The Poster

I am a front desk agent and I am collecting stories of my time as a front desk agent and fellow front desk agent stories, enjoy.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

People, People and More People. - Miss Agent

People who I've given this website to laugh at me; "Miss Agent," They'd say, "Don't you have any good stories?" Well, I do have good stories and I realized I should probably start sharing a few of those.

When it comes to the people I truly enjoy, it's the people I work with. I have worked a bad job at a different hotel but I was also employed with a wonderful coworker who helped me make it through working at that hotel. This hotel was 42 rooms and there would be days where I'd have 38 check ins (yes, you read that correctly) and I would be required to do 6 loads of laundry and not leave any for the graveyard shift. I became so overwhelmed, I called my coworker and asked her if she would be willing to come in and do a load of laundry to help me get started. She showed up ten minutes after I called her and did all six loads of laundry while I answered phones and checked people in. Within about three hours she had all the laundry done and didn't expect anything back from me. To say the least, we became fast friends.

To say the least I'm no longer working at that hotel. The one I'm currently employed at (and if they find this site, I hope I'm continued to be employed at for a while) treats me very well. They speak highly about teamwork and dedication to the job. To say the least, our turn over rate for employees is rather low. The management staff here knows how to treat their employees which makes it a lot easier to work in a Customer Service Job. You know you have a pretty amazing job when you can call up one of your coworkers and meet up for lunch to talk about things other than work. When your boss hands you birthday presents and gives you some flowers to brighten a dark time in your life (this happened recently and I nearly cried when she gave me the flowers). When an ex-amazing-coworker gets hired on the staff with you, (yes the woman that came in and helped me with the laundry got hired onto the current hotel I'm working for) and your boss, a coworker and yourself go to a play together because it happens to be a 'girl's night out'. 

Now my boss, she is one of the neatest people I've ever got to work under. She has the same degree I'm going to college for and helps me when I have any questions about the job or the classes I'm taking. But that's not what makes her wonderful; OK, there's a lot of things that make her cool and that's one of them but not all of it. She's always on her employee's side. Because normally when we get yelled at for something we did, it's an honest mistake that a guest blows out of the water. Getting charged 10 dollars too much, claiming not to be informed of the pet policy (when they didn't inform the front desk that they had a pet and obviously didn't read the sign [see the sign story for information on that]), and many other little things that shouldn't be exploded upon but are. A great example of her being on her employee's side is this.

It never fails, someone doesn't bother to tell the desk that they are bringing a pet and guess what? They get caught. I don't know what people think when they don't tell the desk about bringing a pet. We can smell them in the room after they check out; we can walk by the room and hear them barking and housekeeping might even open the room to find something biting at their ankles. People, you can't get away with it; don't even try. Guess why I'm starting the story like this? Yep, someone didn't tell me they had a dog with them. So after the gentleman checked in, the wife came down with the dog in her arms and asked me to remake her key because she couldn't seem to get it to work (operator error, go figure). Upon her leaving, I stepped into my boss's office and asked her what would be the best way to word that they will be charged for having a pet in the room. She told me how she would word it and I called them leaving a polite voice mail saying that I needed them to come down and fill out the Pet form since they had one in the room and that their room would be charged for the standard cleaning fee. Thirty minutes later the guest calls back ranting that he shouldn't have to pay the fee because he's a consistent visitor. I put him in hold because it was the only way I could get him to stop talking and I went to my boss. During the time I was talking to her he came to the desk still fuming with rage. As I attempted to deal with the guest and explain to him that he needed to inform me that he had a pet and pointed out the sign; he explained that he had been staying here for quite a few years and no one has ever told me that he had to pay a pet fee. My boss than came out and talked to him. Not only was I amazing at how she handled it but I was also amazed that she was able to tell him off in a nice way along with pointing out that I was just doing my job and what I was trained to do. Once he walked away informing us that he would pay the pet fee but never return, we stood in a silence until he was fully out of earshot and my boss muttered under her breath "Jerk." Which caused me to explode with laughter. Than she walked me through why he thought he could get it for free; normally he'd show up after 11pm and leave the next morning before housekeeping actually started their rounds for cleaning. It's been well over a year and a half and I have not seen him since.

