Mom Had Reservations; The Groom Did Not

, , , , , , | Romantic | January 6, 2020

(I am the front desk manager at a hotel and we frequently have people calling to reserve blocks of rooms for large events such as hockey tournaments or weddings. In mid-August, a gentleman calls to reserve 15 rooms for his wedding in October. We discuss the prices and all the details and finalize the arrangement. I inform him that in order for us to honor the arrangement, he has to ensure that at least half of the rooms in the block are reserved by a specific date; otherwise, the block and the negotiated rate will be cancelled. We give him the option to either provide us with a rooming list so that we can reserve the rooms ourselves or to have his guests call us individually to reserve their rooms; he chooses the second option. We fax him a contract, which he signs and returns, agreeing to these terms.

A week before the October 1 cutoff date, I call him to inform him that we have not yet received any reservations for his block and ask him to please remind his guests that they need to call us to book their rooms. He tells me no problem; he will email everyone right away to remind them. Two days before the cutoff date, we call him again for the same reason; we get no answer and so we email him.

He responds the next day saying, “Push the cutoff date back a few days for me, please? I will have the rooms booked in a couple of days.” His original cutoff date was for ten days before the wedding; I push it back to five days before. The day before the new cutoff date, I call again and get no answer, and so I email him again telling him that I cannot push the date back any further and that his arrangement will be cancelled if the rooms are not reserved by the end of the night. He responds simply, “Fine, just keep one or two rooms for me just in case. Thanks.”

And so, the block is cancelled and with it, the negotiated rate. As a courtesy, I do reserve two rooms under his name at the original block, just in case, and inform my night audit clerk to go ahead and charge him a no-show fee on the two rooms if he doesn’t show up. On the day of the wedding, right around 1:00 pm, a bus pulls up out front. A lot of people get out and start lighting cigarettes while a young lady — [Customer #1] — and her mother [Customer #2] come in and walk up to the front desk to speak to my employee. [Customer #1]’s last name is the same as the wedding guy.)

Customer #1: “Hi! My name is [Customer #1] and we have a block of rooms booked here for tonight and tomorrow. Can we just get the keys and the rooming list so that we can get everyone settled before we sign all the registration cards and everything?”

Employee: “Oh… I don’t seem to… Let me just get my manager.”

(I have heard the entire exchange, so I’ve already come out of my office at this point to try to lessen the blow the lady is about to receive.)

Me: “Hello! My name is [My Name], and I am the front desk manager here at [Hotel]. Now, if I hear correctly, you are here for the block of rooms reserved under the name [Wedding guy]?

Customer #1: “Yes, he’s my fiancé. Does he need to be here for us to pick up the keys?”

Customer #2: “He’s at his uncle’s house preparing for his bachelor party. We can have him down here in maybe 20 minutes if this is an issue.”

Me: “No, no! That’s not an issue at all. However, we do have a little issue here. When your fiancé booked the block of rooms, we had him sign a contract stating that the rooms in the block would be reserved by the first of October, and he advised us that he would be having the guests call to make their own reservations rather than providing us with a rooming list. We have contacted him several times since then to remind him of his obligation to get these rooms reserved, and we even pushed the cutoff date to October 5 to accommodate your needs. Ultimately, the rooms were never reserved and your fiancé told us in an email to go ahead and release the rooms into our inventory and to just reserve two rooms for him just in case.”

Customer #1: “So… what are you saying? You gave my rooms away?”

Me: “Well, they were released into the inventory to be sold…”

Customer #1: “That’s bulls***! [Wedding Guy] is a smart, responsible man and he has kept me up to date on everything. There is no way he screwed this up so badly. I don’t believe it; you’re covering up for your own mistake, aren’t you? You sold my rooms and now you’re blaming my fiancé.”

Customer #2: “Honey, please, you’re getting all worked up…”

Me: “I have the emails here that we exchanged after I had already pushed back the cutoff date.”

(I grab the front desk monthly binder in which we keep any and all printed or written correspondence regarding reservations. I open it to the current day and pull out the sheets with our emails. She grabs the papers from my hands and her face starts to grow red. I can see she is holding back tears. Her mother is reading over her shoulder, and she has this look as though she knew something like this would happen.)

Customer #2: “Look, obviously he shouldn’t have been in charge of making these arrangements. He’s a construction foreman, not a wedding planner. This was nothing more than a misunderstanding. Can we just remake the booking? We’ve travelled eight hours already on that bus; we don’t mind waiting a few more minutes while you do a little magic in that computer of yours.”

