Saturday, June 17, 2006

Emergency Motel Sequence

To update you on how the new job as a front desk guest representative at a motel is going, I'll say that it can be a confusing, mind-racking or laid-back job, like most can. There is a lot of technology and reporting to deal with: buttons, log sheets and such, to allow us to track every speck of lint in the motel.

I answer the phones according to certain SOP's and we compare our rates and sales with all the competing hotels in the area. The customers are generally pleasant and patient although there are some that come in and get in your face wanting to know what your rate is. You must be creative with those. There are others, like some inebriated fellows last night that came in and harassed me at around 4am, telling me I was "too professional" and warning me not to tie my tie too tight or else it might strangle me -obvious pointers appreciated as any piece of advice from a falling-over-drunk. After a moment or two, they apologized for being rude and told me not to take it personally. They were just "f%cking around u know?" "No problem," I said, called them a cab, and they left.

My only real emergency last night was the fact that I accidently called 911. How do you accidentally call 911 you wonder. Well, let's get to that.

The person who was training me left for the bathroom for just a few minutes and I managed to do a classic FUBAR...or almost. A guest walked up and wanted to use our phone. We're not supposed to offer it but because I am new all I could remember was the main mantra of customer service: keep the customer happy. I dialed "9" for outbound call then the customer dialed "111" for his room number. (I failed to clarify that he wanted to make an inbound call). Well, folks, what do you get when you add 9 + 111? 911!!! Immediately alarms started sounding and I almost nearly swore. "Why isn't it working?" Asked the customer. "Oops!" I said. "I accidently called 911! You're not going to be able to make that call." Then, I went over to the bathroom and knocked asking: "Um, I just called 911." "What happened," asked the muffled, confused voice that belonged to my friend Lucifer, who is training me. "How do you turn off the alarm?" "G-d Barrett! I leave you for two minutes and what do you do? You call 911." My friend was just trying to hang a dump and then this happens. I realize it wasn't very impressive.

After figuring out the phone system, which had automatically disabled itself due to the apparent "emergency" I got ahold of the dispatcher and urgently said: "False alarm! False alarm!" "Next time you call 911 and that happens, just tell us you got the wrong number. The police are already on their way," a non-plussed voice answered. "Sorry about that," was about all I could muster. My heart was racing like Ben Jonson.

The night was full of other, inevitable, minor f*ck-ups -which were great for my learning experience. I actually worked two separate shifts: one from 5-9pm, then I came back for the night audit from 12-5am. Lucifer forgot his book with all his Toronto listings for his move in it, so he begged me to drive it to him after work. I agreed on the condition that he'd get me an autograph of someone famous like Emily Haines or Paris Hilton when he goes to the MuchMusic VIP party this weekend (the enviable bastard), so that took some extra time after work. I now anticipate that everything WILL go wrong but to finish it off, I finally got home around 5:30am when the sun was rising then I was about to go to sleep thinking ah! Finally some sweet, succulent rest! Then I felt that my pocket felt a bit heavy and bulky. It turned out that I had brought the wireless "night" phone with me from the motel. We're supposed to switch from landline to wireless every time we leave the desk and I must have forgotten to switch back. So the adventure continued. I drove back AGAIN, returned the phone, returned my tie, said "goodluck and goodnight" and left.

Next shift I work alone and I depend on myself. It is a scary but empowering thought. I have my training manual which will be my lifeline for all the various POS terminal codes and sidewinder calls. I have today off to go to a Stag and Doe, friends of mine that comprise a very lovely couple, then tomorrow to sing Harry Chapin's "Cat's Cradle" in church for Father's Day. The song is about a father that never has time for his son although the son looks up to him very much and wants to be "just like him." Advancing to different stages in his life, the boy grows up to be a man with "planes to catch and bills to pay." Sadly and ironically they both get what they wished for. The two switch roles with the father realizing once he is old that he's lived his whole life without spending quality family time and the son wishing he could see his dad and "have a good time" if only he could find that time.

So happy Father's Day my pets. Work hard and play hard but don't do either to the exclusion of family.

Speaking of family, my sister Wein-Bean sent me this interesting video which mashes together Indian culture and the Beatles in one strange mix of Hippy-Bollywood:

Their dance moves are pretty good, and their voices are more soft and soothing than Lennon's. They even have the Beatle's haircut! Check it out!

