An Update from the story ‘Run…run for your lives!!!’

September 23, 2011 Leave a comment

If you had read a previous story of mine you would of read about a lovely chap named Mr Hasim (not his real name btw). I’m kidding…he was rude, arrogant, obnoxious and the list goes on.

Recently I had the great pleasure of testifying in court against this guy. Funnily enough he was accused of being a fraudster. He told would be investors that he had millions locked in overseas accounts and that if you invest so much you be get x amount of dollars back. Going by my story you learn that this guy is an idiot and not a smooth talker at all. But, he obviously had some believability about himself.

So, I get to the court room. Told to wait in a room for a bit then handed a statement to read out. He wasn’t implicated in any con at the hotel but I was testifying as a character witness. His lawyers were trying to say that he was misunderstood and that he was a gentleman & blah blah blah. He had stayed in a lot of hotels around the area and I knew from a few of them that he was a real prick to them too. As, you could imagine I had a certain pleasure in what was coming to this guy.

Next, I was summonsed to the court room. With an evil eye directed right at him I walk in finding my seat. I was in there for about 10 minutes reading my statement and the whole time he never looked up, not once. I was asked one question by the crown prosecutor and then that was it. ‘Mr Nolan, that’s all we need from you’ came from the judge. Wait…what?! That’s it?! It was all over so quickly. But as I walked out another deathly glare was directed at the coward. Damn! He never looked up! What a waste of my evil stares!

The case is still on going and there are over 50 witnesses. So, hopefully justice will be served.

Blood, bed bugs & bodily fluid.

May 30, 2010 3 comments

 

Can I speak to the manager were the words that came from a slightly distraught gentleman.

You never really know how that’s going to end up. You are always thinking on the defensive when that question is asked.

On this occasion my mood turned from cheerful to concerned. The slightly distraught gentleman went from mildly agitated to shaking. Oh dear…

This wasn’t pretty, he was quite shaken up and from what he proceeded to tell me I could understand why.

He told me that when they got out of bed this morning they found blood spots all over the bed. I tried to squeeze the gulp down my throat as the cold sweat started to take over my forehead.

I looked over to his wife, she was staring at me looking for answers. THEN he told me that when they pulled the sheets back they found some sort of “bodily fluids” on the blankets. I was looking for the nearest exit when he said that. My bottom jaw was on the ground.

This guy wasn’t angry…he was disturbed, disgusted and clearly overwhelmed from what he thought had happened. Actually, words cannot express what this couple were going through at that point..and I’ll tell you why.

They had thought that while they were out having dinner the night before someone had snuck into their room and had…well…just let your imagination run wild. And then they had slept on the bed from which it was done.

I’m sure they had that sickly feeling as I sure did. I asked them if I could have a look in their room. I went up with the gentleman. Sure enough there were blood spots on the sheets and the “bodily fluids” on the blankets.

I assured him that there was no way that anybody could come into the room. The unfortunate thing was that they had to catch a flight and they were in a hurry. We went back to the front desk where they were waiting for the taxi. They were both just staring at me in disgust wanting answers. I had said all the usual things, apologizing, asking if there was ANYTHING that we could do for them, sympathizing with their ordeal.

It was tough because they were needing to go. The thing was, is that it WASN’T “bodily fluids”…it was fluff on the blankets from the washing machine. But, do you think they believed that?!

Now, the blood spots. I had seen that before and it’s something you NEVER want to tell the guests. But the guests were actually bitten…yes bitten…by BED BUGS!

I had no other answers for the blood. Maybe I should of just made something up regarding the blood on the sheets. After hearing that they had been bitten by bed bugs their disgust just intensified.

This whole episode hit me pretty hard. It took me a couple of days to get over this one! I had never experienced anything like this before.

I just wonder if they checked their sheets when they got home…

Top 10 annoying things about hotels

May 14, 2010 5 comments

Despite the impression Fawlty Towers might have given, running a hotel shouldn’t be that difficult. Yet many establishments seem to get it wrong when it comes to basic parts of their service.

Here are 10 of the most annoying things hotels consistently get wrong.

1. Breakfast is served … from 7.30am to 7.45am

This is a particular problem in Australian hotels, motels and B&Bs. You’re on holiday, but if you actually want to get that breakfast that was included in the room rate, you’ve got to be up at the crack of dawn or risk missing out. Some hotels have gotten the message in recent times and extended breakfast hours through to 11am, but plenty of others are lagging behind. I still look back fondly at the B&B I stayed at in Valparieso, Chile, where the proprietor looked at me, perplexed, when I asked what time breakfast was served until. “What time do you want it?,” she asked. “You’re on vacation, if you want it at 1pm, you can have it then.”

