There Is Always Calm Before The Storm
Working in a hotel is no joke. It is not just sitting at the front desk checking in smiling families. There are hundreds of people walking in ready to demand anything and everything to make sure they have the best time of their life. And when this isn’t possible, the receptionist takes the heat. Sorry, Karen, no your toddler cannot be in the pool unsupervised. Sorry, Brad, you cannot have a keg party on the third floor.
“Lexie” works at the front desk of a hotel and she has plenty of stories to tell, good and bad. And “Mr. B” definitely fell into the bad category. He also checks the boxes for crazy, entitled, liar! All in a day’s work though right? Anybody who has worked in the hospitality industry can relate to what Lexie had to go through this day. At the end of the day you have to make sure everything gets taken care of, even if it requires calling security on a crotchety old man.
Lexie was minding her own business, just doing her job when Mr. B decided it was time to make her life difficult. She didn’t think anything was off to start with though. He was like any other old man. He was about 80 years old and checking in for a king bedroom. The interaction was going really well until Lexie gave him the regular spiel about the “tax and the $50 deposit.” Mr. B had a short fuse and immediately exploded in a rant. He shouted he had double-checked with the front desk “specifically at 6:00 am.” He said he spoke to a woman, but wasn’t sure of her name, “but she promised him there would not be a deposit.”
Lexie knew this was an outright lie. She knew the person on shift when Mr. B supposedly made this call and this person was a man. There was no way he spoke to anyone about the deposit or room tax. Plus these were hotel policy charges, there was nothing anyone could do about them. But he didn’t stop there. Mr. B was furious and started throwing the hotel under the bus saying if they had a deposit then this reflected the poor quality of guests and “he also accused the property of thievery.”
Lexie couldn’t get a word in edgewise. Where were these baseless accusations coming from? All of this over taxes and a deposit? Which is refundable.
Mr. B’s “demeanor was very aggressive.” He was flailing about the lobby and throwing a tantrum. Lexie was shocked. She had to excuse herself from the escalation scene to figure out what to do. So she backed herself into the quiet office and thought over her options.
Lexie knew she had a few options to choose from. She thought, “should I just cancel his reservation?” He was freaking out about the charges and they were not going to disappear any time soon, so it made sense just to cancel his room. However, she could give him another chance. He could apologize and decide not to act like a toddler. And there was another option too. The hotel had varied deposit policies for different hotel stay circumstances. Should she change his deposit to $250? It was technically within her power to do this.
She considered all her options and finally settled on the one which made the most sense, at least she thought it did and was the most hospitable. She took a deep breath and decided on option two. She felt empathy for the 80-year-old toddler and felt like option “three seemed spiteful” and felt she should give him another chance since he was so old.
Lexie went back to the front desk and discussed the options with Mr. B. She informed him he could either cancel his room or pay the non-negotiable, refundable $50 deposit. After giving her customer service speech, Mr. B laughed. He chuckled and “asked if canceling the reservation was even close to an option.” Lexie was speechless, but she couldn’t even say anything before Mr. B “[told her] to hurry up and just give him his keys.”
She was relieved, it was all over. ‘This deposit fiasco is done,’ she thought. She gave him the keys and he went to his room. Lexie was even compassionate and “placed him in the best possible spot [she] could, given his age and his bad knees.” She was hoping it was just an off day and the worst was behind her. But he just couldn’t leave without the last word and said, “You may have won the battle, but I will win the war!”
Lexie’s relief was short-lived. No one says those words and lets it go. And Mr. B was definitely not letting this go.
Mr. B and his wife came in with their things and stopped by the front desk again. Lexie “reminded them about [the] breakfast hours” and Mr. B seemed to be calm. She was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt again, but how many chances should one crazy mean old guy get? She thought, ‘Mr. B is just a troublesome guest fixated on saving money.’
Unfortunately, he didn’t deserve the second chance and she probably should have canceled his reservation because he was not satisfied with their chat.
Not even an hour after checking in, Mr. B called the front desk. He was still upset over the deposit and demanded they discuss it again. Mr. B couldn’t understand what Lexie was saying over the phone though, his old ears just couldn’t hear her. She decided it was best to talk to him at his room, so he would be able to understand her. Although he tried to convince her otherwise, Lexie made her way to his room. Remember, this room was the easiest to get to for the old crotchety man wouldn’t have to walk far. She had been too nice.
When she got to the room, Mrs. B answered the door and Mr. B could be heard “in the back calling out the insanity of the $50 deposit again, and he wanted to know exactly how to get his precious money back.”
