There has been a fundamental shift in the hospitality industry that  has forced front-line personnel like myself to adjust the manner in which we carry out our duties. In other words, more and more douchebags have begun to appear on the scene and so the people who serve them have had to arm themselves appropriately.

My personal weapon of choice? Humor, of the sophisticated variety, that is. When wielded correctly and expertly, humor can prevent you from losing your cool and the victims will never even realize they’ve been attacked at all.

Simply put, the traveling public appears content to project their hostility and unhappiness towards service personnel. And while most workers are too afraid to break protocol and confront their attackers, there are those who are willing to resort to guerrilla warfare to exact their revenge.

The ABC news program 20/20 recently ran an episode called True Confessions that focused on the actions waiters, bartenders and other service workers have taken to balance the scales when dealing with an unruly public. Several of these individuals have written blogs and books, including Steve Dublanica, a former waiter turned blogger who started writing to release his pent-up hostility brought on by an uncaring, unfeeling public.

Sound familiar?

Here are some simple tips to ensure you win the favor of any and all service personnel you encounter this summer…

BE NICE! (Even if it kills you!)

Seriously, its so simple, its stupid. Just take a deep breath when you first arrive – after you threaten to throttle the children if they don’t stop smacking each other with DVD cases – and try to remember the following Golden Rule of Travel: service personnel are people just like you!

You’re on vacation to escape the everyday madness that infects your life, right? Well, what about the doormen, valet, servers and others you’ll meet? They’re still fighting the madness, so cut us a break, okay?


I advise you to always pack only what you actually need, rather than dozens of odds and ends – unless you crave public ridicule, that is.

I cannot properly articulate just how disheartening it is to pop a trunk and gaze upon a traveling junkyard! All it takes is a few minutes of intelligent thought and maybe a Google search to explain the concept of organization to ensure a smooth transition from car to hotel room.

It takes all my bellman super powers to properly sort and load a collection of odds and ends onto a single bell cart. And what about those poor, misguided – not to mention, cheap –  souls who decide to go it alone?

We’ve all seen those schmucks dragging all their earthly possessions behind them as their wife and kids bitch and moan about having to carry five bags each. If these misguided anteaters were to step outside themselves for a moment they’d laugh and roll their eyes at that loser using the baby’s stroller for a luggage cart….

Another Golden Rule of Travel: Work Smart, Not Hard.


I cannot stress this enough. It sickens me when I arrive at a room and see a clueless guest arguing with a Front Desk clerk over the phone. There are a number of issues that you need to clarify WHEN YOU’RE STANDING AT THE FRONT DESK, NOT IN YOUR ROOM!

  • Is the room Smoking or Non?
  • Does it have two beds or a pullout couch?
  • Is the view Premium or Economy?

For the average working stiff a vacation is a major operation that requires massive funds and a lot of patience that can lead to major heartache if executed without proper planning. So if you’re planning on traveling this summer – and especially if you’re planning on taking the family – do everyone a favor and take the time plan your every move very carefully and whatever you do, don’t let your common sense be one of those things you forget at home.

Otherwise, some smart-ass could label you a douchebag and put you in his blog….


The Bellman Chronicles is up and running on Amazon and the Kindle version is nearly complete! Thanks again to everyone who has jumped on-board so far; I wish I had the time to respond to everyone in my usual manner but I’m buried under the pressures of work, the book launch and oh yeah, being a dad and husband!

Things will get back to abnormal soon, folks – I hope….

About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
This entry was posted in Holidays, Hotel Employees, Hotel Life, Humor, Life, Postaweek2012, Social Commentary, Travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Jennifer says:

    we don’t want to be labelled a douchebag now do we..? I will get your book – as soon as I sign up for amazon. Yep, that’s right, no account here… 🙂 I’d love to come stay at your place – we are pretty good at packing and jig saw-ing it into the boot (trunk)

  2. wherethedaytakesme says:

    Awesome summer tips.

  3. mairedubhtx says:

    Would that all vacationers take your advice and, I would add, be civil to their fellow travellers, when checking in and around the pool, etc. Some people are so disrespectful of everyone else–service personnel, fellow travellers, their own families! It boggles the mind.

  4. Woman says:

    Oh my sister is the worst packer in the world!!!! I’m the person who can live out of an over night carry on bag for a whole season. My sister??? She needs the back of a van filled full, for two nights.

