From Benjamin Kissell, April, 2013:

It isn't very easy being the cheerful and upbeat face of a company [copious amounts of coffee are needed], especially one whose idea of 'haute couture' rooms is the equivalent of "Now with FREE color tv" [how vintage 1960s hotel can you get?] but thankfully, sometimes I can actually achieve it.

This morning, however, I may not be able to accomplish it ... despite a mug of coffee large enough I could reenact Hot Tub Time Machine in it.

So, of course when I have the least capability to deal with stressful or bitch-tastic custys is when the queen harpy of custys decides to descend upon me.

Let's call her Hunga Queen of the Harpy Custys of Talon Mountain [if you get this reference I heart you], or just Annoying Harpy Custy for short. Reeking of desperation, weasel-ness and all-things skeevy she waddles towards me; her mottled feathers [cheap dye job and possibly cheaper weave] wavering as she approaches my desk. To wit, my snarky tongue almost got the better of me whilst dealing with her.

Almost. Well, sort of.


Annoying Harpy Custy: *flapping up to the counter* "Hey, is there anything in your log book about my room from the storms last night?"
[referencing the tornado which touched down in the area and massive thunderstorms - this Custy also has a history of false or over-stated complaints, rude remarks to staff and in general a distinct lack of control of her sticky, stinky, mildly-destructive, LOUD children] 


Me: "Yes ..." *looking in logbook* "It says that you developed a leak in your room during the intense part of the storms and that you didn't want to move rooms, is that correct?" 


Annoying Harpy Custy: *haughty look* "Well, I didn't want to as you don't have anything available on the ground floor! What am I supposed to do, carry my luggage upstairs?" *punctuating this with a hoot and a slap on the desk's counter-top*
[This is true; ground-floor SMOKING with 2 Double-beds and a pull-out couch? We only have 2 of those specific type of rooms - one of which she is in (and likely destroying).] 

: "My apologies, we may have one open today after 3pm, if you want to switch."
At this she gets a very smug and self-satisfied, cat-that-ate-the-canary (or the custy-who-thinks-she-got-one-over-on-the-company) look 


Annoying Harpy Custy: "Good." [smug, oh how smug she be] "Now, what time does Erwin come in?" [our relatively laid back AGM] 


Me: "He's not really due in today, but, if he does come in it won't be until about 3pm - what can we do for you?" [smile, Benjamin; don't show teeth. Don't show your annoyance with her ... oh my gawdd, what the sweet Retail Hell is her buzz-cut-sporting, sticky child named CHUNK climbing on?! KID THAT IS A DESKTOP COMPUTER! DO NOT CLIMB ON TOP OF THAT PRINTER! Yeah, great parenting you got going on, harpy.] "Young man, please don't climb on that." I say in a sickeningly sweet voice - if she's not gonna parent, one of us hasta. 


OCTOCAROL 251Annoying Harpy Custy: "Well, you see," she's obviously building up to something here, as she waddles and folds her wings - I mean her arms - under and cranes up her neck. "My phone got damaged last night by the rain." At this she proudly flops down her cracked-screen touch-screen phone, open and the battery removed, on my counter. "What'chu gonna do for me about this?" 


Me: *quirked eyebrow* [I can still do it, despite the knock-off botox] "Honestly ma'am, I don't think we can do very much of anything, if at all. You chose not to leave the room, despite your predicament; from how I understand it, I do not believe we're responsible for -"


Annoying Harpy Custy: "What do you mean!?!" she interrupts in an inhuman howl, calling the other guano-streaked denizens of Talon Mountain, her flitting and loudly-chirping offspring, to flock to her side. "Just because I chose not to leave - I can't lift heavy objects! - why should I be punished for this? Why are you blaming me?" Her rant is all over the board in its stream-of-consciousness-ness. "The phone company won't replace my phone for water damage!" [Now wait just a nit-picking minute here, 'Mother of the Year', I've had 3 - count 'em 3! - phones replaced by her same carrier for water damage ... I call shenanigans on this.]