Me: “Well, normally, I would have no problem honoring the original arrangement under these circumstances, but unfortunately, we no longer have 15 rooms available. There’s a major fall festival going on right now and…”

Customer #1: “I know there’s a d*** festival! Why do you think we came all this way to get married?! We’re getting married in the heart of [Local Provincial Park] and we’re doing the wedding shoot down by the fairgrounds in the pumpkin patch. I’ve had this all planned out for months and the weather is perfect. You’re not going to tell me that this is all ruined!”

Customer #2: “Honey, calm down. Go sit in the lobby and let me handle this. You need to stay calm for tomorrow.” *to me* “Isn’t there anything you can do for us?”

Me: “Well, I did reserve two rooms for you, as per his request, but aside from that, I’ve only got four rooms available to rent. Every other hotel in the area is booked solid tonight except for [Very Fancy Hotel that charges double what we do]. Last I checked, they still had two rooms left. The rooms I have are all singles, though; we have a lot of families in town for the festival, so the doubles were snapped up pretty quickly over the past few days.”

(By this point, the bride is sobbing uncontrollably in the lobby. Her mother goes to her and comforts her as some of the guests from outside start to come in to see what has happened. We end up having somewhat of an angry mob once the guests all find out what happened. We finally manage to make everybody understand that the rooms were never reserved and that the fiancé is to blame for it. I give them a total of six rooms — the two I had reserved and the remaining four — at the original discounted price. I also make arrangements to send a few people to the fancy hotel, and they agree to honor our price due to the circumstances. People end up sharing rooms and sleeping on mattresses on the floor. We set up a few people in an empty conference room on mattresses, as well, and a few more people head out of town to stay at little truck stop motels. In the end, everyone has a place to sleep. Strangely, I never do see or hear from [Wedding Guy]. The next morning, a tearful bride is sitting in our breakfast room, sobbing over a bowl of cereal.)

Me: “What’s the matter? Aren’t you excited for your big day? Don’t let this whole experience get you down; in 30 years you and your husband will be laughing about this with your grandchildren!”

(This sets her off crying hysterically. Her mother is sitting with her, calmly rubbing her shoulder.)

Customer #2: “There is no big day today, unfortunately. There was no bachelor party at his uncle’s; that brute never even came into town.”

Me: “Oh, my…”

Customer #2: “Yes, well, do you want to know what he told us last night? He is already married! He has three children! He didn’t mean to let it get this far, he says, so he deliberately screwed up the hotel arrangements in the hopes that my daughter here would call off the wedding herself. He had no intention of marrying her and we just wasted a whole lot of time and money.”

Me: “That… Wow, that is terrible. I’m so sorry.”

Customer #2: “Oh, no, don’t you be sorry. You did what you could for us. The way I figure it, at least this ended before they got married and had children and invested in a home. Now she knows who he really was. I could have told you a long time ago but–” *pats her daughter on the back* “–the young ones here are blinded by love.”

Me: “Well, I really hope she’s going to be okay.”

Customer #2: “Oh, she’ll be fine. It might take a while, but someday she and her future husband will be laughing about this horrible experience. Now that she’s not engaged, she’s free to go out and find him, right dear?”

Customer #1: “I want to find him, tie him down, and have my period on his face.”

Customer #2: “That’s the spirit!” *to me again* “See? She’ll be fine!”

(I never saw those people again after that day but I will never forget that experience.)

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She’s Only 93% Sure

, , , , | Right | December 26, 2019

(I work at a Register Office; a wedding is due to begin in the next half hour. A woman dressed in a formal gown comes into the office.)

Customer: “I’m singing at my friend’s wedding and my laptop battery is about to die! Can I plug it in here?”

Me: “I don’t think we can do that, but I’ll go and check for you.”

(I go and speak to my manager, who tells me that we’re meant to have any electronic device tested and certified before we can plug it in. She says to tell the customer this, but if the laptop is nearly dead and the customer is upset, to come back and talk to her again. I go back out to the customer.)

Me: “I’m very sorry, but we’re really not supposed to plug anything in that hasn’t been tested.”

Customer: “I just need to plug it in for a few minutes!”

Me: “How low is the battery? There are some things you can do to make the battery last longer, like dimming the screen, and there might be a setting to maximise battery power. Here, let’s have a quick look.”

(She opens her laptop and points to the battery display.)

Customer: “It says it has twelve hours on it; is that okay?”

Me: *pause* “Yes, it has over twelve hours of battery on it and it says 93% remaining. You’ll be fine. I take it it’s working okay; you haven’t had any problems with the battery…?”

Customer: “No, it’s fine!”

Me: “Then it’ll be fine.”

