The Newlywed Game

So if you are my age or have the Game Show Network you might be familiar with the show, The Newlywed Game. The concept was to give recently married couples a series of questions about each other. The more correct answers, the more points and if you had the most points you win the game and get a prize. This was usually a vacation package (if I remember correctly). Of course, it was filled with double entendre and couples hitting each other with answer boards when they got the answers wrong.

Recently I had two couples that checked in on their honeymoons.  I will leave it to you to decide who would have won the Newlywed Game had they been on it and who you think had the best chance to actually leave Las Vegas still married.


Couple # 1 – Booked direct with the hotel, booked a mid level suite and parents came in the day before and paid for the room and security deposit. We have noted on the reservation that it is the couple’s honeymoon. Oh, they also booked 2 months in advance.

The Check -in:

A couple approaches the registration desk. They are dressed fairly casual. They are smiling and giggling at each other.

Me: Welcome to Vegas Hotel. Checking in?

Wife: Yes.

Me: Ok, I will need a credit card and your ID.  (they pass their ID) Oh, I see you are here on your honeymoon. Congratulations to you both. I have you booked into a junior suite and everything is paid for so we can get you right into your room. I am sure you have had a crazy day.

Wife: Oh it was so much fun. We got married by Elvis. We didn’t want anything fancy we just wanted to make the whole thing relaxed and have our friends with us. Tonight we are going to see LOVE! I have never been to Vegas and it is so exciting.

Husband: If I could ask, do you have any upgrades available? If not, it’s fine.

Me: Well I do have a suite with a Jacuzzi available but it would be a $40 upgrade each night.

Husband: What do you think, honey?

Wife: That would be so cool, as long as you think we can afford it.

Me: Give me a second to talk to my manager….  Ok, my manager told me to tell you congratulations and he will waive the upgrade fee for one of the nights so you can have both nights for $40.

Wife: Wow, that is so great. Thank you. We will take it.

Me: You are very welcome. Let me get our bellman to help you with your bags and you can start your honeymoon. If you need anything else, just let me know.

Husband: Thanks, man. I appreciate this.

Me: That’s what we do.


Couple #2, booked a week ago through a third party. Booked a standard room. No notification of any special requests or celebration. They are dressed very well.

Husband:  Yeah so, we just got married. What do we get?

Me: Do you have a reservation, sir?

Husband: Yes. (drops his ID and credit card on the counter)

Wife: We got married at the Chapel of the Flowers and we had all these roses…

Husband: He doesn’t want to hear about the wedding, just shut it. I got this.

Me: (to wife) sounds very pretty and congratulations to you.

Husband: Yeah so what do we get, champagne, free meal, an upgrade right?

Me: Well, sir I would be happy to get you a room with a nice view but the only suites we have would be an upcharge.

Husband: Everyone gets something in Vegas. We just got married, dude. Don’t be an asshole.

Wife: Baby, he is just doing his job.

Husband: Did I say I was handling this? Now about the room?

Me: Sir, as I was saying. I would be happy to get you a suite but it will be $40 for a jr suite or $80 for a Jacuzzi suite.

Husband: Listen, I am going to gamble so much that everything is getting comped anyway.

Me: and you can discuss that with a host at the end of your stay but right now that is the cost. I can give you a high floor with a view complimentary of the hotel.

Wife: Baby, lets just pay for the junior. I would be happy with that. I am tired and just want any room.

Husband: No, this desk jockey ain’t hearing what I am saying.

Me: Sir, I do understand but I am telling you what is available tonight for your stay. Now, I also understand you have different expectations but we just can’t meet that tonight. Would you like to upgrade?

Husband: Manager. NOW!

(so the manager talks to the guy. He gets a $20 food credit just to shut him up and he doesn’t get the upgrade… I was going to screw him on the view but I felt bad for his wife.)

Me: Would you like help with your bags?

Husband: and give this place more of my money. Screw that. You already made us late for our dinner.

(he storms off with the keys, she is almost in tears. Oh, and she is dragging the big suitcase trying to catch up with him. I imagine that their dinner was probably at a Denny’s and he would be bitching at the waitress about the quality of his pancakes in the Grand Slam special.)


