Thursday, January 20, 2011

Faulty Towers vs Reality

A few years ago I found a job in a hotel. Working in a hotel was something I had never done so it was an adventure to me and a chance to add something completely different to my resume. Some low wage workers, just like actors, don't want to be typecast into only one type of role or job.

I loved working there most of the time. I learned new skills and truly like the people I worked for. I worked the overnight desk position. I checked in a few guests, did the night audit, and then the next of the night was mine until I set up the breakfast. It was the first job I ever held where my manager told me to bring a book, set up my computer and relax after my work was done. You don't get that with other jobs. Restaurants want you to stand at attention during slow times when there isn't any cleaning to be done. Retail workers must be on their feet at all times and will be reprimanded if caught chatting or leaning, even if it is only for one moment. This was a different world.

Now, I will tell you the dark side. There must be a down side after all. One thing I learned about hotels was all the different types of travelers. I had traveled for business and for vacations before. Some workers live in hotels almost year round. Truck drivers, construction crews, road crews, utility company workers and many others travel from one work sight to the next. Their companies often choose a mid-range hotel to put up all the workers. When I was a retail manager we were often put up in higher range hotels when we had training or meetings. They needed rooms for two to four districts worth of managers and ballrooms for lectures and dinners.

I learned that drug dealers also travel from hotel to hotel to conduct their business. You would know that you had one when you would see the traffic coming into and out of the room on cameras late at night. Some would not care what kind of attention they attracted and would have loud parties. Some workers warned me that one of my guests would conduct his business in the back parking lot while he carried a loaded gun openly. We had to kick him out. The police warned us to be careful because they knew him to be extremely dangerous.

One night some young people were partying in a room. One guy who came to visit the two girls who rented the room became upset. He slammed their door and punched every single light fixture on his way down the walk way. There was broken glass and blood everywhere.

Speaking of blood, on another night when I came to work three people were sitting on the bench by the check in window when I clocked in. The evening shift person left and I locked up. I watched the people out front because something wasn't right. I looked out and one of them ran away and there was a big knife and a puddle of blood on the sidewalk. The police came and the ambulance picked up the injured man. He slit his own wrist because his wife was at our hotel with another man.

I learned a useful skill at that hotel. How do you get large quantities of blood out of concrete? You pour straight bleach on it and scrub and rinse with lots of water. It's a skill I have used at my current job. I had a customer who had to pick up money from Western Union. He filled out the paperwork and then he proceeded to bleed. He bled on the counter and on the floor. Instead of taking care of it he continued to bleed until he collected his money. I grabbed surgical gloves and the bleach and cleaned for quite a while after he left. What is wrong with people?

Oh by the way, the cheating wife and the new man called to say their air conditioner wasn't working. They exchanged keys for a new room. We called the old room and her kids answered so we kicked them out for scamming so they could get a free room for the kids to sleep in while they partied in their own room.

One more thing that happens in hotels unfortunately is what is referred to as a crack whore. This is a deranged, drug addled and unkempt woman who frequents hotels but doesn't get a room of her own. The woman will walk up and down the walkway, knocking on doors at two to three in the morning looking for business. They look for hotels where large numbers of construction or road crews are staying, hoping to earn a little money from men who are far from home. Once again, you have to put your book away and call the police. Before I moved I got a room in the hotel where I worked. We had the moving van packed and we only had a few hours to sleep before we took off early in the morning. Sure enough, as soon as we fell asleep there was knock on the door.

Well there you have it. More strange stories from life in the lower class. Hey, If I hadn't have worked there, I wouldn't have known. This was a clean decent hotel too. It happens everywhere.


  1. Wow, never thought about all the different groups of people you would encounter in that job. My husband worked third shift in a childrens home for at risk youth and children. It was a job where he was told to bring a book. Was a super low paying job that helped him get through school. Can't beat being paid to do your school work!

  2. You've got a whole raft of stories that are real eye-openers. But I'm intrigued...when you say that the guy at Western Union started bleeding, do you mean he had a nose bleed or something? Sorry if it's a silly question but I'm trying to picture the scene.....

  3. You are learning as you go, me love. You have an unique perspective on people. I think it would be fun to work with you!

    I wish you every good thing, including your dream job!

    Mother Connie

  4. It is fascinating to read these stories. I worked as a maid one summer in Yellowstone National Park, cleaning cabins after every nationality of visitor and that led to some interesting stories too.

  5. Lynn, those jobs don't pay well, but the free time is nice.

    Keshling, thanks for asking. I should have given more detail because it was so odd. He had cuts all over his hands and arms and a few on his neck as well. I handed him paper towels to stem the flow but he didn't hold them on tightly and continued to drip or pour constantly. He thought rubbing the blood into my counter with his hand was helpful. It was so weird. He just acted like it was any ordinary day and it was normal to bleed all over someones store and then leave.

    Oh Connie, thank you, I really want to be a taste tester for Edy's icecream.

    Terri, you'll have to share those stories sometime. I've been a maid for individual families but never in a hotel or park setting.

  6. WP: I love that you look at life with a magnifying glass while you go through your day (and your work).

  7. You know... you can, in fact, write a book, memoirs about your job at this hotel. What an experience! And stories! Somehow, people check in and out of a hotel without suspecting what in fact goes on in there. Great post!

  8. Will have to add this post to the list of 100 reasons why I like staying in my RV instead of hotel rooms. Having grown up on a farm, I'm definitely not squeamish and no germaphobe, but people are so much dirtier than animals...

  9. Sounds to me like you had some on the job training to open a company doing Crime Scene Cleanup. I hear those people are very well paid, if you can get by the gore.

  10. Just wanted to let you know I gave you an award. Pop over to my place to see it.

  11. April, You know I collect stories and a paycheck.

    Aloysa, I was there less than a year because I moved out of stste.

    Jacq, I can understand that. Man, I really want an RV!

    Bodacious Boomer, I met one of the crime scene cleanup people. He described a cleanup he did where the eyeballs from the deceased fell from the ceiling while they were cleaning.I don't know why I mention it now, it just stuck in my mind I guess. Of all the conversations to have...

    I saw the award. Thank you, there will be a post in just a few days. I promise.