Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lean Times

The lean times are here. Last night I worked at the inn and we had exactly 0 guests. Yes, that’s right. NO GUESTS. Working at the Inn last night was almost like working at the Overlook Hotel in Stephen King’s “The Shining.” HERE’S JOHNNNNNNNNY!!!!” as Jack Nicholson’s character announced his entry through the door opening he chopped down with his ax. Earlier in the day, Bill and I were in Dover to do some shopping and to pick up my Christmas card photos (and that is a story for a whole ‘nother blog – wait until you hear bout that one!) Exiting the almost deserted J C Penney, I noticed the 40% off signs in the women’s nightwear department. I do very little Christmas shopping, but I do like to get my 84 year old Mother some warm snuggly night gowns and bathrobes. While Bill waited outside the danger area (like all men, he is very uncomfortable in the women’s wear department – a degree of butchness that I obviously don’t possess), I pawed through the soft and plush nightwear, trying to decide on what color would make Mom the happiest. I picked out a couple of very nice items for her. We stopped at Wal-Mart and Sam’s club before heading back to Slower Lower (as we in Delaware call Sussex County, the southern most county in the tiny state of Delaware – only on of the three counties of Delaware – the other two being New Castle and Kent.) Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart were busy. Going back home, the traffic on the roads was light. Once home I had a light lunch then a nap. Then it was off to work at 2:30 PM. I got to work at the Inn at about quarter to 3. Monica greeted me with a long face. “No one” she said. That meant it would be a long night at the Inn. Eight hours later, after I got off work at 11 PM, it felt like I had served a prison sentence. It is strange working the front desk at a hotel when there is NO ONE in. We’re not even getting phone calls inquiring about reservations. The only phone calls I received last night were the usual robo calls trying to sell me something. Yes, we even get those calls at work. Robo calls do not discriminate. Before I left work I took some lonely pictures of the lovely area where I work. Last night it was hard to believe that just a few short months ago, this was an area of bustling activity. Crowds of summertime and fall travelers crowded the quaint little streets of Lewes, Delaware, the First Town in the First State. Our Inn parking lot, next to the office where I greet and check in guests, was quiet and eerie. In August that parking lot hosted a tent full of wedding revelers. Now the parking lot hears only the echoes of the bride and groom’s vows for eternity whispering on the wind. Yes, it was a strange night. I’m off today. Tomorrow I go to the Wilmington VA for, what seems like a God awful test. I am scheduled for a RAD-CAT scan. An hour before the tests I have to drink FIVE glasses of water. Then they put a dye through my system so they can tell how bad my "calcified deposits" (read "kidney stones) are. Is it that test or getting up at 4:30 AM in the morning to catch the American Legion pool van to Wilmington? I’ll be glad when tomorrow is over. I hate medical tests, not only for the inconvenience but for the fact that I am tempting fate. Sooner or later they are going to find something. But, alas, it is something I have to do. One of the joys of getting older is keeping a constant check on this chassis of a body of mine to make sure all parts are in working order. So, tomorrow will be pretty well shot. Then it is Thursday. I get to go back to work at the Inn. When I left last night, there still weren’t any reservations for Thursday. HERE’S JOHNNNNNNNNY! (Note: put the blog music on pause - upper left - before viewing the video below to experience the maximum enjoyment of the movie clip)


Anonymous said...

There's nothing like watching a clip from The Shining while Chuck Mangione plays "Feels So Good" in the background.

A nice post highlighting (unfortunately) the state of the economy with a very real, true-to-life example. Keep up the good work.

Ron said...

Thank you for your generous comment. If you wish, you can pause the music that accompanies the blog although "Feels So Good" may be weirdly appropriate for the clip from "The Shining."

nitewrit said...


What do you do for eight hours in an empty hotel? As I told you, everyone where I work has had their hours cut. So far not too bad for me, get 21 hours this week. But it is hectic now. There is more to do than the thinned down staff can handle. Place is a mess, I feel sorry foir the sales ladies. No keeping things straightened up. I can't even get all the shipment out, but the rule is that I must live by the clock, so when 1:00 comes I must leave.

