July 12, 2015 1:58am
I arrived to work for my usual 11pm-7am shift. My co-worker Vanessa informed me that we had two wedding parties checked in, and also a group from a fishing tournament. I could tell right away that was a bad combination. What we had here is a mix of serious fisherman who want to get plenty of sleep so that they can wake up at the crack of dawn, drink coffee and head to the lake before 5am. Vanessa told me that one of the wedding groups is expecting to use the meeting room to have an after party, but not to use that room, and to have them use the dining room instead. I always have people use the dining room, because it keeps people out of the rooms and hallways where they would disturb the guests. She then informed me that the hotel overbooked and the manager canceled one of the reservations made for the son of the groom because it was late and the minister for the other wedding showed up and wanted a room. She said. “He probably won’t show up this late anyways.” I replied. “Oh he is going to show up. They always show up. The real issue for me I, how long will I have to argue with this guy after I tell him his room is not available?” Vanessa just wanted to go home. She thanked me for showing up early, and she clocked out. I was not looking forward to the night ahead of me.
11:30pm – The shuttle was requested to go pick up the people at the reception hall. I sent Tom, the maintenance man/ shuttle driver to pick them up. Tom left immediately, and more calls started coming in from guests wanting that shuttle. I received four calls total from four different guests. I assured each person that the shuttle driver was on his way.
11:40pm – The shuttle drops off about three couples. I was surprised to see such a small amount of people exit that van. Tom came in and asked me if there were more calls. I said, “I got calls from four more people after you left.” Tom dropped his head to his chest, and went back for more. Some of the people from that wedding group starting showing up in their own cars. As the people walked past me I heard them saying that there was a meeting room rented for them to have a party in. When I kept hearing that, I knew there was going to be confusion. Nobody is ever well informed, and they are all assuming that the random comments that they are hearing from each other are accurate. Drunk people sharing information might as well be that game where kids stand in a line and each whisper to each other what the kid before them whispered to them. By the time the word or phrase gets to the last person, the whole word and/or it’s meaning has almost certainly changed.
11:49pm – Room 322 called the desk, and I answer politely, “Guest services. How can I help you?” He said to me, “Yes hi, I am here for a fishing tournament and I have to be up very early in the morning. Whoever you just let into the building; they are running and yelling all through the entire hallway.” I replied, “I am sorry for the inconvenience. I will walk to the third floor and ask anyone in the hallways to please be quiet and to please exit the hallway.” He thanked me and hung up the phone. Room 312 promptly called with the exact same complaint. I gave her the exact same answer. Almost as soon as I had the phone hung up the shuttle shows up with a much larger, and louder group of drunk people. The shit hit that fan at full speed. At that point I had drunk people wandering the hallway talking as loud as they possibly could. I approached those people and tried asking them to quiet down in the hallway. Not one of those people acknowledged me. I tried waving my arms in the air right in front of them. (We are not talking about me at one end of a hall with them on the other. I was shoulder to shoulder with these people.) Not one of them would shut up long enough for me to be heard. Those people just continued shouting over each other, and ignored me. Finally I used my scary loud adult voice. “Excuse me!” They all shut up. I continued. “I have to ask you guys to please stop shouting in the hallway. There are guests who are trying to sleep.” Then I informed them that they were to use the dining room. One of the drunk guys in that small complained like a kid who just got unfairly scolded. “We just needed to know where to go is all. Did you really have to shout at us?” I said. “I stood here trying to ask you all to quiet down. None of you were hearing me; also you were all getting louder as you all spoke over each other. I need it to be quiet in the hallway.” Those few people found seats and mingled loudly while more people showed up to join them.
