Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Thank You For Not Smoking. Sincerely, Your Wallet.

A word to the wise, everyone: if you are in a non-smoking hotel room, DO NOT SMOKE IN IT! I know this may seem like common sense, but apparently not. In the past month we have had four smoke-filled rooms and this hotel is completely non-smoking. There are three exits in the building where people can step outside and smoke (we don't have a regulation of how far away from the building people need to be so they can just lean against the door if they want), complete with benches and awnings for their comfort. Obviously this is not enough because some people simply cannot be bothered to walk a few feet for a drag.

Well, did you know that that cigarette is going to cost you anywhere between $150 and $300 depending on your hotel?? NOW will you think differently about walking those extra few feet?

About two weeks ago I had a woman come up to the front desk and hand me her keycard to checkout. She was very timid, but I thought nothing of it because...well people can be odd. About an hour later the Head of Housekeeping came to me to say that Room 120 had definitely been smoking their room. Because the lady had been so nervous earlier I recognized the room number instantly. Upon looking up her reservation I found that she was a Priority Club member and had stayed here on Awards Points (meaning, she had earned enough points to stay for free). Unfortunately for Timid Lady, even for Awards stays we require a credit card for possible incidentals. And there it was: her free weekend was suddenly free no longer. I've been waiting for an angry phone call since this incident, but thus far nothing. I'm guessing she knows what she did. (And thank god because I have had my fair share of screaming phone calls over the past few weeks. More later...)

This now brings me to a more current situation. Last night, I had a handful of walk-ins. One was a very nice biker man and his wife with a bad dye job (which could explain why she was so mopey). They didn't seem totally sold on our rates so I tried to sell some of our perks: "We also serve a full hot breakfast with eggs and bacon and whatnot; there is Wifi all throughout the building and all of our rooms are non-smoking." This did the trick and Biker and Dye Job paid up.

Then this morning, the Assistant Head of Housekeeping came to me and said that Room 206 had been smoking. I looked it up and there were the names of Biker and Dye Job. I reinstated them and charged the smoking fee. Thankfully, we slip everyone's bill under their door during the night. This way, Biker and Dye Job would be long gone and out of yell-in-your-face proximity before they discovered this extra charge.

I grabbed our giant bottle of air freshener and set out to spray the lobby and second floor. For some reason, smells from second floor rooms end up permeating half the building. As I headed up, I chatted with the Breakfast Lady for a few moments and commiserated about inconsiderate guests (she had had her own guest-strife yesterday morning). I then bounced up the stairs (literally), spraying the Green Mountain scent behind me (for some reason these bottles fascinate me and I love to hold them above my head and continually spray them like a Mosquito Truck, only less toxic). I stopped on the staircase and exaggerated the word, "SmoooooooooKEY!" to the Breakfast Lady below. When I turned to continue up the stairs, Biker was smiling down at me.

"Have you been here all night?" he asked. I worked the late shift yesterday and the morning shift today, so I get this a lot. I told him I had gone home for the overnight shift. Feeling self-conscious for so obviously trying to cover up their smell, I began rubbing the banister, acting like I was simply polishing the railing...with my bare hand...

Biker bid me adieu and went on his merry way. I quickly scampered up the stairs. I made my way to their room and just as I was about to spray outside of their door, Dye Job walked out! I smiled and continued walking, studying the carpet curiously like I was looking for something. Dye Job took her sweet time walking the ten feet from Room 206's door to the stairwell. This leads me to believe that she is the smoking culprit, but that's also because Biker was really nice and I'd rather it be her than him. Once she was gone I waited a few moments before spraying the mist above my head once again. I entered the stairwell and wouldn't you know it? There was Dye Job standing at the bottom of the staircase looking up at me. I gave the elevator door a small spritz and pretended to wipe it down, once again, with my bare hand. (Did I mention that I am incredibly gifted at smoothly averting possibly awkward situations?) Dye Job gave one last 'I'm so moody' look and left. Finally, I was able to continue my Mosquito Truck impression.

And now for my closing moral-of-the-story: if your hotel room is a non-smoking room then, please, do not smoke. Not only does that mean the hotel has to put that room out of commission for two-three days, but it also means you're about to get a hefty non-refundable/arguable/negotiable charge. It is very easy to tell when a room has been smoked in and unless you just smoked once and then let the room air out for two-three days (and you would have to remove every item that might smell like smoke, too, such as your luggage) then chances are you are going to get caught. And don't think you can be sneaky and slip out the back door, away from the lobby like Biker and Dye Job did! All hotels keep your credit card information on file so we can charge you whether you're there or not.

This also goes for smoking ANYTHING in your hotel room. I love the teenagers who set off the smoke alarms in the hotel and then adamantly claim that they weren't smoking cigarettes in their room (for some reason cigarettes haven't set off the alarms, but weed does). Why do they think no one but other teenagers recognizes the smell of pot?? Smoke outside and you'll have $150-$300 to do with whatever you want!