Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Series of Rants: Children

(My next few posts will be as the title explains: a series of rants.)

a) Rude Children

A lady came up to the desk last night to ask for pizza recommendations. I encouraged her to order from the more "local" restaurant Fox's ("local" when compared to Domino's) and provided her with a menu that we keep at the front desk. She began flipping through it when her son (aged somewhere between six and nine) entered the lobby with some sort of white pastry thing spilling from his mouth. His mother exclaimed, "They have salads!" excitedly. Pastry Child then weaseled his way under his mother's arms and flipped the laminated pages back to the beginning. Rude Strike #1. The mother said that she was looking at the salads to which Pastry Child threw up his arm and pushed his mother out of the way with a, "Move," command. Rude Strike #2! As I was trying not to stare in bewilderment at this kid, the phone rang. I answered and spoke with an older man who had a hearing problem. During my entire phone conversation, Pastry Child stood only one foot away from me, loudly declaring to his mother that he did not want ham on his Meat Lover's Deluxe pizza and did not understand why there would even BE ham on a Meat Lover's pizza.

When guests stand at the counter and talk loudly while I am on the phone, I try not to do the typical 'I can't hear over you' move of plugging one of my ears with a finger. However, this kid was SO loud and SO obnoxious that I was tempted to ask him to move to the other side of the room so that the nice little old man did not have to give me his credit card information for a third time...

b) Stubborn Children

You know those kids who don't want to budge for some reason and their parents say, "I gonna count to 10!" Do you notice how rarely the parents actually get to 10? And when they do, they don't really do anything except repeat their command that had preceded, "I'm gonna count to 10!"

Seeing as it is spring break season, I witness stubborn children a LOT. Kids who want to stay in and watch cartoons, kids who don't want to change out of their bathing suits, kids who throw a fit for some coffee, and then kids who are just stubborn for the sake of being stubborn. Observe Specimen A: Miss Pink Pants.

(Quick side note: this day had been particularly insane and I had already been fortunate enough to listen to four previous parent/child stand-offs.)

Miss Pink Pants and her mother came back to the hotel after what had obviously been an entire day spent at the beach. When people are in the lobby I am required to be standing at the front desk, so I waited while they passed through. Miss Pink Pants (about 3 yrs old) was obviously unhappy to have left the beach so soon and stood adamantly at the door, while her mother walked around the corner, totally oblivious to the fact the her child was no longer in tow. When she did realize, however, she came back around the corner and told Miss Pink Pants to come.

"No," Pink Pants replied, crossing her arms and stomping a foot emphatically.
"Come on. We're going to get ready and go eat."
"Pink Pants..."
"I'm going to count to 10!"

By this point, I decided to act like something needed my desperate attention at the fax machine because I did not feel like watching a battle ensue. Pink Pants's mother kept threatening to count to 10, but she never did, which I really do not understand. Pink Pants then opened the door and stood defiantly on the threshold. Her mother said she would leave her and then walked down the hall.

Okie, here are some of my issues with this: #1, I now feel responsible for your child who is standing in between two heavy doors and once she loses her grip and is crushed, it suddenly becomes the front desk clerk's fault for not watching the child. #2, Your child is about two and a half feet tall. Why can you not just pick her up and take her to your room? Mommy's mass greatly outweighs 3 yr old's mass so I do not quite see the problem. #3, Now that you have left your child in the lobby I HAVE to stay up there. Not only could she crush herself, but god knows what else an irate toddler can do and as I've already said once -- suddenly it is my responsibility. #4, Do you really think I want to stand at the desk with a smile plastered on my face, while you play Chicken with your child? No, I really really don't.

c) Weird Children

i. A woman came in yesterday with her 12 yr old daughter to check on availability and roommates. While I spoke with the mother, her daughter chewed on the counter top. I mean this completely literally -- teeth out, gnawing on our marble counter top. It was everything I could do not to stare.

ii. A few days ago a mother came to the desk to ask for towels. During her five-word sentence of "Can we have four towels?" her daughter twitched and chirped "towels" about seven times and then continued to say it as I went and got the towels. It's like Turrets with household goods.

d) Too Many Children

As you can tell, most of these are fairly recent "rant-able" situations. This is because March is college/university spring break season and April is apparently given to elementary, middle, and high schoolers. Thus, we are over run with guests AND (you guessed it) kids galore.

