Thursday, April 14, 2005

I would take up cycling, but apparently you have to be an asshole.

The last few weekends, cyclists have descended on Fredericksburg, and they all wanted guest houses. Today, five of them tried to check in before 2 pm. From their reactions, you would think they had never heard of a check-in time. All of them said, "But we have a 1 pm ride scheduled!" We explained that Easter, combined with wildflower time, is a busy time, and the homeowners hadn't had the time to clean after their previous guests. The Lance Armstrong wannabes sniffed in disgust and stormed out to start their bike rides. Another group arrived yesterday. Granted, they have stayed with us for the last several years, but this year, they negotiated a special rate with the homeowner for one night. When they made the reservation they told us there would be 8 people for three nights. When they came in to pay, they told us that, no, there were four people tonight, six tomorrow and eight the next day. This required several minutes of recalculation. An hour later, the representative of the group arrived to ask us if they could check out at 1 pm or 2 pm (2-3 hours later than regular check out time). I referred them to the homeowner, and said that if she didn't mind, we didn't. Not an appropriate answer, I guess, since she sniffed and left the office.

Then we had a guy who was staying at a country home who wanted us to deliver the key. He said he didn't want to come into town. I wanted to ask where the Hell he was going to eat, since there isn't a kitchen at the house, but I refrained. When he got to the office to pick up the key, he complained that since he was coming in from "that side of town" we should have delivered the key. We tried to explain that the homeowner asked us to distribute the keys, but he said that he would speak to the homeowner, because he didn't want to be bothered by it. I wanted to ask him if he brought his bicycle.

I suggested a $50 rural key delivery fee, and a $50 rural key retrieval fee, a $50 early check in fee, and a $50 late check-out fee, payable in cash, no receipt, to the others in the office. Someone said they would do it for $20, but they were roundly poo poo'ed.

The boss was in the office today and noticed that we had a larger than usual supply of assholes. But she wouldn't go so far as to authorize my fee idea.

I theorize that extensive cycling drives the spine into the part of the brain that controls polite behavior. So, if I ever tell you that I want to start cycling, remind me that you have to be an asshole.

'Course, cyclists aren't the only assholes, there just seem to be more of them in that group. Yesterday, a man called the office to say he was bringing his two pets for their stay this weekend. His guest house doesn't take pets, because the owner has two horses she calls dogs. They're not particularly vicious, mind you, just over friendly in a "knock you down and break a bone" kind of way. So the boss explains this to the man, but says she'll ask the homeowner if she'll make an exception. The homeowner graciously agrees, with two conditions: 1) $15 per pet, 2) if her dogs eat their dogs, she's not responsible.

So the boss calls the guest back and relays the information. She never gets to the second condition. As soon as she mentions the charge for the pets, the guy becomes an asshole. "Charge for the pets? I've never heard anything so ridiculous! Holdiay inn Express doesn't charge for my pets!" My boss says, "We aren't Holiday Inn Express." The guy hangs up. He tells the wife, who becomes Super-Bitch!

The boss explains that we don't have a motel's cancellation policy, we have a resort policy. Super-Bitch replies, "Some resort!" and hangs up. She calls back and gets one of my co-workers and proceeds to yell at her. The co-worker says, "I don't have to listen to this," and hangs up. Super-Bitch calls back, gets the same person, but is in a more talkative mood. To make an already too long story not short enough , we cancel the reservation, we don't charge them anything, and they win.

The office manager and I suggested to the boss that the next time she gets someone like that, as soon as they object, the response is "Okay. And your cancellation number is. . ."

Please, be kind to people in customer service. We have to deal with a lot more jerks than you do in your daily life, and that's why we drink.


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