The Bellman Chronicles Revisited.

I haven’t written much about my life in the hospitality trenches lately so here’s a brief look into my world.

As a bellman I have one goal to achieve while I’m on a call (in lay terms that refers to serving a guest, not yakking on a squawk box) and that’s to get the “prize”.

First prize is that oh-so-sweet cash in your hand. We’re talking cold hard Canadian currency in a handful of colors, or even some dead American presidents if you’re partial to those. To be clear, if you’re a bellman you have to be willing to fight for that prize.

The truth is, guests don’t want to give you their money. They have better things to spend it on than give it to some schmuck in a uniform that looks like it was designed by Stevie Wonder. Booze, overpriced hotel rooms, gas for  that leased car they can’t afford, ex-spouses, rambunctious kids, cocaine, legalized Canadian weed, the list goes on. So you have to charm the pants off these mothers (and fathers) and make them love you long enough to hand that cheddar over.

And make no mistake, they have that cheese. Oh sure, they may claim they’re tapped out but only a complete tool walks around on vacation without some cash in their pocket. So the cash is there.

Are you gonna take it? Are you bellman enough to take it? If you are, then you get that first prize and you walk away feeling like you just had coitus in the back of a Buick on prom night with that girl in high school who put the “head” in “head cheerleader”.

Yeah, I suck at the dirty writing. Shut up.


Second prize is that one breakfast food all bellman loathe, the bagel. In my world a “bagel” refers to what happens when a good-for-nothing, soulless son of a bitch guest doesn’t hand over the gratuity. It can be used in a sentence such as:

“That prick in 3201 from Jersey with the halitosis, the succubus wife and the three kids that scream like howler monkeys getting a prostate exam from a leper with fingernails that have never been trimmed just gave me a bagel! Somebody get me his home address… I’m telling ICE he’s employing undocumented workers!”

Fun Fact: I’ve given this exact speech more than once.

Third prize is you’re fired. Actually that’s not true, but a bellman that can’t close the deal and walk away with that money doesn’t need to be fired, he’ll quit sooner or later.

So in my world I need to be the smartest guy in the hotel room or I walk away with shit.

Another Fun Fact: I once worked with a young black man who, after loading up his inaugural car on the valet deck during check-out time waved at me as we were both heading back to our luggage storage room. We were separated by thirty feet, the deck was jammed, there were valet drivers, doormen and guests all over and when I yelled over to him, “How’d your first call go?” His response, first uttered almost twenty years ago, still reverberates in my consciousness:

“Man, those people didn’t give me shit!”

Fortunately, the male guest hadn’t gotten into his car yet and actually heard his bellman’s response, and knowing everyone else did too, the asshat in question felt obligated to hand over that tip.

Always be closing, kids.

See you in the lobby, friends…

Image result for glengarry glen ross alec baldwin gifs

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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11 Responses to The Bellman Chronicles Revisited.

  1. Mark Myers says:

    ABC…Always Be Closing.

  2. I started my business career in sales. Always be closing is the best advice for a beginner and will serve one well in the future.

  3. Doug in Oakland says:

    I could never sell a damn thing. I did work a couple of jobs where I got tips, though, but those tips weren’t a major part of my compensation.
    When I was a line cook, the wait staff tipped out to the kitchen, and the quality of the food I made did impact the tips the servers got (along with its accuracy and promptness) and those tips could tide you over if your bills ate your whole paycheck, which at $9/hr they often did.
    And when I did home delivery of furniture and appliances some of the customers would tip us, especially if the delivery was complicated or difficult, but it wasn’t the norm.
    One of our drivers kept an envelope on his clipboard with “tips” written on it in black marker to sort of remind customers that tipping was an option, but I don’t know whether he got more tips because of it or not.
    I just figured that if I was decent and helpful to the customers, they might want to show their appreciation if they could.

  4. Again.. no one appreciates people in the service industry. I always tip unless I get attitude. I may still tip but it won’t be generous because I understand bad days. Just don’t take it out on the people you are serving (not that you would do that) but servers certainly can.. and DO!
    BUT showing a little kindness to that person can make all the difference in the world to both them and you. Case in point… we went to dinner with some friends one night and the young lady who was supposed to clean off our table was obviously stressed. She wasn’t snarky or hateful but it was clear she was having a bad night. We noticed and talked about it as she walked away with the dirty dishes before returning to take our order. So we started talking to her… asked her name (always a plus) then asked her how she was. I swear she almost started crying. She just shook her head and said “I’m fine” because I don’t think she knew we meant it. Then my hubby said, “You seem a little stressed, are you really fine?” She informed us that the table before us had stiffed her completely on a tip. This was Outback with 4 people. That was easily over $100 so that meant at least $20 she should have received. WOW! That’s cold! Turned out she was a single mom and this was 8PM on a Sat night. She was working instead of being home with her kiddos. The guy with us is a pastor and he asked her if there was anything we could pray for her… she said there was and gave us a small list. (I know that is going above and beyond and not a regular habit) but we got the best service we have had in ages that night and changed the attitude of a sweet young lady who probably gave great service to everyone else for the night (You’re welcome)
    It takes just a small amount of effort to be kind. You never know what someone is going through. ❤

  5. curvyroads says:

    I hate people who don’t tip. 😢

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