She and I have shared a lot of jokes at the expense of customers who seem to think that being a jerk is the best way to get what they want. She's always been supportive in my decisions of what to do with a guest and whether or not something shouldn't have been done. An example of that is there has been a few times that the Pet Fee has come up and she supported me on my choice to charge the guest. She has also been kind enough to listen to my rants when a guest bothers me (much like you readers and the person who posts these) than we laugh together about it. And she encourages me to take charge when I don't feel something is right; such as someone requesting a rate and they don't actually qualify for it. She's a good boss and a great teacher; I'm learning a lot about the field I want to go into thanks to working here.

Sales is actually what I want to go into and the Sales Manager here at the hotel has been very informative when I ask him questions about sales. Why he sales the way he sales, what makes him come to the decision of who he gives a rate to and why, what's the best way to word things when it comes to talking about a rate, what's too low, what's too high? I've gone out on a Sales Call with him which was fun and he's even let me have a lot of freedom with rates and trying to sell the hotel without actually going through him. It's exciting to see how much goes on in the field. Sales is actually something I want to do for the hotel so I try to get groups to book with me or talk about prices for the meeting room. The more I bug my Sales Manager the more I learn and the more he's been allowing me to make choices on what actually happens with the hotel; and he, like my other bosses, has been 100% supportive on all my decisions thus far.

I've gotten to be good friends with another coworker who had been working at the hotel about three months before I arrived. She's a complete sweetheart and I love hearing all the positive things guest say about her. They speak highly of her and I know everything they say is true because I know her on a personal level. We text, talk, joke around and even go out for lunch together to assure that we catch up with one another on a semi-regular basis. Since we don't work at the same times it's hard to run into each other so we make time.

My head boss, the 'boss man', the General Manager, is one of the most collected guys I've ever met. It takes a lot to get on his nerves and it takes a lot to actually bother him. I've watched guest attempt to lecture him on the rules of the hotel industry and he just stands there listening and listening and waiting to talk. And upon his turn the guest tend to leave feeling rather foolish. I don't know how he walks away from some of the situations I've watched him deal with with such a positive attitude; it's really an inspiration. Though I was rather convinced for the longest time that nothing could ever push him over the edge until one day he ended up staying later on a Friday when I was working. I had a guy come down 6 times because he couldn't get his key to work. By the fifth time I had gone up and opened his door twice already so on the sixth time I made him two keys and sent him on his way reminding him that if he attempts to use the key fast than he won't be able to get into the room. I stepped back into my boss's office to finish up the conversation we had been trying to have when the man interrupted us; my GM looked up at me and said "Was that the same guy as before?" When I answered yes he responded with, "Wow, that guy is an idiot." It took almost two years to hear my boss talk about a guest like that but it made me feel even better about my job. Knowing that even my level-headed boss had a line makes me feel better about getting bothered by some guests.

As we work hard for our hotel we get to play hard as well. I've worked here for 2+ years and the Employee Appreciation week just seems to get bigger and bigger. Full of food, fun and lots and lots of laughter. As the holiday's passed we had a Christmas get together for everyone. People brought food and we all sat around and enjoyed a meal; all the staff except for about three people. The hotel spent some of its saved money and bought enough gifts for everyone to enjoy and we did "Bad Santa" which is easily explained by saying "If someone has something that you want and it's your turn, you can take it." The disappointed looks from people when their gift was taken and their excitement to get it back upon the next round was something that caused us all to laugh. Nothing makes a job more fun than finding a group of people that can get along. And we all get along very well.

To say the least, I might complain about some, OK a lot, of the guests I deal with but I truly love my job.

- Miss Agent

Friday, December 23, 2011

Fame in... Oregon? - Agent Kennedy

I work in Oregon and I don't work in Portland one of the smaller cities. One morning I was chatting with two of my best friends who stayed the night before, as a man walked in and asked. "Would it be okay for me to go into that wooded area behind your hotel and do some bird watching? Your hotel has allowed it before."
Me "Yeah that shouldn't be a problem. If any guests ask what you are doing just tell them I gave you permission. Oh and please tell us if there are any rare species back there." Then vaguely recognizing him I said. "What was your name?"
"Oh I'm Wes Craven and if I see a rare species you'll hear me go WHOOP." My brain stopped functioning I shook his hand and I said "I'm Kennedy." Then he was out the door before I could say another word.
One of my friends go, "was that the famous Wes Craven?"
I was too busy on the computer looking up Wes Craven's wikipedia page to answer. The picture looked just like him and his wikipedia page says he's an avid "birder..."
You be the judge whether it was the real him or not...
-Agent Kennedy

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Kids amaze me and Parents shock me. - Miss Agent

When someone books a room over the phone and the front desk agent can hear screaming kids in the background, it makes every agent cringe. Kids amaze me but their parents just shock me.. How can you ignore the fact that a child is screaming? Why would you let your child think that it's OK to interrupt a conversation because they need something? Or just because they want to say 'hi'. Should laughing at the fact that I told you that your child tried to steal something really be your reaction?