A few hours ago, as I was checking-in a walk-in, a woman from Rm 120 came to the desk to complain that housekeeping had cleaned their room and made the bed, but had not changed the sheets. I don't know if people realize this or not, but if you stay at a hotel for multiple nights, chances are your sheets are not going to be replaced every day. A lot of this just has to do with pure time management because housekeepers are not only having to clean the rooms for "stayovers," but they are also having to completely change-out, swab, mop, and pretty much gut other rooms for new arrivals. And on this day specifically, our housekeeping was swamped with having to change-over 23 rooms (meaning, the guests in all those rooms were due to depart this morning) and clean 14 stayovers with only two housekeepers! Yes -- 2! So unfortunately, some stayovers were left with their sheets from the night before.

It was clear, however, that Rm 120 Lady was not pleased about her dirty sheets. I told her that I would be down with new sheets as soon as possible. She pursed her lips and raised her eyebrows as if to ask snidely, "Why can't it be now?" I looked down, hoping to bring her attention to the credit card in my hand. I then looked at the man standing next to her, who I was in the process of checking-in when she came stomping around the corner. He gave her a curt nod. "It'll take me about ten more minutes to check him in," I informed her, "I will then bring clean sheets down to your room." Pursed Lips lifted her nose in reply and walked away. I then had to explain to the man who had just walked in and asked for a room that he would most certainly find clean sheets on his bed.

After I had finished checking the man in, I grabbed a set of sheets and headed down to Rm 120. When I knocked I heard Pursed Lips say, "They're here to make the bed." They? It's just me at the hotel from 3 p.m. on. There is no "they" and there is no "they're here to make the bed." Unless you are older, hurt, or handicapped, "they", meaning "me", will not be making the bed alone.

As soon as Pursed Lips opened the door I knew I was in for a not-so-fun time. There four children: two little kids (a girl and a boy) ages 2 to 3, one that was probably 5-ish (boy), and another that may have graced the double-digits by now (boy); and two adults: Pursed Lips and an equally displeased looking overly tanned woman. The moment I entered the room the two littlest children began walking around my feet, wanting to show me empty Barbie wallets and shells they had collected from the beach. Pursed Lips wrenched the dirty sheets from the bed, but not before angrily showing me the brown marks and stating, "Johnny thinks it's poop." Lovely. She then stood there and looked at me. I placed the set of sheets on the floor and began figuring out which was the bottom sheet. The two adults made no move to even offer help in making the King Sized bed (which was completely surrounded by discarded luggage and giant plastic toys). Thankfully, after the little girl shoved a Barbie doll in my face she then noticed the brace on my hand (I wear it for typing because I am one of the many twenty-something yr olds who did not type with their wrists properly elevated for the longest time). She asked me why my wrist hurt. I unfolded the fitted sheet and told her I had been in a bad accident. Pursed Lips then sighed heavily and stuck out her arm. "Fine," she said gruffly, "I'll help you make the bed." We then made the bed while the two little kids continued to crawl and play around my feet, so much so that I was unable to secure one of the corners of the sheet because I couldn't lean over the little boy far enough, who was trying to gather the spilled items of his wicker purse (you can't make this stuff up).

e) Hyper Children

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am perhaps one of the least maternal beings around, next to those hamsters that eat their babies. However, although lacking in childcare skills, I am not heartless when it comes to kids and I play peek-a-boo with one around the column of our breakfast area if it'll entertain them for a few moments. What's not so cute, though, are the kids who just run wild in the lobby. You know the type of kids I'm talking about -- they literally run in circles, bang on things, and drag heavy objects around while their parents to a friend, sales associate, front desk clerk, etc, and act like their kid is doing absolutely nothing. When you're experiencing this with one kid it is a tad irksome and possibly awkward, but easily ignored. But when you're checking in three different families, each with an average of 2 to 4 kids and ALL the kids are behaving this way...well then the situation gets put in its own special category of "bothersome."

These three families descended upon the Inn's lobby like a flash lightning storm in the middle of the desert. One moment I was reading an article in USAToday and the next I was besieged by miniature people moving furniture twice their size while the parents yelled over the noise to figure out who was paying for which rooms. I am still amazed that I got everyone checked into the right rooms because I don't even remember half the questions I was answering. Four children ranging from 3.5 feet and smaller were chasing each other around the breakfast bar, a baby was crying on a woman-who-I-assumed-was-grandma's knee, a little boy asked if there were any cookies (it's allllllways about the bloody cookies!), two 3 yr old-looking blond twins kept shutting each other in and out of the front doors, and the eldest girl (maybe 7 yrs old?) pulled our luggage cart out from behind a door frame and tried to ride it like a gigantic skateboard.

Needless to say, had they offered me a tip, I wouldn't have turned it down.

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