Thursday, January 3, 2013

Five Questions that Make the Doorman Want to Bite your Face

Contrary to my blog posts and tweets, I have a great deal of patience for stupidity. I don't mind it at all. In fact, I find it endearing. It's stupidity mixed with arrogance that boils my blood. Asking an obvious question doesn't make you an idiot, and I won't make a spectacle of it if you're nice about it. I do it all the time. We all do. Just as I sat down in a coffee shop to write this post, I asked the barista if they had bagels, only to have her point four inches to my right, to a mountain of fluffy doughy goodness. I laughed and apologized, and she joined, with her hooped nose ring rocking back and forth, repeatedly smacking her top lip.

If you come to me asking for help, you've put your faith in me with hopes that I'm going to assist accordingly without judgement or ridicule. Once you begin giving me a hard time, or doubting my knowledge, then, well, you're going to anger me, and become subject to one of my stories. I realize that this consequence has no affect on 99.999999% of the population, but it's fun to pretend that I'm taking some sort of literary vengeance on people who mistreat me.

Having said that, here are, in no particular order, five questions that make me want to grab you by the ears, and sink my teeth into your schnozz:

1- "Is it raining?"

Anyone with eyes can see water falling from the sky. Even someone without eyes can smell the guy holding the door that smells like a wet Golden Retriever. Even someone without eyes and a nose can hear the sound of thick raindrops smacking the concrete. I don't understand what is so difficult about looking outside and identifying rain. There are many indicators- for one, there's the water falling from the sky. Secondly, there are puddles on the ground, with water falling from the sky and into them, creating a ripple effect that is easily visible to the eyes. For more advanced learners, you can look up to the street lights, and see water falling from the sky passing through the yellow glistening from the lamps.

2- "How much are rooms?"

I've tweeted about this several times. When room rates are determined, it starts from the top. The revenue manager sends the information down to sales and reservations. Then, they're communicated to the front office managers, who relay the information down to the guest service agents. At no point, EVER, are room rates consulted with the dummy opening the door and carrying bags. What do you think? The GM comes down to the door and says "well, Doorman, if we're not sold out by 10pm, you can sell one of the smoking rooms for $179." Just like most civilians or guests, management in hotels see the doorman as nothing more than a luggage mule.

3- "Can you call us a taxi?/We need a taxi for five people?"

This is tricky, but believe it or not, it's a huge pain in the ass. As you've read in the Doorman vs. Taxi Driver blogs, there isn't a particularly harmonious relationship between doormen and cabbies. That being said, it's impossible for you to call from your room in NYC and ask the doorman to hold a cab for you. They won't do it. Ever. They aren't going to sit around with us just to take you seven blocks to Times Square. The only exception is an airport fare. Cabbies will wait five hours for an airport fare if it means that they don't have to drive around and work the streets for a few hours. Taxi's in NYC are hailed right from the street. Unless you want to call for a car service and pay double, sometimes triple the amount, just let the doorman hail one for you.

I've had people come down and scream at me because they called down from the room and asked for a taxi, then had to wait five minutes for me to hail one. If you have to be somewhere important, or you have a dinner reservation or show to go to, give yourself an extra twenty minutes. We can't control the amount of available taxi's that come down our street, especially during busy times.

Also, taxis in New York are, by law, only allowed to take four people. This is not the doorman's fault. Sometimes they'll make an exception, usually for kids, but most of them won't do it. You're better off just saving your time by splitting the group, rather than asking every cab that pulls up and getting frustrated when they speed off before you can finish your sentence. Another thing you can do is offer the driver five bucks up front to take the extra passenger(s). It's more cost efficient than taking two taxis, and it keeps everyone together. Everyone has their bargaining price, and fortunately for you, a cabbie's price is usually pretty low.

And, for fuck's sake, tip your doorman a dollar or two for hailing a cab. Especially in the rain/snow/freezing cold.

4- "Is that the closest one?"

A scenario that's never happened ever:

Guest- "Where's the closest pharmacy?"

Doorman- "Duane Reade. 57th and 6th. Just walk two blocks down and make a left."

Guest- "Is that the closest one?"

Doorman- "Gee, let me think..."

(Pause.)

Doorman- "You know what!!! Come to think of it- there's one right there, across the street!!!"

If you asked me where the closest venue of something is, why the FUCK would I give you the second or third closest one first? Am I hoping that this is a game, and you want to test my knowledge of the locations of the local pharmacies?!?!

No matter what city you're in, the most common question asked is "where's the nearest convenience store/pharmacy?" And for any employee working in a hotel, it's usually something that they learn on day one. A person like this is an ideal recipient of the "over-direction" game, which you learned in The Doorman's Guide to Fucking with Guests. 

5- "Do you need the keys?"

You wouldn't believe how often I get this question when I valet a car. As if the guest is under the impression that I'm a trained car-thief, and I'll be hot-wiring it down to the garage. Yes, you fucking chimp, I'm going to need your keys to open and start the car. Just like you did when you got in it and drove it here. It's how the vehicle operates for everyone, not just you. And I may be a doorman, but I make a lot of money, so I have no interest in stealing your car. You're gonna have to trust that I work for the hotel, and hand over the fucking keys.

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