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Your Inability To Pay Is Not My Inability To Do My Job

, , , , | Right | March 11, 2022

I worked the desk at a hotel for several years, mostly as a night auditor, but for a while, I was on the second shift, 3:00 pm to 11:00 pm. One night, I am working this shift with just my assistant manager. We are short-staffed, but it is a slow winter night, anyway.

A man and his girlfriend come in the front door and ask to rent a room. Everything goes as normal until it comes to payment.

Guest: “My workplace is paying for it.”

I groan internally. This isn’t uncommon, but there are procedures to get such a thing done that always include the reservation being made in advance, for the simple fact that we can’t charge a card that isn’t physically here without some paperwork behind it.

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but your company would have had to set this up ahead of time if that were the case. Do you mean you’re using a company card?”

Guest: “Yes, here.”

At first, I’m relieved, but then I look at the card he handed me, bewildered. It’s some sort of ID that I’m not familiar with, possibly an employment ID, but it’s not any sort of payment card.

Me: “Sir, this isn’t a payment card. I can’t use this.”

Guest: *Indignantly* “My company has a deal with hotels where you enter that number on the card into the system and then it will bill them! Every hotel has this! Are you stupid?”

I just toss my manager a confused look, but even though I haven’t been working there a year, I know this can’t be right. Our system has designated fields for everything. If you put a number into a field that it doesn’t belong in, it won’t just accept it; it will tell you it’s invalid, and there is definitely no field for the long string of numbers on the bottom corner of the ID.

Me: “Sir, the system doesn’t work that way. There is no way to enter this number, and I can’t rent you a room without some sort of payment.”

Guest: “You just enter it! God, you’re stupid! You don’t even know how to do your own job!”

Me: “Sir, I’m sorry, but I know my job perfectly well, and there is no field that this number can be entered into. We don’t have any sort of contract like the one you’re mentioning. We have certain rates for certain businesses, and some have ways to set up reservations ahead of time, but—”

Guest: *Now irate* “Just enter the number! I’ve never had this happen before! Why won’t you do your job?!”

I’m now fully over it and I just slide the card back across my desk.

Me: “I am. If you want to rent a room, you will need a payment card. This is not a payment card.”

He begins to gather up his things, but he’s still indignant.

Guest: “I’m going to complain to your manager! This is ridiculous!”

I hook a thumb at the other check-in counter.

Me: “She’s right there.”

The guest pauses for a long moment, staring at my manager giving him a little wave, and then draws himself up to his full height for his parting shot.

Guest: “You should really train your people to know how to do their job!”

And with that, he storms out to the other hotel across the street, clearly planning to try his luck there. I look back at my manager exasperatedly and she just shrugs.

Manager: “Don’t worry, you did great. I don’t know what the f*** he was talking about, either.”

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