Lexie went ahead and explained, in detail, how the deposit functioned; “once checked out, [housekeeping] checks the room and verifies nothing is damaged, and [front desk] refunds it.” Mr. B was irate. “He demanded from behind his wife, [they] must have somebody go into the room and verify everything was alright in there- before they check out.” He accused the staff of being thieves again, and Lexie was having a tough time keeping her cool. She needed to collect her thoughts once more so she could figure out exactly how to proceed. There was no way she could give in to his demands, they were completely ridiculous and “would mean disrupting housekeeping while they’re cleaning rooms and have the front desk babysit him tomorrow morning with his rude attitude.” She would have to leave this awful old man for her co-workers to deal with. And she hated the thought of anyone dealing with Mr. B unnecessarily. Lexie was stuck and while Mr. B was shouting about the deposit, she thought, ‘This man doesn’t know how hotels work.
He won’t let me explain the policies. He is lying or has been deceived into thinking we promised him no deposit AND gave him a lower price point on his reservation. He is being so rude. He needs to go.‘
She excused herself from the escalating situation once again and started her plan to get Mr. B off of the property.
“Let’s Talk About This”
As she was leaving the room Mr. B made a comment to the effect of, “take [your] time, just like what [you] did during our first interaction.”
Lexie had finally had enough so she replied, “I’m thinking I’ll refuse service, and I’m asking you guys to leave.”
Mr. B flat out refused, while his wife was still silent. Lexie left without another word and made a call to security. She informed them “an 80-year-old man is refusing to leave his room, please help.” Lexie was still compassionate and gave the couple a full refund on the room, deposit, and even the taxes. She brought the receipt with her when she went to confront the old man “trespasser.” And what do you know, the wife answers the door once again. Lexie showed her the receipt and said, “I’ve refunded the room and tax, and [you] needed to leave. Also, security is on the way.”
Mr. B shouts, “[We] are going to call the police!”
But Mrs. B had already grabbed the receipt without a word.
After Lexie got back to the front desk, Mrs. B came up “confused about what happened.” Although she was “rather pleasant,” Lexie still told the woman “her husband [had] been rude since the start of his check-in, refuses to understand standard hotel procedures, and it’s just not worth the effort to keep them at the hotel.” And she let his wife know everything was refunded and they did not have a reservation for the room any longer.
“Okay,” she said and walked back to her room, only to return a few minutes later, rolling their luggage out to their car.
However, Mr. B was nowhere to be seen. He still had not come out by the time security was ready to remove him.
Lexie knocked on the door to the room and yelled, “Coming in!”
There he was “in a t-shirt and underwear, casually watching TV in his room like nothing is happening.” He passively asked Lexie about security and she told him they were ready for him and asked, “so are you going to leave?”
Mr. B smirked and replied, “Of course not, go and get’em.”
When he saw she did in fact have three security officers following her, he immediately back-peddled.
“Let’s talk about this,” he tried to say.
But one of the officers stated, “Let’s not. You’ve already been refunded your reservation, and have been asked to leave. If you don’t leave, you are trespassing and we are authorized to remove you. So, get out. Now.”
Another one added, “And if you don’t, we’re going to call the police. You’ll be charged with trespassing, and you’ll go to jail.”
This is no time for another tantrum, Mr. B.
The Final Battle
It took “some back and forth” before Mr. B “finally relented.”
But he couldn’t leave without having the last word and said to Lexie, “You may have won the battle, but you won’t win the war!”
She was not scared and quipped back, “Sir, this isn’t even a battle in the first place.”
He was not prepared for her to have a reply and stuttered to “make a comeback of his own.” But Lexie just turned and walked away from the supposed battle. After all, she had a report to write about Mr. B and the actions she had to take against him.
After he left, it seemed quiet; maybe too quiet. He hadn’t called to yell at her or ask to speak with a manager. And her co-workers all believed he should have been charged something for the hassle. Was Lexie too nice when she refunded everything? She wished she had left the room and taxes on and only refunded the deposit, just to compliment the situation. But she “didn’t have the heart to charge him.”
Lexie was confident she did the best she could given the circumstances. However, Mr. B disagreed.
He came back. And of course, he wanted to talk to someone higher up. Then he “essentially threatened to contact the better business bureau about [their] interaction,” and he claimed there was no refund and “he demanded an apology letter be written to him.”
Lexie was never going to write an apology to this man and he had no grounds to report to the better business bureau, as he was in fact refunded. Lexie was free from him and knew she had done the right thing in the end. Just another day in the life of a hotel receptionist!