2. Bathroom nightmares

A decent bathroom should be a simple thing for a hotel to achieve, but consistently hotels fail on little details that become major pains. Poor design is one. I’ve stayed in places that offered nowhere to place your toiletries in the bathroom, other than on the floor, or put the soap holder outside the shower, instead of in it. And while the cleaners might get the tiles clean, they never seem to do anything about the blocked drains, leaving you standing in a pool of manky water by the end of your shower.

3. Hidden fees and charges

This is a speciality of North American hotels – the fees are there to cover certain ‘extras’ that the hotel provides, but there’s no way to opt out. I recently stayed in a Miami Beach hotel that carried an additional charge for the room safe. The safe is built into the room of course, so not paying the fee wasn’t an option.

4. Do not disturb? What does that mean?

Why do so many hotel cleaners ignore do not disturb signs? So many times there has been a knock on the door, waking me from my deep slumber, despite my putting up the ‘privacy please’ sign. I’m on holidays: no means no!

5. Internet is free, unless you’re paying $400 a night

It’s slowly beginning to change, but one of the big pains with high-end hotels is their expensive internet charges, whether in-room or at the business centre. Rarely can you pay by the minute or half-hour – it’s normally a 24-hour minimum at an exorbitant price. The irony is that if you stay in a cheaper place – like a backpacker hostel – there’s normally free wireless or at least a couple of free computers available for use.

6. Check-in/check-out times

Late check out is becoming increasingly common in the hotel industry and this is a welcome development. But plenty of places still want you out by 10am on the dot, regardless of how busy the establishment is. Even worse are the places that threaten with charging you for a half-day’s stay if you happen to oversleep and overstay by 30 minutes. And the downside of more late check-outs is that check-in times have also become later. 2pm used to be standard but increasingly this has been pushed back to 3pm. There’s nothing worse than arriving on an overnight flight early in the morning to be told your room won’t be ready for another seven hours.

7. Bigger doesn’t mean better

With so many guests, personal service often goes out the window. Stay in a mega-hotel with hundreds of rooms and you may find yourself stuck on hold when trying to contact the front desk or queuing up for ages in the lobby to ask a simple question.

8. Thin walls, noisy corridors

This is a real problem in buildings that were not designed as hotels. That grand old room that is now three separate guest rooms is likely to be divided by a paper-thin bit of plaster, meaning you can hear your neighbours rolling over in bed – or worse. And the location of windows facing loading bays, foyers or bars can lead to a sleepless night or rude awakening in the early hours.

9. We hear your complaint, but we’re not going to do anything about it

They’ll thank you for bringing it to their attention, but you’re crazy if you think they’re going to do anything about. After all, you’ll be gone in a day or two and then a new guest will arrive – and they might not notice what you were complaining about. I recently stayed in a hotel where the window leaked during a day of rain, soaking the carpets. Despite telling the staff and then leaving on a tour for the whole day, I discovered there had been no attempt to dry the carpets in my absence. Naturally, the room was getting a bit whiffy by now, so I demanded another. The hotel complied, but still gave no indication it was going to dry out the musty carpets.

10. How many pillows do you need?

It’s a more minor gripe (which is why it comes in at number 10), but why do high-end hotels insist on burying their beds beneath so many pillows? I’ve stayed in places with as many as nine pillows on the bed, so after a long day you’ve not only got to remove most of them before you can hit the sack, you’ve also got to find somewhere to put them all. Please managers, two per person is more than enough.

By CRAIG PLATT – The Age

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The List…

December 19, 2009 Leave a comment

One morning when everything was going well, I get this phone call from Mr Fitchell. Now it only takes one bad egg to ruin the batch, and it was no different today. You can receive 100 compliments and it makes you feel good. That warm feeling inside, that internal pat on the back. BUT… it doesn’t last all day. Now,  you can receive ONE complaint and it will ruin you for the WHOLE day. Dunno how that works. OK, sorry, back to the story.

Let me paint Mr Fitchell for you. Mr Fitchell is one of those guys who travels around with his mistress and thinks he’s a-bit-of-a-high-roller. With his snout in the air as he walks past you. Just acknowledging you with “the glance”, emotionless. You know the one.