Me: *dialing my GM's cell phone* "Let me ask my General Manager, then. By the way, did you try the dry rice trick? I know that I've saved 2 phones from water damage with that little home-remedy." [What can I say? I have a nasty habit of damaging phones - rarely does one last more than a year with me.] To which she replies that 'yes, she tried it and it didn't work!' [Of this I doubt, as the dry rice trick takes more than a few minutes to make any impact.] I quickly outline the situation to my GM over the phone and he reiterates the conclusion I came to, backed up by our corporate policy - We offered to move her, an employee had even offered to help physically [he be the strong bitch on-staff, all Schwarzenegger'd and shit], and she had refused. As it stands, it's out of our level's hands on what we could do for her.

To say that she didn't like this is akin to describing a volcanic eruption as 'a polite burp'.


Annoying [now Angry] Harpy Custy: >string of expletives even I find too tacky to commit to screen - thankfully, absolutely no poo is flung<


Me: "Ma'am; I promise that I'll ask Erwin if he comes in and I'll double check with the GM, as I know how not fun this is, but it's really sounding like something we can't help you with. I'm so sorry," [And I genuinely am; I loathe being without my left eye, I mean cell phone ... it's kinda essential to me. I've been known to go into a shock-like coma-esque quiet state when I don't have one ... some would say me being quiet like that isn't a bad thing.]

"If there's anything else I can do to help, I shall - I'm really terribly sorry." 


Annoying [still Angry] Harpy Custy: "Well," her clawed wing scraping the desk, "when Erwin or your GM gets in have them call me!" She turns her tail feathers, ruffled, and raises her wings to flap away when I can't help but ask - my curiosity picqued by her custy avian display ...


Me: "Just a quick question, if the window was leaking in the far corner of the room, how did your phone get damaged by it?"


Annoying [now Sputtering] Harpy Custy: *incoherent mutter* "Uhm" *incoherent mutter*          >shifty eyes back and forth<      She finishes turning back towards the door and tosses off a half-hearted "It just did" before darkening the skies of my lobby no more.





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Retail Hell Memories: Hotel Hell - The Sports Team From Hell


This story was originally posted on December 01, 2009


Hotel hellHallway Troll is ready to take on those Piggy Custys:

I have been working in the hotel field for almost 4 years now (The first two years I was in college, the past two I blame on the economy).

While working at my first hotel we underwent construction. We knew months in advance and would tell anyone who made reservations that we would be undergoing construction and the pool would be closed during their stay.

I should note that one of the reasons people chose to stay with us over competitors, is that our pool was open 24 hours.

I'm working the afternoon shift one of those days during construction. We have signs posted all over the entrance doors notifying customers we are under construction, which I thought were somewhat pointless as the moment you enter the building you walk through a 3 foot wide tunnel of plastic while a jackhammer (no joke) tears up the lobby floor.

There are also signs posted at the desk saying the pool is closed and we're under construction.

We also verbally tell all check ins that we're under construction and the pool is closed and have them sign a document saying they were told of this.

Towards the end of my shift, around 9pm, this grandpa comes up to me asking where they can get pool towels.

I apologize and say that I am sorry but the pool is not open due to the construction.

He glares at me for a second and says that the only reason they stayed with us is because they wanted to take their granddaughter swimming.

Hotel jason bellhopI apologized again and informed him that several notices were posted and that he did sign the form.

He glares some more and walks away.

About five minutes later he comes back carrying what looks to be a 2 year old child. He points to me and says to his granddaughter "see her, she's the reason you can't go swimming tonight."

He glares at me again as she begins to tear up and her lip begins to quiver.

I just watch, mouth agape, as they walk away.

The little girl didn't take her eyes off me as they went down the hallway.


A few months later, at the same hotel, we are having a few traveling hockey teams stay with us. It was my first (but unfortunately not my last) experience with the hell that is child hockey teams.

