Monday, May 04, 2009

I'm Not Perfect

After 67 years of experience, learning and plodding along on this earth I figured I was pretty near perfect. However, an incident at work tonight proved such is not the case. I made a stupid, careless mistake.

A guest called at the front desk of the hotel where I work. He wanted to make reservations for Memorial Day weekend in our most expensive suite. Business being the way it has been this past year (the economy has been sucking in case you haven't noticed) we needed all the business we can at the hotel to make up for lost business during the winter months. I checked my calender to see what day Memorial Day fell on. Yep. May 30th. I checked my computer reservation screen. We already had booked the VIP suite the guest on the phone was requesting. I told the guest I was sorry but we had booked the room for the 30th of May.

It just so happened the owner of the hotel had stopped in and was sitting in the office behind me and overheard my conversation. He double checked the reservation screen on the computer and discovered that the VIP suite was open for the Memorial Day weekend of May 23rd! He yelled at me "Ron! That suite is open Memorial Day!" I looked and darn if it wasn't. I had my dates wrong. I looked at my calendar again and sure enough May 25th was also listed as Memorial Day. I looked at the Memorial Day listed on May 30th and read the small print this time: "Memorial Day" (true.) I knew right away I had made a mistake. It was a good thing that the owner happened to stop in and caught my mistake. However it didn't look to good for my competency in making reservations. I knew I was going to hear about this. And I did.

I made the reservation and the guest was happy. But, I know I would hear more from my boss, the owner of the hotel. And I did. About an hour later he stopped in and told me "Ron, you're going to have to be more careful with your dates." I explained to him how I made the mistake. He wasn't buying it. He told me "Ron, I know you're very conscientious but if you're going to work here you're going to have to know this information. The guests expect you to know it. Your excuse is not acceptable." That stung but of course he was right.

My feelings were hurt. I felt like going off into a corner to lick my wounds. There was no way out of this. I was wrong and he was right. He had every right to chastise me and refuse to accept my lame excuse. I'm an adult and I should know when the holiday weekend falls, especially in my job as a front desk clerk at a hotel. Still, no one likes to be reprimanded, especially me.

In my long work career (since I was 4 or 5 years old) I have strived to perfection in every job I've ever undertaken. I have never knowingly did a sloppy or half assed job. Still, I have made my share of errors over the years. Every time I make and error I think to myself "Well, I'll never make that mistake again." And, most times I don't but I do manage to find new ways to make errors. I would like to think at my advanced age (67), that I was pretty much done with making errors. That's what I would like to think. The reality is proving to be much different. Reality pretty much smacked me in the face tonight.

This week the owner is calling a staff meeting. I heard through the grapevine that we're going to have to take an etiquette course. I think this is probably so we at the front desk will be more professional and bring in more business by our increased customer service skills. Funny thing. I thought I had my manners pretty much down pat. Well, there is always room for improvement because as I learned today, I am not perfect.


  1. Ron,

    What did the small print say? It didn't say (true). May 30 was Memorial Day when we were kids. They changed it to the last Monday of May in 1968 just to create another long holiday weekend, the heck with the meaning of the day.

    I'll by curious to hear what they teach in the Etiquette Class.


  2. I believe it did say "true" in paranthesis. It was a mistake I made. My boss (the owner) was right, I should have known. I was sloppy. The only complaint I have about him is that he never recognizes or compliments me (or anyone else) when they do something right. I had remembered this guest and addressed him by name. The owner makes the mistake a lot of bosses make, the only time he gives input is to complain. Nothing positive. Then the complaints would be better received and easier to take.

  3. Ron, boy does this story sound familiar. My Glenn has been the I.T. tech. at his job for 24yr. He keeps the entire 11th floor under control and part of the 10th floor. Does he get a thank you? yes, sometimes. Do they expect him to pul monkeys out of his ass every day? DUH! We are sending you a hug, Later, Mike, studio city, ca

  4. Appreciate your comment Mike. Most bosses (or owners) never give out positive comments, only negative. A good boss gives both. I understand I made a mistake and I understand his concern and he had every right to chastise me. But come on, some recognition of the over and above performance, which I'm sure your Glenn does every day. Fortunately, in my long work career I have had a couple (only two) bosses who gave equal praise with criticism and they were very effective in inspiring loyalty and an excellent work ethic without the histronics.


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