To be clear, I’m all for charity; without it I’d never get lucky.
But as far as charity in society, I wholeheartedly support the concept of lifting up those who have fallen through the cracks. At one time or another we’ve all needed – and deserved – a helping hand.
Charitable initiatives that involve, say, offering steep discounts on hotel rooms/services/attractions to locals are not without their negative aspects.
To say the least.
Which is what I’m about to do. For once.
I must confess, this post has been percolating in my addled consciousness for years. It’s sat here among pitches for television shows (a chimp, who after being exposed to radioactive bananas, becomes a super genius and assumes control of a global adult film conglomerate, entitled Monkey Business) plots to get unblocked by William Shatner on Twitter (he’s going to start to need new organs sooner or later, right?) and 5×5 pitches to everyone from Jenna Jameson to anyone who has ever appeared on Murdoch Mysteries, of course.
The only reason I’ve held off publishing my thoughts on this matter is to avoid offending the individuals and organizations who work so hard all year to ensure sufficient funds are produced to support the various organizations who so desperately need them. Sadly, the number of groups who require buoying up rises sharply every year. Indeed, the divide between the Haves and Have-Nots seems greater than ever.
But I’ve been on both sides of this divide (thankfully, I’ve only done the sleeping in the car thing once) and I can honestly say I have never behaved like many of the Have-Nots I’ve served over the years during charity events. Simply because you are a local paying a discounted rate does not mean you can:
- Trash a hotel room. (The discounted rate does not mean the room itself is cheap.)
- Allow your children – even encouraging them – to run around the hotel like Tasmanian Devils on crack laced with Ajax and Red Bull.
- Walk into the lobby smelling like Snoop Dogg after a month-long bender of juice, gin and the lowest of low-end weed.
- Brawl in the room.
- Brawl in the elevators.
- Brawl in front of me.
The list goes on (never forget I’ve been in the hospitality trenches a long time) but you get the picture, right. It bears noting that most guests that take advantage of charitable deals are decent, friendly, awesome folks who realize what a phenomenal deal they’re getting.
These folks don’t tip any better (meaning not at all) than their rude brethren but at least they’re nicer. I may not like it, but I’ll certainly take the gratuity hit for a week. Unfortunately, my fellow employees (from housekeeping for example) rarely receive tips anyway so charity weeks are killers in terms of morale. All kidding aside, I’ve seen housekeepers weep like newborn babes at the very thought of the events in question.
By now you must have some questions:
- “How the hell did Trump win, Hook? Does God hate America that much?”
- “Isn’t charity a good thing in every way, Hook?”
- “Why did The Sopranos end on such an ambiguous note? It still hurts!”
- “Is this post just sour grapes, Hook?”
- Don’t kid yourself, God had nothing to do with America on Election Night…
- Charity rocks! But serving charity events isn’t all its cracked up to be. There are two sides to every coin – except in Wonderland most likely.
- David Chase obviously wanted to bitch slap millions of viewers simultaneously. Mission accomplished, Davey.
- This post is an attempt to vent my frustrations – and those of every single colleague I know – rather than having to resort to beating a guest to death with his own laundry basket.
The last thing I want to say is this: Morale is a very precarious thing in the hospitality biz. (This, of course, also applies to many places of employment such as retail and health care.) It rises and falls instantly depending on the time of year, the conference or any of a dozen factors. And so managers/owners need to pay close attention to which factors plunge their workforce’s morale into the toilet and act accordingly. I would never suggest abandoning support for charitable endeavors but issuing a check may be easier than going through the rigamarole of selling rooms dirt cheap, paying your employees to keep those rooms clean and functioning – and risking a dip in morale – then issuing a check based on the revenue raised from those rooms. I can honestly say the morale boost would offset the cost, without question.
I accepted long ago that many guests don’t consider “the help” at all; to them bellmen are invisible. But locals – especially those who dwell in what is arguably the most well-known tourist town of them all – should know better.
But bear in mind this is merely one humble bellman’s opinion.
See you in the lobby, kids…