Farmers And Husbands And Badges, Oh My!

, , | Friendly | April 19, 2018

(I work in a hotel. On Saturdays, there is an elderly man who comes in and sits in the lobby. We know him by name, and the people who have been there longer than I have have known him for years. I’ve only been there eight months, so he often asks me personal questions, but repeats them over and over. He’s harmless and sweet, so we just treat him politely.)

Man: “What’s your name?” *looks at my badge* “[Wrong Name]?”

Me: “Close. It’s [My Name].”

Man: “Have I told you about the farmers in Minnesota yet?”

Me: “Yes, you were the one who introduced me to that story.”

Man: “Oh, right.” *pause* “Does your husband work here, too?”

Me: “No.”

Man: “Where does he work?”

Me: *holding up my bare hand* “I’m not married.”

Man: “Oh! I thought you were married, so he’d work somewhere around here.”

Me: “Well, if you ever find my husband, be sure to tell him where I am!”

(He laughed and went back to the lobby chairs. Still no word on my hubby, though.)

The Key To A Good Scam Is A Hapless Employee

, , , | Working | April 16, 2018

(Our hotel has an option for keyless entry to your hotel room. Basically, you can get a key to your room on your smartphone and completely bypass the front desk to go straight to your room. It immediately becomes an attraction for credit-card thieves, as they can just input stolen numbers on their phones and go right up without us checking their ID. However, you must be a part of the hotel’s rewards program to access the feature, so to deter thieves, low-tier members are not able to use their keyless entry without first stopping at the desk to verify their identities and credit cards. Once their identities are verified, the front desk agent can manually authorize the activation of the key on their phone. On this particular night, I notice a low-tier member has booked our most expensive room, and opted for keyless entry. This rings alarm bells, so I look up her profile.)

Me: “Hey, [Manager], this guest is a scammer.”

Manager: “What makes you say that?”

Me: “Well, for one, she tried to get a room here a few nights ago and, by the notes on her reservation, she told the desk that she had no credit card or ID. We cancelled it for her without a charge because of sketchiness. And two, the credit card on this reservation is completely different from her last one.”

Manager: “Yeah, that sounds pretty fishy. Just keep an eye on it; at least she can’t get a key without coming to the desk.”

(We have just hours earlier had a meeting on this very topic. However, about half an hour later, I am looking at the reservations left to check in and notice that the suspicious reservation has been issued her key. Skeptical, I go to the agent who it says did the issuing.)

Me: “Hey, [Agent], did [Suspicious Guest] actually check in with a proper card?”

Agent: “What? No. She hasn’t been up here. Why?”

Me: “It says you issued her a key! Now she can get in the room with what might be a fake card!”

Agent: “I didn’t check her in! I was just approving the keyless entries for the day!”

Me: “You were… What?”

Agent: “I always do this! You have to approve all of the keyless entries for them to work!”

Me: “I… What? No! The system automatically approves the ones that meet criteria! It will put a ‘pending approval’ notice on low-tier members or anyone whose card declines! You just issued keys to everyone who bothered to ask for one!”

Agent: “What? I’ve been doing this since the keyless entry program started! Are you sure?”

Me: “What did you think pressing the ‘Approve Keyless Entry’ button did?!”

(After taking a bit to process the whole encounter, I retrained her on how the system worked, and she promised not to manually approve any more keyless entries until their payment and ID were verified. It was pure luck we hadn’t had more scammers get through the system, as apparently this agent had been doing this for months. I was able to lock out the room that the suspicious guest was renting before she got there, so she would have to come to the desk after all. And wouldn’t you know it? When she did contact the desk, she stated that she didn’t have her card, and she was not allowed to stay.)

That’s How The Generational Cookie Crumbles

, , , , | Friendly | April 15, 2018

(My dad and his friend often meet up for a week-long convention near our town. They are in their 50s and 60s — as are 90% of the club members — and have been attending this particular convention for almost 30 years. It’s worth noting that most of these people have watched me grow up. This year, I visit the hotel, and inevitably, I sit through the, “How old are you, now? I remember when you were knee-high to a grasshopper! We’re getting older, huh?” conversation, yet again. But honestly, this one is my favorite:)

Dad’s Friend: *digging through his cooler* “Well, Miss [My Name], I guess we’re just getting old now. Here you are, all grown up and having a baby of your own. Years ago, your dad and I would be sitting down with a rum and coke at about this time. Now I’m sitting down with cookies and milk!”

Snakes In A Drain

, , , , , | Friendly | April 13, 2018

When I was 16, I had the opportunity to go on a multi-city European trip with two of my best friends, their parents, and a few other adults. One friend was my age, and her younger sister was 13. We arrived in Rome during the first leg of the trip and went straight to the hotel, since it was already pretty late. The younger sister called dibs on using the shower first. So, the older sister and I decided to turn the TV on to find a weather report for the next day. This was before smartphones, and there was no guest-use computer in the hotel that we knew of.

When we turned the TV on, it happened to be on a channel showing an Italian-dubbed version of the 1997 movie Anaconda, right at a part when the giant snake pops out of the water hissing and people start shouting, etc. Next thing we knew, we heard [Younger Sister] screaming her head off in the bathroom. She came running out, soaking wet and barely holding a towel over herself, screaming, “There’s a snake in the bathroom!”

The older sister and I looked at each other, and then we looked at the TV. I ran into the bathroom, and sure enough, there was a speaker in the ceiling that could have easily been mistaken for an air vent. The previous occupant had also apparently turned the volume all the way up.

I laughed so hard I cried, and the older sister practically rolled off the bed. [Younger Sister] was pretty mad at us, even though we had no way of knowing there was a speaker in the bathroom or that Anaconda would be the first thing on TV when we turned it on, but she didn’t speak to us again until the next day.

We’re all now in our 20s, and I recently reminded both of them about that story. The younger sister can laugh about it now!

Above And Beyond The Hotelier’s Call

, , , , , | Hopeless | April 10, 2018

When I was 14, my family and I took a vacation to a popular amusement park. The hotel we were staying at was not an official hotel affiliated with the park, but it was in the area.

On our third day of our vacation, I woke up very sick. We thought I either caught a stomach virus or had food poisoning. No one else in my family was sick, and we had day passes to one of the amusement parks that I wasn’t too thrilled about going to, so they used that pass that day.

Anyway, being 14, my parents decided it was okay for me to remain in the hotel room and sleep. My parents are the worrying type, so they told the front desk that I was sick and that they would really appreciate it if someone could just check on me once during the day. The lady at the front desk said no problem, took my mom’s pager number — this was before cellphones were really affordable — and asked if there was anything else I needed. My mom said some clean sheets would be good, and thanked her. She came back upstairs to let me know that someone would be coming by with sheets, and if I needed anything to call the front desk.

About two hours after my family left, there was a knock on the door. The woman had a name badge and a cart, so I opened the door. She had a huge basket on the cart with a balloon on it that said, “Get well soon!” The front desk had sent up a basket with numerous stuffed animals, crackers, ginger ale, and soup. I was so happy I started to cry. What was set to be the worst day of my vacation turned into one of the best days.

When my family came back, they were shocked. My brother — who was 21 — was actually jealous that he didn’t get anything. My mom went down to the front desk to thank them and to pay for the items. The front desk told her no, the basket was on the hotel, free of charge.

I don’t know if the hotel still does that for sick kids, but it certainly made my vacation absolutely awesome. Thank you, hotel!

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