It’s The Most Soul-Sucking Time Of The Year…

The service areas have been freshly-painted and look brand new – until they get hit by innumerable housekeeping, maintenance, and luggage carts.

The lights above room doors are no longer flickering – scratch that; in the time it took to type this, five have already began to burn out.

Name tags can be seen on every employee – even me. (Though truth be told, mine is slightly askew. But it always is.)

Yes, it’s that time of year again, kiddies: That magical time when every manager brings a “coping kit” to work with them…

  • A bottle of antacid.
  • Mickey of liquid courage.
  • Baggie of weed.
  • Whatever helps them get through the day.

Yes, it’s Inspection Time! That wonderful time when “Corporate” sends some lucky soul to walk the halls of the hotel, armed only with a tablet (the modern-day equivalent of a clipboard), a list of company-wide standards and the most in-genuine smile this side of a corpse. The whole shebang is a dog and pony show; if Corporate wanted to truly see how the hotel ran they wouldn’t give us notice of an inspection. Instead, they give management plenty of time to clean up their act. Although, we’ve failed before, notice or no notice.

And yes, as you can no doubt tell, I loves me a good inspection.

“Are you wearing your name tag, Robert?”

Imagine hearing that from every manager at your place of business. Now imagine there are dozens of managers, all of whom happen to cross your path during inspection time. Now you see why my name tag is askew, right? A bellman has a right to protest in a manner he sees fit, doesn’t he? That’s in somebody’s constitution, I bet.

This morning I walked into the staff cafeteria and addressed my fellow hospitality wage slaves in a loud, thundering voice.

“COMPATRIOTS!  HEAR ME NOW!  I AM THE HOOK AND I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY… A CLOUD OF DOOM HANGS OVER US.  THE SPECTER OF TRAGEDY LOOMS… INSPECTION TIME IS HERE!’

Since it was ridiculously-early and everyone appeared quite bleary-eyed, I let my words sink in for a moment.

“I KNOW YOU HAVE BEEN TOLD A HIGHLY-VISIBLE NAME TAG IS THE KEY TO A SUCCESSFUL INSPECTION… BUT YOU HAVE BEEN LIED TO!  I SHALL TELL YOU THE KEY TO A SUCCESSFUL INSPECTION… A SECRET THAT MANAGERS HAVE COVETED FOR FAR TOO LONG!”

Cue the dramatic pause…

“THE SECRET TO A SUCCESSFUL INSPECTION IS THIS… PANIC!  NOT JUST A REGULAR ‘MY-MOTHER-IN-LAW-IS-COMING-OVER-AGAIN’ PANIC… NO, WE’RE TALKING ABOUT THE SHARKNADO OF PANIC ATTACKS!  YOU ARE NO DOUBT WONDERING HOW MUCH YOU SHOULD PANIC… A GOOD RULE OF THUMB IS THIS: NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU PANICKED DURING THE LAST INSPECTION… TRIPLE IT!  THAT IS ALL.”

And that’s how my morning began, folks. How about you? Any “office seasons” that really drive you around the bend that you wish to share. Do so in the comment box thingie below. This isn’t your blog so feel free to curse and really cut loose. 

See you in the lobby, kids…

office-space-gary-coleBeing a little rebellious again, are we, Hook? If you could just not do that… that’d be great…

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.
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29 Responses to It’s The Most Soul-Sucking Time Of The Year…

  1. For the corporate world, it was a visit from the board of directors. We were expected to remove (illegal) boxes blocking aisles and dust off stuff that hadn’t been dusted since their last visit (isn’t that what the cleaning crew is for?). All the fun stuff came off of the employee bulletin boards and no food was allowed outside the cafeteria (we wouldn’t want the smell of tuna fish wafting around). They even expected us to remove dead poinsettias from last Christmas (isn’t that just a tad over the top?) It was always a sad day.

  2. curvyroads says:

    Me thinks another visit to the hallowed cubes of HR may be in your future 😉

  3. List of X says:

    I wonder, do these inspector walk with you to the rooms to catch what’s going on there, and do they insist that the hookers wear name tags, too.

    • The Hook says:

      1) The inspectors stay away from The Hook. (Thank God.)
      2) If they have any contact with the hookers, I don’t want to know about it… Even if this inspector happens to be female.

  4. charflew23 says:

    Are you sure the letters HR should be attached to your name? You’d be good as an HR staffer! Direct & to the point…good luck with inspections Hook!

  5. Paul says:

    Ha! Our owner and Executive used to consider themselves of the people. So when ever they came around on their unannounced tours, they would inevitably engage the employees and ask what needed to be changed – where the “problem” areas were. Ha! We. of course knew this, so in our daily production meetings, we would settle on a problem of the day and whenever the bosses came visiting everyone complained about the same thing. It had quite an impact. ha!

    Good luck Hook.

    • The Hook says:

      Thanks, Paul.
      As it runs out, the Inspector popped her head into our back room a little while ago.
      She look around – at the ceiling, no less – said “Hi!” and popped out.

      Much ado about nothing?

  6. Nothing is more fun than corporate visits. Time for all outdoor sales persons to be waaay out of sight (and if really lucky, in spot with poor cell coverage…”I can’t …sputter sputter…hear…crackle crackle…you.” Yes I knew exactly those spots. Survival skills are important. Hang in there Hook!

  7. We had the same reaction when corporate auditing decided it was time for a process inspection. Their motto, “No irregularity too small to use to screw somebody.”

  8. taj-akoben says:

    See? This is why I consider Office Space required viewing.

  9. Doug in Oakland says:

    One time, while frantically cleaning the restaurant where I worked for a Health Dept. inspection, I asked the manager if everything looking so shiny would arouse suspicions in the inspector. She said “Naw, we pay them off anyway, this is just a good excuse to do some stuff we need to do anyway…”

  10. susielindau says:

    That sounds like no fun at all! I don’t think I’ve ever been through an inspection although Roxy gives me the hairy eyeball when her dog dish is empty.

  11. We have inspections every year at my job too. I’ve been here for three years and somehow they have managed to come through my area when I’m on lunch all three years.

    I’m starting to think they don’t want me talking to the inspector….

  12. Fantastic to see that restaurants aren’t the only ones affected by this mayhem. Everyone on the “tourist” side of town in Orlando contacts each other: “Health inspector on the way.” For the sheer volume of scrambling, very few small things are fussed over (luckily for me – I guess I’ve worked in some really clean restaurants). “Quick! We need more paper towels next to that hand washing sink!” “Make sure the ice scoop isn’t left in the ice well!” “Cover those lemons!” Each of these things are sanitary issues, though surprisingly small in the grand scheme of running a restaurant, but nevertheless, it is these particular details that the management loses their damned minds over.

    The best part is the new restaurant that I recently helped open. Entire boxes full of liquor and wine in a delivery pile on the ground (this is unsanitary for some reason, as if ground bacteria could bore its way through the cardboard and then into the dense glass) – “These can’t be on the ground! We have to put them away!” What follows is a haphazard unboxing of things and putting them away counterintuitively. Then we have to reorganize them all over again, moving individual bottles as opposed to boxes of a dozen bottles. So much fun!

    This is Brantley of the Brantley Blog, by the way. Since you used to be one of my favorite followers, I wanted to tell you that I’m working on a new blog called The Story in the Frame now. It’s an artistic collaboration between myself and my girlfriend (a photographer). I write short stories about her photos. Please check it out! Hope all has been well with you!

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