To Err is Human

04 Mar

I love what I do.  I love my hotel.  I love that our guests are happy.  And I love that our company totally gets what it takes to keep guests coming back.  It’s a fun job.

But it is exhausting work.

Especially at our hotel.  We are located in downtown St. Louis, and when the city is busy, as it is this weekend, people flock to our hotel.  We offer a lot of amenities and our customer service is top notch, and therefore, guests WANT to stay with us.

We have almost 400 rooms.  That’s a lot of people to check in, get parked, serve food to, and make comfortable.  It takes a ton of behind the scenes work to try to meet all the requests of connecting rooms, corner rooms, rollaways, cribs….  before the guests arrive.  In the meantime, we’re checking people out of their rooms and meeting the requests of multiple guests staying another night who want fresh towels, toothpaste, their room serviced at a particular time, directions to the nearest mall.  We’re calling heating issues and stopped toilets in to maintenance.  We’re letting housekeeping know which rooms need an extra hour before checking out, and which rooms are leaving a day early or have decided to stay one more day.  We’re answering phone calls from arriving guests who are wondering if they can check in early, and potential guests who are hoping we have rooms available tonight.  In between all that, we’re looking at our availability and playing a little gambling game of trying to have a perfect sell, without having to walk someone to another hotel.  So we timidly oversell our standard rooms by 2 or 3, and pray that things work out perfectly in the end.


I view it like a dance, and if choreographed well, it can be so much fun.

I thrive on days like this.  I feel like I do a great job in these situations and rise to the challenge of keeping everyone happy. (If I do say so myself.)  The last couple of days, it has only been me and the new guy up at the desk.  The new guy has been there about a month, and has caught on pretty quickly.  I like him.  He provides great service, and is very attentive to details.  But he’s new, so he still has questions which I patiently answer in between my own jobs. The managers spend most of the morning in the busy breakfast area, so I have been taking charge of the front desk.  They have been able to manage the hotel, knowing in the back of their minds that the front desk is being taken care of.

Unfortunately, it seems to stay in the back of their minds.

After two very busy days of working my tail off for 8 straight hours, and doing a top notch job, I get a hand-slap five minutes before clocking out today.

My manager calls me back and asks if I remember talking to room 861 about leaving today instead of tomorrow.  I look at the reservation for a while trying to think back to 10:00 that morning.  Eons ago.  While I’m reflecting, he says, “I think you know where I’m going with this.”

My first thought is that I had forgotten to check it out after he told me they were leaving.  This would result in a “sleeper room” meaning that we left a room vacant, thinking someone was in it, but in fact we could have cleaned it and sold it.

“No…” he said.  “You checked it out, but you didn’t call it in to housekeeping.”

I looked at him quizzically.  I have NEVER not called in an early departure room to housekeeping. I go to check the log to make sure I hadn’t done it, and perhaps the mistake was on housekeeping’s part.

But sure enough, I didn’t log it, which probably means I was distracted by another guest right after checking room 861 out. and really did forget to call it in to housekeeping.

I came back to him with my hand out.  He playfully gave it a little ‘slap’ and explained to me that it’s important to call those rooms in…. because now it’s almost 3:00 and they are just discovering they still have a room to clean… “It’s important to keep communication between the departments”  he explains to me like it’s my first day on the job.

I nod my head, and tell him I’m sorry.  I remind him that I usually am pretty good about doing that, but it must have slipped my mind today, with all the busy-ness.


I get WHY he needed to say something to me.  Our head housekeeper probably called him out of frustration when she discovered that the room was vacant dirty so late in the day, right when they were trying to get their housekeepers to hurry up and get the rooms cleaned before our check-in time of 3:00.  Her stress would totally have been avoided if I had done MY job.

But what upsets me, is the fact that I do so much for the hotel, and I make it a point to be sure all the departments are working together because I know it’s in the best interest of our guests.  And I do this for absolutely no pay at all, and with no real breaks throughout the day.  They have an absolute model employee in me, and I get my hand slapped for one, measly mistake.

It seems to me that those are the things that stand out in their minds, yet all the things I DO do, go unnoticed.

So my last five minutes of work was just a reminder to me that I am merely a peon.  A barely minimum-wage-paid peon.  That’s what I carried with me on my long commute home, and why I’m in need of writing therapy tonight.

I’ll feel better in the morning.  It’s a good thing too, because I have to be back there by 7am to check all 400 of those rooms out – providing our gambling paid off.

As Salim would say, “You be ah-right, Row-byn.  You be ah-right.”


Posted by on March 4, 2012 in Blunders, The Hotel


Tags: , , , ,

13 responses to “To Err is Human

  1. abby

    March 4, 2012 at 3:21 am

    Well, that sucks.

