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Owning Up To A Warmer Reception

, , , , , , | Working | January 7, 2022

I haven’t stopped by the office in years. I only work part-time for this company, and then, it’s not really anything to do with the site itself.

I get to the reception and wait for the receptionist to finish her (clearly not work-related) phone call.

Me: “My name is [My Name]. Can you let [Owner] know that I’m here, please?”

Receptionist: *With attitude* “Well, is he expecting you, then?”

Me: “Err, yes, he knows I’m coming.”

She looks at me suspiciously but does call the owner.

Receptionist: “Good morning, sir, someone in reception for you.”

She picks up her mobile and plays on it for a while. A few minutes later…

Me: “Sorry, did he say how long he would be?”

Receptionist: “Well, he is very busy! He will be here when he’s ready!”

Wow, okay. Luckily, the owner shows up reasonably quickly. We chat, and he apologises as he didn’t realise it was me waiting.

Me: “It’s great to catch up. I would say one thing, though. Your receptionist is not exactly setting the best example to visitors.”

Owner: “[Receptionist], really? She is always so polite.”

Me: “To you maybe, but not to me. And she isn’t one to hide the fact that she isn’t doing anything. If I was a customer or investor, I really wouldn’t have been impressed.”

He thinks for a second.

Owner: “Let’s talk to her.”

We go back to reception. [Receptionist] is all smiles, her phone quickly stashed away as we get there.

Owner: “[Receptionist], our visitor here was a bit put out about how he was greeted. I must insist that we treat everyone to the high levels you show me.”

Receptionist: *Playing innocent* “Really? Oh, it must have been picking up on something not there. Well, sir, I apologise for anything you thought you heard.”

Me: “Look, I don’t want to make a big deal of this, but you clearly had an attitude when I got here, and you were making private phone calls and then playing on your phone.”

Receptionist: “Me? Oh, please! Nothing of the sort happened. I mean, who are you going to believe: me or some new guy?”

Owner: “Well, actually—” 

Me: “No, let me. My name is [My Name]; I’m a partner of this business, so yes, I think my word is pretty reliable.”

She sputtered out a stupid excuse. I didn’t wait around for it. The next time, I visited she didn’t recognise me, but she actually spoke to me like a human being. Result.

Very Bad Reception, Part 23

, , , , , , | Working | January 6, 2022

I work as a security guard for a winery. The winery also owns the hotel across the street, which always seems strange because it’s a pure production winery, not a tourist winery. Regardless, during my shifts, I am the sole security guard for both the hotel and the winery, but my guard shack and 95% of my job happens at the winery. One Saturday during the off-season, when the winery is completely dead, I get this phone call from the hotel receptionist.

Me: “Hello, what can I do for you?”

Receptionist: “Hi, I wanted to call and report a suspicious car in our parking lot.”

Me: “Okay, please describe the car and why it’s suspicious.”

Receptionist: “The car looks like [description] and it’s suspicious because it’s been parked there for two days without moving.”

Me: “Oooookay, does it belong to a guest?”

Receptionist: “Actually, yes, I think I saw the people in room number [something] get out of it.”

Me: “All right, are those guests still there?”

Receptionist: “Yes, they are, but the car has been there for a really long time. Do you think I should call the police?”

Me: “I think that’s a bad idea, since it sounds like the guests just haven’t gone anywhere while you were there, but let me talk to my supervisor so I know what he wants to do about this situation.”

I hang up as she continues trying to explain why it is so weird that the car hasn’t moved.

Getting my boss’s opinion is really just an excuse to loop my boss in on the exchange I had just had in case the receptionist tries to do something crazy like call a tow truck and act as if I supported the decision. After calling her a moron, my boss asks me to call her back and get more information.

When I call, it’s clearly still the receptionist’s voice, but now with a bad Spanish accent. She gives a different name.

I’m very confused but I roll with it.

Me: “Hi, I just wanted to follow up with [Receptionist] and gather some more info about her concerns. Could you put her on the phone, please?”

Receptionist: “I’m sorry, she went to the kitchen area; she could be anywhere right now, I don’t think I could find her.”

