This Hotel Has Much Room For Improvement

, , , , , , , | Working | July 5, 2018

It’s my last night in a hotel in Baltimore, and I’ll be getting up early the next morning to catch a flight, so I go to bed quite early, maybe nine pm. I’m dozing off and I hear some rattling, like someone’s trying to open my door. They can’t do it because they don’t have the right key, and anyway, I’ve put the safety latch on. The noise stops, and I assume they’ve spotted that they have the wrong room, or maybe I just imagined it because I was half asleep.

A few minutes later, however, the door suddenly opens and gets caught on the safety latch, making a huge noise, at which point I scream in terror. There’s a curt apology and they shut the door again.

Terrified, I pick up the room phone and try to dial reception. The phone is clearly broken or not connected, and I’m in too much of a state to work out what is going on. I fling some clothes on over my pyjamas and rush down to reception.

Reception explains that someone misread their room number, thought my room was their room, and tried to get in. When they failed, they found a security guard loitering around who, instead of checking with reception if they had the right key or room number, just decided to use their master key to get into my room.

While they’re explaining this, the culprits — idiot guest and even more idiot security guard — are stood right by me and clearly think it’s hilarious that I’m so upset about this. I’m sure it’s terribly funny to make someone think they were about to be murdered in their bed!

I didn’t get any sleep at all that night because my heart was racing. I did, however, get that night refunded by the hotel, who did accept liability for their receptionist’s poor handwriting and their security guard’s spectacularly bad judgement.

This Wedding Is As Right As Rain

, , , , , | Romantic | July 5, 2018

When I first started event-planning, a friend of mine hired me as a gift to her cousin to boost my business. Since the wedding was going to be a total DIY project, I was merely another set of hands to help out, and a record keeper. The bride was very creative and wanted to get married on Halloween of all days. Her greatest wish was to be married in a rainstorm at her grandfather’s house under the gazebo.

The two months leading up to the wedding consisted of making silk sunflower arrangements, procuring non-allergy hay-bales, and the bride painstakingly hand-dyeing lace black on a second-hand wedding dress she found at a church rummage sale.

The almanac and weather forecast called for clear skies that day, so we rigged up sprinklers and soaked hoses on the roof, and rented a tent to butt up against the gazebo to keep the guest area dry. Once we added a lighting strobe and the thunder recording, the effect was amazing.

The morning of the wedding, the bride got a glimmer of hope when, out of nowhere, the forecast called for a chance of thunderstorms that night. We met up at her hair appointment, and she remembered she needed more goodies for the kids party. Skies were clear when we entered the store, but when we came out, a dark mass of clouds was rolling in on the horizon. The bride literally skipped all the way to the car, singing, “It’s gonna rain.” Many people stopped and smiled at the sight of a grown woman with the freshly-done “I do” updo, complete with tiara and veil. skipping through the parking lot like a little girl.

By the time all the guests had arrived, it had started to sprinkle, and by the time the bride walked down the aisle it was a downpour. After the kiss, the bride and groom ran back up the aisle, through her grandfather’s house and out on the the driveway where they danced in the rain. All the black dye began streaking down the dress.

A few of the guests snipped at the display, but the bride didn’t care. She got the wedding of her dreams.

The bride hired me for a few extra weeks to help her rip apart her dress and make mini quilts for their parents and grandparents to be a backdrop to a pair of pictures in a shadow box: one picture of them saying their vows, and the other of them kissing in the rain.

 

Literally ROFL

, , , , , , , , | Working | July 4, 2018

Years ago, I was working at a bookstore with a cafe in it. I had always gotten along well with the cafe crew and liked to joke around with them. When the fad of drawing a mustache on your finger to hold up to your lip first became a thing, I thought they would get a kick out of it. One day, before my shift started, I went and stood in line in the cafe to get my drink, like I usually did, and when it was my turn at the register I smiled, held the drawn mustache up to my lip, and made my order.

My coworker let out a boisterous laugh, and then literally doubled over on the floor laughing. I was shocked at her reaction, as I was only expecting to get a chuckle out of her, not this kind of extreme response. I stood there embarrassed as the line of customers behind me was wondering what was happening. Another coworker in the cafe, upon seeing the cashier on the floor, let out a disgruntled sigh and stepped over her to come take my order, obviously annoyed with both of us. I sheepishly repeated my order, paid without a word, and stood to the side, red-faced and looking at the floor.

After that, I decided to cut back on horsing around with the cafe crew… At least where customers would be watching.

