Sometimes it rains. Sometimes there’s thunder too; it happens. I’m sure it isn’t anything personal. Acts of nature are just things that exist. Some people sleep well during thunder storms. Some people find them disruptive. Whichever type of person you are, I think it’s quite obvious that I am not in control of the weather.
The rain was coming down in sheets, and there was plenty of crashing thunder to go along with it. I watched people walk outside, and immediately walk back in soaking wet. It was entertaining until 1 am when a short, balding man approached the desk. I could see he was unhappy before he spoke. “Hey, pal this is one crazy storm,” he said.
“It sure is” I replied.
“It’s freaking driving me crazy. I gotta be on the road in the morning, and this shit is going on.” Clearly, he doesn’t find thunder storms to be soothing. “Is there a way you can help me out? Is there a quieter room?”
“I don’t think moving you to another room would make the thunder more peaceful. I can offer you some earplugs.” He looked like he wanted to continue complaining. It took him a few moments to reply because he kept looking at his phone. He didn’t appear to be doing anything with the phone other than look at the screen. Reluctantly he said,
“Okay, whatever.” I handed him a packet of earplugs, and he went away.
The storm continued, and more smokers stopped as soon as the doors opened just to decide their nicotine fix was no longer necessary to them. The short, balding man returned. “Those things don’t work. That thunder is not letting up. You gotta do something for me.” He sounded like he was at his wit’s end.
“Like what?” I asked.
“I don’t know… Something.”
“I suppose I could read you a bedtime story.” According to the expression on his face, that wasn’t something he wanted to hear. What was I supposed to do? Nature is stronger than I am. It’s not like I can make a quick call and ask the sky to shut up.
“You’re kidding me, right?”
“Yup. I’m sorry the storm is keeping you awake. We have herbal tea, maybe that will help relax you enough to sleep.”
“Do I look like I need something to relax me?”
“Yes.” Again, that wasn’t what he wanted me to say.
“I made my reservation with the expectation there would be peace and quiet.”
“I would say the hotel is quiet right now.”
“Are you not hearing the thunder outside?”
“Well, yes, but that’s outside. Inside it’s quiet. Nobody is partying, or slamming doors, so…”
“I think you should give me a discount for this inconvenience.” Laughing is not the correct way to respond to a guest. I started laughing.
“Sir, I can’t discount your room because of thunder.”
“It’s impossible to sleep in this place. You won’t move me to another room, and instead, you gave me some shitty foam earplugs that don’t even work.”
“If you want me to move your room, then I will move your room,” I said.
“Forget it; I don’t want to move my stuff right now. Give me a good reason why you won’t discount my room.”
“Because the weather is not my fault. I have no control over what nature does. You didn’t pay for a thunder-proof hotel. Sorry, no refunds for thunder.” He started walking away, but he stopped and said,
“The customer is always right!” He walked away.
I might have been able to get that guy off my back easier had I just looked at his reservation. Initially, I didn’t see much need to. I wasn’t planning on moving him, and since his complaint was complete nonsense, I felt no urgency to take him seriously. I was a bit surprised when the phone rang, and someone from one of my favorite third-party travel agency’s call to inform me that a man was complaining about excessive noise in the hotel. “The guest said he complained to you about noise inside the building, and you told him you couldn’t do anything about it,” he said.
“The guest you are talking about is complaining about a thunderstorm. There isn’t any noise in the hotel; just thunder, outside.”
“He said you refused to find him a quieter room.”
“Like a padded room? We don’t have those. I understand he is having trouble sleeping, but I already gave him earplugs, and moving him to another room won’t make the thunder any less disruptive. Is there anything else I can help you with?”
“The only issue I received from the guest is about the noise complaint…”
“Okay then, let him know thunderstorms are a thing that hotels have no power over, and no refunds, of course. Have a great night.” I disconnected the call.
The guest stopped bothering me. I considered the problem to be over. I can’t discount third-party reservations, and his complaint was absolute nonsense.
Your hotel never mentioned there were thunderstorms when I made my reservation…
If I knew the weather was going to be like this, I would have reconsidered my plans…