Thanks for following my blog family. I appreciate you all. I still can’t believe the number of people that read this stuff.  Follow me on Twitter for my musings that aren’t big enough for a blog at @VegasHC

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Superstitious feelings

Very superstitious, writings on the wall,
Very superstitious, ladders bout’ to fall,
Thirteen month old baby, broke the lookin’ glass
Seven years of bad luck, the good things in your past

When you believe in things that you don’t understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain’t the way

 

I thought we would leave the front desk for this blog and venture into the casino. The front desk may be a great window to people watch in Las Vegas but some of the real interesting stuff happens in the casino.

I spend most of my lunch/dinner break walking around in the casino or sitting on a bench people watching. I find human behavior fascinating and some times it is weird… and sometimes there isn’t just a single word to describe it.

  • There is a guy that comes in every Thursday and plays the same machine every week. He plays $3 a spin and never sits at the machine, he dances and sings while playing it. He goes through his $100 bill and then curses and yells at the machine and storms off. I call him the Disco Inferno.

 

  • Another semi-regular is an older man I refer to as Thor. He doesn’t have long blonde hair or big muscles but you can hear him hammer the buttons on the video poker machines from 30 feet away. He has actually put a few out of commission.

 

  • We have a lady that comes in twice a month with a wad of cash. She plays blackjack. If she doubles her money she leaves or plays until she is broke. When she loses the casino usually comps her a few days, which is a good thing because she is gambling to pay for her utility bills. I have tried to explain to her that if she called the electric company and get on a payment plan they probably wouldn’t cut her power off. Of course, her response is that she would still owe half but this way she has a chance to pay the whole thing off. I guess the risk is worth the reward for her.

 

  • I have seen ladies shaking things troll dolls, bells, family pictures at the machine, but until last week I had never seen a person praying and rubbing rosary beads. Maybe God wasn’t in the sportsbook that day.

 

  • Then we have the people that eat at the machines. Eating buffalo wings while hitting those buttons and licking their fingers. I don’t even want to think of the science experiment that is happening in their mouth.

 

  • Then we have the girl that kisses the screen on every big win. I have heard of a one armed bandit and the kissing bandit but never kissing the one armed bandit. Just yuck!

 

  • One of the more annoying things is the player that ties up three machines. Purse on one chair, some other thing like a suitcase or take out bag on the other chair and they are in the middle with money in all three machines but only playing one at the time.

 

So what weird or interesting things have you seen or experienced? What superstitions do you have while gambling? I promise not to laugh… out loud.

Thanks for following the blog and my Twitter (@VegasHC). I was never a popular kid in school but you make this guy feel like a prom queen 🙂

 

You can’t handle the truth…

I think that one of the basic human flaws is not being able to admit when you are wrong. So many arguments that go on and on because no one can admit fault.  I’m not sure if it is out of embarrassment or pride or being too stubborn. I think for a recent guest is was probably all those reasons and maybe some mommy issues as well.


 

Guy with his 2 buddies are walking up to the desk with beers in hand and testosterone dripping down their legs.

Guest: I just made a reservation for tonight on wholesale.com.  The name is Jim Jagoff.

Me: Sir, I see the reservation but it appears to be made for the 24th.

JJ: No, I made it for today.

Me: Sir, here is the printout for your reservation you made. It’s for next week. You can call wholesale.com and see if they can change the date to today.

JJ: Oh, I didn’t make the mistake, they made the mistake, they changed the date after I made it.

Me: Did you make it online or call the reservation in.

JJ: on their website but they changed it.

(now after standing in front of this guy for 2 minutes I can see how someone might want to screw him over but no one changed any dates but here he is calling them on his phone. He is now pacing around the lobby and cursing at a Spinal Tap 11 volume. He is now on his way back to me even though I am with another guest.)

JJ: They are playing stupid about changing the date but they are not going to do this to me.

Me: Yes sir, but could you please watch the language around the other guests.

JJ: Whatever, just do your job and I’ll take care of this.

(I was trying to do my job but I keep getting interrupted by an asshole. Mr. Funtime Happyhour is back and apparently his reservation is now fixed.)

Note: the following conversation was about a 10th of the tirade he laid on me and less racially offensive. I spent a long time thinking about whether to use all the language he did but I just can’t. Me, using the words here wouldn’t make him more of an asshole and I don’t think makes this post any more valuable.

JJ: They said they fixed it but I had to pay more money for tonight. Can you believe that. Those gutless pussies are making me pay for this shit. Well, I am going to have the last word. Typical call center bullshit. They don’t even live in this country and they think they know how it works here. Get this, he said his names was Brian, more like Brianhisnaruto. All those… (ok now picture me cringing as he attempts to describe his take on the Indian people… and 2 minutes later.)