Customer: “Okay, thanks. I wasn’t sure what it meant!”

(She did look a little embarrassed as she left.)

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You May Now… Applaud?

, , , , , , , | Related | November 20, 2019

My sister is getting married. As her fiancé was raised Catholic, they’re having a Catholic wedding. Our side of the family is Christian, too, but we’re not familiar with Catholic rites or services, being a variety of other denominations. In addition, most of the friends of the bride and groom aren’t religious and so also aren’t familiar with Catholic practises.

Regardless of our inexperience, everything goes smoothly and my sister and her fiancé exchange vows and rings. The priest then invites my now brother-in-law to kiss his wife.

Awaiting the classic “I now pronounce you husband and wife” line which isn’t actually used, the guests don’t quite realise that this is the big moment and there are a few heartbeats of silence.

“There’s usually a big cheer right about here,” the priest prompts, and we all start clapping.

“We’d better try that again!” the priest jokes, inviting my brother-in-law to kiss his wife again.

This time we raise the roof with claps, cheers, and laughter!

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Almost The Wedding Of Their Dreams

, , , | Friendly | November 17, 2019

(I start helping my mom in her office as an assistant. We don’t tell the clients about our relationship, but some of our closest clients notice our similarities and guess it on their own. There is this one client who is very keen on having me as his daughter-in-law; he introduces me to his son, asks me to show his son — recently back from studying abroad — around our city — to which request I say a firm no — and asks me to come to his house for documents signing — my mom forbids me to go. Fast forward a few years: we are still in a good relationship with the client and we get an invitation to his son’s wedding. My mom goes to the wedding — the kind of wedding where the parents of both bride and groom are standing right next to the bride and groom, and guests are expected to queue to greet them — and after queuing for some time, she finally gets to greet her clients.)

Mom: “Hi, Mr. [Client]. Congratulations on your son’s wedding!”

Client: “Thank you for coming!” *to his wife* “This is Mrs. [Mom], the one who helped us with [case].”

Client’s Wife: *in full hearing of everyone nearby, including her son and her new daughter-in-law* “Ooh, thank you for coming. Too bad we are not meant to be in-laws!”

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A Mother So Bad You Can’t Make Her Up  

, , , , , | Right | October 25, 2019

(I’m a freelance makeup artist. Given I live in a very small town, there’s only a few of us and if we’re booked for a big event we might struggle to handle, we often call each other to come help and split the money. We all charge pretty much the same rate so it works out great. However, we’re all known for different things being our best work. For example, I’m better known for crazy colourful eye looks, and I get booked a lot by local performers and drag artists because of this. The girl I’m working with at the time of this story is the only one in town that knows how to do airbrush makeup, and she has a portable kit to do it anywhere. While we can both do pretty much anything, there are things we are better at, and when we work together we tend to split up the work accordingly. She is hired to do a full bridal party: makeup for the bride, six bridesmaids, the mother of the bride, and the mother of the groom. It is a lunch wedding and, to avoid having to start at 6:00 am for the photographer to arrive at 11, she calls me. She shows up at 7:30 and starts doing everyone’s complexion; I roll in an hour later ready to do everyone’s eye makeup, brows, and lipstick. The bride is the sweetest woman on earth, as are the bridesmaids. They are all laughing, chatting to us, and offering us food, and the hairdresser is seamlessly slotting in between us and working on hair. The mother of the bride is a sweet lady, too, if a little shy. When I ask her what kind of look she wants, she quietly says, “Oh, I’m not sure if you’ve got a spackle gun in that kit, sweetheart,” which makes us all laugh, and she is amazed at how the airbrush makeup looks on her skin. Around 9:30, the problems start.)

Mother Of The Groom: “This is ridiculous; we’re going to be late.”

(By this point, everyone but her and one bridesmaid has their complexion finished, and I’ve done the rest on four bridesmaids and the bride’s mum. It is simple eye makeup, just a single colour through the crease and some winged liner with lashes and a nude lipstick. We are on track to be finished by 10:30, 10:45 at the latest. The photographer is coming at 11, and the wedding isn’t until 12:30. No way are we going to be late for anything.)

Mother Of The Groom: “I told you makeup was a huge waste of time and money. This is ridiculous.”

(One of the bridesmaids pipes up.)

Bridesmaid: “Mum, you chucked a fit that you weren’t invited to the makeup part of the morning. You’re here now. Suck it up.”

