but that’s a civil matter, so there wasn’t really anything I could do for her.”

We showed him the video, and he agreed that the woman had knocked over the cart on purpose and had to go, and he was very kind to the housekeepers and apologized that they’d had to deal with that, which was nice of him. I’d hoped he’d officially trespass her so I could add her pink slip to our collection, but no luck.

Once the officer left, the head of housekeeping headed up to the now vacant room to do a lockout as well as check its condition. It wasn’t actually too bad, but it smelled like dog and cigarettes. It was a nonsmoking room, and they’d not paid to have a dog in the room, let alone two. I thought that alone was enough for us to keep the money from the remaining two nights of the reservation as well as the deposit. After she got back to the desk, the head of housekeeping got to head home for some well-deserved rest. I, unfortunately, had several hours left in an already long shift.

A few minutes later, the phone rang and I heard the unmistakable voice of an online travel agency rep who’d long lost their will to live after spending who knows how long getting screamed at by angry Americans.

Representative: “Hi, this is [Representative] from [Agency], calling on a recorded line on behalf of our mutual customer.”

Me: “Hi.”

Representative: “First off, may I know who I’m speaking to?”

Me: “I’m [My Name], I’m the manager on duty.”

Representative: “Okay, thank you for that. I am calling because our mutual guest is requesting a refund for the remaining nights on her reservation. Apparently, she was made to check out early today.”

Me: “We will not be authorizing the refund. She tipped over a housekeeping cart, had two unauthorized pets in her room, and smoked in a nonsmoking room. We had to evict her from the property.”

Representative: “…I see.”

He said he would talk to her again (it was the mother who had called) and see what she said. He offered to bring her into the same call, which I declined. I told him that wouldn’t be necessary as she and I had already spoken. I stayed on hold for a moment while the representative spoke to her. When he got back to me, he sounded exhausted and told me she’d hung up and planned on calling the hotel again. Fortunately, she never did.

Today, I pulled the security footage back up and got the incident from all possible angles. In one angle from the stairs, I could hear her say afterward, “Clean that s*** up.” In another, I realized that once she got up the stairs, she paused to take a picture of her handiwork. What a jerk.

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