Saturday, July 27, 2013

Doorman Turns 29, Reflects on 28

Fuck, I'm still a doorman.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Doorman: The Racist

While working inside as a bellman on Thursday night, I was called to do a front well-after 11pm. It was a slow evening, and after only making about $60 thus far, I was scrounging for anything I could get. It was an older black woman with her two strapping young sons. She only had one suitcase, so when I walked over, she spoke to the front desk agent as if I weren't even there:

Woman - "Do I really need him? I have my two sons with me."

Front Desk Girl - "Our policy is to send every guest up with a bellman to ensure that the room is satisfactory."

She rolled her eyes and looked at me.

Woman - "Well, alright then."

Terrific. And this is why I didn't come inside and work as a bellman when I had the chance. Yes, the money is better. Yes, the hours are potentially better. Yes, you can sneak off and fuck around in the locker room whenever you please. But this aspect of it - the begging, taking the elevator up to the room with someone who clearly doesn't want your help, who now feels obligated to throw you some chump change - that's what I can't do.

Cut to the elevator, and her speaking about me as if I were a luggage cart with a pulse is still pissing me off, so I opt to not start the obligatory "where are you from? OH I LOVE THAT PLACE" bullshit. Her sons stood by.

Woman - "Can I ask you something?"

Doorman - "Sure."

Woman - "Is this a racist hotel?"

Doorman - "Excuse me?"

Woman - "You heard what I said. Is this a racist hotel?"

What the fuck do you say to that? This made me nervous, and when I get nervous, I make jokes. Shitty jokes.

Doorman - "Not that I'm aware."

They didn't find that funny.

Woman - "Because we just left the theatre and we couldn't get a cab, and we were wondering if this hotel was as racist as the taxi drivers."

Doorman - "Well, it's very difficult to get a taxi in that area when the shows let out."

Woman - "Well, we couldn't get one over by Lincoln Center earlier and it wasn't crowded then."

Doorman - "Ma'am, I treat everyone with equal respect up-front. The only time I ever have an issue with someone is when they don't treat me with the respect I deserve."

That's what I should have said. Because that's the truth. No, instead I joked, because I was nervous:

Doorman - "Well, I'll tell ya who the taxi drivers hate the most - doormen!!!"

Cue The Price is Right loser horn.

In an epic douche-chill moment, I exited the elevator with the people who clearly didn't understand my little anecdote. As I slumped into the room with her carry-on suitcase, she observed her standard-double  and went for her wallet.

I stood there, begging for my dollar like a chump.

Doorman - "Is everything alright with the room, ma'am?"

Woman - "Yeah, it's fine."

She took out a five and two singles and placed them in my palm.

Doorman - "Thank you very much. I hope you have a wonderful evening."

Woman - "I will. Because God is good."

Doorman - "If you need anything, let me know. And... you know..."

No. Shut the fuck up, Doorman!!! 

She looked at me, not really wanting me to talk anymore.

Doorman - "I hope that... you know..."

OH MY GOD!!! SHUT THE FUCK UP AND LEAVE!!!

Doorman - "you have an easier time... with the... you know... cabbies."

If I had a shotgun in my hand at that moment, I would have stuffed it in my mouth and painted the walls with the back of my head.

Woman - "Don't worry, I have God on my side. And God is good."

And I left.

I never saw her or her sons again.

Sunday 

Back on the door. I had a wedding the night before, and was a tad hungover.

It's 3:01pm, and this is the first interaction I have with a human being after punching in:

An older black man walks out.

Man - "Doorman."

And he didn't say "doorman" the way I refer to myself in this blog, or even in the way that many of my friends call me now. He called me by my title, in the most condescending way possible.

Man - "Someone inside told me I could get two cabs to LaGuardia for $35 each."

Seeing that it was my first interaction of the day after a lovely evening, I kept my cool.

Doorman - "That's probably what the meter will run up to, nothing more. When you guys are ready, Ill-"
And he fucking walked away from me, directly to the taxi stand. No thank you, and he didn't even let me finish my sentence. He didn't even let me finish trying to help him. He immediately started talking to taxi drivers and negotiating prices. Now, I get that when people are in a strange city, they don't want to be ripped off, so they sometimes bypass us and try to get the best possible price elsewhere. I get that. But to walk outside, call me by my title, then walk away while I'm mid-sentence and trying to help you? That makes you a cunt. A rude, inconsiderate cunt.

Fuck him. I went about my business as he went from cabbie to cabbie, trying to get them to agree to a fixed price to LaGuardia. (The joke was actually on him. It was a Sunday with no traffic. The meter would likely barely make it to $30.)

Though if you've read my blog up until this point, you know that I simply can't just let things go. And I didn't, of course. All I heard in my head, over and over, was him saying "doorman". I wear a fucking name tag for a reason. All of a sudden, I was fucking steaming. As his family of seven, including two grown sons, one gigantic, one short, filed out the door, I couldn't help but get the last word in. As I finished getting a taxi to Penn Station for a group of college students, I said my piece:

Doorman - "You know, I wear a name tag for a reason, sir."

They all look at each other, confused. Though the patriarch puckers his lips and lifts one eyebrow at me, then turns to load the luggage into the car.

Doorman - "HEY! I'M TALKING TO YOU!!!"

His big son intervened.

Big Son - "Who you talking to?!?"

Doorman - "I wear a name tag for a reason. Next time, you can call me by my name!"

The patriarch gives me the same look - puckered lips, one eyebrow raised. I'm not getting a response from him. Though his son was all about it:

Big Son - "YOU CAN TALK TO ME!! YOU GOT SOMETHING TO SAY?!?!"

Doorman - "I already said it."

And I walked back to the door.

Big Son - "YOU GOT SOMETHING TO SAY?!?! YOU GOT SOMETHING TO SAY?!?!"