As a front desk agent, our job is to make sure that your stay is an enjoyable, and peaceful one. Nowhere in the agreement I signed is 'Babysitter' within my job description. If your child comes down to my lobby without you and they are not in their teens; I'm not required to keep an eye on them. I've had many kids under the age of eight come down, get coffee (yes coffee) and watch TV. Somethings for hours. Where the hell are the parents?! Something the kids would come down in pairs of twos,but when the six year old hates the four year old... it's not a good idea to let them wonder together. I had a guest who's kids would just walk around the hotel; they were three and six. This, this just annoyed me. Strangers walk around this hotel every day; how could these parents think no one would bother their kids? I wish I had an answer for that. But heaven for bid, if I didn't know where they were when the parents called the desk; I was a horrible, horrible person. Parents!! We are not babysitters; if your child gets lost in the hotel because you let them wonder alone, it's not our fault.

Who teaches their kids that if someone is on the phone talking (and they're at their job), talking to someone in front of them or listening to someone talk; that the kids can scream out names in order to get attention. Oh man that makes me mad. It doesn't fail; I could be talking to someone right in front of me and some random child will show up and say, “Excuse me?!” in a polite but shouting way that causes your inner most senses to shut down in horror. Sometimes I've even made eye contact and given a polite nod as a signal to them saying 'I know you're there', and they still insist on yelling at me. Some kids have learned my name which along makes the situation worse because that, apparently, makes us best friends. As best friends, they are allowed to interrupt any conversation I am having and expect my full, one hundred percent attention just because they need something. One kid finally pushed me to my breaking point by interrupting me while I was on the phone attempting to take a reservation. Lucky for me, the guest on the other end was polite enough to let me put them on hold. One I did I took a deep breath in an attempt to calm myself down as the consistent repeating of my name followed by “Excuse me” rang throughout my lobby. “LOOK!” was my first word and it was enough to get the kid to shut up and pay attention to me, “When I am on the phone or talking to someone, you must wait your turn. If I look at you and nod, that means I know you're there but until I can talk to you, that means I'm busy. So stand there and wait quietly until I'm finished with the people who were before you; like the person on the phone. What you are doing is very rude. Please stop.” Apparently my calm manor in the way that I said everything got my point across without seeming as though I was a horrible person to the seven year old boy. I finished my phone call than helped him. Some parents... how can they ever let their kids get that bad, I'll never know.

My day from 4 to 12. - Anonymous

Its a everyday thing here at the lovely hotel I work at... I get to work by 355 everyday five days week; most of the days are the same but every now and then we get some oddball people and some are just down right rude.

Naked in the spa
I was taking a call as two people came up to check-in, Not to be rude I told them I would be with them in just a moment. Which she seemed to be fine with. So I went on with my call taking his information and out of know where do I hear them say, “So did he have sex with her or will he do it in the shower.” Still trying to take the reservation for the guest on the phone. No soon was I almost done with the man on the phone, did I hear her say, “The gift certificate was good for a spa room but i don’t think you want to get naked with me.” I was trying not to laugh; it was so hard but I didn’t then come to find out she works at one of my favorite hotels which makes it better, I cant wait to go over there again!

Cookies form 7 to 8
At the hotel I work at we have hot home made cookies every night at 7 tell 8, but for some reason we get people that come down at 630 where are the cookies are then not done yet how many can we have and on and on. Or my favorite is the ones come down at like 810 and the cookies are gone and then proceed to tell me that they were told cookies where from 8 to 9, and that they have been coming here and that is when they always have been. Which I tell them, “I am sorry sir, the cookies have been from 7 to 8 every night that we have had them.” But the best part is that they will come down in the morning and tell the GM, and she tell them the same thing.

The pool is not a place for sex
One is one to many times to walk in on people having sex in the pool; this has happened to me 6 times. Two of the times the people did not stop they just keep going.

