Why? Why is this so hard?

I really do try to keep non-art stuff off my blog, however 2020 has thrown that like so many things out the window. I have been working behind the front desk since September, I now remember why I left the operation side of hotels and vowed never to return. The front desk is hard, people scream at you (I can handle that I really can, you become immune after a while – 20 years trust me, I am immune) people ask for the most ridiculous requests (I always think of the Krusty Tower Episode of SpongeBob) and with COVID the lack of human decency is truly appalling.

The plaque from The Krusty Towers episode of SpongeBob

I have equated no mask wearers to difficult guests because this past weekend that hit a whole new level where they both intersected. Like every hotel I know of, we are extremely short staffed. Someone calls out there is an avalanche of catastrophic proportions for example I arrived at 10am, I am staying until 11pm because we had a call off. We, as a family were going to decorate our Christmas Tree tonight. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t upset about this. We have four people who can cover the desk currently (six with audit – they don’t count unless they call off), if one of those four doesn’t show the ramifications are huge. We are all stressed to the absolute max because our clientele is not what we are use to. We are a convention (group) hotel, our leisure traveler is about 15% however with COVID our group business is 0 and our leisure business is 100%. We are a upscale boutique hotel, no refrigerators or microwaves in the rooms. I had a guest scream at me for 35 minutes on Friday regarding the fact we don’t have fridges or microwaves in the room. The guest also did not have a mask on and moved from behind the plexiglass to yell at me. We are short staffed, we can’t clean the whole house with five housekeepers, even if the have 20 rooms each, it is mathematically impossible for that to happen. We are short on supplies, linen, towels, etc. because the budget has been thrown out the window because of COVID (meaning there is NO money). Our hotel is no different than any other hotel, I know of in the area or around the country (I know people in the industry all over the country they all say the same thing).

Why do I bring this up? It is important to let people know why COVID is not going away. People are traveling and NOT wearing masks, even with masks mandates. I hear people say all the time the mask mandates don’t work, if they worked COVID wouldn’t be so bad. Of course they don’t work because 50% of people don’t wear masks. I decided to keep track of people who did not wear masks in the lobby this weekend. My Saturday shift was 9am-6pm during that time 62 people walked through the lobby or by my desk with no mask. Sixty-two people, that is a lot of people who decided they are immune to COVID and don’t give a damn about their fellow human beings. If someone comes up to me and they don’t have a mask on, my first impression of you diminishes greatly. I instinctively brace for a tongue lashing, recently everyone who has screamed at me has not been wearing a mask.

Wearing a mask doesn’t make you any less of a person in my view it shows me you have empathy and care about your fellow man. A rarely write about instances that happen regarding work however the following happened this weekend and it easily made it into the Top 5 of most memorable things that have ever happened in a hotel. We had four ladies who booked through a third party website (side note: if you want a specific room type NEVER book through a third party website) the fine print states hotel chooses room type. We only had an Executive King bed room with a balcony available. Beautiful room, fridge, microwave, a balcony and large enough to put two roll-away beds in the room if needed. They were furious, they screamed at every co-worker they came in contact with. They accused the valet and housekeepers of being racists because they were speaking Spanish in front of them. These ladies wouldn’t know if someone was talking about them in Spanish, trust me on this one. I know very little Spanish, of course it is all the bad words, they did not call them any of those names. They of course accosted me and demanded to speak to a manager (none of them were wearing masks). I explained I was not a manager however, the manager was at the front desk and I would be happy to grab her for you. They responded we have already spoken to them and they were not helpful. The proceeded to scream at me for 40 minutes on how we ruined her niece’s birthday because they did not have a room with two beds, how the staff was completely inadequate and how everyone was making fun of them in Spanish (I wish I could make this stuff up but I can’t). I stood there nodding my head (I call it the bobble-head) and making it seem like I was interested (they completely lost me when they started calling my fellow co-workers racists). I apologized, they called me a “bitch, just like everyone else who works here” and they stomped off. I went to the desk and asked, “Who the fuck was that?” Yes I did say the f-word at the desk, no one was around. They told me oh that was the guest in room 1144 (note room changed for obvious reasons). My response was they are delightful peaches (translation: what a bunch of trailer park trash – seriously they could have been in a Jerry Springer Episode). Several hours went by and they returned, they once again got into it with the valet team and they decided to check out (small victories). They checked out and one of the ladies told them she was not getting into the car with them until they calmed down. The woman who was driving, popped the trunk, got out of the car went to the trunk and pulled the woman’s luggage out. She slammed the trunk shut, got in the car and drove away, leaving this poor lady on the curb with no ride back home to Florida. The poor woman came up to the desk crying with a mask on (the only one who wore a mask), not sure how she was going to get home. She called her husband to see if she could use the credit card because she was stranded. I heard her half of the conversation, it was truly heartbreaking because you could tell she really didn’t want to be here, they had pressured her into coming for the niece’s birthday, her husband was furious and she was using Christmas money to pay for her way back to Florida. We gave her a discounted hotel rate and found her a train ticket back to Florida. In all my years I have never witnessed something so heartless. To leave a family member on the curb in a strange city and to leave her fend for herself is beyond comprehension to me. Have I thought about it? Yes, many times, however I would never do it.

Is this how society has changed in the past four years? Have we really become this uncaring, that we leave family members on the sidewalk hours from home. Have we always been like this and I lived in a bubble? I am truly concerned about my fellow man. Has COVID changed us not to care? Are we lesser human beings because we wear masks? I am completely blown away by this, where has our empathy gone? I wear a mask because I give a damn, I wear it everywhere. I want to show people I care, do I hate the mask, yes; however, is like a bra I wear it because I care.

I know I have mentioned masks several times on my blog recently, this weekend really brought everything to a head. I mean we really suck at this whole concept of wearing masks, social distancing and being kind to people. If you don’t believe me spend eight hours in a hotel lobby on a Friday or Saturday. You will witness all three first hand. If you do go to a hotel, please be kind, we are super short staffed many of us have been working 60-80 hours through this. Several people I know in hotels have gotten sick with COVID, thankfully that have “recovered” they all still have some lingering symptoms, shortness of breath, brain fog, weird things with their salivary glands or no taste/smell for several months. If you actually are pro-life person, a “Christian,” or cared about your fellow man, you would wear a mask to show it. This is not up for debate anymore, you not wearing a mask, shows you are a selfish asshole. It is that simple, you wear pants, shoes and a shirt when you go into a building, wear a damn mask too! When you don’t we (the frontline workers) feel like you are trying to assassinate us.

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