I stood at my post and said nothing. I had nothing else to say. The Big Son tried to walk up to me, but his wife grabbed him by the arm and told him that I'm not worth it. He spent the rest of the time standing on the curb, fists in balls, arms flexed, staring me down. I went about my work.

Another guest handed me a valet ticket. I took it and walked inside to the Doorman phone.

The smaller, more bookish son followed me inside.

Small Son - "Are you the guy that was just outside talking to us?"

The phone rang on the other end as I waited for the garage attendant to pick up.

Doorman - "Yeah."

Small Son - "Where your boss at?"

Doorman - "Inside."

Small Son - "Go get him."

Doorman - "I can't, I'm busy."

The garage attendant picked up.

Doorman - "Yeah, can you send over ticket number 0713, please?"

The attendant hung up, but I didn't want to engage the son anymore, so I kept my ear on the receiver.

Small Son - "Ain't you out here working for tips?!?"

He pulled his money out.

Small Son - "Ain't you out here working for tips?!?"

I didn't even look up, nor did I have any fucking idea where he was going with that. Eventually, he walked out the door without even pursuing my boss.

(For the record, I asked the bellman who brought their eight suitcases down from storage how much they tipped him. Zero.)

They left, and the Big Son stared me down from the car until they drove away. I immediately told my boss what happened to cover my ass, and it was a good thing I did.

About an hour later, the matriarch of the family called.

She told my boss that they would like to pursue a racial discrimination case. They told him that the white doorman (white-hispanic, technically) was rude to them, and called them "a word." My boss, having heard my end of the story first, talked to them for several minutes, and was able to talk them out of it.

I don't know if this is going to come back to me, or if it's something that has blown over. Should it come back to me, and I have to go before my union and plead my case that I was simply sticking up for myself with a rude guest, and that race was not an issue, my reputation at work will most definitely be smeared for as long as I'm there.

As I should have said to the woman in the elevator, I treat everyone with a respect. When that respect is not reciprocated, then I have a problem. Just like this case, and in the 70-something posts before this, I was simply standing up for myself when I felt disrespected. Though it's amazing how easily a man's reputation can be ruined, and how damaging it can be when someone unnecessarily turns something into a race issue.

Still waiting to see if that's the case.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Do You Want a Cup of Coffee?!?: A Quickie

After a miserable day of being stiffed, and wrongly accused of something that's not even remotely in my nature (more on that in the future, for sure), I had an interesting dialogue with a man from Brazil. I honestly don't know what to make of this. I think I had something snap in my brain, something that turned me completely insane for a few brief moments. I've learned to channel this "doorman rage" that has been boiling inside me for a long time, using this blog and other outlets to keep me from going completely fucking postal in the lobby. So, my valued employers - should you find out about this blog and not be happy about it, just know that it's the sole reason I haven't done something truly awful... so far.

Though many of the stories I've written about (and we're coming up on 100... one fucking hundred) have some sort of logic behind it, I can't seem to pinpoint where my mind took me on this one. I wouldn't call it an "out of body" experience, because that would be fucking stupid. However I do not have an explanation for the following interaction. 

Also, for reference, you should watch this: 


Brazilian Man - "I have some baggage." 

I go to the minivan. There are eight large suitcases. He stands there and watches me take every single one of them without lifting a finger. He also stands by and makes me carry the two small backpacks that have nothing in them. He's enjoying this. 

As I take the last two small backpacks, he follows me in, and his driver says goodbye. 

Brazilian Man - "Caio! Obrigado!" 

We turn the bend to the reception desk, where I have piled all of his 75+ lb. luggage. He gets in line, and I place the last two backpacks onto the largest of the suitcases, the "100 pounders." 

I stand and wait for a response. 

He gets his documents in order. 

I stand and wait for a response.

He peaks out of the corner of his eye. 

I stand and wait for a response. 

He looks and me. 

I stand and wait for a response. 

He nods. That'll do, pig. 

I stand and wait for a thank you. 

He goes back to his documents. 

My brain, my body, and my mouth are no longer collectively communicating. 

Doorman - "Would you like a cup of coffee, sir?" 

He looks up from his documents. 

Doorman - "SIR!!!" 

He looks at me, startled. 

Doorman - "Would you like a cup of coffee?" 

The man I took in before him, who also gave me nothing, looks at me wondering why he wasn't offered any coffee. 

Brazilian Man stares at me, confused. 

I can't see them, but I know my eyes have gone maniacal. 

Doorman - "I'm talking to you, sir. Would you... LIKE... a cup... of coffee?" 

I tilt my head to the side. 

He turns and looks to the person behind him. But there is no person behind him. 

Brazilian Man - "Excuse me?" 

Doorman - "Do you speak English?" 

If I had shit my pants in that moment, I wouldn't have noticed. I was a floating head. 

Brazilian Man - "Excuse me?" 

Doorman - "I was wondering if there was anything else I could do for you, like make you a cup of coffee, but if you don't speak English, then I'm going to ASSUME that you DON'T WANT ANY OF MY COFFEE!!!" 

He's next in line. His documents are now in his shaking hands. The Front Desk Girl calls him over. I put up one finger to indicate that I need another minute. 

Brazilian Man - "I speak English." 

Doorman - "GOOD!!! Now, would you like a cup of COFFEE?!?!" 

This particular Front Desk Girl is not the brightest bulb in the tanning bed, but she made the right move by breaking this up before I committed a crime. 

Front Desk Girl - "Sir, I can help you over here!" 

Brazilian Man stared at me, sort of terrified. I stood there, still waiting for a thank you. I knew a fucking tip was out of the question. 

Brazilian Man - "No. Obrigado." 

Doorman - "Okay, enjoy your stay." 

