Money, money, money…

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!


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…

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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33 Responses to Money, money, money…

  1. Wealthy people are often the worst tippers. That’s how they stay rich. Meanwhile, my wife and I throw money we can’t afford to part with at “the help” all the time because we’ve both been/are the help ourselves. Guess if you’ve never had to work for tips, you just don’t get it.

  2. We have dinner with our extremely wealthy neighbors. It’s embarrassing. First time we went out together he told my husband that to figure the tip you take the sales tax (6%) and times it by 2. That’s 12%! Restaurant tipping in our area is 20% unless something really sucks. After that experience, my husband grabs the check, calculates everything out and tells him what he owes. I don’t expect bellmen would fare better with him either.

  3. Here in the UK most customers calculate a gratuity tip at 10% of the bill. Hubby and I always round it up to the nearest full pound and give it to the person who served us in cash rather than have it added to our bill. Sometimes we can’t really afford it, but we still try to show our appreciation, even if it is just a thank you and have a nice day.

  4. Rosemary says:

    Oh, man. More of the “I’ve got mine. You don’t have yours. Too bad.”

    As a consumer I don’t think I should have to pay the wages of another man’s employees. The cheap SOB should pay a fair wage, and not turn his/her employees into beggars. But, that’s not going to happen any time soon. So, since my husband and I have had our fair share of scratching the bottom of the heap, we always tip because we understand that’s often what makes the difference between nothing, Ramen, or some kind of protein that’s chewable.

    Our son-in-law delivers pizza part-time in addition to his full time job. Those tips have purchased many a box of diapers, jars of baby food, shoes, clothing, and on and on. I hate it when people look down on the service industry. Maybe they need to run out of toilet paper in their hotel bathrooms more often. Or, you could do what I did to a man I detested: Put deer pee scent in their hotel shampoo. 🙂

  5. davidprosser says:

    Bankers think money is made round to circulate…………round their pockets. Notes are there to keep their wallets rigid.I hope you have a good week,

  6. Nice BLOG!!! ADD my BLOG too!!! Kisses!!!

  7. You know how it is said that the main office knows who the best teachers are (the teacher who can reach the most difficult students and does their best to do so) – and once they identify said teachers the principals send ALL their problem kids that direction.
    It’s beginning to sound like same is true for bellmen (or all the others beside you duck quickly under cover when they see weird- leaving you standing there alone with the Rollie cart…)

  8. Every day I go to a small cafe for a mug of tea to drink while I read my paper. The tea is good, and costs a mere £1 for a mug. I ALWAYS tip. Always.
    I don’t get people who don’t tip. Unles they’ve had really shit service of course. That’s really rare though.

  9. Brings me back Hook. I spent years waiting tables at Red Lobster to save up for medical school (Then Uncle Sam ended up picking up this tab anyway). Loved it. Hated it. Still remember a few “tips” that you might relate to:

    “Hey kid, here’s your tip: “Don’t eat the yellow snow” ” and one I STILL don’t really understand, “Don’t pet the burning dog.”

  10. I remember watching DT (yes the president) on a talk show years ago bragging how he never carries money because when he walks in to a restaurant they are sooooo honored to have him there the meal is on the house. My FIRST thought was “you don’t carry tip cash?”
    WHO DOESN’T CARRY TIP CASH?! Unfortunately, you answered my question.

  11. curvyroads says:

    People who don’t tip are disgusting…I have to believe that karma will one day settle the score with the disgusting.

  12. Tara says:

    Tipping is a slippery slope. The ones that really burn my toast are those who leave my bar to seat at their table, transfer their tab and leave… NOTHING. Doesn’t happen that often. I love catering weddings though, especially the open bar weddings… those guests will hand you a fistful of cash because they’re so happy they don’t pay for their alcohol.

  13. The only saving grace on the banker situation is those guys are miserable. I have never met a happy banker yet. If they are a rich one, they think everyone’s after their money. If they are a working stiff banker (vice president) they want to be rich. Either way there is no satisfaction. Good post Hook.

  14. I couldn’t help but think of you last weekend while I was traveling Robert. We went to San Antonio to stay on the Riverwalk for hubby’s birthday. It was beautiful weather, great food and all was right with the world until we got back to our hotel room and discovered a) the room had not been cleaned and it was 3:00 in the afternoon b) my phone charger was missing out of the drawer next to the bed. I WAS IRATE! But I called the front desk and she put me through to the manager. He sent security to my room. Security gal was great. She used her machine and found out someone had indeed been in our room while we were gone and they knew whose key had been used. The maid had left it on her cart on the floor while everyone was at lunch…that was when someone used it to get into the room. It was not her but she got into big trouble, possibly fired, but I can’t help that. Someone was in my room and went through my things. It wasn’t WHAT they took, it was the fact that they were in there to specifically steal. Thank God my real valuables were in the safe. Going forward, the security gal said she would work up an incident report and will send me a copy and give one to the hotel manager. Someone should call me to follow up. Well… I have called everyday this week and left a message and NO ONE has called me. I am so pissed. I have been really nice about it up to this point, but that manager will be getting a piece of my mind today! Grrrr.. Needless to say we didn’t leave a tip…. :-/

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