My boyfriend
Some 22 year old girl just came down to the desk to just let me know that her boyfriend just #%^& her so hard; and to that I didn’t know what to say, she then just walked away like nothing happened.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Colors make a difference. - Miss Agent

For those who don't know this; each hotel has a rewards program with levels that they honor. Hotels such as Marriott, Best Western, Comfort Inns, Red Lion, Hiltons and many more have this type of program. The Levels are commonly built in the same fashion; basic, middle, higher and highest. Now, when it comes to usage; the highest spend about 21% plus of their year in hotels due to travel. That, that is a lot of time! Anyway, I have a few stories involving lower levels acting like higher levels and higher levels apologizing for the way the lower levels acted towards me.

So the way I will talk about the levels of my hotel is by colors. Basic will be Brown, middle will be Maroon, higher will be Red and highest will be Purple (just because purple is my favorite color). with this knowledge everyone (all one of you) will be able to understand my stories.

The first story has a gentleman who will be called "Mr. Dog" for the reason that will become clear in a matter of moments. Mr. Dog walks in and is using his credits to stay at the hotel without paying. I check him in and as he's walking away he tells me, “I have my dog with me.” My response to this new information was, “Well, I do have to have you sign a pet police form and the cleaning fee is one hundred dollars, which is non-refundable.” Now before you type comments with dropped jaws, understand this; my hotel rooms are filled with stuff and people tend to stay for no less than a week. The one hundred dollars covers however long you stay with your pet; one day, three months or even a year. Mr. Dog is a Red, so he stays in hotels quite a bit. He stopped in mid-step and was leaning over the counter in the blink of an eye. His face was almost cherry red with anger, “I've never paid that much for my dog to stay at a hotel!!” Apparently my polite response of, “It's hotel and brand policy, and that's how much it costs to steam clean the room after the pet has left.” Mr. Dog claimed that the same brand of hotel down in San Diego never charged him a pet fee. But when I asked him for the name of the hotel, he couldn't remember. With the new found information, he told me he'd be going out to talk to his family about it.
During his time gone, another guest showed up and asked me a few questions; around the fourth question Mr. Dog returned to the desk still red faced. He then blurted into my conversation, “I am a Red member of your rewards program, I should have the pet fee waved.” “I'm sorry sir, but the hotel policy is very clear that we need to have the room cleaned after the pet leaves to keep the room sanitized.” He than threw the room keys at me and said, “The hotel down the street will give me two queen beds and wave their pet fee for ninety nine dollars and ninety nine cents. What do you think of that?!” I clicked three times in the computer than responded to him in a very nice tone, “You've been checked out of my hotel, no credits have been taking from your account and nothing will be charged to you.” Mad that I was so nice, he stormed out of the hotel. The person who had been asking me questions was present through the whole thing. This gentleman looked at me and said, “I'm a Purple and I don't act like that...” His annoyed look said enough for the both of us, the Red was a jerk and the Purple knew it.

The last story has a man who will go by Super Dad because this father is attempting to be super dad, which is an honorable thing... until the dad becomes an asshole. Not to brag but my hotel has nice rooms. One of the styles of rooms has two queen sized beds and a couch that pulls out into a full sized sofa bed; pretty cool huh? Well this room runs typically a very expensive price which Super Dad did pay for. He, his wife and three daughters were coming into town and had asked for a lot of extra things. All the requests were met; the extra towels, high floor, extra shampoo and conditioners. The only thing that we weren't able to meet was the request for the roll away bed, all seven were out on loan.
Super Dad and the family checked in with the morning shift who apparently didn't tell them they weren't getting a roll away bed. Eight in the evening came around and I was checking in a Purple who I see often, so she and I were talking when Super Dad flies into the lobby in a rage cutting off my light conversation. With an explosion of, “Why hasn't someone delivered my roll away yet?!” After a quick check of his reservation to see the note that was supposed to be told to him. “I'm so sorry that you weren't informed upon check in! We have all the roll away beds out on loan...” Before I could continue to inform him I had a possible solution for the problem, he decided to open his mouth, “I was guaranteed that I would have a roll away bed.” As you can tell dear reader, this was a request he had made. A request, request! I can't stress that enough and as a blank look moved across my face as I stared at the man; I asked him, “What was the name of the person who you spoke to when you made your reservation?”Since he didn't 'remember' the name; the thought went through my head that he was probably lying. For those who aren't front desk agents; if the front desk agent who booked your reservation makes a promise from you, take down their name. Because if you aren't able to... than you'll be thought of as a liar as I thought of this guy.
My blank stare read 'You're a liar', and he knew he was caught. In an attempt to cover himself and continue to be Super Dad he said, “I'm a Maroon, give me a roll away bed. Take it out of someone's room.” Again I gave him a blank stare while my Purple guest's mouth fell open. “No,” I started, “I will not take it out of someone's room when they're already using it. We meet all requests as best as we can but it is first come first served.” Again a shocked look came about but this time it was from Super Dad. “Oh...” was his only response as he left the desk. The Purple member, with her mouth still open, looked at me and said, “What is with Maroons thinking that they rule the chain? Purple's do not act like that. I'm so sorry he did that to you!” Aw sweet comfort knowing someone else thought he was an asshole.