Personal Diegesis


Blogger joe said...

well! I must find this motel and check in. must be a hoot to see the front desk call 911. :) anyway, good luck! and let us know of all your adventures!

6:39 p.m.  
Blogger Prmod Bafna said...

Heh! that sure wouldhave been quite the experience!! hehe

I used to love that song 'cats in the cradle' lottts but i've only heard the Cat stevens and Ugly kid joe version of it.. love the song narrative..!

3:30 a.m.  
Blogger Lavinia said...

Woo madness! Sounds a teeny bit like Fawlty Towers eh?

I know its a bit late and all but I just had to mention how much I'm loving the new profile pic.

4:44 a.m.  
Blogger Chloe said...

good luck Barry, i'm sure you are excellent at whatever you do. xxx

9:50 a.m.  
Blogger Maddy said...

YOu certainly are not
boring...poor timing - but
you are not boring...

and thankyou for sharing this
fabulous - FAB - video -
i swear it made me smile-
and i need that!!!


12:42 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that video is really disturbing and I can't get rid of the mental pictures.

4:47 a.m.  
Blogger Cocaine Jesus said...

good luck with the motel. maybe you get to play norman bates?

8:21 a.m.  
Blogger Pincushion said...

*Grins* I just pictured you with a sheepish look with that 911 call! ..but I am sure you'll do good and get better :)

...and hey I can tell you a great deal about that video for whatever its worth..
its from an old Hindi movie from the 1960's, I forget the name..the 'soft' voice is of a now deceased but very famous Indian playback singer called Mohammad Rafi and the lead actor in this video who is now in his 70's is called Shammi Kapoor..who belonged to the Kapoor family who were very big on the Bollywood scene until very recently..hope that was interesting..

10:10 a.m.  
Blogger iamnasra said...

And I thought abnormal things falls in my cirlce..Hang in their it will eventually reduces

Im having a tribute for Gulnaz and hoping some of her blog friends will know where she is

Hope you can join in spreading the news and after all it all started with you asking where she is

1:50 p.m.  
Anonymous Adorable Girlfriend said...

Having to travel a lot for work (in a hotel as I type right now), I am the good customer. Even when I had a little problem recently in NYC, I remained calm. Why take it out on the front desk folks. Either call the 800 number or speak with a manager. I don't see any reason to treat people poorly or take it out on them.

That's why I nominate myself for the "top hotel stayer award 2006".

10:06 p.m.  
Blogger toobusyliving said...

I'll come and play, I mean stay at your motel.

6:51 a.m.  
Blogger Jason said...

Look, at least you have a job. Don't give up.

12:54 a.m.  
Blogger allister said...

Hahaha you 'accidently' called 911 - i thought that would be impossible, i guess you proved me wrong. Here in Austarlia thats a common problem cause our number is 000 which may also be within some phone numbers.

Hahaha.. cool blog though

2:11 a.m.  
Blogger J said...

Lol, the 911 incident is awesome.

Congrats on the job.

4:24 a.m.  
Blogger sirbarrett said...

joe -For how many nights? For how many adults? Does anyone in your party smoke? Do you have TripRewards? Shall I go ahead and hold that reservation for you?

prmod bafna -It is a touching song. Someday I'm gonna be like...some days never come.

lavinia -I'm flattered my pic meets the standards of a fashionista like you!

chloe -I like it when you call me Barry.

maddy -This video never gets old. It's such a trip!

kunstmaecker -Your mental system has been infiltrated.

cocaine jesus -Yes, I've been hearing voices lately but I always just assumed it was the radio.

pincushion -wow, you totally filled me in there. It certainly was interesting. Thanks for the info!

iamnasra -I hope we find her!

adorable girlfriend -OFFICIAL TOP HOTEL STAYER AWARD- Thanks for being kind to us folks. You will be repaid in fresh towels.

toobusyliving -Sorry, our hotel is not equipped with harnesses or trampolines.

jason -That's what I tell myself. Things have been much better this week.

allister -Thanks for coming up from the down under. I have never done that before.

j -Trust me to make an emergency when there isn't one otherwise.

7:06 p.m.  

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