What’s The Hook Thinking? (Spoiler Alert: It May Not Be Worth Your Time.)

Well, readers, it’s Sunday afternoon and I’m in the lobby, post-check-out, in Niagara Falls.


And just like Billy Murray in Groundhog Day, I can’t escape the feeling I’ve been here before… and that I certainly will be again. This winter has been particularly tough on the bellmen, as tips have been as plentiful as a straight answer from Trump’s mouthpiece Sarah Sanders. Granted, there have been a few calls to put a little coin in our pockets, but most calls unfold like this:

And no, this is not a classic case of yours truly embellishing a situation for dramatic and comedic effect; this guy was a DJ who considered himself a high-rolling spinner of tunes and sounds.

But nothing could have been further from the truth. The again, truth is subjective, isn’t it? Especially these days. The President of the United States thinks he’s got everything under control, Kevin Spacey most likely thinks he’s a victim, Hollywood thinks they can erase decades of abuse by letting a few people with girl parts hand out awards and the Kardashians still think they’re not a scourge upon this planet. This is the age of the self-written narrative, my friends, and we’re supposed to accept everything we see and read as fact.

Personally, I’m a cynic at heart. I prefer cold hard facts over third-party accounts. That said, I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt to the victims in the #MeToo movement sweeping the entertainment and political machines right now… I just pray no one is abusing this situation to enact revenge on those they feel has wronged them. And that’s all I have to say about that, especially since this topic is a minefield and I prefer my body parts remain attached to my skeleton.

But getting back to the lobby, post-check-out frenzy, there were over nine hundred rooms leaving the hotel today. That translates out to thousands of warm bodies and tens of thousands of pieces of luggage, including pillows, booze, extra winter wear, coolers and assorted modern travel items like video equipment, bedding with Velcro sex straps and things I don’t even want to think about.

And yet, there were fourteen luggage calls for four bellmen to share.

Just let that soak in for a moment. I know I had to when I consulted the figures.

Many of my fellow employees at the hotel have falsely assumed that the bellmen are at the top of the food chain when it comes to gratuities. If only it were so. No, I’m afraid that honor goes to the servers; those buggers can make some serious coin. But even they’re hurting this winter.

The truth is, travelers t Niagara Falls have never been as hostile, or as unbelievably-cheap, as they have been these last few years. The Summer of 2017 not only took one of my best friends with it, it showed me the value of saving your pennies whenever you can. Sure, you have to unwind and live in the moment as much as possible, but you can’t let all that living leave you so broke you consider adding Fancy Feast to Meatloaf Monday.

I’ve tried to offset my losses at work by investing in the stock market for the first time. I recently broke open the piggy bank and bought some weed stock as well as some other acquisitions.

And then the stock market tumbled on Friday.

How do you think I’m feeling about my decision now?

At ant rate, I’ve veered off into Ramble Town so I think it’s time to go. I have a whole lot of nothing to bet back to.

See you in the lobby, kids…


If only I could live a version of this moment over and over…

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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27 Responses to What’s The Hook Thinking? (Spoiler Alert: It May Not Be Worth Your Time.)

  1. I only pressed like to show you that I commiserate with your situation. Hospitality can so easily become the Hostility industry. xx

  2. davidprosser says:

    Plenty of time for your acquisitions to pick up Robert. I’m sitting here fingers crossed to endure it, either that or I’ll ask a girlfriend to dance naked round a tree in the garden as a spell to get the tight beggars to tip more often. (Don’t see why I can’t get something out of it too so I’ll watch).
    Take care of yourself

  3. Doug in Oakland says:

    Having been a line cook for a decade or so, I feel you on the tipping thing. At the last restaurant I worked in, the servers were top-flight, and they tipped out to the kitchen, so even when my whole paycheck went to the rent and bills, I still had a few dollars at the end of the night to make it through.
    Also, I invested in weed a couple of times when I lived in Humboldt County, but all of my earnings from it went up in smoke…

  4. Marion Hardy says:

    It has been a hard and mean winter so far Robert. I can’t change the rotten behaviour if the travelling public but have been in the stock market for awhile now and I have learned not to look day to day and take the long view. It usually works out ok but Trump World is a crazy place. Sending you a warm hug my friend.

  5. Theresa says:

    Hook, what cheap people! I have never understood why people don’t tip. It’s mind blowing especially when someone has to bust their butts with your baggage. I hope it gets better!

  6. curvyroads says:

    My friend, what you are thinking is always worth our time.
    Signed, your faithful blog friends

    PS, I am so sorry that the average visitor to your hotel is a cheap asshat. All I can say is they must be trumpers…

    • The Hook says:

      That make sense.
      But don’t worry too much about me, my mortgage papers have been burned and my bills are paid.
      Now if I could only get my kid to stop growing…

  7. Kevin says:

    Sorry to hear times are tough. However, with your awesome blog writing, the money will start to flow in!

  8. Is that weed stock as in what I think it is? Can’t see that market bottoming out any time soon.

  9. People who do not treat those who serve really are the bottom of the barrel so to speak. You deserve better… chin up Robert! I think 2018 will be a better year! 😚

  10. Hook, you are in an impossible position. Niagara has put the prices so high for everything people are feeling ripped off and cheated and unfortunately they are taking it out on people like you who work and freeze your ass off for a living. We frequently stay overnight for various reasons and always feel like I have been ripped off. But we always make a point of having at least some fives on hand for everyone from the doorman to the chamber maid. We were just there overnight on Tuesday. I thought it would be fun to stay in The Tower Hotel because, well I remember it when it was Seagrams Tower and the highest thing in Niagara Falls. I was curious how they made it into a hotel. It was a rip off from beginning to end but the staff was excellent and we had the doorman hold our car (they park it off site somewhere and then bus you over to get it) so that we could come back drive to the bank and get some cash so we could tip him. You guys work way to hard to for people to not realize you are not the ones reaping the rewards.

  11. Hold on to the weed stock. Might be the only thing on the upswing for a while.

  12. dianaepona says:

    People have just gotten ugly since Trump took office. Say what you will, I really believe that — and have experienced it first hand. That being said, I have also noted that when people visit an expensive spot, they feel justified in not tipping much, or in not tipping at all. They didn’t come prepared to spend all the money they end up spending, so the people at the bottom of the totem poll end up getting screwed. Why? Oh, I think some believe that the waiters and bellmen and the like will get plenty from other people so not getting it from said tightwad won’t matter. What they don’t realize is that it’s not just them who is blowing off the nice person lugging their crap around. The service industry has never been easy. Been there, done that. I’ve been called every name in the book, and even some that landed in the editor’s trash can. It can be demeaning. Bless you for trying to find the humor in it, because some times that’s the only damned thing that can salve one’s wounded pride and ego, and bind up a wounded soul. Take care.

  13. Dave Ply says:

    Could be fewer folks are carrying cash these days. Maybe what you need is an App that allows folks to tip you from their phone.

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