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[Lifestyle] People throw tantrums and try to get things for free’: my life as a hotelier in badly behaved Britain


Wassim

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If the guests aren’t complaining, they’re wandering around naked

Ihave worked in my family’s hotel for almost all of my life. It’s seasonal, as in any coastal town. I started out washing up and prepping in the kitchens on Friday nights and in the school holidays, moved into the restaurant as a waiter, then on to front of house and finally into management. As with any smaller business, there is really no such thing as “I’m a chef” or “I’m a housekeeper”; everyone mucks in.

 

We once had a team of senior cricket players who came back a little worse for wear after hitting the local cider. I don’t know if they had lost or won, but one guy locked himself out of his room naked and made his way down to the bar looking for the toilet. That has happened multiple times with people who come home drunk from weddings – my mum once had to climb through a window to help a lady who had got stuck, naked, in the bath for about five hours. We have also found a female guest wearing a long skirt pleasuring herself on the patio, fully embracing her audience.Over the years, people’s expectations have dramatically changed. Online booking and Instagram means that things can look very different from the reality. People are always on a mission to push the rules or get something for free. They will turn up hours before their room is ready, hot and flustered because they need to change for a wedding, but the housekeepers are still running around trying to service multiple rooms. They will complain: “It’s not my fault you haven’t got enough staff,” and throw a tantrum – even though we clearly state that you can’t check in before 3pm. Then the guests will happily sleep past their checkout time and delay check-in for the next arrivals.

 

We accepted only card payment during the pandemic, but people would still insist on trying to use cash. They would say: “It’s legal tender – you have to accept it.” Covid restrictions such as table service were hard to enforce, especially when people would say: “I don’t believe in Covid.” The “eat out to help out” scheme seemed to make some people feel aggravated and entitled to what they thought they were owed by the government. They would complain about wait times, the food – anything to try their luck. And, of course, we were already under huge pressure, because we were so short-staffed due to illness.Things haven’t been easier since pandemic restrictions were lifted. People have an “Amazon Prime mentality”: they are used to clicking “buy” and having something delivered quickly to their door; there is no human to deal with, so they can cancel with no issues. We simply can’t replicate that in face-to-face hospitality.

 

People seem to have lost their ability to be patient. This is such a demanding industry that, for lots of people, it’s a stopgap. But when you settle into it and learn how to do it well, you do feel appreciated. As humans, we thrive on interaction with other people. If you can help to make people happy, help them celebrate an anniversary or a birthday or a first date, then it is still a rewarding industry in which to work.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2023/may/31/people-throw-tantrums-and-try-to-get-things-for-free-my-life-as-a-hotelier-in-badly-behaved-britain

 

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