Friday, November 23, 2012

The Concierge Stories: But, My Fright...

For my new readers, I spent about a year working as a hotel concierge before I became a doorman. Being a concierge isn't all that bad, but the problem was that I worked for a company that outsourced the desks of over fifty hotels in Manhattan and Brooklyn. They were a nightmare to work for, because they employed over 200 people to cover all of these desks, and they basically put you wherever they wanted, whenever they wanted. The work week started on Wednesday, and you got your schedule for the week on Tuesday at 8pm. Your schedule changed every week, and they would put you wherever they needed coverage. That was the main reason why I left, because I didn't mind the work much, but that doesn't mean I don't have a shit load of stories. Here's one:

If working in hotels has taught me anything, it's that China isn't taking over the world anytime soon. It's not that they're stupid- they just always seem lost. Of all the different walks of people that I see every day, the Chinese are, bar none, the most clueless. You know when things are chaotic and someone uses the term "Chinese Fire Drill?" I understand that now, 100%. 

I was trapped working at the concierge/information desk in the Worst Hotel in America. (There will be plenty more about this hellhole in a future blog.) It was about 9:30am and the morning rush of selling double-decker bus tours and shopping trips to hoards of dunce-caps had just subsided. Then, as if out of a mist from a b-horror film, emerged a tiny, old Chinese man. He wore a fisherman's hat with beige cargo shorts and a matching button-down shirt. He was dressed exactly like the Crocodile Hunter, only unfortunately for me, without a stingray through his heart. As he got closer, I noticed that his droopy face had sporadic gardens of gray whiskers. 

Chinese Man- "Herro"

Me- "Yes, sir. What can I do for you?" 

Chinese Man- "Herro, my fright reave at trerve o'crock and I want to book a shutter." 

(Translation: My flight is at twelve o'clock, and I want to book a shuttle.)

He handed me his information, and his flight was, in fact, at noon of that day. He had to go to JFK airport, which, from midtown Manhattan, takes at least an hour. For international flights, they want you there three hours in advance. He had to be there thirty minutes ago. He wanted me to book him a SuperShuttle transfer, which takes an additional hour or two to get to the airport, because they have to pick up guests from other hotels on the way. 

This man's only option was to ask the doorman for a taxi, and leave immediately. 

Me- "Sir, you don't have time for a shuttle. You need to leave now."

Chinese Man- "OH!... But my fright reave at trerve o'crock and I want to book a shutter."

Me- "Sir, there's no time for that. You're already late. You need to leave right now."

Chinese Man- "OH!... But my fright reave at trerve o'crock and I want to book a shutter."

This is going to take some serious pantomiming. I start making elaborate gestures towards the door, and an imaginary plane taking off with my hands (with wooshie sounds, like a fucking kindergarten teacher). No matter what I said, he would return the same response:

Chinese Man- "OH! But... my fright reave at trerve o'crock and I want to book a shutter."

Me- "Sir!!! You need to go to the doorman and ask him to get you a taxi to JFK airport and leave RIGHT NOW!" 

Chinese Man- "OH!... But my fright reave at trerve o'crock and I want to book a shutter."

Ten minutes go by, and I'm grabbing my hair, and flailing my arms towards the door like Carlton Fisk. He doesn't fucking get it. 


Chinese Man- "OH!... But my fright reave at trerve o'crock and I want to book a shutter."

I didn't know what to do. There was nothing I could say, because he clearly didn't understand a rick of english. In a desperate, final attempt to get through to him, I took out a piece of paper, and drew him this picture:

I shit you not, this is what I drew. My drawing skills are abysmal, to say this least, but I drew this picture in a fit of rage. I wish I drew it to be funny, but I drew it because I was angry. Notice the tear on the man chasing the airplane. 

When I was done, I slapped the pen down, and slid the picture across the desk. He picked it up, then analyzed it for a few seconds. Looks like I finally got through to him. 

Chinese Man- "OH!!! But-"

Me- "Don't say it." 

Chinese Man- "But my fright reave-"

Me- "THAT'S IT!!!' 

I ran around the desk, grabbed him by the hand, and did what I should have done ten minutes ago - walked him to the King of the Sidewalk. 

Me- "He needs a taxi to JFK." 

Doorman- "You got it, boss." 

Now, it's his probrem. See? The doorman gets no respect. 

I never saw Chinese Man again. He probably missed his fright. 

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