To say a bellman has a unique relationship with money is to suggest Donald Trump has hit a few speed bumps in his first one hundred days in office.
Before I ever donned my first ill-fitted bellman uniform I knew money was important to one’s survival but it wasn’t integral to my existence. Of course, I’ve blown thousands on comics, junk food and miscellaneous crap after serious coin starting poring in from a family appliance business. (Yes, I was once on track to be the Appliance King of Niagara Falls… but the less written about that the better.) I once slept in my car (for one night, but it still counts) and I’ve left home and moved in with friends. I relied on government aid to get me through college – for a journalism degree I’ll never utilize. And finally, I moved in with my in-laws in order to save the necessary funds for invitro fertilization treatments for my lovely bride.
If my daughter ever tells me that I didn’t want her… I’ll brain the kid.
But for the most part, money was never the end-all, be-all of my existence.
Until I became a bellman, that is.
When you’re a healthy, well-adjusted human being (whatever that looks like) you equate a good day with a day filled with puppies, no lines of any sort, an easily-attained hairdo, orgasms, the usual factors.
When you’re a bellman you equate a “good day” with a profitable day.
For example, The Hook recently worked a shift that saw bankers, hockey families and a pack of young Jewish punks from Brooklyn swarm into the hotel like a horde of Walking Dead “walkers”, except they were hungry for human suffering rather than flesh. And trust me, they had their fill and then some.
The bankers cemented their standing as the cheapest sons of bitches on the planet. Collectively, they’re draining our net worth dry through service fees but when they travel, you’d think they all just declared bankruptcy. For the tenth time. I’ll never be able to wrap my egg-shaped head around the hubris; we’re talking about a segment of the population whose sole purpose is to handle, distribute and understand the role of money in civilization, so they know it’s value better than anyone, but they’re ridiculously-cheap and rude to service personnel.
As for hockey families, there are millions of them who are genuinely decent, hard-working clans who truly appreciate the efforts of working-class Joes and Janes and who tip these individuals accordingly.
Unfortunately I never encounter those people.
It is ever my fate to cross paths with the unabashedly alcoholic moms, the rage-filled dads, the kids with Red Bull screaming through their veins. These “people” have taken a beloved and iconic Canadian past-time and turned it into an excuse to rampage across the hospitality landscape, leaving a trail of devastation in their wake. For example, here are a few excerpts from that far-from-boring-but-anything-but-profitable evening:
SINGLE HOCKEY MOM: I travel to hotels all the time with tournaments! I never have to take help from a bellboy! I always lug my own stuff around!
ME: Then don’t you think you deserve a break, miss?
SHM: No! Do you?
ME: Now that I’ve met you… no.
SHM: (After pondering my words and her behavior.) All right, I guess I deserve that! Here… take a tip! It’s only two dollars so you won’t be able to buy shit with it!
Yes, I was perplexed by her single status as well. And yes, the sight of the two dollar Canadian coin she pulled from her purse made me shudder; it’s not about the size of the gratuity – until it is.
Care for another?
PACK OF JUVENILE HOCKEY PLAYERS: (As I disembark the elevator after my encounter with SHM.) He hates Mexicans!
ME: Who could hate Mexicans?
PACK: Donald Trump! He hates Mexicans! Do you hate Mexicans!
ME: Not as long as they tip me!
PACK AND THEIR PARENTS: OH!
And that brings us to the young punks from Brooklyn. Anyone who reads this blog knows I’m not anti-Semitic… I simply refuse to suffer fools gladly. That said, these young fools took forever to allow me to unload the car (as I froze in the blistering Canadian wind) and even longer to decide on a room type. Then I arrived at the room and this happened:
YOUNG BROOKLYN PUNK #1: Hey, Mr. Luggage Man! (That’s a new one. Points for originality.) Do you have a… what do you call it? A… hanging rack for the clothes?
ME: You mean a closet?
YBP #1: Yeah, yeah! I can’t believe you knew that and I didn’t! To be fair though, I can’t be expected to know that, right?
His buddies broke up at his… whatever he had, and I was far from finished.
ME: To be fair, sir, a closet isn’t exactly a Gentile creation is it? Jews have closets don’t they?
YBP #1: Uh, yeah… I guess..
And with that, he headed to the back of the room and left me standing there… tipless.
Needless to say, I didn’t file that particular memory under the Good Day File.
But mostly because I didn’t make any money.
After twenty years in the hospitality trenches I can handle pretty much anything humanity has to offer but walking though the front door with virtually nothing in my pocket after a full day’s “work”?
That just sucks.
And yes, if you’re thinking that I’ve rambled a bit.. you’d be right. But my blog, my structure – or lack thereof.
See you in the lobby, kids…