There Is No Room To Fish For Freebies

, , , , | Right | March 17, 2020

(I have recently started a job at a local hotel. We have a lot of youth hockey teams stay with us through the winter and I’ve been told they are generally a handful. This is my first time working with one and, to my surprise, when I arrive for my shift at 3:00 pm they are already all checked in. Most of my shift is relatively quiet. Then, at about 6:00 pm, a family comes up to my desk.)

Husband: “Hi. We are in [room number] and there are cobwebs all over the room, dust bunnies under the bed, and black gunk in the shower door.”

Me: “Oh, I am so sorry about that. Let me just pull up your account and I’ll see what I can do for you.”

(I pull up their account and see that they have already moved rooms once because their first room smelled of smoke. We are a budget hotel and, even though the hotel is completely non-smoking, lots of guests ignore the rules and choose to simply pay the smoking charge instead.)

Me: “Again, I am so sorry. I can absolutely move you to a new room. As we have already moved you once before, would it be okay if I take you to a few room options so we can make sure the next room is going to work for you?”

(This is standard practice at our hotel, to keep as many rooms available as possible.)

Husband: “Sure, that would be great.”

(I make a list of a few available rooms that are the same room type. I take them to the first room, open the door, and am mortified to find the bed unmade.)

Me: “Oh, my goodness, I am so sorry. Someone must have forgotten to put this room out of order after a guest checked out early.”

Wife: “Oh, no, I think this is the room we were in originally.”

Me: “Oh, well, that’s not so bad, then. It still should have been put out of order; I’m just glad we caught it now. So, unfortunately, the only other rooms I have available are on the second floor and away from the rest of your team.”

Wife: “That’s not a problem, as long as it’s clean.”

Me: “Great. Then if you’ll follow me, I’ll take you up to the next room on my list.”

(I’m now starting to think something is fishy because I am highly sensitive to cigarette smoke and smelled NOTHING in their old room. I’m also a little worried now because, especially in winter, our second floor rooms are rarely used and are only touched-up/dusted as needed, a few at a time.)

Me: *opening the next room* “Okay, so, this is one option for up here on the second floor. Why don’t you take a look and let me know what you think?”

(The husband and wife go into the room, turn on all the lights, and check every nook and cranny for the next five minutes)

Wife: “This will be okay. It’s much better than the other rooms were.”

Me: “Perfect! Then if you’ll come back down to the desk with me, I’ll get you guys moved over and make you a new set of keys.”

Husband: “Great. Honey, why don’t you go pack up our stuff while I do that?”

(We go down to the desk and I move everything over. Still thinking something is up, I make sure to note in their file that they saw their third room before accepting in and agreed it would be acceptable for the night. I then go and check the housekeeping records. The housekeeper who cleaned their second room is our absolute best housekeeper and would NEVER leave any of the things they mentioned wrong with their second room. I leave another note, just in case, because I think they may just be fishing for a free night. The rest of my shift goes by without incident, I leave, and all is well. The next day I wake up and have a bunch of texts from my coworker who was working that morning asking about that room. About 2:00 pm, I get another text asking me to come in early. I get to work about 2:20 to find my coworker, whose grandfather passed away the previous week, in hysterics and being comforted by the housekeeping staff.)

Me: “Oh, my gosh, [Coworker]! What’s wrong?”

(My coworker explains about another family from the hockey team that cursed her out because of an issue they had with not understanding our, admittedly weird, billing/refund system.)

Coworker: “…and then, this other family that I had been texting you about comes and tells me that the beds in their room were disgusting and they had to just lay on top of them all night with blankets from their car because they were so gross. I looked up their account and they were the ones you moved a second time so I told them I couldn’t refund their room or anything because they had seen and accepted it in advance. So she cursed me out, too, and is probably going to call again later today. I can’t talk to her. I turned the phone off because she and the other lady have been harassing me and calling me non-stop all morning and afternoon. I can’t deal with it anymore.”

Me: “Oh, no! I will deal with them; you just take a few minutes, calm down, and do what you need to do. I can handle it from here.”

(Eventually, my coworker heads home and I call the wife who changed rooms twice to let her know we can’t do anything for her.)

Me: “Hi, this is [My Name] from [Hotel]. Is this [Wife]?”

Wife: “Yes, this is.”

Me: “Hello, Mrs. [Wife]. I had a note here that you wanted a call regarding your stay with us last night and the quality of your room. I apologize that the room was not up to your standards; however, I did show you the room before you accepted it and you said that it would be satisfactory for your stay. Had you voiced your concerns earlier, we could have easily viewed a few more rooms, or fixed whatever issues there may have been before you took the room. That was the entire purpose of showing you and your husband the room beforehand. As you accepted the room as-is, I am afraid that we cannot issue a refund for your stay.”

Wife: “Well, that is unacceptable. Those beds were disgusting. I didn’t sleep all night and my kids had to lay on top of the blankets using our own blankets I brought from the car. I was also told that the owner himself would be calling me, not some random employee.”

Me: “I do apologize for the confusion, ma’am. The owner is not in today or tomorrow, and neither is our head manager. If you would like to call back on Monday between [times], our manager would be more than happy to speak with you. Unfortunately, the owner’s schedule is quite sporadic, so I have no idea when he will be in next.”

Wife: “Well, I expect a call from your manager first thing Monday.”

Me: “No problem, ma’am. I will leave a note for him to give you a call. Have a nice day.”

(I did leave a note for my manager detailing everything that had happened, and explaining how they had verbally abused [Coworker]. I suggested that they should not be refunded. I still have no idea whether they got that refund or not, but after that phone call, the other lady who cursed out my coworker showed up and I had to explain to her that she had been refunded, but refunds always take up to five business days to show up on your credit card statement, so there was nothing more we could do until after that time had passed. What a nightmare. My first, and worst, hockey team experience so far.)

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