The Tropics Suffer Rains, Hurricanes, And Tourists, But Never Fools

, , , , , | Right | November 1, 2020

I’m working at the front desk with a new girl. The morning is going well, but then he comes, like a banana on the sidewalk, like death at a picnic:

The German.

The majority of German folk are the most polite people on earth (usually my favourite clients) and I deal with them a lot since I’m one of the four people in the hotel that can actually speak their language.

But this specific guy, uh-uh.

The Deutsche giant hits the desk with his graceful fist in an attempt to attract my nice colleague’s attention. She immediately smiles, and tries to greet him in English.

New Colleague: “Good morning Mr. [Guest’s Name], how can I—”

He cuts her off and starts yelling at her in fast, angry, German, he also keeps hitting the desk to emphasize his discontent. The poor girl looks like she is about to cry, and looks at me confused and scared.

I jump in and approach him in German, he seems less angry.

Customer: “Finally! You should have interpreters here all the time; it’s incredibly unprofessional. I shouldn’t have to learn English or Spanish to go on vacations, I should be here relaxing!”

Me: “I’ll make sure we have one here in reception more often, sir. Now, how can I help you?”

He seems calm for now. He looks at his family behind him, looks back at me, points at the glass ceiling and says with the most condescending voice:

Customer: “It’s raining… again.”

He caught me off guard. I didn’t understand if he was trying to make small talk or if he was ACTUALLY complaining to the reception about the rain.

Me: “Yes… sir, what a shame right? Let’s hope tomorrow will be sunny.”

I decide to treat it as small talk, and that doesn’t make him happy. He is astonished that I don’t see the issue.

Customer: “I PAID FOR THIS HOLIDAY! I PAID to come in this tropical country and enjoy the sun, not to see rain every day for a whole week. IT’S RUINING MY VACATION!”

He is absolutely convinced I should do something about it. I show him a long series of fun family activities that can be done even if it’s raining, petting zoo, underground swimming pool, monkey island, etc.

He seems interested in the rain rafting passes; they take you down some rapids in a canoe and it’s even better when it’s raining. I manage to sell him four of those and he leaves with the happy family. I go back to work, proud of myself for turning a complaint into commission money. Yay me!

It stops raining later, but I don’t notice as there is a rush of check-ins. The angry German is back, and he can’t care less about the queue. He pushes back the cute couple on a honeymoon that I am serving and slams that fist on the desk again.

Me: “I am very sorry, sir. If you would just allow me to finish the transaction with these guests I’ll be with you in a minute.”

He. Is. Not. Having. It.

Customer: “I bought passes for the rafting, but it stopped raining five minutes in and there wasn’t enough water to go fast! I WANT MY MONEY BACK!”

Me: “You will be able to use that pass any other time, you could just wait for another rainy day, sir.”

He is even redder now. He looks like he is going to explode.

Customer: “I AM LEAVING TOMORROW! ARE YOU DUMB? I want my money and I want to do the canoe thing TODAY! Get me your manager, NOW!

I happily call my supervisor, an amazing Dominican woman who speaks multiple languages and does her job like a boss. She takes no s*** and I know it well.

She is fierce.

In the most elegant German possible, she says:

Supervisor: “Good afternoon, sorry for the wait. What seems to be the problem?”

As soon as she introduces herself the German starts a tirade about how much service sucks, and about how I sold him a pass for raining canoes and then it stopped raining.

Customer: “THIS PLACE IS S***! Why call it tropical if it’s always raining? Unbelievable, I came here to see sun and warm weather, NOT RAIN FOR A FULL WEEK! ARE YOU GOING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT?!”

My manager is listening carefully and shaking her head with empathy for the poor man’s misadventures. I try to chime in to explain to her my side but she shushes me and points to the clients in the queue. I keep doing my job while she deals with him on the other side of the counter.

After he is done with his therapy session, he waits for an answer, since my supervisor hasn’t said anything yet. With extreme nonchalance, professionality, calm, and politeness, she asks:

Supervisor: “[My Name], pass me the reception phone, please? This problem needs to be dealt with immediately.”

He seems pleased that she is taking his complaint so seriously, and is gloating with pride, sending me “I told you so” looks. I grab the phone and put it on the counter. She grabs it, thanks me, and starts dialling a number I’ve never seen.

Supervisor: “Good Afternoon, this is [Supervisor] from [Hotel]; is this Eden? Could you put me through with our Lord and Savior?… Yes, thank you very much. Hey! Jesus, my man! Listen, I need a favour, could you please stop the rain here in Sosua? Really? Awesome, I owe you one.”

She hangs up the phone and smiles innocently at the fuming humiliated man. He then grabs the two little girls and drags them to their room screaming something incoherent about a bad TripAdvisor review. After he is gone, she turns around, smiles, and says to me:

Supervisor: “Good job on selling him the passes, even I couldn’t smile at that dude for more than thirty seconds. Now, I want to see that queue gone when I come back in an hour. Come on, girls!”

And she disappears, heels elegantly ticking on the floor.

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