The Types of Assholes You Meet Working in Hospitality.

I’ve been working in hotels for almost 3 years now, mostly as a front desk agent, but I’ve also been a breakfast hostess, a night auditor, and a banquet server (that was the fucking worst, btw–don’t do that). As far as ‘day jobs’ go, it definitely has its upsides. I get insanely cheap hotel rooms all over the world, the pay isn’t the worst, I rarely see my boss, and since I’ve been working overnight exclusively for the last few months, my workload is laughably light and I have a ton of downtime to write for the blog and work on some of my bigger projects.

The downside is that it’s ultimately a customer service job and, if you’ve worked one you will already know, there is truly no capacity for human dickishness. I’d say the ratio of guests who are normal and/or pleasant to interact with and the guests who are such giant assholes that you come away from the interaction wondering if you’re on a hidden camera show is 55/45. And that’s on like an average day, God forbid there be some sort of NCAA thing in town.

Now I hate to lump a bunch of people into groups and shame them, because there’s enough of that in the world already and truthfully they were probably all dropped on their heads as infants and that’s not their fault, but you get a lot of insight into who’s a dick and who’s not when you work behind the desk five days a week for three years. At a certain point you develop the ability to spot assholes the second they walk through the door and before they ever open their mouths (or keep their mouths closed and toss a credit card at you while pretending you don’t exist because you’re a dirty proletariat street rat who learned to work a computer and lives to serve them). Anyway, I’ve given it a lot of thoughtful consideration, and here are the people who most consistently end up making the hotel staff’s lives a living hell:

  • People who didn’t read what our amenities are before they book and then get very mad when we don’t have whatever it was they imagined we would in their dumb, dumb little brains. Before I get too deep, I should let you know that the property I work at is essentially one step above ‘economy’ or ‘’budget’. It’s a recognizable chain owned by an even more recognizable international hotel company that has many, many different ‘brands’ of hotels under its umbrella, many of which are five star luxury properties and resorts. This is annoying for us because dumb people see that we’re owned by (insert very well known hotel company here) and assume that we, too, must be an extravagant, every whim-catering hotel! Room service! Indoor spa! A bar! A Starbucks! Who needs to read a list of features–I have it all made up in my head and if it’s anything different than what I want it to be, I’m going to freak the fuck out! In reality, we have slightly elevated basics at my hotel, a specific list of which is available for you to read for informational purposes wherever you book from. So that, in theory, if you absolutely need an indoor pool while you’re on a business trip for two nights(?) and notice that our amenities list says we have an outdoor, non-heated pool only and it’s fucking January, you can just keep right on looking and avoid an experience you won’t be satisfied with. But no, a good portion of the population (and I’ll be honest, it’s usually men in their late thirties to mid fifties) refuse to do that, and then are quite happy to get in your face about it when they arrive to find out that they and their coworker’s homoerotic bro-times in the indoor pool are a no-go. There’ll be a lot of unresolved tension in the boardroom the next morning, but I’m sure as fuck not putting on my nonexistent tool belt to start building you a pool in here.
  • Children. Particularly the unsupervised variety. Or the “supervised”, who are standing right next to their parent(s) and continue to dump coffee creamer onto the lobby carpet with abandon as their guardian looks on, totally unrestrained and unreprimanded.
  • People who say things like “I’ve never had to do this at any other hotel before, but fine.” This is always in response to the basic, standard shit that you have to do at essentially every hotel at this point in the twenty first century, like presenting an ID at check in, or having an ID that matches the name on the credit card that you’re trying to use. This confuses me to no end. Like would they rather we just play that fast and loose so any rando can steal your card, make a reservation, waltz right in, and wrack up an enormous bill with nothing to get in their way? Gee, I wonder who would get reamed out if that were to happen.
  • People who are experiencing major issues with their stay but don’t let anyone at the hotel know until checkout, when they unleash a hurricane of rage on the front desk agent. So yeah, sometimes shit happens. That’s why there’s staff on site at all times, even in the wee hours of the morning. We genuinely do want you to have a good stay and to receive the amenities that you’re paying for, but we can’t be aware of everything that’s happening at all times in every part of the hotel–it’s just not humanly possible. I know people are sometimes hesitant to complain, but there’s a huge difference between being an ‘I need to talk to a manager’ bitch the next morning and calling down to let the desk agent know that the people next door are loudly fighting at 2 am and it’s keeping you awake. If you communicate, we can usually fix the issue and also have the ability to compensate you in some way for the inconvenience if the situation calls for it. If you don’t communicate with us and come down to chew us out in the morning, we can’t even be sure that you’re telling the truth about whatever your problem was because we weren’t made aware at the time. How do we know you’re not just a scammer looking to get a free night? That may sound cynical, but you would be shocked to know how many low level con artists try and slip by on a daily basis in the hospitality industry. It just puts everyone in a bad spot. If something isn’t working out for you, just call down.
  • For instance, last week on Christmas Eve I had a family trying to make a walk-in. They drove down to Texas for one of the most major travel holidays of the year without making any reservations ahead of time (as you do, in this age of computer screens literally everywhere, including this guy’s pocket), and our entire town was pretty much booked up. They had four kids and needed a room with two double beds and a pull-out couch, which we did not have because all the normal people booked months in advance and took up all of those rooms. When I told the guy this he huffed and puffed and got all sorts of upset at me, then demanded that I give him two standard rooms right next door to each other so the family could be together for the same price as the single room he had originally requested. What the fuck? Nah. Not how this works even a little bit. Make a fucking reservation in advance next time.
  • People who just can’t seem to plan ahead, and then act like it’s my fault that things are going wrong for them. So walk-in reservations are the fucking worst, just gonna say. I totally get that things happen, life gets crazy, and you just need somewhere to stay for the night–I understand that’s a thing and I try to trust that people are normal and just going through some shit. That being said,  9/10 times walk-in’s are shady people doing shady shit, straight up scammers (like steal the TV out the back door scammers), or assholes who should have planned their fucking vacations better. Let’s dig into that last one. These are not just people who are driving cross country and decided not to make any reservations beforehand (which I also think is fucking dumb for the record because I like to plan trips out in advance, get the best prices, and pick predestined stops along the way to break up driving times logically, but to each their own I suppose), these are people with specific accommodation needs who didn’t make any plans beforehand and are trying to make walk-in reservations on busy weekend nights when we have all of five rooms to choose from–inevitably none of which fit their needs–and then freak the fuck out at the front desk when we don’t have what they’re looking for.
  • Sports Teams. Ah, the bane of my existence. This is actually why I left my last property (or part of the reason); we were the only hotel in the middle of a large network of stadiums and practice facilities and as such, most of our business was tournament traffic. Let me just say, I was on traveling teams myself from the age of 8-21, so I get it. There’s nothing more fun as a 12 year old than being far from home with 20 of your best friends and extremely limited supervision. It’s a fucking blast.
    It’s also the fucking worst if you’re anyone else on the property other than a kid on the team. They race each other up and down hallways, jump on beds, jump in the elevator, go around knocking on doors, fuck around with the phones, trash and destroy every common area, occasionally try and steal things out of our snack shop, and are generally just human tornados of boundless, uncaring energy leaving misery in their wake. Thankfully I now work at a property that mainly attracts business guests, but God if I don’t just want to quit every time I see a team will be in town. I guess the nice part is that on the rare occasion when you do get a good group (with good coaches who keep their kids in check), it becomes a huge relief and feels like life is cutting you a break. It would also be nice if people could discipline their kids better and teach them how to act in public, but I’ll keep fucking dreaming.

Those are the big ones I can think of now, but I’m sure I’m missing at least a few types of assholes that make working in hospitality an occasional nightmare. Even more than that, I’m sure there are types of assholes that I haven’t even encountered yet. A whole world of unexplored assholes. Thrilling.

I’ll keep you updated.


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