I turned and headed back to the door. As expected, and this always fucking happens, the bellman who got the front rolled everything up to the room and got a twenty. Brazilians respect bellmen. They do not respect doormen... at all. This is why I speak so ill of them. And if you read my bellman tip breakdown, the Brazilians were the most consistent tippers. That's because I was working as a bellman. 

Sometimes I scare myself. I honestly didn't know where I was going with asking him if he wanted coffee, but it definitely wasn't a good thing. At this point, I don't really know how much more of this I can take. I'm at the end of my rope, and I'm doing everything in my power to get out before I do something I regret.

On a lighter note, read this wonderful review of Doorman. Reading it makes this vicious cycle of "have bad thing happen to me, turn it into something positive, have another bad thing happen, turn it into something positive, have an even worse thing happen, turn it into something positive, and so on..." all the worthwhile. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Concierge Stories: It's Your Problem

Being a concierge is a lot like being a front desk agent or a manager. You stand there, serving as a punching bag for these morons, drooling with their open-maps, making restaurant reservations, making hair appointments, booking their god-damned shuttle busses. You're at their beck and call no matter what, and if you don't deliver on their every little need, then you have failed them. 

Oh, but it can be very fucking lucrative. Only problem for me was that I worked for this company that outsourced the concierge desks, and they took all of the commissions that we made from the restaurants, theater tickets, bus tours, etc. What we got was a flat-rate of $17 per hour, with "tips." We were lucky to get tips. Some days I would walk away with $150, and the next I would make zero. It all depended on the clientele. Sure, it sounds like a decent-enough gig, but when you see the potential for the money you could be making, that's going right in your employers pocket, you get bitter very quickly. 

And that's exactly what I was - bitter. 

Part of my duties as a concierge was confirming people's SuperShuttle bookings. These shared-ride situations suck a fat dick. They're primarily booked by travel agents as part of a package. People think they're saving a few bucks by only paying $22 a person to get to and from the airport, when in reality they're getting fucked while taking an extra hour to get to their hotel. 

Say you have a party of three people paying $22 per person. And say you're a cheap cunt who can't part with a couple of bucks to throw the driver as a gratuity - that's $66 to be crammed in a van with seven strangers, stopping at as many hotels as they have to, and having to wait for all of these idiots to show up from their planes. You could have spent $58 plus a tip (unless you're a cheap cunt, then it's 58 flat) to go door to door by yourselves in a yellow taxi. 

You're welcome. 

A nice woman from Brazil came to me with her paperwork at around 9am, and I confirmed her booking for two at 6:30pm accordingly. She was very polite and pleasant (I also didn't have to deal with her fucking shopping, so that was nice) and thanked me for my efforts. No tip, though getting anything for booking a shuttle was extremely rare. I told her that I'd see her on the way out (I worked twelve hour shifts at the time), and bid her farewell. 

As she was leaving, I saw her meet her husband at the door. He was a puny fuck, maybe 5'5, and wore a salmon-colored Lacoste shirt. The second he approached her, I watched her demeanor completely change. She went from pleasant and smiling to hunched and timid, like the girlfriends of these little guido idiots that grew up in my neighborhood on Staten Island. The ones who beat the shit out of these girls behind closed girls. 

They left, and I went on with my day. 

At around 3:30pm, just as I was returning from my lunch break, I saw one of the SuperShuttle drivers roaming about the lobby, chirping on a Nextel.  He called out a name that sounded familiar, but I hear lots of names all day, so I set my coffee down and prepped for the second half of my double shift. 

After another three hours of bouncing tourists from my desk, the couple returned to me with their voucher. It was 6:30pm on the dot, and I let them know that the shuttle buses usually ran late and that I would call if they weren't here in ten minutes. She was nice, he was a cock. He rolled his eyes and stomped his foot like a child. I didn't really give a fuck, seeing I was on my 10th hour of work and wasn't making money off of this transaction. 

He returns to me in exactly nine minutes. 

Him - "Ehhhhhh you call!!!" 

He put his finger in my face.

I wanted to make him wait another minute (in addition to biting his finger off) but I didn't have the energy to fuck with him. Nor did I have the balls. Remember, this is 2010, when I was a turd in a suit that hadn't been hardened by door manning. 

Doorman - "Absolutely, sir." 

I called, and after waiting on hold for ten minutes, all the while watching this asshole throw a tempter tantrum out of the corner of my eye, I was informed that the fuckhead I scheduled the trip with screwed up and had a driver come at 3:30pm. This would explain the driver roaming around the lobby to find no one at that time. Fuck. 

Doorman - "Alright, the people on the other end mixed up the pick-up time. What we can do is get you in a yellow taxi and you can be reimbursed by your travel agent for all expenses." 

The man threw his hands up in the air. His wife flinched. He continued his stomping, arm-flailing tantrum, with a series of what I'm assuming was a barrage of insults towards me in Portuguese. It was super entertaining. I never understood why wholesome, attractive women choose twerps like this. But they do, and I still liked her, so I opted to bite bullet and get them a taxi anyway. 

As we walked to the street, she tried to calm him down. But he kept going.

Man - "Is your problem!!! Is your problem!!!"

Not really my problem, but okay. 

Woman - "No, he call! I hear him!" 

Doorman - "Sir, I made the appointment for the right time. She was right there." 

Man - "NO!!! Is YOUR problem!!!" 

Oh, do you mean "it's my fault?" How cute!!! 

Man - "IS YOUR PROBLEM!!!" 

His little error was making me giggle. He saw this. In what I'm assuming was his way of making me angry, he did something that, indeed, made me really fucking angry: 

You know how shitty kids (and many shitty adults) do their impression of a mentally handicapped person - the "retard voice?" Where they crimp their arms up, cross their eyes, and say things like "deerrrr"? I fucking hate that. I worked with people for autism, on and off, for four years. Shit ain't funny. 