This is not a giant hotel complex. The entire hotel has about ten guest rooms in a two-story building plus a manor house area with a kitchen, a bar, and a few miscellaneous rooms. The idea that anyone could disappear in this place is absurd.

I’m 95% sure that I’m actually just talking to the receptionist but not quite at the point of calling her out.

Me: “All right, well, could you give me [details] for my incident report?”

Receptionist: “Oh, yes.”

She gives the exact same details to the point that my 95% surety increases to 98%. I try to contain my laughter at the absurdity of the situation.

Me: “Okay, thank you.”

I have rarely heard a voice more filled with abject despair and exasperation with the absurdity of the world than my boss listening to the details of my second exchange. For my part, I spent the next thirty minutes bursting into random bouts of uncontrollable giggles as I struggled to force the inanity of it all into a professional format in my incident report.

Very Bad Reception, Part 22
Very Bad Reception, Part 21
Very Bad Reception, Part 20
Very Bad Reception, Part 19

A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 15

, , , , , , | Working | December 20, 2021

During college, I have a part-time job at a daycare. My shift starts at 12:00 pm and work is usually about a thirty- to thirty-five-minute drive from where I live. It is 11:20 am and I am getting ready to head out when I get a call from the front desk.

Receptionist: “Hey, [Coworker #1] had a family emergency and had to leave. We’re short staff and [Coworker #2] and [Coworker #3] need to take their breaks. Can you come in at 11:30, instead?”

Me: “I’m actually just getting ready to leave, but since this is the normal time I leave, I won’t be there until probably 11:50 at the earliest.”

Receptionist: *Pauses* “Well, that doesn’t help us.”

Me: “I’m sorry? I live at least thirty minutes away from work. I won’t be able to get there any earlier.”

Receptionist: “Fine. Just get here as soon as you can.”

I luckily get mostly green lights on my drive, so I arrive at work at 11:45 am and clock in. When I get in, my coworkers look ticked.

Coworker #2: “You know, it’s highly inconvenient that you didn’t help us out and come in earlier. Now we’re late to take our breaks. Just remember this when you need a favor.”

Me: “Are you kidding me? [Receptionist] called me forty minutes before my shift started and my drive is usually at least thirty minutes, sometimes longer. I got here as soon as I could.”

Coworker #2: “Oh, I, uh… She didn’t tell me that. I just assumed you lived closer and refused to come in. Sorry.”

Later, my boss comes in asking to speak with me.

Boss: “[Receptionist] tells me that she called you to come in earlier for your shift when you were needed and you refused. That’s very unprofessional of you and I expect better next time.”

Me: “She called me at 11:20 asking me to be there at 11:30. I live thirty minutes away. There was no way I could get in any earlier. I got here at 11:45 am, earlier than I told her I would be, clocked in, and immediately went to the room afterward.”

Boss: *Pauses* “I’ll have a conversation with [Receptionist]. Sorry about that.”

Lots of things like this happened throughout my time working there. I didn’t stay much longer.

A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 14
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 13
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 12
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 11
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 10

Disturbing Lack Of Regard For The Do-Not-Disturb Sign

, , , , , , | Working | December 16, 2021

I check in for a short break at a reasonably nice hotel. I’ve been all over the country for the last week. I have one more appointment in a few days, and then I can go home. I’m going to use this time to relax and get some paperwork done.

Me: “Can I request no housekeeping?”

Receptionist: “I can certainly put a note on your room, but if you hang the sign on your door handle, they shouldn’t make up your room.”

Me: “Shouldn’t? I really would appreciate it if I wasn’t disturbed. I have a lot of paperwork and it’s going to be everywhere. I really would prefer if it wasn’t disturbed.”

Receptionist: “I will add a clear note on your room, and I will leave a message with housekeeping.”

Me: “Great! Thank you!”

I spend the afternoon winding down. In the morning, I pull out the box of reports, receipts, service contracts, and the blanks I need for the last visit. I’ve covered the bed, desk, and part of the floor. I slowly work my way through before taking a long break to walk around the town. I get back to find a note on my door. I call reception.

Me: “I have a note on my door about housekeeping being unable to clean my room?”

