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 



1 comment:

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