The Managers Are Independent Of The System

, , , , , , | | Working | July 4, 2018

I work at a newspaper. Independence Day, July 4th, is on a Tuesday this year. Some people want to take Monday, July 3rd, off so they don’t have to work one day, be off one day, and come back the next day. Six weeks before the week of July 4th, all the employees in our region get an email from the region’s general manager, telling us that if we want to take July 3rd off, we need to ask our department head first thing. So, that day, I ask my boss for July 3rd off. I get a reply through our email chat function about two days later, saying he’ll look into it and get back to me ASAP.

Two-and-a-half weeks later, I get an email saying, “I think not,” for my July 3rd leave, because he doesn’t want our department to be understaffed on that day. (Note: We are literally always understaffed by at least two people, and even more so at the moment because there’s been an open position since May that has yet to be filled. However, on a holiday week when basically everything shuts down for July 3rd, anyway, the need for reporters is even less.)

Come July 3rd, in chatting with coworkers, I find out that of the five people in the editorial department, four people, including my boss, have asked for that day off. Maybe all five of us, but I didn’t talk to the fifth person. Only my boss, who approves the vacation time, gets the day off.

In the sales department, a friend tells me she also asked for the day off. Because of the week’s schedule, 99% of her clients and potential clients are not working, so there is very little work she can do that day. She, too, is told no, because her boss, the general manager who told us to request it off early, is also not working July 3rd, and thus, my friend needs to be there.

The only people whose vacations are approved in my region for Monday, July 3rd: The department heads who choose whose vacation is approved.

A Textbook Case Of Kindness

, , , , , , | Hopeless | July 3, 2018

I am a 19-year-old female working part-time at a 24-hour fast food restaurant while at university. During my semester break, I decide to take on extra shifts as I have the time. I am also essentially broke, as for two subjects in my upcoming semester I am required to have latest edition textbooks. Unable to go for secondhand, I was forced to pay full price for both, which left me with barely enough for my next meal. Therefore, I agree to take on a Saturday late shift from 6:00 pm to 2:00 am, then another the next day from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, ensuring I get paid overtime.

What I forgot, however, is that the Saturday late shift is by far the worst of them all. Over the eight hours, we deal with more bottom-of-the-barrel, deadbeat customers than I have ever dealt with in a whole year of working there. Long story short, we endure lewd, misogynistic comments from drunk men old enough to be our fathers, multiple women stoned out of their minds who holler, “WHY IS THE CAFE AREA NOT OPEN?” before hurling their handbags at us, and I spend forty minutes scraping pickles and cheese slices off the ceiling and heading to my break half an hour late. That is just part of what I deal with on this shift.

Every rush gets longer and busier to the point where, in my last hour, we have a never-ending angry mob chanting for their food like a cult.

To top it off, this is one of the hottest nights on record, and our air-conditioning is broken; we have nothing but a tiny fan in the corner that barely reaches the closest register. I am sweating from under my cap, constantly fanning myself with my hands, and eagerly counting down the last fifteen minutes.

It is while I am desperately trying to match orders to receipts that I feel a tap on my shoulder from a coworker. She points to a young female customer, and says she wants to talk to me. I do not recognise the customer; however, she appears to be one or two years older than me, dressed for a night out in the city, and very clearly sober. Given my past experiences, I still immediately assume the worst and approach the register timidly, prepared for a berating.

However, to my surprise, the girl gives me a soft smile. She says that she has been watching me struggle with the immense amount of orders while still remaining calm and collected and ignoring the constant stream insults. She also notes how often I was fanning myself and that I never failed to smile at any customer when handing them their food, regardless of their attitude towards me. She says that I have been doing an amazing job handling everything and then holds out a $20 note. As tipping is not a standard in Australia, I am not sure if I am allowed to accept it, so I politely turn her down. She insists and I still decline; however, I thank her profusely for her kind comments before returning to my station, this time with a warmed heart and genuine smile.

Fifteen minutes later, I am leaving the work area when I notice the girl has waited around. She walks over to me and asks if my shift has ended. Before I finish telling her yes, she takes my hand and presses the $20 note into it, then wraps me into a hug and tells me I deserve it. When she pulls away, she presses me on how I am getting home and I assure her I have a ride. She then offers me one last smile, wishes me the best, and leaves with a boy who has been standing not too far away.

What that girl will never know is that her generosity is the sole reason I was able to eat breakfast the next day and afford a taxi home after my next late shift. My paycheck came in later that week, and soon I was stable enough to spend money on more than just groceries, but I will never forget that girl’s good heart and kindness towards a person she did not know, and it is still one of the most heart-warming things anyone has ever done for me.

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