Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Why I Love Working a Hotel Front Desk Job

Ron in a bemused state - 1980

I wrote this last night while I was working the front desk at the hotel in Lewes, DE where I am gainfully employed.  Usually I write my blogs off the top of my head after I get up in the morning and have breakfast.  Occasionally I will write a blog post in the evening but that is rare.  I almost never write a blog post in the afternoon, that's when I take my nap.

I'm going to start something new.  When I'm working at the hotel, especially during a slow period (like the off season), I'll write a blog posting and save it to post later.  In the past I didn't like to post this way because I thought my postings would be stale and not up to date but I find that while working, many great ideas flow through my head that are gone the next morning.  So what I have decided to do (if I have the time) is write a quick blog entry during those down times and save it in my file for editing and posting later.

I believe I can still have fresh and spontaneous blog postings plus I will be able to expand my range of subjects and, hopefully, make my posts more interesting.

So here is my blog post from my experience last night at the hotel.  By the way, the picture at the top of the blog post probably won't have anything to do directly with the post, especially the ones at the hotel because I have to respect the privacy of the hotel guests.  But you know me, I simply cannot post without putting some kind of visual display and almost all of mine are of photos that I took myself.  The one at the top of this blog is one I discovered recently that was taken 31 years ago (yes, THAT long ago) when I used to visit my friend Big Bob at his Ranch (uh huh) outside of Georgetown, Delaware in the late 70's and early 80's.  It is of me in a pensive mood which is somewhat appropriate to this blog posting.

So here goes:

There are many reasons why I like working at a hotel front desk but the best reason is you just never know who you're going to meet or what situation is going to confront you. 

I know this unpredictability would drive some of my friends to a state of frazzled state of aphrehension but not me.  I love the challenge! 

Tonight is a good example.  We had guests check in last night.  Tonight the female half of the two guests wanted to surprise her boyfriend with a gift.  She asks me to make a reservation for the two of them at a local upscale eatery which I do.  Then she surreptiously slips a boxed gift (I saw the Mac apple on it) and asks me to get it to the restuarant and have it on the table when they arrive for dinnr. She sees her friend approaching and whisks away from me to join him at the elevator to go to their room.

I'm thinking "How am I GOING TO DO THAT?"  The logistics I mean.  I give the box to the cab driver who is driving them to the restaurant.  But won't the gentleman think it's odd when the cab driver goes into the restaurant WITH them?  Uh huh.  Think Ron, THINK! 

I call the restaurant and talk to "John" and tell him what I'm trying to do which is accomodate my guest in surprising her male companion with gift from Apple.  He states the obivous "How are we going to get the gift/package on the table without them seeing it?"  I DON'T know.  My mind is a blank.  Talk about challenges.  I asked for it didn't I?

The cab driver arrives at the hotel.  I give him the bag and tell him what I'm trying to do.  I tell him to give the bag to John.  The cab driver makes a suggestion.  He says "I'll let them out and wait until they go in and then I'll go in and give the bag to John."  Superb!  Ralph the Cabdriver figured out what this 70 year old head coudn't figure out.

After I hang the phone up I hear the bell of the elevator and her male friend steps out and heads towards me.  He asks me "Do you have tape?"  I do and I give it to him.  He heads off into the lobby with HIS package and the tape.  I see my opportunity and I call her in her room and tell her that the restaurant host will approach their table with The Package/Gift after they are seated.  Does this sound like it's getting complicated?  Talk about World Peace.  Hey, this is what makes the hospitality industry go 'round.

She says "Oh no, we're going to the bar first.  Just have the package placed on the table where we are to dine."  Viola!  Done! 

Her friend comes back to the front desk and asks for scissors.  I give them to him.  He returns to the lobby to finish wrapping his gift.

I tell Ralph the Cabdriver our Plan of Attack.  I call John at the restuarnt and tell him.  He's just a tad annoyed with all my phone calls but he graciously accedes to my request. 

Her friend returns the scissors and the tape to me at the front desk.  He takes the stairs to their room on the fourth floor of the hotel, thus giving me time to call her and confirm our Plan.

I call her and tell her.  She says "Great!"

Fifteen minutes later I hear the bell of the elevator go "RING!"  They both step out, she's dressed to The Nines and he doesn't look bad either with his black T-shirt outlining his well developed pectorals.  Hey, I am gay after all you know.

As they're headed out the door she turns on her 5 inch stilletoes and makes a circle with her thumb and forefinger and winks at me.  I give her the same sign back sans the wink (I'm not a winker). 

I just had a call from Ralph the Cabdriver.  He said they just went in the restaurant.  He asked me to tell John to come out and get the bag.  I call John again.  Actually I'm starting to feel like a Pain now. 

A woman answers the phone. Her name is Jen.  I decide not to both John again.  I think he's one of the cooks or otherwise disposed because he didn't sound real enthused the last phone call.  I tell Jen of my Plan.

I tell her that Ralph the Cabdriver is out in the parking lot waiting for someone to pick up The Bag.  I explain to her to take the package out of the bag and place it on the table while the couple is at the bar.  EXCITMENT!  SUSPENSE!  DRAMA!  SERENDIPITY!  (actually, I don't know if that last word fits this situation but I like the word).

Ralph just called!  He said a woman came out and picked up the bag.  I told him that I talked to a woman and it was alright.  Then I thanked him with a MISSION COMPLETED!

No I sit here at the hotel front desk with Christmas music playing in the background.  The hotel is empty, the only other guest having left earlier for dinner at another one of our fine local dining establishments.

I think this is a good time to mop the floor.  My reinforcement for a Job Well Done comes later when the guests return and thank me profusely for being such an oustanding conceriege.

That's what it's all about folks!  I create MAGIC!


  1. I love that story. And the icing on the cake is that they actually appreciated and noticed your hard work. That's important.
    In my waiter days, I would have to do things like this too and the customers were always happy. I miss being a waiter by the way.
    Sorta changing the subject. The boyfriend went out for dinner in a t-shirt? Not classy at all!

  2. Mark,

    I love the unpredictability of my job. I used to be a waiter for a very short period of time but I quit because I didn't like it. Probably because I was taking too much abuse that I had no control over. At least with the hotel front desk job I have some control and I have a counter between me and the guest (customer) which is also a form of control. About the T-shirted boyfriend - he did change into a black T-shirt. I guess he considered that his "dress" T-shirt. He did have nice biceps and pectorals though. Caught my eye.

  3. Anonymous1:53 PM

    Ron, I just made a comment. Did I lose it? Ted

  4. Yep, you lost it Ted. There was no comment.

  5. Anonymous9:02 PM

    I chuckled at the story but my attention was in the cupboard behind you and the things in it ... circa 1980

  6. 3rdnlong,

    I hadn't noticed the cupboard behind me. Well, let me say this. The place where this photo was taken was at my friend Big Bob's "weekend retreat" called "The Ranch"(tongue in cheeck) which was a single wide trailer in the woods outside of Georgetown, Delaware. Simple put, the place was a weekend crash pad for booze and sex. Food and housekeeping was a lower priority.

  7. made me smile, Thankyou

  8. Giselle11:44 AM

    Great i love your blog.

    1. Thank you Giselle!



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