July 12, 2015 12:00am – The Bride and Groom from the wedding group who were not causing me trouble arrived wanting their room. I had it ready for them; including a gift bag for the bride. The two of them were very please, and they went off to their room. The Groom with the wedding group from the deepest bowels of hell came to me asking about where to put all of his people for the after party. He claimed that there was a room reserved for their party. I politely explained to him that people were free to use the dining room. Like everyone else who I had to deal with he was very intoxicated. He told me that he was told his group reserved that meeting room. I checked the reservations. He never paid for that room. All he was actually told was that his party would be free to use the dining room. The meeting room had equipment from the travel resorts sales people who usually rent that room during the day. These guests had no choice in the matter, and of course, they were all misinformed, and their conflicting drunken (I was told this by that guy, who was told by that lady, who was told by that lady…) comments all snowballed out of control. I had six drunk people shouting over each other and I was unable to get any of them to focus on one thing at a time. The Groom finally spoke up again. He said. “OK we can figure out the party situation in a moment. First I need to make sure my son gets his room. I had a room set aside for him, and I want to check him in now.” This is that reservation that I was told got canceled. Didn’t I say I was going to have this issue? I told him, “I’m sorry but the hotel was overbooked. I was told that the whole wedding party checked in before you and your bride. I was also told that management was unsure if the person the room was reserved for would show up so at 10pm the manager had the evening desk attendant cancel that reservation so that the minister from the other wedding would have a room for the night. Unfortunately there are no more rooms available.” Of course that answer didn’t sit well with him or his new bride. Some of the people who were already angry with me for trying to keep them quiet started offering their drunken thoughts about this issue. “They can’t just sell someone a room that you already paid for.” And also, “They can’t just give your room away. That’s bullshit!” I looked at the groom and said. “I am sorry for this inconvenience, but unfortunately we were overbooked. When it got to be late in the evening, and nobody knew if the person was going to check in the manager chose to cancel that reservation and let the other guest check in. I do know this is not what you want to hear, but unfortunately there is nothing that I can do since all our other rooms are occupied.” The Groom looked at me and said, “But I have an email from your manager assuring me that the room was being held for us. I can show it to you.” I said. “Yes I believe you. The only issue is that the manager made a decision to cancel that reservation because the whole wedding party had checked in. There was no way to confirm if your son was going to arrive. The manager made a judgment call.” The groom said. “OK. I have to put my stuff in my room. I will come down to figure this out in a few minutes.” I tried explaining to him that there won’t be a room, but he walked away from me. In the mean time the people with the wedding were going to and from their rooms being as loud as their bodies were able to be. My phone rang again from room 312. All she said was, “My next call will be to the police if all of this noise in the hallway doesn’t get taken care of in the next five minutes.” She hung up before I could reply. The guests near my desk were still yelling at me about where they were expected to party. They were concerned because there were two wedding groups and they didn’t know where each group was expected to be. They were also complaining because they were all told the meeting room was supposed to be reserved to them. This was never the case. Suddenly, there was an alarm going off in the entire hotel. Someone set off the smoke detector in the business center. I made every single person from that party go outside. The sudden quiet was amazing. Tom went ahead and disabled the alarm. I told him he wasn’t supposed to do that before the fire department arrived. He didn’t care since the shuttles were over, so he just left me to handle the mess. My phone started ringing off the hook. Guests from nearly every floor wanted to know what was happening. I assured them all that nothing was wrong and they were fine to stay in their rooms. The party people on the other hand had to stay outside until the fire fighters said it was OK for them to return. I really just wanted to keep them out of the way until I could get the police issue sorted without the whole drunken group verbally attacking us during the whole discussion.
