Booked Yourself Into An Impossible Situation

, , , | Right | March 13, 2019

(I work the front desk at a hotel in a small but popular tourist city. About a fourth of our customers book through online sites which require payment up front and are almost always non-cancellable and non-refundable. While we can add special requests to the reservations — first floor requested, needs a cot, etc. — any changes must be made through the online site — change of date, change of room type, etc. One night I am working and we are sold out. All my check-ins have arrived and I’ve been turning away walk-ins all night. Just after 9:30, a couple walks in dragging a great deal of luggage, something that walk-in clients don’t normally do, and when they come to the front desk holding out a printed reservation confirmation I know things aren’t going to go smoothly.)

Me: “Hello! Welcome to [Hotel]. Do you all have a reservation tonight?”

Customer #1: “Yes, we do! And we can’t wait to get in; we’ve been driving for nine hours. The name is [Customer #1].”

(I look her up in my arrivals list, but not only is she not there but, as I mentioned already, all my guests have arrived.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but I don’t seem to have a reservation for you tonight, and unfortunately, we are fully booked.”

Customer #1: “No… I have my reservation confirmation right here.”

(She hands me her printed confirmation and I see that she is booked for this day NEXT MONTH. I check the system for upcoming reservations and, sure enough, hers pops up for that date.)

Me: “Ma’am, I’m terribly sorry, but your reservation if for this date next month.”

Customer #1: *feigning surprise* “Whaaat? How could that be? I’m sure I chose tonight’s date…”

(I look at the date the reservation was made; it was booked last night, long after we sold out for the weekend and closed down the room sales for online sites. I know at this point that she booked whatever date came up available and just figured we would check her in when she got here. Were not been sold out, I might have been able to help her, but this simply isn’t an option tonight.)

Me: “Well, I am sympathetic to your situation, but all of my rooms are sold for the next three days, and there are people currently in each of our rooms, so I have literally no wiggle room here.”

Customer #2: *the husband or boyfriend* “I can’t believe this; we’ve been driving for nine hours to get here and we have to be up early for a wedding. Do you have an out of order room or a dirty room or something we could just crash in?”

Me: “Sadly, no, but I wouldn’t be able to give you an out of order room even if there was one. I could lose my job.”

Customer #1: “I can’t believe you messed up our reservation like this! How do you intend to compensate us?”

Customer #2: “Babe, don’t worry about it. Look, I’m sure we can find another hotel nearby.”

Me: “Actually, sir, every hotel in the area is sold out. The closest hotel with vacancies is in [City], which is about four hours from here.”

Customer #1: “Are you serious?! I’m not driving another four hours because you people screwed up!”

Customer #2: “Babe, stop this…”

Me: “Look, how about I call [Website] for you to see if there is anything they can do?”

Customer: “Oh, do you guys have a special hotel number to call for hotel staff?”

Me: “Yes, we do. They may have to speak with you, just the same, but they usually answer quicker than on the customer line.”

Customer #1: “Oh, good, because when we tried to call to change the date nobody answered… uh, I mean…”

Me: “So, you were aware that your reservation wasn’t for today and you drove out here, anyway?”

Customer #1: “Oh, for goodness’ sake, just get us a room! It’s not my fault your website wasn’t working. I tried booking for today, but it wouldn’t let me! I had to keep changing the date until it worked! Your website was broken or something, and that’s not my fault!”

Me: “Ma’am, you couldn’t book for those dates because we were sold out. There were no more rooms to sell. If you booked for [date], then your reservation will be for that date, not any other night.”

(She starts crying and screaming at me, but the husband/boyfriend gets her to quiet down in under a minute and they go outside to their truck. A few minutes later the guy comes in alone.)

Customer #2: “Hey. Um, first of all, I wanted to apologize for her. This is actually the third time she’s done this, and the last two times they were able to get the date changed and check us in. I don’t think she fully understands how this business works.”

Me: “I understand. I’m really sorry there isn’t anything I can do, but you’re welcome to stay in the parking lot overnight, and you are free to use our guest bathroom overnight and the pool shower to freshen up in the morning.”

Customer #2: “I appreciate that, but we’re just going to head back home, I think. I simply can’t handle her public outbursts and crying. She is nearly thirty years old and yet acts like a spoiled child who always has to get her own way, you know? It’s gotten to the point that I don’t like taking her out in public because I know I’m probably going to have to come back in and apologize like I’m doing right now. I think it’s time to end things and move on. Thanks for your patience!”

(He then calmly shook my hand and walked out. I couldn’t believe he’d divulged so much personal information to a complete stranger, but I figured he must have been at his breaking point and just needed to talk. What an unusual night for me.)

A Loose Connection

, , , , , , | Working | March 12, 2019

Growing up with divorced parents, once a month my mom would pack us up for the eight-hour drive to visit my dad and brother for the weekend. One time, we were roughly halfway through our trip when her engine suddenly died in the middle of nowhere. We were fortunate enough that this happened on a section of the canyon road that actually had a shoulder wide enough to pull out on, and that she had enough momentum to reach it before we came to a halt. Being in the age before cell phones — and even today, that area is probably still out of range of the nearest tower — she put on her hazard lights and we proceeded to wait… and wait… and wait…

Around four hours later, someone pulled over to ask if we needed help, and she asked him to call her a tow truck when he reached the next town. Two hours later, we were finally back on our way, and an hour after that we dropped off the car and check in to a hotel.

