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.