Now I await your post on the Christmas card photos.



Beautiful picture; sad story - just like our town which is 100% tourist-based.

As to that scan, I've had 6 of them - EASY/NO BIG DEAL, so you can relax on that one.

Strange you mentioned J.D. Penny - I NEVER shop there, but we were at the mall and saw the same 40% off; some things were 75% off! Since we are frugal; have no credit card debt, and a very AMPLE monthly savings allowance, I HAD A GREAT TIME getting gifts at a substantially REDUCED price!

One of the owners of an up-scale Malibu, CA store is a friend; she let me know she is selling some of her clothes AT COST so she can pay off her line of credit! She called; I bought, and what I deal I got - in some cases about 125% off, so you can get an idea of JUST HOW MUCH GOODS ARE MARKED UP for us 'unwary' consumers.

I've stockpiled; got 'stuff' that will keep me smelling great and feeling great (cremes and perfumes/lotions) for the next five years; all paid for, and filling my 'gift closet'.

It pays to be frugal; to live on a CASH ONLY system; use the credit cards (we have 3), but ALWAYS PAY THEM OFF AT THE END OF THE MONTH, and you end up with a huge line of credit (that would be good for an emergency), and an excellent credit score so even when times are tough, you can 'rest assured' you won't be feeling the pain of those who were so careless and greedy.

All my Christmas gifts are bought, paid for in full, and wrapped and packaged for shipping and/or giving.

Glad my son's home was spared in the fire; they'll be returning home today.

We have to count our blessings, and having FAMILY AND LOVED ONES are on the top of the list; money should be less important to the masses, and we wouldn't become 'slaves to the Massa' if you get my drift.

Take care; hope your hotel gets some bookings as the holidays draw nearer; most of our hotels are running all kinds of discount specials and our 'snow birds that used to flock', are only a few snow birds who have arrived probably the the fact they have kept themselves cash-secure.

Lay-offs are going on all over the place; part-time is the only kind of job anyone can get here, and the streets are 'empty'....

At least my ducks, geese, gulls, and chipmunks are loving my stale bread; nothing like spending time in nature, to get 'grounded'.

Enjoying our time in California; beautiful as always, but even Palm Desert and Palm Springs are 'showing the blight' of the recession. Diane

Ron said...


What do I do for eight hours at the hotel when there are no guests? Other than my usual chores (checking the floors, doors, and kitchen; and moping and vacuuming), I updated my family tree on Ancestry.com. Too much reading puts me to sleep. I can only surf the Internet for so long. I need to keep my brain active. I did make two reservations though. BIG WHOOP! I won't lose any hours. Someone has to be at the front desk. However, the housekeepers don't come in when there are no rooms to clean. They are the ones who are really hurt when there are no guests in the hotel. No hours, no money. Some of them clean houses on the side. I hope that is enough to cover their bills. The people on the lowest rung on the ladder are the ones hurt the most when the economy is in the doldrums.

Ron said...


I always like reading your writings. You're so upbeat. You are a treasure. Thank you for sharing.

Sarah said...

Ah. For some reason or another, I envy your job. Maybe it's just the sheer kitchy-ness factor of vacant hotels, hmn.

nitewrit said...

Ron and Happy,

Our store, which use to have one big sale a year in the summer (our usual slow time) has been like kohl's lately, nothing but sales. Big markdowns, sometimes the markdowns are more than my employee discount, and we have a generous employee discount.

I am curious about you saying you got about 125% off. Happy, did the store pay you to take it?

I think we have come close. :)


Ron said...


Working at hotels has been one of my secret pleasures. I fell into the job quite by accident, just something to do part-time eight years ago to stave off boredom. I discovered the adventure of working the Front Desk and haven't looked back since. I've worked at at total of four hotels (three at the front desk) and they have all added to the potpourri of my life. I wouldn't trade those experiences for anything. Every day I go into work a new adventure awaits me. Even those days when no one is in at the Overlook.