The next morning my dad picked us up and the car was left at the mechanic for them to fix for our return trip the next day. They inspected it and informed her that the problem was a very simple fix; there was a loose connection that had come free during the drive. Mom thanked them, paid, drove us home, and immediately went to the mechanic who had checked out her car two days before her drive to demand an explanation.

It turned out that one of his employees was in the process of opening a shop of his own, and had deliberately loosened that connection — as well as sabotaged other customer’s cars — in an effort to discredit his employer and drive their business to him.

I have no idea what happened to that guy, but the boss gave my mom several hundred dollars of free maintenance on her car to make up for everything.

About To Get Charged With Battery, Part 8

, , , , | Right | March 12, 2019

(I’m the manager in this story. A coworker has answered the phone and has referred the call to me as it is a complaint.)

Caller: “I hope you can do something; that other girl was useless!”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear. How can I help?”

Caller: “I bought a coffee and when I got home, I found a button battery in the bottom of the cup! I demand free coffees for life! I could have been killed! Imagine if a child had drunk the coffee; they’d be dead! You’re lucky I don’t sue!”

Me: *confused, as there are no batteries in our store, let alone one that could have slipped into her coffee* “A button battery in your coffee? Can you tell me how you found the battery?”

Caller: “I purchased a coffee from your store, took it home, and reheated it, and when I drank it, there was a button battery in the bottom. I could have died! All I’m asking is free coffee forever; it’s not too much to ask considering I could have been killed!”

Me: “Sorry… How did you reheat your coffee?”

Caller: “Why does that matter? I used the microwave. I COULD HAVE DIED AND YOU’RE NOT WORRIED AT ALL!”

Me: “Excuse me, ma’am. There’s no possible way the battery was in your cup when you bought it.”

Caller: “Are you calling me a liar? I’m going to have you fired! I could have died!”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, I am calling you a liar.”


Me: “Have a nice day, ma’am.”

Coworker: “How are you so sure she’s lying?”

Me: “If she’d put a battery in the microwave, it would have exploded. There’s no way she drank a coffee and found a battery at the bottom!”

(I called head office myself to let them know to expect a crazy woman trying to scam free coffee.)

About To Get Charged With Battery, Part 7
About To Get Charged With Battery, Part 6
About To Get Charged With Battery, Part 5

Not Even A Fifty-Fifty Chance Of Working

, , , , | Legal | March 10, 2019

(I’ve just checked out a couple who used part food stamps and part $50 cash to pay. I give them their change — about $2 — and they leave. I’m ringing out the two older women who were behind them when the woman from the couple walks back up.)

Woman: “I dropped a $50. Did anyone find it?”

(The older ladies and I both look around and see nothing, and we all tell her we didn’t see a thing.)

Woman: “Well, can I see the cameras to see if anyone took it?”

Me: “No. You are going to have to call the police and file a report, and they will watch the cameras.”

(The woman suddenly looks deflated, and I can instantly tell she thought I would sputter under pressure and maybe just hand her $50. She walks away and goes to another cashier within earshot of us, changing her story to, “The cashier never gave me my $50 in change.” The other cashier also tells her to call the police. She leaves again, defeated. I look at the two older ladies and shake my head.)

One Of The Older Ladies: “That was the most pathetic attempt at a scam I’ve ever seen.”

You Won’t Believe This Tall Bale

, , , | Legal | March 8, 2019

Our friend “Stu” is a farmer who sold some hay bales to one of our area’s biggest cattle ranchers — which doesn’t mean much since this isn’t really cattle country, but judging by the glamorous sign on the ranch driveway, the guy thinks he’s something special. But after a few months, the rancher called to ask if he could return a few bales, having decided he’d gotten too much. People usually stock up in the fall and don’t need any later, so Stu wasn’t sure he could resell it at that point, and normally someone who bought too much hay just lives with their mistake, so it was a weird request, but Stu’s a very kind and generous man so he agreed.

After getting the bales back, he did find someone to take a few, but soon afterward that fellow called him up to say his cattle were refusing the hay! Upon inspection, it was found to consist mostly of thistles, saplings, and shrubs! Stu’s hay is carefully cultivated with alfalfa and the usual.

It seems the original purchaser had baled random weeds from some unkempt field and invented his “bought too much” tale in order to get his money back while keeping Stu’s good bales! It was like returning a box to a store with a brick in it for weight instead of the original appliance!

It was so tacky a crime we all found it more hilarious than angering. Aside from telling all his friends to be cautious of doing business with the jerk, and of course vowing to never deal with him again himself, Stu just let it slide.

A couple of months later, Stu and his wife unexpectedly ran into “Mr. & Mrs. Thistlebale” in a vacation spot in another country. Mr. Thistlebale said, “Want to go for dinner? We have to watch our image back home, but down here nobody will see.” No, Stu and his wife did not jump on the charitable offer.

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