(The groom’s mum goes back to looking like she’s sucked on a lemon while the other makeup artist looks at me uneasily. I shrug and finish up the bride, who squeals happily at the mirror and hops out of the chair to hug me. The last bridesmaid approaches me and quietly asks if I could do her foundation, instead. She has cystic acne on her face and is nervous that the airbrush won’t smooth everything out properly. No worries. She hops into my chair and I start putting regular foundation and concealer on her, trying to match the glowy look we have on the other girls.)

Mother Of The Groom: *jerking her head around to look at everything while getting her airbrush done, frustrating my colleague* “Why does she get proper makeup and we get spray paint?”

Colleague: *cheerfully* “Oh, we’re just getting things done quickly since you’re nervous about the time!”

([Mother Of The Groom] seems to accept that and finally holds still long enough for my colleague to finish her foundation. Since I’m still working on the final bridesmaid, my coworker starts on her eye makeup.)

Mother Of The Groom: “Why are you doing my eyeshadow? Why isn’t she doing it? She did everyone else’s!” 

(My colleague reminds her of the time and keeps working. I finish up on the final bridesmaid around the same time my colleague finishes up on [Mother Of The Groom], who jumps out of her chair without a word and announces she’s going back to her room to change. Sure enough, we’re finished with half an hour to spare. As we’re packing away our kits, the bride and the bridesmaid who told [Mother Of The Groom] to simmer down apologise for [Mother Of The Groom]’s behaviour. It’s apparently not the first thing she’s exploded about even today, let alone in general about the wedding. Having worked with difficult mothers in wedding parties before, we wave it off with a few jokes. The bride asks if we have anything else on today and no, we don’t, so she asks if she can pay us to stay on and do final touchups before the ceremony, and maybe put some lip-gloss on to the flower girls when they arrive to make them feel part of it. We agree and just move our kits off to one side and plan on going down to the hotel buffet to grab some food in the interim. We’re downstairs eating about an hour later when two bridesmaids come bolting through looking for us. One of them is stammering apologies, and the other one is just begging us to come with them. We all race back upstairs to find a crying bride in the hall and a VERY angry bridesmaid trying to console her. We can hear shouting from inside the room. When we open the door and go in, we find that my kit has been opened up and my eyeshadow palettes are scattered across the desk. [Mother Of The Groom] is crying and screaming at the bridesmaid who is her daughter, who is LIVID and gesturing wildly and yelling back. Apparently, [Mother Of The Groom] had decided she didn’t want the airbrush makeup and had washed it off. She also didn’t think that the tasteful brown eyeshadow we’d given her was right, and had broken into my kit and dragged out my eyeshadow palettes. Honestly, if she’d only done that I would have just been cranky, but oh, no. She’d found my water-activated stage makeup and had attempted to use that to give herself blue eyeshadow. This stuff DOESN’T work unless you get it wet, so she’d just gouged massive holes into a bunch of colours trying to make it work. There were clumps stuck to her face. She’d also attempted to use my foundation kit to put her complexion products back on, but had shade-matched herself wrong and applied it with her fingers, since my sponges and brushes were in a locked part of my kit. In the process, she’d knocked over the foundation bottle and it was EVERYWHERE. The angry bridesmaid finishes yelling; [Mother Of The Groom] is still crying and screaming. Suddenly, the groom walks through the door and stares at the carnage. We’re trying to salvage what we can from the bits of my kit she’s trashed and clean up foundation. The bride is now locked in the bathroom, crying.)

Groom: *eerily calm* “Shut up, Mum.”

Mother Of The Groom: *stops yelling*What did you say to me?!”

Groom: “I said shut up. I knew you would do this. [Sister Bridesmaid] knew you would do this. [Bride] insisted we let you come to the getting-ready part because she wanted you to feel a part of today. Well, congratulations; now you aren’t part of it at all. You are not welcome at the wedding.”

([Mother Of The Groom] tries to argue, amps up her crying, and everything. [Groom] stands his ground like an absolute champ. After a few minutes, she huffs off, still screaming and crying. An older guy in a suit enters the room right as she leaves, having been screamed at by her in the hallway, too.)

Older Guy: “Well, then, if you kids were ever wondering why I didn’t stay married to that hag… that’s why.” 

(We dragged the bride out of the bathroom and redid her entire face. We got her to the church five minutes late, but by the time we were done, she was laughing and giggling with her friends again. The groom’s dad shoved a handful of $50s into my friend’s hand and said he wouldn’t take no for an answer, and to replace the makeup in our kits his ex-wife had trashed. Ninety-nine out of a hundred weddings go off without a hitch in the makeup process, but this one absolutely took the cake. My friend and I wound up at our cars putting away our kits, staring at each other asking, “Did… Did that really happen?” Wackiest wedding day ever.)

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