He pointed to me. 

Man - "Ehhhhh YOU!! Ehhhh YOU!!!! DEERRRRRR. DUUUUUHHHHH." 

He slacked his jaw, curled his wrist up, and closed his eyes. He was doing me, as if I were a mentally handicapped person.

No. 

Doorman - "Knock it off." 

Man - "DEEERRRRRRRR. YOU DERRRRRRRR." 

He picked up a mock telephone and put it to his ear. This is his impression of me fucking up his shuttle reservation, as if I were a mentally handicapped. 

Man - "YOU DERRRRR!! DERRRR!!!" 

The back of my neck went up in flames. My heart started pounding. My hands shaking. I've been yelled at, cursed at, talked down to, fucked with - all of that was okay. I dealt with that. It upset me, made me a little angry, pissed me off. Though this was the first time I felt that violent rage. That rage that would become all too familiar just a few years later. 

He let out one last harsh "DEEEERRR", and I spun around and got in his face. His eyes that were shut had popped open. His wife did nothing. I think she wanted me to give him a beating. 

He looked at me, now terrified. I had a solid 5 inches on him, and he was now realizing that since we weren't in the lobby, there was nothing keeping me from fucking him up in the middle of the street. I put my finger in his face. 

Doorman - "Get your own fucking taxi." 

I walked away. As I worked my way back to the desk, I saw him zip past me and into the lobby. He ran right to the front desk, where the front office manager just happened to be. 

Man - "TAXI!!!! TAXI!!! SOMEONE MAKE ME TAXI!!!!" 

I got back to the desk and took a healthy swig of my water. My hands were still shaking uncontrollably. 

The mans wife walked into the lobby. We looked at each other. She didn't say anything, but I could tell she was sorry. 

Manager - "Doorman, can you get this gentleman a taxi?" 

Doorman - "No."

Man - "NO!!! YOU!!! YOU MAKE ME TAXI!!!" 

As Manager exited, he looked at me like I was going to have a lot of explaining to do. They left, and it took him a solid twenty minutes to get them a taxi to JFK airport. He came back, fuming and demanding an explanation. Having twenty minutes to think of a good excuse, I gave him one: 

Doorman - "I'm sorry, sir. He was upset about his shuttle being late, so when I tried to fetch him a taxi, he got in my face and I thought he was going to hit me, so I walked away for my own safety!" 

I'm going to win an Oscar one day. 

Manager - "Fine, but the next time that happens, you have to notify security immediately." 

Doorman - "I know. I was just a bit shaken up, you know?" 

He was 5'5 and wearing a salmon-colored shirt. My eight year old cousin could have beaten him in a fight. 

Manager - "I understand. Just write a letter to the GM telling him what happened to cover your ass, in case the guest complains." 

Doorman - "Will do, sir." 

And I did just that. For your enjoyment, I have the email right here, unedited. Since you just read the story, it may be a little redundant, but I was shocked and horrified by how careless I was in sending this email. I actually sent this to the fucking GM of the hotel. The grammatical and spelling errors alone made me want to vomit. And while grammar is probably my weakness, I've come a long way, huh? 

"Early in the day, I was approached by a female guest, who was alone, to arrange a Super Shuttle to JFK for later in the afternoon.  I followed the same procedure as I always do: give the agent the airport/flight time, record the pick-up time/confirmation number given to me by the agent on the guest voucher.  The table agent told me that the pick-up was for 5pm. At 3:30pm, a driver from Super Shuttle came into the lobby looking for a pick-up. He left without taking any guests.  At 5:20pm, the guest approached me with her husband and asked for me to call for her.  I did, and the dispatcher told me that the shuttle was for 3pm and they were listed as a no-show.  I tried to get them on the next shuttle, which was unavailable.  I hung up, apologized to the guest and told them that a mistake was made by Super shuttle in making the reservation and offered to hail them a taxi.  The guest's husband immediately became very angry and began yelling to her in a foreign language. They followed me outside, where I tried to hail a cab.  The guest continued yelling and eventually turned hit attention toward me.  I calmly told him that there was a mistake made by the company and that I was not a fault.  He connoted to scream "it's your problem."  Before the situation could escalate (he continued to yell louder and get closer to me, leading me to believe that at some point he would strike me) I politely told him that there would be more taxi's available on 6th avenue and went back inside.  He followed me in and began yelling at the front desk clerks, demanding that someone call him a taxi.  The manager on duty, Mark sent a front desk clerk out to assist the guest with the taxi.  After the incident, I was approached by the front desk Mark, who asked me what had happened.  I told him exactly what transpired and he told me that if anything like that happens again, notify security immediately. I apologized and explained that Super shuttle is not the service we use and they didn't purchase the ticket through me.  She asked that I give her the name of the table agent I spoke to at Super Shuttle.  I called and got the name of the agent, Alberto. 

All the Best, 

Concierge"

Le Douche 



Friday, July 12, 2013

Doorman Breaks Down a Good NYC Bellman Shift: Act II

CLICK HERE FOR ACT I 

7:00pm: Hoping that the cunty British Woman in a hurry wouldn't ruin my mojo, I decide it's time for a coffee break.

7:06pm: At the line in Starbucks when I see one of my barista buddies who frequently hooks me up with a free venti iced coffee. He sees me, writes my name on the cup, and turns to do something else. When he hooks me up, I throw $2 in his tip jar. I do that. He turns back from his other task and punches the keys on the register.

Barista - "$3.21, Doorman."

Fuck. Do I do the "George Costanza get your tip back reach into the jar?"

7:11pm: I bitterly sip my $5.21 iced coffee in the locker room.