    You know I used to be in the hotel biz. I’m glad to say that I had good managers for the most part for the whole 6 years. It really makes a difference if they praise your work. Everybody makes mistakes, especially when things get busy, and you’re training a new guy, etc. I’m sorry you got the hand slap, but it seems like a slight oversight to me. Was the hotel full? Otherwise, I don’t see the big deal of one room out of 400 that didn’t make the housekeeping list. Tomorrow’s another day. You’ve earned your couch time!

  2. shadowrun300

    March 4, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Well – it’s morning now, and I still am upset by it. :/ The hotel WAS expecting to sell out, so the room I forgot to call in NEEDED to be cleaned. My error did cause a problem for the housekeeping department. But I’ve never forgotten in the past, and there is no reason to believe it will be a problem in the future, so shouldn’t we just be a TEAM and bail me out without making me feel bad?
    For the most part, management here is pretty good. Much better than my other hotel. (Not you, Jules… you were great at positive feedback!) But this situation could have been handled differently, in my opinion.
    Anyway… back to work today. Gonna put my game face on, and try to put it behind me. Wish me luck!

  3. territerri

    March 4, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    I think you’re right. The manager had to say something to you because someone else vented to him. But you shouldn’t take it so personally. It’s not like you made a ginormous mistake that actually affected a guest. It affected an employee, who was probably mildly inconvenienced. It didn’t make the hotel look bad to the public. The mistake was caught before anything major resulted. It was a minuscule problem.

    I sure hope you had a BIG bowl of ice cream after that!

  4. shadowrun300

    March 4, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    YOU are right. I shouldn’t take it personally. Some of the reason I was upset is because I made a mistake. *gasp* Hence the title…. I’m trying to convince myself that I’m human. 🙂
    You make a good point, as well. My mistake did not affect any guests or make the hotel look bad. I actually feel much better when I think of it that way.
    And OF COURSE I had a big bowl of ice cream…. while watching Office Space…..
    “Ummm…. yeah…. ummm…. you forgot to call in room 861 as an early departure… ummm… yeah….”
    I LOVE that movie! 🙂

  5. agg79

    March 5, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Hey, stuff happens. We all make mistakes, life rolls on. I’m like you, you work your tail off to keep the hotel functioning seamlessly, but there is the occasional lapse in communication. I’d take Terri’s advice, don’t take it personally. I am sure that the head housekeeping person was just looking to pass along a complaint from the crew about the short notice. Don’t let it ruin your whole day. I’d go for the ice cream and an extra mile on the run. That usually helps me burn off a lot of frustration.

    • shadowrun300

      March 5, 2012 at 3:59 pm

      You guys are right. I took it personally, like I usually do. I think I’m over it now though! 🙂 It helped that I had a shorter shift on Sunday, and a day off today. I’ll rest up and be ready for a 12 hour shift tomorrow… why do I like my job again?? 🙂

  6. meleah rebeccah

    March 7, 2012 at 2:06 am

    ” They have an absolute model employee in me, and I get my hand slapped for one, measly mistake.” That must be really frustrating.

    Do they ever give you kudos for doing such a good job? Or do they ONLY point out your mistakes?

  7. meleah rebeccah

    March 7, 2012 at 2:07 am

    PS: If it makes you feel any better, I would have taken it personally also.

    • shadowrun300

      March 7, 2012 at 3:59 am

      Yes – it makes me feel a LOT better! Thanks Meleah! I don’t get kudos from the management too often, because when things are running well on my end, they’re able to put out fires in other areas… So it’s not until I create a spark that they have to come to me. I guess when a person doesn’t make a whole lot of money, other compensation, such as praise and appreciation can make a difference. But – I AM a grownup and so I guess I should just suck it up and keep going. So I am. Thanks for the support though!

      • meleah rebeccah

        March 7, 2012 at 11:01 pm

        Glad to help. And I am happy to hear they also recognize when you do a GOOD job. Because a lot of places, don’t do that. 🙂

  8. Mike

    March 11, 2012 at 5:05 am

    So um… yeah. I have it on good authority that you are are the employee any manager would want. 🙂

    You’re right. We’re all human, and we all make mistakes from time to time. You sound a lot like me. I’m way more critical of myself than any manager of mine would ever be. I’m a perfectionist, and when I mess something up, I have a bad habit of beating myself up over it.

    I know that you do a great job, though, and a lot of people are really proud of you. It’s kind of a shame that no one on the management staff makes it a point to notice all of the good things you do. Part of being a good manager is encouraging your employees and making them feel important and respected.

  9. Jules

    March 14, 2012 at 5:49 am

    UGH…that is frustrating. I think you are doing a fantastic job. When I saw you some weeks ago you would have had me fooled thinking that you knew the regulars and remembered guests from the day before, had I not known that you were filling in for someone at a different property. You’re awesome; don’t forget that!!!

    • shadowrun300

      March 14, 2012 at 1:02 pm

      Thanks Julia! Have I ever told you how much I appreciated having you as my boss? 😉 You were always very good about giving credit where credit was due. Why did things have to go so bad there??? 🙂


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