July 21, 2015 6:45am
A woman complained to me about the coffee. She was very frustrated with me. Apparently she thought I was not doing my job very well, and felt that it was her responsibility to confront me about it.
“Pardon me sir, I feel like I should speak to you about an issue I am having.” She said.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Well over all my stay here has been just fantastic. Your beds are comfortable and it was peaceful and quiet all night. I woke up feeling very refreshed. The problem that I am having is actually with you.” She paused. I think she was waiting for me to ask again what the problem is, but I just waited for her to continue. “When I was getting myself some coffee, your coffee ran out. I politely waited for you to make more, but all I saw was you standing here talking to people. You never once stopped to see if you needed to make more coffee.”
“I’m sorry, but I am a bit confused. You are saying there is no more coffee made?”
“Yes, and I am very disappointed that you ignored me.”
“I made six pots of coffee this morning. Did you try any of the other coffee pumps on the counter? There should be five more fresh pots.” She looked at the other pumps.
“So those others are also usable? I thought the others were empty too.” She didn’t even try the other ones? This lady needs some coffee.
“It’s OK. Common mistake.” No it isn’t. “I will go over there and remove that empty pot in a moment. I just have to finish sending my boss this email.” The one that says I am getting too busy at the desk in the mornings to deal with breakfast.
“So you just let me stand there looking stupid?” OK, this lady is bonkers.
“No ma’am. I assure you I would never do something like that.” Yes I would, just not at this moment. The big mistake that I made was my smile when I spoke to her.
“Now you are laughing at me.” She wasn’t quite yelling at me, but she was clearly mad at me.
“Ma’am I am not laughing.” She interrupted me.
“Why would I know that there was more coffee when that one was empty?”
“Because there are five more coffee pumps over there.”
“Well I tried all three of the ones you have to use; they are all empty.” Didn’t she just say that she didn’t try any of the other ones?
“I understand now. The three pumps on the bottom shelf are empty.” She interrupted me again.
“Yes. That is why I am telling you how unhappy I am about you ignoring the need for more coffee.”
“I see. Did you try any of the top three?” I pointed to the three pumps not yet in use.
“I thought I wasn’t supposed to use those ones.”
“It’s OK to use them; those ones are for when the bottom ones run out.” She was looking at me like I was being some kind of asshole. I am an asshole; just not this time.
“Well they don’t have the little pump things on them.”
“I understand your confusion about this, you didn’t know that you can lift the lever up and use it. This is easy for me to fix. I will make those three containers ready, right now.” Before I could walk away from her, she spoke up again.
“Why didn’t you just make them all ready to use all at once?”
“Because if I have all six going at once, people will fill their cups from all of the containers in a short amount of time; which will make the coffee run out faster. I got busy here and I didn’t notice that the coffee had gotten low. If I had noticed, I surly would not have made you wait. I am very sorry for that.” Or you could have checked the other containers before coming to the desk to make me the focus of your negativity. She was wasn’t quite certain that my apology was genuine enough.
“Well I plan to talk to your manager about this later. I think you should be making a better attempt at fulfilling your responsibilities.” I totally understand her confusion. The job titles “Breakfast Attendant” and “Night Auditor” sound so much alike; it’s easy to make that mistake. I was bombarded this morning with guests coming to the desk with questions about their bills, room keys weren’t working so I had to make new copies, and the phone would not stop ringing. I was doing my job.
“Ma’am I do understand why you are so upset. I wish it didn’t have to come to you making any complaints. If there is anything that I can you to make your stay here more pleasant, I will try my best to do so.”
“I think I will feel better after I talk to your boss.” She waited for me to have a reply, and was looking me right in the eyes.
“OK.” Then I walked away from her and the desk, and I made the other three coffees available for her. The breakfast attendant was due to arrive in the next ten minutes, so I wasn’t too worried about having to refill anything else. A grumpy old guy was standing with a plate that had a little bit of all our hot food choices on it. He reminded me of Mickey Rooney, but irritable instead of jolly and always laughing like I remember him. Like so many old people, he was shout/talking.
“You’re almost out of eggs. You need more. Where are they?” I looked down at his shiny head and wondered if it hurt his neck to have to turn his head up that high to talk to me.
“The eggs are in the kitchen. They will be ready in ten minutes.” I walked back to the desk and finished with my shift closing procedures.