7:21pm: Russian lady that had to wait for the next elevator hits me with a nick in the lobby. $5.

7:37pm: An angry white American guest wants his car from the valet and can't find Morning Doorman. I legitimately speak to him in my indoor voice:

Doorman - "I'm not sure where the doorman is, sir. He may have went to use the restroom."

Angry Guest - "DON'T RAISE YOUR VOICE TO ME!!!"

His wife grabs his arm.

Angry Guest's Wife - "He's not raising his voice, honey!"

Legitimately confused, I maintain my indoor voice.

Doorman - "I'm not raising my voice, sir."

Angry Guest - "Oh, you're being a fucking wise-ass now?"

That's how you wake a sleeping monster. He ain't seen shit yet.

I hand him his valet ticket and take a step behind the bell desk.

Doorman - "Call the garage yourself, the number is on the back."

His eyes popped open like someone unexpectedly shoved a fist up his ass. I really love when I run into people who expect someone to take their little emotional beating, only to be presented with a reckless employee who kinda-sorta wants to get fired. Nine times out of ten, they're thrown so off guard that they lose their train of thought and realize what a cunt they're being. This was the one time out of ten:

Angry Guest - "What are you fucking KIDDING ME?"

Everyone in the lobby turns to us. It's a showdown. There's a cardinal rule when you deal with customer service people - you don't yell. Seriously, don't ever fucking scream. The second you raise your voice, the odds of you getting what you want virtually disappear.

And, as much as I'd love to go outside and beat him within an inch of his Ford Edge-driving life, I remained calm, because now I had an audience.

Doorman - "No, sir. The doorman has to call for you. He may be using the restroom. You're welcome to call for the vehicle yourself, sir."

Angry Guest - "GET ME YOUR MANAGER!!!"

Calmness was now being overtaken by rage, which is something I find myself battling with more and more every day. I was able to keep my calm voice, but the hospitality bullshit was going out the fucking window.

Doorman - "Get him yourself."

Everyone in the lobby, including the front desk agents, were locked on us.

Angry Guest - "I WANT TO SPEAK TO A MANAGER!!!"

Sometimes the Staten Island will come out in me. It usually happens when I get into a fight, and, in the thickest of New York accents, screamed across the lobby to the front desk agents like I was a drunk guido dad at a little league game:

Doorman - "AY! SOMEONE GET THIS GUY A MANAGER!!!"

The lobby exploded with laughter. The Angry Guest's face turned beat red. His wife, mortified, covered her face with her hand.

Angry - "OH!! WHAT ARE YOU, A FUCKING COMEDIAN?!?!"

I crossed my arms and delivered the smuggest smirk my thin little lips could muster.

Doorman - "Yes, actually. I'm very funny. You should see my movie."

He was stunned. Top-five greatest victories I've ever had at the hotel.

The manager comes out, and one of the front desk girls calls me over.

Front Desk Girl - "Doorman, wanna do a front?!?"

You bet your ass I do. Perfect bailout.

Here's the best part of this - nobody, not the manager, not the guest, not the doorman, not trip advisor, has spoken a word about this incident since. I came back to the lobby fully-expecting to be in trouble, and everyone was gone. This happened on Sunday night, and as of now I do believe I have gotten away with destroying this prick.

7:44pm: Front. Couple from Brazil, who had just witnessed my owning of this asshole. They were all smiles that they got the funny little bellboy. One duffel bag to the penthouse on the top floor.

My post-arguement adrenaline was making me sweat, and I could feel little beads fall down the middle of my back and into my ass-crask. I was on fire.

Doorman - "So you're from Brazil?"

They were all smiles.

Man - "Yes!"

Doorman - "Uh oh, no luggage means lots of shoooooooopping!!!"

We all laughed in the elevator like the fucking Muppets.

I could do no wrong. I chatted them all the way up to the top floor, where they gave me $2 for carrying nothing. Just a charming little bellboy.

I get to the elevator, and I'm still a hot, sweaty mess. I have to fart. I do, and it sounds like someone attached a jet ski motor to it.

The elevator door opens immediately, and I walk in, taking this gas trail with me. The door closes, and I'm entrapped in my own filth. Hopefully no one gets on.

Ding.

The elevator stops at the floor directly below. The cute Japanese girl, who was staying with her mom, that I charmed earlier gets on and looks at me. I'm dripping sweat, face red, hair disheveled, and looking like a bonafide slob. She smiles. I can't smile. I know what's about to happen.

It was as if a little green stink cloud had branched off and created two narrow lines to shoot straight into her nostrils.

She immediately grabs her shirt and covers her face.

Japanese Girl - "oOOoo"

She clutches the shirt to her face like she's trying to chloroform herself. The door closes before she could escape. One floor down.

Ding.

OH COME ON!!!

A nice, wholesome American family packs in. The visceral smell of my sweaty anus and rotten insides hit them immediately. It smells like someone vomited in the kitchen of a White Castle.

The entire ride down, everyone is subtly complaining about being trapped in my little poopy hot box. Most people would be ashamed. Me? No. I stifled my laughter and was proud of my little smelly monster.

Ding. Lobby.

Everyone tramples each other to escape. I casually sachet to the bell desk and await my next assignment.

7:46pm: Front. Three American women, four suitcases. $8.

7:55pm: Bags down from storage.  Two small carry-ons. $2

8:00pm-8:45pm: Lunch break. I watch an episode of Full House where Kimmy gets wasted at a party and DJ gets mad because her mom was killed by a drunk driver or whatever. Fucking killjoy.

8:45pm: Cover the door so Morning Doorman can go on break.

8:53pm: Valet. Indian man makes me schlep all of his bags inside. No tip. I have to fill out a valet ticket for him, so I opt to play This Doorman is an Idiot!

Doorman - "Last name?"

