I worked as a valet at a high-end hotel for my first six months out of college. It was the worst. Here are 10 reasons why.
1. Corporate Mottos
After about two weeks on the job, I’d heard my hotel chain’s service motto enough times to want to take a machete to every table in the break room. I don’t need a motto like “Hilton Cares” or “Marriott Matters” to make me do my job as expected. You pay me money to do that. A couple of words aren’t going to make me want to do my job better.
2. Rich People
I’m not talking about the guy who hauls in six figures a year as a sales guy. I’m talking about the super rich, the real 1%. The guy who pulls up in his Maserati with chest hair pouring out of his half-buttoned Brooks Brothers shirt and walks past everyone without making eye contact. Until he puts a crisp $20 bill in my hand, he can suck a fat one.
3. Poor People
Normally, I’d tell these people to act like they’ve been in a hotel before, but it really is possible they’ve never actually stayed in one. I know you’re paying what you’d normally pay to stay at an Econo Lodge to stay at a four-star hotel because you named your price on Priceline, but this is still a damn nice hotel, so please refrain from walking shirtless through the lobby and remember that coolers full of beer are not allowed on the pool deck. Thank you.
4. You’re Always Standing
Driving home after an eight-hour shift was brutal. My feet were tender and my legs were shaky after running and standing for hours on end. I didn’t mind it so much after I got used to it, but the first month on the job, my legs, back, feet and neck would be killing me when my face hit the pillow at night.
5. Service With A Smile
Nothing says customer service like plastering a fake smile across your face for an entire day after waiting on guests hand and foot time and time again. Your facial muscles will cramp halfway through the day after faking happiness and you’ll understand why so many Disney theme park employees commit suicide (there are no facts to back that up, but you get the idea).
6. The Customer Has To Be Right
Yes, of course, sir. It is the complete fault of the hotel that there is construction going on outside of your window. And yes, ma’am, our keys are very easy to misplace and it is our greatest regret that you forgot to put your hotel key in your purse like a normal person and the inconvenience of walking all the way up to the front desk to ask for another one must’ve been a terrible burden for you. Let me take care of this right away for you, you adult child.
Never mind that you’re likely more qualified for your boss’s job than they are, they’ve just been here longer and are so brainwashed by the first company that gave them a job out of high school that they were promoted to a position that they have no business holding. On the other hand, I can admire these people for sticking with it and being loyal. Still, how hard is it to give me the days off that I asked for?
There’s nothing more awkward than giving someone genuine, five-star customer service, having them thank you profusely and then shamelessly ask them to fill out a company survey so you can get a gold star on the bulletin board in the break room. However, if you do get to 50 gold stars, you get that $50 Target gift card. You ever spent less than $50 at Target? Right. Me neither.
9. Bad Tippers
I know I’m sweaty right now and look like a total mess, but you’re the ninth customer I’ve dealt with in the last 15 minutes and our front drive is backed up with cars that have to be parked. Excuse me for my appearance. Don’t tell me you’ll get me on your way back either, because in all likelihood, I’m not going to be here when you come back. Just give me a dollar. A quarter? ANYTHING, PLEASE. I HAVE CHILDREN TO FEED (I don’t).
10. Drunk Guests
Wedding guests, tourists, disgruntled traveling salespeople, emotionally unstable divorcees. They all find their way to the hotel bar at night. Whenever I worked the evening shift, the drunk people would always find me. Maybe I just have a magnetic personality or something. So there I’d stand, with a drunk blowing cigarette smoke into my face while I tried to look busy. The borderline sexual harassment I received from drunken bridesmaids was a nice time-waster, but it was usually from the most desperate ones.
The hospitality industry can be a fulfilling career path and it really is one of those industries that isn’t for everyone. You have to be an incredibly helpful and patient person. I admire those who work in the industry that I once worked in. Now, the shoe is on the other foot, and I’m the drunk asshole these people have to deal with.