OK, OK, getting back to the phone call. “I WANT TO SPEAK TO THE MANAGER”! he blasts through the phone.

Me: Good morning Mr Fitchell. Yes, you can speak to me, how may I help you?

Fitchell: This room must be the noisiest room I have EVER stayed in, and what’s with the blinds? (new blinds), and this bed is just terrible, two singles stuck together, don’t do that, don’t do that! I have stayed at hotels all over the world (heard that one before?) and this must be the worst! When I stay in hotels we usually get upgraded, don’t you ever do that? We are never staying here again!

Me: I am so sorry to hear that Mr Fitchell (trying to sympathise) I could look at moving you to another room if it wouldn’t be too much of an inconvenience for you?

Fitchell: NO!

Me: Well, if there is anything I can do for you please let me know and I would be more than happy to sort that out.

Fitchell: “Hangs up”

Now, this guy usually tags along with Mrs Town. She uses the room for displaying clothing garments and I usually throw in the luggage rack for free. She has never complained about anything, she is lovely and sweet and a pleasure to have around the hotel. On the other end of the spectrum we have this guy and has the audacity to start grilling me about everything and anything which I knew for a fact that she would be fine about. I honestly think he had pre-written this list. This list that he was reading back to me vehemently.

As  they were checking out he was still going on about “the list” saying they were never going to stay here again. She was giving me a look as if she was saying “I am so sorry for this guys behavior”. I like to think she was thinking “man this guys an idiot, why is he making a fool out of himself and me! And this charming man is taking all of it on the chin”.

So…guess who I received a call from the other week? You’d like to think Mr Fitchell wouldn’t you? No, it was Mrs Town. And she was lovely. I checked her in a week later…without the tag along. Phew.

Bras & panties…

February 15, 2009 7 comments

I get to work Monday morning, ready for the week ahead, relaxed after the weekend. I log into the system and check any messages from the weekend. Sure enough there were a few that I had to deal with including one lady who complained that the washing machine had ruined her load of washing. I thought…hmmm, interesting, I wonder what the problem is?

Around 9:30am I get a call from “Mrs Clysdale”

Mrs Clysdale: Hello, is this the manager?!

FDA: Yes it is, how may I help you?

Mrs Clysdale: Well, YOUR washing machine has destroyed my brand new lingerie, and this stuff is EXPENSIVE!

FDA: I’m so sorry Mrs Clysdale, am I able to take a look at the garments?

Mrs Drysale: Yes, that would be good.

So I start to make my way up to their room, taking my time as I try to piece together in my mind what I’m going to say. I get in the lift and gingerly press the button for the 2nd floor.

I knock on the door waiting for a response, my heart beating slightly above normal pace. “thump thump, thump thump”.  The door opens and there she is. Her face was flustered as she had obviously psyched herself up for the confrontation.

“I dunno where you got your washing machine from but the wire from the bras have caught on something and ruined all my lingerie and t-shirts!”

Sure enough there were holes in bras, wire bent, t-shirts stretched. It wasn’t pretty. After racking my brain to what to say and apologising for what had happened I said “Are you able to give me a few minutes to make a call to my manager to see the best way in which we can help you?” (I didn’t call anyone) She agreed. So I left and made some inquiries with the girls in the hotel. “Um, quick question…how do you wash your lingerie?” (every girl looking at me with a bewildered look on their faces) Most of them said in a lingerie bag and that they would NEVER wash their new lingerie without a bag. I also called the place where they bought the garments from and asked if they would accept them back, they said they wouldn’t as she didn’t use a lingerie bag.

Armed with this information I set off for their room. Well it didn’t go down too well. She was getting more fired up as I tried to get her to take some responsibility for the destroyed garments.

After a lot of heated discussion I agreed to compensate her in the way of two free room nights which came up to $500. She looked like she was still hard done by, as she didn’t say thanks, but just kept looking at the destroyed garments. That’s when the husband chirped in and said “hey, thanks, that’s really good… right honey?”…no response…

To be fair, I’d be pretty pissed if that happened to me.  I wonder if she’ll start using a lingerie bag from now on?…

A Blast from the Past…literally

October 19, 2008 2 comments

This is a story that happened at another hotel that I worked in a few years ago.

It all started with a pleasant afternoon, the sun was shining, everything was going smoothly on the front desk.

