Tuesday, June 21, 2011


A lot of couples stay at The Orchid for their honeymoons, weddings, and anniversaries. Last week, a family was traveling around as some sort of big roadtrip for the parents' anniversary. The kids were grown and in their 40s and had apparently been going all out to make this trip as spectacular as possible for their parents. The mother told me how, at every rest stop, anytime she and her husband would both leave the car, when they returned there would be presents on their seats. What nice kids!

Upon hearing this, I was not surprised when the son came to the front desk one night and asked if I could leave a special present in his parents' room after turn-down service. Of course I agreed and the man lifted up a sack of gifts. Inside was a photo album, decorative plates for the album, sparkling grape juice, champagne flutes, napkins, and a tube of red cloth. He laid all the items out and asked if I could spread the gifts over two nights -- photo album stuff one night and sparkling grape juice and flutes the next night. Then he opened the tube of what was not red cloth, but rose petals. I was to sprinkle these on the bed each night, too.

Now, I will agree that this is a very sweet idea. Roses always bring a nice romantic touch to any occasion whether it's the whole flower or just the petals. However, the thought of sprinkling rose petals on my parents' bed would THOROUGHLY creep me out and having to sprinkle them on someone else's parents' bed...well that could just get a bit awkward.

However, I was more than happy to oblige this man. That night I went up to the room and neatly laid out the photo album and decorative inserts. I was a bit nervous because I kept thinking, "What if the parents come in and I'm just standing in their room?? I'm going to look like such a creeper!" Then, to raise my blood pressure even more, it was time to sprinkle the petals. I grabbed a handful and threw them onto the bed. Just my luck, the stupid things landed in a clump so I had to, instead, place each one individually. And then someone knocked on the door.

Without moving I said, "Come in?" I could have not looked more awkward being bent far over the bed, hand in mid-petal placement. Thankfully, Susie, a housekeeper, opened the door. She stared at me. "I know this looks super creepy," I said, "but I swear I was asked to do this." Susie gave me one of those, "You're driving me to drink" faces. She continued to look from me to the petals on the bed until I finally said, "Their son asked me to!" Susie pursed her lips, raised, an eyebrow and said, "Mmhm," before closing the door. The next night I placed the grape juice bottle and glasses on the bed, scattered the clump of petals across the bed and ran.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

76 Days Left of Summer

Dahlia has been gone for over a month now and there are those of us who are still unsure whether her replacement is better or worse. I am personally still on the fence about this as well, both from a roommate and coworker standpoint.

Whereas Dahlia was 24 going on 80, my new roommate, Summer, is 20 going on 12. The girl goes to one of the top five private liberal arts colleges in the nation and yet I feel as though I am taking care of a child. Nevermind that in the apartment she is under the philosophy that "what is theirs is mine" (and this does not exclude stuff I have in my dresser drawer) and I have never picked up so much after someone in my life, but at work she is just plain loud and self-serving. I have worked with her for three hours tonight and already I am thirsting for some form of alcohol.

To begin with, Summer does not pick up phones until the third ring (basically when another coworker is having a phone sit-down protest) or unless she is told. She does not get up to speak to a guest except when the phone is ringing. She also does not get up to help a guest unless our office manager has just delegated a project. Basically, Summer seems to be "working the system" to really do as little work as possible. For example, a week ago, while training Summer on the night shift, I picked up phone call after phone call while Summer sat there sealing envelopes. Jenny, the office manager, came over at one point and asked if anyone had counted the cash drawer yet. The phone rang and Summer picked it up before the first ring was through, ergo I had to count the drawer.

Tonight, a couple came up to the desk and asked where was the best place to get fish and chips. I told them the place that had always been recommended to me and then - out of nowhere - a very dominant voice chirped up beside me recommending other places...if you wanted to talk to the guest then whyyyyy didn't you get up yourself??

I realize that this is coming off as very "rant-ish", but this is the release of one month and one day of this type of behavior. Last week, both Summer and I were working and we were given a message to give to one of the porters. The porter came in while I happened to be at the desk so I told him something about a guest's baggage and then began to point to the message on the front desk. I opened my mouth to explain the message in further detail and Summer slid herself up under my arm, sidling me out of the way so that she could give him the message.

A guest lost a ring in our dining room recently. When a hostess brought it into the office, Summer was on the phone (I had been out of the office when the phone rang). The hostess pointed to the notepad beside Summer, which had a name and number of the woman who lost the ring. Since Summer was in the middle of taking a reservation I reached for the pad to call the lady. Summer stopped me and whispered, "I'll do it." I noted that she was busy, whereas I was doing nothing and could easily make the phone call, but Summer persisted, "I'll do it." I can only assume she wanted to make sure the hostess who found the ring got ample credit for it.

Summer also has a way of making sure everyone knows about her. As front desk clerks we are often asked, "Where are you from?" and "How did you end up here?" These questions can be answered in simple one to two sentence descriptions. Often, Summer will take guests on a room-tour and she will come back telling them how she chose this job over a higher paying internship in Boston because she had already committed to this job and that would have been a "mean thing to do." She has also told guests that she leaves on September 4th to go back to finish her last year of college, that I leave October 23rd, where all the employees live on the island, what type of meals we eat here, that she sometimes leaves work at 10pm and I leave at midnight and we both walk home alone, that we are roommates, and that she and her boyfriend stayed in room 212 and absolutely loved it. I believe the acronym "TMI" is lost on Summer. 'How does she work these bits of exposition into her conversations with guests?' you ask. Here is an example that occurred an hour ago:

A guest came down to drop their key off at the front desk.
Summer: "How do you like the room?"
Guest: "Oh we LOVE the room. It is just GORgeous!"
Summer: "Isn't it? I love leading guests up to our suites because I love the looks on their faces when they first see it. I do it just for that. I love all of our rooms, but the suites are just magnificent."

Then she began talking about the wallpaper and view from the room. Just take their key, say, "Have a nice evening!" and be done with it! Why all the "I" statements?

I know this post was not entirely hotel related (I'll have one of those in the next day or two), but I hope those few stories redeem me for going on a slight Summer-tirade. As you can hopefully see, it is a lot of "me, me, me." This does not even include the countless times when all the front desk clerks work together to finish some big task (like the mailing of 750 newsletters for the arts council) and Summer makes SURE that the office manager knows that SHE printed out all the labels and that one particular stack was all her doing.

And the one thing that makes this all even worse? Summer is unfortunately and dreadfully and very very nice person. And thus, my luck with roommates-who-are-irksome-but-too-nice-to-be-a-bitch-to continues.