12:35am – The police were the first to arrive. An officer walked to the desk and say a woman with a beer bottle in her hand. He yelled at her. “You need to get back to your room with that bottle! No open containers in public areas!” That poor woman freaked out. She hugged the beer up to her chest and walked as far from that police officer as she could as quickly as she could. He then asked me to explain the situation to him. I gave him the whole story from the time I arrived up to the fire alarm going off. He asked me what I wanted him to do about it so we could get this over with, so I told him. “I tried keeping the peace as well as I could, but people will not stop shouting in the hallways and the guests in some of those rooms have begun threatening to call the police. I had no choice but to call for assistance. Anyone who has a room can stay, but anyone without a room has to leave.” I left it at that. The officer went outside to sort out the guests. The Fire Department arrived quickly after that. They took over the building and searched the whole thing. I explained that Tom had reset the alarm after it went off and one of the Firefighters scolded me for his doing that. I just let him scold me. What else could I do about it? They declared that the building was safe and they asked me if I wanted to let the people back in. I said, “How about you tell that officer to come talk to me first.” They sent him in along with the groom who was trying to get the party situation settled with the officer. The police officer said to me, “This is the groom. He said that he is supposed to have a room reserved for a party. Is that correct?” I told him. “There is no record of a room being reserved and paid for as far as a party is concerned. I do know that they were offered this dining room to use as a way of keeping the rooms quiet. His party is free to use it. I only ask that they not get rowdy.” The groom said. “We reserved the conference room for our party.” I said. “I was told not to let anyone use that conference room. There is equipment left there from the business who uses it during the day. The dining room is all I can offer you.” The groom replied. “But there are nearly 200 people here who are expecting to come to our party. There is no chance they are all going to be quiet.” I said. “I’m sorry but I can’t do anything other than offer the dining room, but we were not expecting a party of 200 people. I will have to insist that people keep calm. Unfortunately if people are here without a reservation then I am going to have to ask them to leave the hotel.” The groom asked me and the police officer, “What if we went outside? We can go away from the building and stay out of the way.” The officer looked at me for confirmation. I said. “As long as everyone is far enough from the building that they cannot disturb the other guests I will be fine with that.” The officer told him. “I will ignore the open containers as long as your people use plastic cups to drink out of.” The groom agreed. The party issue quieted down gradually after that.
There was still the issue of that other room that was canceled. The son of the groom came to me looking for his room after I told the groom that the room was not available. That re-sparked the negativity for a little bit. There was nothing that I could do to help him. He became upset with me and asked me over and over again what happened to his room. His father returned to the desk to discuss this again. I agreed with them that it seemed unfair. I also explained to them that the hotel was in fact overbooked and unfortunately that reservation was canceled by management.
1:05am – A couple who had a room with the wedding party from hell came to my desk while the police officer was sorting people outside. They lady said. “We want to check out of our room. We aren’t going to stay here.” I said to her, “So you want to check out early?” She said. No we never really got to use the room. We are going to just go home. Don’t even think of billing us for the room.” I said. “I’m sorry but we cannot offer you a refund for the room. I can check you out of the room, but I cannot refund the room.” Her husband said. “Oh yes you will.” He looked me in the eye. He was trying to intimidate me. I just repeated myself. “I will check you out of the room if you want, but I am not issuing you a refund.” The couple got more angry. The lady said. “We are not going to use that room. You absolutely will refund the room before we leave this desk.” I refused. I said. “I cannot issue a refund. It won’t happen. A contract was signed between this hotel and the people who made these arrangements. That contract included no refunds for cancellations. If you want to leave, then I cannot stop you, but I will not be able to refund your stay.” They assured me that I will regret my decision that was actually not my decision, but just me following the hotel policy. The groom returned with is son. Again they wanted to know what to do about his room. I asked the couple who I was just arguing with to return to the desk. I asked. “Will you be leaving immediately?” They said “Yes.” So I said, “May I have the room keys back please?” The man handed them to me. I then turned the the grooms son and said. “I found you a room. I am sorry for the stress that this caused you. I hope you have a good nights sleep.” The couple who’s room that was shouted at me. “That is just messed up!” I said. “Thank you for choosing to stay here with us. I hope you had a pleasant stay. Enjoy your drive home, and I hope we see you here again soon.” They shook their heads at me. “Unbelievable.” The husband said. They left the building. The rest of the shift was quiet and peaceful from that moment on. I did the audit early, and was able to relax for the rest of my shift.