    It’s ridiculous.

    Then!!! It is so embarrassing. She demands the bell men to take all the luggage up to the room and makes the room “homely” and requests extra towels. THen she complains that there is not enough time to pack up!!!!


    I love this post!!! It made me giggle a fair bit!!!!

  5. kewsmith says:

    Keep us posted on Kindle version. I can’t wait to read it. Your blog certainly keeps me laughing and amazed at the ignorance of travelers.

  6. granny1947 says:

    I think it is so great that you have written a book…can’t wait to read it.

  7. Lily says:

    Lots of good tips. I try to be as nice as possible to those who are giving me their service. But sometimes, there’s a rare waiter or hotel worker or mall worker who is just so rude. I guess the advice can go both ways. There’s nothing worst than asking someone a question and having it be followed by a rude or short response!

  8. Kanerva says:

    I wholeheartedly concur! I think smiling and being nice are two actions that peeps have lost the art of using. Shame really.
    Wishing you a great summer season, and hope that you don’t have to deal with an excess of blog-fodder in your daily routine 🙂

  9. I am about to embark on our first ROAD TRIP as a family to celebrate our adoption. 7 kids, 2 parents, and 2 grandparents. Can we do this? I sure hope so! Unfortunately our money runs thin, so I bet we won’t even have a Bellman at our hotel!! I wonder if we have any baby strollers lying around? LOL

  10. Could have done with your humour today…grumpy customers all the way!!

  11. I like to think I’m well traveled and have my head on straight when it comes to dealing with service industry staff, but I always learn something new when I read your blog. It’s great to have your perspective!

  12. Jo Bryant says:

    What ever happened to common sense….obviously when dealing with all the baggage they forgot it as they ran out the door…

  13. jlheuer says:

    Oh can ‘t wait for kindle version. Take it easy man, things are looking good for you.

  14. I don’t know why but I always forgot one or two things when packing.

  15. Thanks for the advice – must get on to sorting out the amazon account!

  16. munchow says:

    As always I have so much to learn from you to make sure I don’t become a douchebag. Thanks for all the advises. To be on the real safe side I just ordered The Bellman Chronicles from Amazon. I do look forward to reading the book. (And by the way sorry for having been absent lately, I just haven’t had time to comment the last couple of weeks).

    • The Hook says:

      You’re apologizing to me? No problem! I understand the concept of being spread thin, believe me!
      And thank you for ordering my book; you rock!

  17. Capt. Savage says:

    I’ll be downloading the chronicles on Kindle when they are up Hook… Can’t wait 😉

  18. Ink Pastries says:

    I hate to say it, but I’m not in the income category where I get to stay at hotels with bellman. But I do practice kindness and generosity with waitresses and delivery men and whatever service people touch the lower reaches of society such as me (I’m a massage therapist who charges much less than the average massage therapist, so I live at poverty level). I’m lucky to afford camping. Remember: you are dealing with a crowd that already feels entitled- as do I.

  19. mj monaghan says:

    You cut to the chase, my friend, with the two most critical pieces of info:

    1) Humor – should always be taken, no matter where you go.
    2) Common Sense – so UN-common, isn’t it?!

  20. Great tips as usual my dear Hook… 😉
    I believe that some folks feel soooo inadequate it gives them a ‘boost to their morale’ to treat service people (of any nature) in a ‘less than’ manner… only shows them up for ‘their’ lack, of course…! Hopefully people such as yourself and Steve Dublanica will help them to realise their folly… Great read as always… 🙂

  21. This being the tourist season here, I recognize what you are saying here. We need the tourists to come and spend their money. We don’t need them to come and be mean to everyone else. There is a bumper sticker some people have here that says, “I’m not on your vacation.” I would say that is a good reminder and will do you well when you travel. And why so much anger on vacation? It just baffles the mind. If you wanted to be angry, you could just send me a check and stay at home and yell at your kids.

  22. Pingback: 10 Terrible Things About Summer: Bellman Edition! | You've Been Hooked!

  23. The Guat says:

    “willing to resort to guerrilla warfare” … ha this is too funny. You know what … I think I did see that 20/20 episode. But I’m all good because I’m always nice unless they get sassy. But I didn’t even know about Dublanica, blog. I may check it out.

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