Guest - "Gupta."

Doorman - "P-O-O-P..."

Guest - "No! 'G'! 'G'!"

Doorman - "C..."

Guest - "No, 'G'!"

Doorman - "OH! Sorry! G...O-O.."

Guest - "No, NO!!! 'U'!!! G-U!!!"

Doorman - "Sorry... P-U-P"

Guest - "GIVE IT TO ME!!!!"

He yanks the paper from my hand and writes it himself. Great success.

9:15pm: Back inside. Deliver a bucket of ice to an American man. $1

9:30pm: American family. Cart full of luggage and a cooler full of beers. I offer to fill the cooler with ice before I deliver it up to the room in hopes of increasing my tip. I get a five from the patriarch. Decent, but slightly disappointing given the extra effort. $5.

9:45pm: Morning Doorman asks to go home early, booting me back to the door till midnight. Party's over.

9:47pm: Valet. Americans with no luggage. $5.

9:55pm: Collect a $10 car service commission from a trip booked earlier in the week.

10:13pm: Younger business man needs a taxi to Penn Station. Take his luggage, hail the taxi, load the trunk. No tip, no thank you.

10:15pm: The 104 year-old man that eats in the hotel's restaurant five nights a week needs a taxi. Like he does every night, tips me $2 after I give him a boost inside.

10:17pm: Australian couple arrives in a taxi. Two heavy suitcases. Bring them to reception. No tip, no thank you.

10:30pm: Swedish family of four arrives in a taxi. Four heavy suitcases. Bring them to reception. No tip, no thank you.

10:40pm: Young, attractive woman arrives in a taxi. I don't know where she's from because when I greeted her she looked right through me without saying a word. Bring her suitcase to reception. No tip, no thank you.

11:15pm: Valet. Chinese family. Chinese people DO NOT want you to touch their fucking luggage. EVER. So I don't. No tip, and a head-nod that I'm assuming was a thank you.

11:17pm: Valet. Two American guys that are about my age. Turn down help with luggage, tip me $5 anyway.

11:38pm: Help two young Irish ladies up the steps with their luggage. No tip, but a very big smile and hearty "thank you." Sometimes, that's all I need.

11:40pm: Valet. The attendant from the garage is picking up one of the cars I called for. We're bull-shiting about finding better professions. A black family with a bunch of luggage strapped to the hood of the car pulls up.

Valet - "Good luck with this one, papi."

I approach the car, a man who is a dead-ringer of Taye Diggs gets out.

Doorman - "Haya doin', sir."

He flashes the biggest, brightest smile I've ever seen. You know when someone smiles at you, and you know right away that they actually mean it? The type of smile from someone who genuinely enjoys life, and wants to make your day better? That's what it was. When I say this man was one of the nicest people I've ever met, I really mean it. He was with his wife and four daughters, all under the age of ten, and they were just as happy to be alive as he was.

Doorman - "Last name, sir?"

And we shared a last name.

People commonly misspell my last name, leaving out one letter.

Doorman - "Two L's, right?"

Man - "Ha! Come on, man! You know the one L doesn't exist!"

We chatted and I loaded up a luggage cart and brought them to reception. They were from Canada, just outside Niagara Falls.

He hits me with a five.

I head back to the door, and notice that the only bellman left is upstairs doing a front. Since he already hit me up, I figured I'd take them up to the room and finish the job. As we headed to the elevators in the East Wing, we talked some more. First time in New York. The whole family was excited to be here. As I pulled the cart up to the staircase before the elevators, I handed them their keys.

Doorman - "Why don't you guys go up and get settled. I'll be right behind you with your luggage."

The man notices the pain-in-the-ass staircase.

Man - "They don't make it easier for you, huh?"

Doorman - "No they do not. I'll see you in a couple of minutes."

As I humped the bags down the steps, the family pushed the button for the elevator. Out of the corner of my eye, I see the British Woman, who was in a big hurry earlier, arrive back. She was drunkenly munching on a bag of M&M's.

She makes her way down the steps, notices the black family, and gives a disgusted look. Like they don't belong here.

Ding.

The door opens and the family shuffles in. With plenty of room in the elevator already, the man motions to his family to make more room so the British Woman can get on.

British Woman - "That's alright, I'll get the next one."

What a convenient time to be patient, you fucking cunt.

I wish I had said that, but I didn't. I just schlepped the luggage onto the cart, let her go in the next elevator, and delivered the bags accordingly. The wonderful man gave me another $5 for my efforts.

12:00am: I punch out.

My total wages in cash for the evening added up to $167.

My shift pay is $84 after taxes.

$251 total for the evening. That's a very good day.

You've seen the good... now see the ugly! CLICK HERE for Doorman Breaks Down a Bad NYC Bellman Shift! 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Doorman Breaks Down a Good NYC Bellman Shift: Act I

Like what you've read here? Click here to check out the Doorman Web Series!!! 

I was hired as a bellman under the false pretense that this was a "six figure job" by the man who recruited me. Since I was the last guy in seniority, I was thrown on the door and made the night doorman. Everyone told me to stick with it, that it would get better and I would soon be able to come and work inside as a bellman. A year and a half later, I'm still the last guy, still the night doorman, and still writing this blog. I'm very grateful for that. Without this little twist of fate, the blog likely would have never been born, but yesterday I got a little taste of how much better (but not really) working inside as a bellman can be: 

I was slated for my normal 3pm-midnight doorman shift and getting dressed in the locker room. In came one of the morning doormen, covering for the 3-11pm bellman. The exchange went like this: 

Morning Doorman - "I don't know why I fuckin' committed to this, bro." 

Doorman - "Neither do I. I got fucking sunburn like a bastard."


Seriously, look at that shit. It's like poster for Aladdin. 

