People often have one question after reading this blog for the first time, can you guess what it is?
No, It’s not, “Why the hell didn’t I just log onto Redtube and watch Mercedes Carrera do… anything rather than look at this dreck?” or “There has to be a new cat video up on YouTube by now, right?”
Nice try, friends, but we all know the obvious query that springs to mind after reading of my misadventures in the hospitality trenches…
“How the hell does The Hook get away with being The Hook?”
Well, to be absolutely honest… I have absolutely no idea.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I do get away with being my open, brutally-honest, take-no-effin-prisoners-self, but I can’t tell you how exactly the noose never finds its way around my neck. There are a few simple rules that make up my personal code of conduct that I’ll happily share some of them with you now if you like…
You’re good with that? No wonder we get along so well.
ONE) Never curse at a guest. Of course, if the guest is already indulging in the language of potty mouth, there is some flexibility to be exercised. But you have to be certain (I mean dead certain) the traveler in question will be cool with it. Ultimately, it’s a judgement call, which brings us to my next rule…
TWO) Always keep your “guestdar” in tip-top shape! Without my ability to gauge a guest’s sense of humor I’d be lost. Seriously, I’d have been fired nineteen years ago if I just shot my Canadian mouth off at any traveler that crossed my path. Any bellman worth his salt can tell you whether a guest is thick-skinned enough to handle an offbeat comment or two.
And incidentally, those offbeat comments can make all the difference in the world; seasoned travelers deal with the same old chit chat from hotel staff all the time and as you can imagine, they get bored pretty damn quick. But how often do such guests deal with a bellman who is willing to go the extra mile off the beaten path and take things up a notch or ten?
Or for that matter, how often do such guests deal with a bellman named The Hook? There are plenty of Roberts out there in cheap uniforms… but there’s only one Hook, baby.
And by the way, my wife likes it that way – but that’s another matter entirely.
THREE) When necessary, be a chameleon. If I deal with a drunken hardcore gambler I’m not going to grab a bottle of hooch from the bar and start chugging it back… but I am going to let the lush rant and rave for a few minutes.
I’ll take the lewd comments, eye assaults and the odd butt grab from cougars – and let them think I like ’em – if it keeps them happy.
Get the point, friends? The best thing a bellman can do for his guest is eliminate the “Us vs. Them” mentality that often dominates most guest/worker relations. People rarely rat out one of their own to management. Let a traveler know you’re one of them and you’ll be golden.
The obvious exception being Klansmen or Trump supporters, of course.
I hate those guys.
FOUR) I actually hold back! Yes, I realize you’ve just spit out your coffee (again) but it’s true. In the twenty years (almost) that I’ve been a bellman the traveling public has gone from perturbed to openly hostile. Guests indulge in public behavior that would’ve been unthinkable a few years ago.
And there’s not a damn thing anyone can – or is willing to – do about it. I push back as much as I can without actually throttling anyone but there are limits I need to respect. Especially since I’ve grown rather fond of eating on a daily basis and having a roof over my egg-shaped head. And so I hold the best insults – and my rage – in until they dissipate. Incidentally, I sometimes have to do the same thing when dealing with my fellow employees and managers – and it sucks.
And there you have it, a brief look at my working code of ethics. Admittedly, this isn’t my best work (I’m still dealing with more baggage than a guy who actually gets paid to deal with baggage) but I hope you found it both entertaining and enlightening.
See you in the lobby, kids…