Reading Signs. - Miss Agent

An average human can red a sign. “Do Not Touch”, “Do Not Enter”, “Exit Only” and “Caution” are some examples of signs that people know and follow. Yet signs a hotels are beyond meaningless.

In the hotel I work at we have a soda dispenser because we have a breakfast every morning and a small dinner in the evenings on selected nights. When the machine is not in use there is a sign on it reading something along the lines of, “Complementary Soda is available during breakfast and dinner. Soda is for sale in the vending machines for your convenience.” Rather basic and easy to understand right? Nah… people will walk up to the machine, lift the sign and attempt to fill their cups or bottles with soda. When it doesn’t come out they show up at the desk to complain. I than repeat to them what the sign says and their expression that they give me is one of utter shock normally followed by, “What?! Nowhere does it say that that’s a rule!” I’ve yet to have the heart to point out their stupidity.

If you were to check in with me at the front desk you would see a sign over my right shoulder that has an arrow pointing down the hall with the word “Restrooms” along it. Simple, yes? Not so much. “Where’s your restrooms?” is a question I answer at least eight times a night if not more.

There is a sign on my pool door that reads, “No food or drinks allowed in the Pool room.” Again, a simple straight forward sign; again, the sign is ignored. I’ve pulled soda, beer, wine, bread, pizza, cookies, coffee and an assortment of other things out of my room. The one person who got offended that I took their drink away was a man in his late thirties and I took his juice; yes that’s right, his juice. As he left, he stormed to the desk and informed me that I should focus less on taking people’s drinks and more on restocking the towels. I kindly responded, “You’re right, that is part of my job and I really do need to pay more attention to the towel count in my pool. Thank you for reminding me that it’s just as important as making sure nothing spills into the pool that would cause a chemical imbalance that would cause me to have to close the pool for the whole night.” He left in a huff and I laughed inside; but I am more mindful about the amount of pool towels left in the pool.

To all Front Desk Agents who read this, remember that some people will overlook the obvious and to not let it bother you. For the other readers, please understand that the signs are there for a reason; the pool will have to be shut down if something gets into it, and soda is expensive. So serving it twenty four hours would hurt the hotel. But coffee, coffee can be twenty four hours. So enjoy the free coffee and complain to the soda companies about how expensive it is.

Opening Blog, the Welcomes and Disclaimers. - Host

Welcome one and all to "Life of a Front Desk Agent" blog site! Guests and Agents a like will hopefully find this amusing, funny and true. All the stories found here have actually happened to the Agents that write them. So enjoy the read and experience of what it's like to be behind the desk.

*Front Desk Agents: All stories are welcome. The good, the bad, the jaw dropping, the funny, the sad and so on; there are only two rules.
1] No names. No guest names, no company names, no brand names. False names are fine.
2] Please keep cursing to a minimal. You can be the judge of what that means; all I ask is that you don't use a curse word as a comma throughout your stories.

Other than that,  send in your stories. In the subject line please title your story and place your alas name next to it, if you don't wish to provide an alas you will be referred to as 'anonymous'.

*Guests: Read and enjoy; this is what happens to Front Desk Agents and to anyone else in the Customer Service Industry. This blog was made mainly for Agents to share their stories but my hope is that it will also bring a new light to just how hard it is to work in Customer Service. This is what Customer Service employees have to deal with when something happens that’s either something out of their control, or a simple mistake is made. Enjoy.