Morning Doorman - "I hate fuckin' workin' inside, bro. Standin' around, doin' nothin'." 

Doorman - "Dude, the heat and my sunburn don't mix." 

We looked at each other and didn't have to say anything else. I chucked my hat in the locker and started my bellman shift. I've been meaning to do this for a while, and can never get it done while working the door. 

Here's a breakdown of every single potential money-making interaction I had. Note: This is what he consider to be a good day. Not a great day, not a bad day, a good day. (And you better believe that there will be future posts breaking down the bad and great days.)

Key: 

- Bags down from room = A guest calls to have their bags brought down from the room.  

- Bags down from storage = Guest gives me a luggage claim ticket and I bring the bags down from the storage room. 

- Front = When a bellman escorts a guest to the room. 

- Room change = Escorting a guest who is unhappy with their room into a new room.

3:01pm- Collect a $15 commission from a car service I had booked the previous day. Starting the day with $15 in my pocket is always a good omen. 

3:15pm- Front. Hot American girl in American flag shirt hands me a luggage ticket. Her mom is getting their room keys. I take down the room number, and tell them that I'll meet them up in the room with their bags. Two suitcases, two carry-ons. I take the bags up to the room, and upon knocking and entering, I can tell that they hate it. 

Doorman - "Anything I can do for you ladies?" 

Mom - "We need more towels, but I'll call down for them." 

Doorman - "Okie dokie." 

I schlep the bags inside. I stand in the doorway for a second, but neglect to gauge how far back I've stepped. As the Mom reaches for the purse, I accidentally slam the door in my own face. 

I stand, face to face with the door, and wait about ten seconds for her to open it and give me a tip. She doesn't. I have started my day by slamming the door in my own face and fucking up my tip. 

I turn and stomp down the hallway. I grab the luggage ticket from my pocket and cuss and throw it on the floor. I look up and see a maid standing there, giving me the evil-eye. I apologize and pick it up immediately. 
3:20pm: Front. Brazilians with a ticket for seven pieces of luggage. I smile and send them up to the room and inform them that I'll meet them up there in ten minutes with their massive, butt-fucking suitcases.

3:27pm: Cart is loaded to capacity, and I try to get into the elevator. Redneck in elevator makes a sideshow of me by saying that "it's too damn hot for you and your cart" as he presses the close button. His redneck family laughs at me. I'm officially in a bad mood. 

3:33pm: Get the bags to the room. Brazilian woman answers the door as her husband hides in the corner, eating a fucking cake. There is frosting on his mustache. I want to shave his mustache off with a shovel. Schlep the bags in, no tip. 

Woman - "Obrigado." 

I loudly scoff and shake my head. She is oblivious. 

I am officially livid. 
3:35pm:  Store two suitcases for a young Arab man. No tip.  

Without the $15 commission, I'd be at zero and I just spent the past 40 minutes busting my ass. 

Fantastic. 


3:40pm: Front. Two American ladies from Minnesota. I put on my biggest happy face. They consider getting a CityPass for three days. I tell them it's not worth it and that they'll save money by doing things individually. They appreciate my advice and are wonderful. $5.

3:43pm: Bags down from room. Brazilian woman with one suitcase. She has a car service booked. She hands me $10 before I do anything. This makes me the happiest little bellboy in midtown. I take her right to her car that she's booked and thank her like she just dragged my mother out of a fire. 

3:46pm: Front. Woman from Arizona's granddaughter is in a dance competition. One suitcase and one small duffel bag. I give her advice on where to get a good coffee that isn't Starbucks. $3. 

4:00pm: Bags down from storage. Woman from Texas doesn't have her claim ticket, so I have to walk her into every storage room to find it. I don't give her a hard time about it because she approached me with a five dollar bill in her hand. We get to talking, and I tell her that I live in Manhattan. She looks me up and down and says "Seriously!?!" I'd call her a cunt, but she gave me $5. 

4:11pm: Bags down from storage. Young American couple. One suitcase, one duffel bag. $2

4:18pm: Front. Older couple from Brazil. Man is wearing a fanny pack. This makes me want to take a flamethrower to him. Five suitcases. I load up the cart and take them to the room. He asks if I speak Portuguese. I tell him no, with gusto. 

We arrive at the room. I unload the cart and notice that the room smells like a fresh turd. I say nothing. They like the room. This leads me to believe that it's smelly where they live and that they don't notice the smell of hot feces. I unload the cart and stand by the doorway with a smile. This prompts the man to go into his fucking fanny pack and give me $3. 

4:40pm- Front. Mother and son from Brazil. Mother jokingly asks for all the amenities and upgrades for no additional charge. If I were in a better mood, I'd find it cute. But I'm not in a better mood. I send them up to the room and tell them that I'll be right behind them with their bags because I'm not in the mood for jokes. 

I get to the room, and they're screaming at each other in Portuguese. I'd rather listen to Honey Boo Boo's mom taking a dump than listen to people argue in Portuguese. The son answers the door, I schlep the luggage in, and he gives me $5. 

My mood is beginning to change.  

4:52pm: Deliver laundry to a man from Argentina with $430 in incidentals already charged to his room. No tip.

4:59pm: Bags down from storage. Young Brazilian couple, one suitcase. $5.

5:05pm: Bags down from storage. American family from the DEEP south. The man is wearing a confederate flag shirt. His wife has braces. His teenage daughter has crooked teeth and does not. They need a transport to the airport and I sell them on the hotel's car service. 

Bring the bags down, and offer to take them to the car. I load the trunk, and they all scurry in without a tip or thank you. I don't care because I just made a $10 commission off of them. I bring $3 to Morning Doorman, which is his cut. $7. 

I wonder if mom's braces will be handed down to the daughter when she's done with them and it makes me laugh. 