Enter lady with her elderly parents. I greet them at the desk they fill the registration form out and I hand them the keys. So far so good. They walk off into the distance down the long hallway to their room.

Five minutes later I hear heavy footsteps and heavy breathing coming towards the desk. Gulp!…I look up and see a horned fire breathing dragon of a lady proceeding to blast me with her fire. After initially not buckling at the knees I hold my composure going back to the training that I had done dealing with people like this. The words that were running through my mind were… ‘this is not a personal attack, this is not a personal attack, sympathise with this lady, do not look directly into her eyes or you’ll be destroyed!’…well maybe not that last one.
What I had gathered amongst all the smoke and fire was that this rant all boiled down to her elderly parents not having an electric blanket on their bed. It’s like a domino effect. When one little thing goes wrong their whole hotel experience goes wrong with one domino falling after another. This one little thing was the electric blanket, so because of this she starting picking at every little thing and I was standing there taking it all! She was in such a rage, then she stormed out without me getting a word in.

Five minutes later she came storming back in…round two I thought. She just blew past me and up to her parents room. Next thing I could hear them coming down the hall, all three of them. I was preparing myself for the final dose of flames, to my surprise she said “now this is the young gentlemen that I’ve just abused…and has handled it quite well”. In a very calming voice. Record scratches! Ahhhh, excuse me I thought, with a puzzled look all over my face.  She went on to say that she’s had a bad day and that she just wants the best for her parents and I’m so so sorry for yelling at you, I can’t believe how you handled it. Then get this…we were all having a laugh about the whole thing at the end of it. I couldn’t believe how one lady could be soooo abusive, then the next minute she was so so sorry.

There is a little lesson in this. Even though she has no right to drop the truck on me like she did you just don’t know people’s situations and never should write them off. Show a little sympathy and things can be sweet!

Sometimes I wish I could just yell back!… 😉

Run…run for your lives!!!

September 30, 2008 2 comments

Mr “Hasim” checked in last week, disabled aaaand with attitude. He made his booking then showed up at the hotel. He didn’t let me know that he was disabled, otherwise I would of tried to get him into another room. So I show him to his room. 10 minutes later he rings down to the front desk and says that he can’t use the bath because it was too high and starts ranting to me that he stayed here 10 years ago and all the baths weren’t this height. I arrive at his room with a step to get into the bath. Well I opened the door to his room and it was as if he hadn’t hung the phone up cause he was still ranting on about bath heights and the government…yeah the government. Now we can add strange to the list of descriptive words for Mr Hasim.

Now he’s in the bathroom grabbing the part where the shower hose slides up and down saying “how is this suppose to support a person getting in the bath”…ripping it off as he’s saying it. To my disbelief as I’m watching him, I say “Mr Hasim, I don’t think that part is supposed to support a person getting in the bath”. He just grunts and carries on with his rant.

Ok…day 1 finished. Little did I know what was in store for us in the next week that Mr Hasim decided to stay with us. You could almost see and hear the storm clouds and lightning gathering around the hotel signifying there was something evil near.

The next day, he went off at the two waitresses because there was no spinach in his eggs benedict, he made dodgy comments to the room attendants, he had a HUGE argument with the girl on the front desk about being able to smoke in his room, even though hotel policy says he can’t. The next day he was due to check out but decided to stay which caused chaos with our bookings because he ABSOLUTELY REFUSED to move from his room. (we couldnt keep him in the same room) The next day he made sexual references to my Manager which just about got him kicked out. We can add creepy to the list. Now, I thought he may have had something against women at this stage I was getting on with him reasonably well. How wrong was I.

The next day I needed to tell him that we were going to need the room that he was using to shower in. (I had given it to him for free) I knew I was going to cop some flack from him, so I approached the subject with grace and care. Well…I think no matter how I approached it it was going to be bad news. He starts yelling at me like there was no tomorrow. I could see his face getting redder and redder, I thought it was going to explode. He was yelling and yelling and saying that our government was useless at diplomacy and that as a nation we were useless too! I let him have his rant and kept my composure and I got my room back! We can add psycho to the list.

The last day he was here, he made the girl on the desk cry (which really pissed me off) and was refusing to pay for his remaining balance, thankfully she got the cash out of him and that was the last we saw of Mr Hasim. Phew. We can add big meany to the list.

Since then we have learnt that he goes by a few aliases, he’s a fraudster and he’s been evicted out of two hotels within the last year that I know of.

Goodbye Mr Hasim, thanks for the memories…