There were about 3 teams total staying with us, and they filled up about 50 rooms (out of the 102 the hotel had) and we were sold out that weekend.

As soon as I saw the first greyhound bus pull up, I cringed because I was the only employee in the entire hotel.

The first people off the bus are the kids that just spent an entire day on the bus eating candy and soda.

Then the parents stumbled off, they spent the entire day drinking on the bus and brought their coolers into the lobby to continue the party.

After the hellish 30 minutes in took to check them in the kids scattered, spotted the pool, asked their parents if they could go swimming and then ran away (presumably to get out their swim trunks, but it may have been to go get high on speed for all I know).

I yell to the parents in the lobby that all children must have a parent guardian in the pool with them.

They took this to mean, send the one sober-ish parent to the pool to watch 30 kids.

Hotel carolanneThe camera I have behind the desk is pointed directly at the kids and I can see them running and jumping in, a direct violation of the posted rules. I seize this golden opportunity to kick them out of the pool and head down there.

The parent there, argues that he kept a solid eye on the kids and that not one of them jumped in.

I pointed out that his beer was also not allowed in the pool area as food and beverage are prohibited. as I'm "discussing" this with him other parents (alerted by one of the kids) come in saying they'll keep an eye on them.

Outnumbered and needing to get back to the desk I tell them if I see one more violation on camera the pool is getting locked down.

As soon as I get back to the desk I see the kids at it again, the parents drinking beer, and not doing anything.

I march my ass back down there, announce that the pool is not closed and they need to vacate immediately.

The parents try to argue their way out of it saying they've been watching the kids and didn't see anything, etc., etc.

It's then that the smart ass of the kids decides to jump in while I'm there and the parents begrudgingly agree to leave.

I lock the pool, thinking I've won one battle,I can manage to make it another 5 hours until my shift ends. How naive I was. I spend the rest of the night trolling the hallways with my mean face on, sending kids who were playing mini-stick hockey in the hallways fleeing into their rooms. The parents have decided they are on vacation and are getting obnoxiously drunk in the lobby (and I worked in a college town, the frat parties were quieter) or going down the street to the casino.

At one point I approach the parents informing them that if I find the kids playing hockey in the hallways or rooms again I will kick the team out without refund. They then asked me if I had any board games they could play.

When I said no they said, "Well how the hell are we supposed to entertain our kids if you don't have an arcade or any games for them to play?"

I was about to tell him off when out of the corner of my eye I see kids running outside in the parking lot.

It's winter, about 25 degrees, and there's ice everywhere and none of the kids are wearing anything more than shirts and pants.

We had a big snowfall recently and I knew the kids were running for the giant pile of snow at the end of the plowed lot.

I bolt outside and spot at least 5 kids on top of the 12 foot high snow pile playing king of the mountain. I ran over yelling "get the fuck of that mountain!" and they scattered. A parent had followed and slurred at me "don't talk to our kids that way!"

Balls award4To which I replied "Then act like a damn parent, I'm not a babysitter!" and went back inside.

I informed the parents there that if all the kids were not in rooms in 5 minutes I was calling the police to haul them all off.

The parents grumbled but the kids disappeared.

At least for a bit.

I heard the distinctive sounds of children running on the floor above me and literally sprinted out of the office and up the stairs, taking 3 at a time.

I burst into the hallway and spotted a group of kids playing tag in the hallway.

I (out of breath) yelled "get in your rooms!" one of the brats replied that their mom told them to leave the room so she could watch tv. I snarled "get in your rooms NOW!" and they scattered.

I calmly walked to the end of the hall and went down the stairs.

I was hanging out in the bottom of the stairwell to catch my breath and slow my pulse when I heard the 2nd floor door open.

I over head an adult female say to a group of kids "She's not in charge of you, you do what I say, and I say you are allowed to play in the hall-..."

right then she stepped off the stairs, turned, and saw me standing there, hand clasped demurely in front of me, smiling as sugary sweetly as possible at her.

She turned pale, shut her mouth, and walked silently right past me with the kids.