Receptionist: “Oh, yes. The notes say that the room had a lot of paper everywhere. If you want your room to be cleaned, this does need to be resolved.”

Me: “I don’t want the room cleaned. I don’t want to be disturbed at all. There should be a note on the file, and I had the sign on the door.”

Receptionist: “There wasn’t any mention of the do-not-disturb sign on here.”

Me: “I’m not lying; it’s still on the door!”

Receptionist: “Well, I guess I can speak to the housekeeping team.”

Me: “Please do.”

Annoyed, but having to get work done, I carry on through the papers. I get pretty far that day and the next, thankfully not disturbed this time. On my last full day, I’m pretty much caught up. I go for a meal and a swim before coming back. The first thing I notice is the do-not-disturb sign on the floor outside the room.

When I go inside, the room has been tidied, and worse, the remaining papers have been stacked on the desk. Just a quick check tells me they have put everything out of order. Realistically, this will take hours to sort out. I go to the reception desk and demand an answer.

Receptionist: “I am sorry. I can see the original note and that you called to complain. I’m not sure what happened.”

Me: “Call a manager or something.”

Receptionist: “I don’t think that’s necessary.”

Me: “Just do it, please.”

She reluctantly did, and I went through everything again. The manager apologised and explained that he couldn’t see where the receptionist was actually passing on these messages, as housekeeping does not see the room notes, so they wouldn’t have seen the messages. However, it wasn’t acceptable that they then ignored the do-not-disturb sign.

I was offered a partial refund and vouchers for another stay. I made sure to use them at another site completely!

About To Be Dis-Appointed, Part 7

, , , , | Right | November 18, 2021

I’m sitting in the waiting room at my dentist’s office. I’m the only one there, so it’s quiet, and the receptionist is just a few meters away, so I can hear her clearly. I also can’t really tune out other people’s conversations, so when she picks up the phone, I can’t help but overhear the following conversation, or at least her part of it.

It appears the caller wants to cancel his appointment, which is in about three hours, but he’s not really happy with the office policies.

Receptionist: “[Dentist Office], how may I help you?”


Receptionist: “All right, sir, but because you are cancelling your appointment less than twenty-four hours in advance, we will have to bill you for the time.”

She’s not talking about applying a cancellation fee, which I’ve never heard a Dutch dentist apply, but apparently, this is a thing in some other countries; she just means the standard consultation fee which he would’ve been billed for anyway, and which his insurance will most likely cover.

Having health insurance is mandatory in the Netherlands, and people get an allowance from the government to help pay for it, so it’s not like she’s saying he’s going to lose more money than he would’ve otherwise.

There is a pause but with some irate muttering becoming audible even to me.

Receptionist: “Because we’ve scheduled an amount of time for you so the dentist can see you, and we can’t reschedule this on such short notice, so during what would be your appointment, the dentist can’t see other patients, meaning you still take up his time. That’s why we’ll still have to bill you for it. That’s just standard policy, sir.”

It sounds reasonable to me, but apparently not to the caller.

Receptionist: *More firmly now* “Yes, sir, we will bill you for it.”


Receptionist: *Starting to sound a little exasperated* “Because ‘I don’t feel like it’ is not a good enough excuse, sir.”

Longer pause.

Receptionist: “Yes, we will bill you for it.” *Short pause, like she’s cutting him off* “Yes, we will.”


Receptionist: *Suddenly a lot more cheerful* “All right, then, sir, so we will see you at three o’clock this afternoon? Okay, good, see you then. Have a nice day!”

She hangs up, bursts out laughing, and walks over to the open door nearby.

Receptionist: “Did you get that?”

Person In Other Room: *Also laughing* “Yes! Did he really want to cancel because he wasn’t in the mood?”

At that point, I was called up for my own appointment, so I left the receptionist laughing with her colleague. I was chuckling all afternoon, but I was also impressed with how deftly she handled that.

About To Be Dis-Appointed, Part 6
About To Be Dis-Appointed, Part 5
About To Be Dis-Appointed, Part 4
About To Be Dis-Appointed, Part 3
About To Be Dis-Appointed, Part 2