5:10pm: Room change. I look at the room number, it's Fanny Pack's from 4:18pm. I look at which room they're being moved to. It's in the East Wing. FUCK. 

The East Wing is a section in the back of the hotel that used to be an apartment building. It's the oldest section of the hotel. Some of the rooms are renovated, but the majority of them suck. The worst part about the East Wing is that there's a little staircase from the lobby to the elevators. So whenever you have a cart full of luggage, you have to unload it, schlep it down the fucking steps, then reload another cart. ROYAL pain in the ass. If a front desk girl isn't fond of a bellman, then guess what? A family full of Brazilians with twenty suitcases gets sent to the East Wing. 

I get to the room. They have packed up their luggage. 

Fanny Pack - "Ehhhhhh... is smells!!!" 

I knew that would come back to haunt me. 

I load the cart with their five suitcases, bring them down to the lobby, then unload the cart, hump them down the steps, load another cart, then bring them to the elevators. Take them up to the room, unload the cart again. The many reaches into his fanny pack. $2. 

Customary tip is one or two dollars per bag. Counting both interactions, I loaded and unloaded a cart for them four times. It took that many lifts of their deadweight luggages over two interactions to earn a proper tip. 

And he was wearing a fucking fanny pack. 

5:27pm: Deliver 2 buckets of ice to a room. American guy on crutches. $2.

5:38pm: Front. Arab family with six suitcases. Shitdick brings in their luggage and doesn't get a thank you. The young man I stored bags for at 3:35pm gives me the luggage ticket. This is going to be like squeezing blood from a rock. Not only do I have to load two carts of their luggage and go up to two different rooms to likely get stiffed, but I have to make a pitstop in the storage room to get two more fucking suitcases. 

Note: I can count one hand the amount of times I've been tipped my someone from the Middle East. I can also probably count on two hands the amount of times I've been treated like a human being while assisting them. Same (though not as extreme) goes for people from India. I wish I were making this up for entertainment purposes, but I sadly am not. Both of these groups have had a boom in US tourism in 2013, and my wallet and pride has taken a beating as a result.  

Then, in a delightfully serendipitous moment, the woman from 3:15pm, who let me slam the door in my own face to blow my tip, came and gave me $2 right in front of the young man. 

Lady - "Here, you took me up before and I didn't have any small bills." 

That's when you know you have luck on your side. Working the hotel lobby hustle is a lot like gambling in a casino - when you're hot, the money comes to you and you can get very fucking lucky. When things are going poorly, you keep plugging and plugging and plugging without getting shit in return, and the frustrations give off a negative vibe, which causes you to lose more. I was getting tipped well, getting lucky, and was maintaining a positive attitude. And it showed. 

I get the bags from storage and bring them upstairs to their rooms. First room had the women of the family. No tip. 

Second room was for the men. The young man greets me at the door. I carry the remainder of their bags inside the room. He pulls out two crispy fives for me and is extremely pleasant. 

Was this a result of the lady giving me a tip? Or did he just know the deal already? Either way, I'm paid and I don't give a fuck. 

$10. 

5:55pm- Front. Japanese girl and her mom. Fresh off a dime from an unlikely tip source, the charm was pouring out of me. 

Doorman - "First time in the states?" 

Japanese Girl - "First time in New York..."

Doorman - "Oh, really? Where were you before this?" 

Japanese Girl - "We were in Ohio!" 

Doorman - "Why the hell did you go to Ohio?!?" 

They cover their mouths and giggle to each other. Adorable.  

I take them up to the 31st floor, the second down from the top. They bow and laugh profusely.

$2.  

6:15pm: Bags down from storage. Young American couple, straight to their shuttle bus outside. $3 

6:25pm: Front. Two older, Indian couples. One cart full, two different rooms in different towers. 

First room - They ask about the air conditioner. I look and flip switches. It's clearly broken. The guy has no money out, nor has any intention of giving me anything. I tell him to give it a minute to start up and dart the fuck out of there. 

Second room- I get there, and the very nice man tells me that the room is still dirty. Front Desk Girl gave them a room that hasn't been cleaned yet. Terrific. Now we all have to go downstairs and get new keys for a new room. 

The man is nice, and tries to talk to me and I give him the cold shoulder because of his cunt friends. He asks my name and how long I've been working there, and I give him one-word answers with a forced-grin.

We get to the room and he gives me $7. That's twice in one hour that I've had a snap-judgement proved wrong. 

6:53pm- Group of 22 people arrive. In our hotel, and many others, the bellmen and doormen get paid a flat fee per person for every group of more than ten that arrives and exits. Meaning that there were six guys working, we all split that on the arrival. When the group exits, whoever is working that shift gets the departure. 

$3.72 per person X 22 people = $81.84

Divided by six guys = $13.64 per man. 

I got $14 and I didn't touch one single bag. We were also seven minutes away from two guys leaving, which would have given us $21 each.


6:57pm: Front. One woman from russia, one suitcase. East Wing. She's exhausted from her trip and has zero interest in talking to me. 

There's a hot, white British woman in a tizzy waiting in front of us at the elevator. My bellman buddy, Alex, arrives behind us with two Japanese girls of his own. We all love Japanese girls. They're polite, tip properly, and are always smiling. 

The elevator arrives, and the British woman blocks us from entering. 

Hot British Woman - "I need to take the elevator up to twelve without stopping because I'm running late!!!" 

I'm completely thrown off by her audacity, and I buckle and let her go. Alex and the guests all look at me like I've failed them. As the elevator is closing, Alex chimes in:

Alex - "You should manage your time better, toots." 

He looks at me and mouths "you're a pussy." 

We get to the Russian lady's room and she tells me that she'll get me later. The British woman likely blew my tip. This won't be the last time we see the Hot British Woman.