I followed them to the lobby, still smiling.

They walked right over to the elevator and went back up to their rooms.

I stood outside the elevator and as it was closing said in my most sincere voice "have a good night!"

The best part?

I was working the morning shift the next day and when the parents came to complain my manager told them they were never allowed to stay in our hotel again and she would be notifying the rest of the hotels in the city of their behavior and good luck next year finding a room for the tournament.

No one acts up in my Hotel Hell and gets away with it.

Hospitably yours,

--Hallway Troll


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Retail Balls Awards: Hotel Customer Gets Told



From December, 2010:

The hotel manager in this story gets a Retail Balls Award for their swift and supportive action in dealing with a homophobic asshole customer:

Hey RHU,

It's Dan and I'm back at the Front Desk. I had left the hotel to lease apartments because the hotel is a good half-hour away and this leasing job was right out my front door (literally...I was leasing apartments in my own apartment complex). Because of the wonderful training I had in how to lease apartments I became frustrated to the point of tears (I have anxiety attacks when I don't know what I'm doing...wonderful when what I'm doing is my only source of income, right?)

Anyhoo, my FOM gave me my job back and let me tell you...I appreciate this job so much more just because I know what I'm doing and I'm good at it.

Back to the story at hand...I got called a fag at work, RHU. I'll be honest, it's the first time in my 21 years of life that it was said with such hate and to my face.

I've had it said behind my back once before, but when I turned around and said "Excuse me, what did you say?" the douche-tard shut his vomit-hole.

When this happened, I was so taken aback. Our hotel has a policy that requires people checking in to provide their credit card and picture ID. When Mr. H came up to me, he told me he didn't have his card, but asked if we could charge to the one that was on file. (We only do that for the highest tier of our loyalty program. He was the bottom tier.)

Me: Sorry, I would need to have the card to I can swipe it.

Mr.H: Well if my girlfriend comes and gives you her card, can you just charge the one that's on file?

Me: No, I'm sorry it doesn't work that way.

He goes away and gets on his phone, so I continue to play Freecell on my computer because it's the only game that isn't blocked (and it's awesome). He comes up again maybe half an hour later with his girlfriend to check in.

OCTOCAROL 336Mr.H: So I called THEM and they charged my card for the room and they said all I had to do was show my ID. 

I assume by "Them" he meant Schmilton, so I check the reservation, and instead of "Guarantee by Credit Card" his reservation noted "Full-Prepayment" which solved half of his problem and caused all of mine. See, even if the room is prepaid we still need a credit card for incidentals (room service, phone, etc;).

Me: Okay it looks like the room has been payed for, I'll just need a credit card for incidentals.

Mr.H: Did you not listen to me? I already payed for the room, they told me all I needed to do was show my ID.

Me: I agree that the room was paid for, but I still need a card for incidental charges.

Mr.H: Listen to what I'm saying. I don't have a credit card on me, is there a manager here I can speak to?

Me: I'm the only one here to assist you at the moment, and that doesn't change the fact that our hotel's policy is to collect a credit card upon check in.

Mr.H: So what do you want me to do?

Me (at this point, I'm shaking from frustration): I want you to come back with either a credit card or cash to leave as a deposit.

Mr.H: Fuck you, fag!

At this point, he picks up his bags and storms out with his ugly girlfriend in tow.

Me: Have a great night! Jason 024

It was the only come-back I could think of at the time. I honestly wanted to incite him to come back because then I would get the pleasure of calling the police to escort him off property and issue a no-trespass warrant. Alas, the only thing I could do at that point was call my FOM who went livid.


I <3 her. I ended up calling the loyalty program's Guest Assistance hotline and had them mark in his profile about being abusive to hotel staff, that way people are aware. And my FOM get's the task of sending him a letter telling him he is no longer welcome back on property, lol.

So yeah, pretty intense moment. All I want to say is that I love my job even more because my manager will go to the ends of the earth for me and the rest of the team =D


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