Me: Ok sir, I just need to get a credit card to charge the resort fee and security deposit.

JJ: They didn’t tell me anything about that, let me call them back.

Me: Sir, just let me finish the check in and you can call them back after that. You can’t get your room without paying those fees, no matter what they say.

JJ: Piece of shit, bitch face crooks. How do any of you stay in business?

(well because everyone pays those fees and most people actually read what they are signing or paying for but hey, we can’t all be this guy.)

Me: I’m not sure, sir. I just do as am I told. I am essentially just a talking puppet who lives to serve you in hopes that I will get a nod of acceptance and that you will not put a curse on me.

(ok, so maybe I just thought most of that).


 

Well, the three of them went off to their room to probably compare their “luggage” and long distance pissing contests. Oh, and because I know it is on your mind, yes I did give them a room right above the air conditioning unit, next to the elevator. No comment on if they got an unscheduled wake up call.


 

Life is Beautiful weekend is coming up. Let’s remember that Life is actually Beautiful and also precious. Be safe if you are coming to the festival. Don’t leave drinks unattended, stay in groups and remember that sometimes what happens in Vegas sometimes leads to a lifetime of bad memories and therapy. It could also end up worse. This great city has a penchant for inviting the dregs or society to it’s front door. Please don’t be a victim.

 

Twitter: @VegasHC

 

You can’t always get what you want…

but if you don’t plan ahead, you get what you book.

I am not sure whether it was in my Q&A post or if it was during my conversation with VegasFanboy but I remember saying that if your vacation depends on a certain type of room make sure you book that kind of room. Apparently this guest didn’t get that message.


Guest: I want room type A on a high floor.

Me: Your booking is for room type C and the best I can do right now is a mid level floor. If you need a higher floor it will probably be another hour before those rooms are clean.

Guest: but I always get room type A.

Me: Let me pull up your past reservations…. Yes, it seems that the last 3 times you were here, you booked a type A room twice and the other time you were upgraded to a room type A because we were oversold on room type C. If you want a room type A then you would need to pay a $25 per night upgrade charge.

Guest: but why should I pay an upgrade charge for a room I always get?

Me: because you didn’t book that type of room.

Guest: I am not following you.

(I casually smile, take a deep breath and bang my head against the desk)

Me: You see, when you make a reservation for a room, you select a room type. We reserve that room type for you. If we oversell that room type you can get a free upgrade. Tonight, we have not oversold the room type YOU selected, so unless you pay an upgrade you are in that room.

(so they end up speaking to the manager and I begin to check in the next guest. The manager sides with me and sends them on their way. Of course, at the same time they are leaving the desk, I am giving directions to a room type A room to the couple I am now checking in. They leave the desk and the other guest comes back at me.)

Guest: So how much did they pay for their room?

Me: Ma’am, I am not going to give any information to you about another guest.

Guest: I bet you gave them my room.

Me: Ma’am, it would be impossible for me to give them your room because they booked a different room type than you. A room type that you can have for an upgrade charge or again, by actually booking that type of room.

(she storms off)


 

I think it might be time for another Q & A, so send in your questions as a comment on this post and I will put something together in a couple days.

Twitter: @VegasHC1

 

Where did he go wrong?

You know those visual puzzles were they show two very similar pictures were there are differences in the second one and you have to find all the differences?

Today, I am asking you, the readers to count the errors that this guest made throughout their stay.

The Check In Process

(Let’s call the guest AYM for Angry Young Man: sorry, Styx, if I am infringing on a copyright on your song Fooling Yourself)

Me: Welcome to XYZ Hotel. Could I see your identification and credit card, please.

AYM: (Tossing the identification on the counter) I already paid for the room on website.com.

Me: Yes sir, but I will still need a credit card for the resort fee and security deposit.

AYM: What is this security deposit? It wasn’t listed on the website.

Me: It is to cover any incidentals during your stay. It will be refunded back to you after you check out if nothing is damaged or charged to your room.

AYM: Yeah, I’m not paying that.

Me: I can’t check you in without paying that. It is a mandatory credit hold.

AYM: It wasn’t listed on my reservation.

Me: Sir, I am sorry but it if you look at your confirmation you will see it listed at the bottom.

AYM: You are really going to stick with this, huh? Well that’s ok, I have lawyers and I will sue you and website,com and next time I am here it will be all comped because I will own part of this place, this is bullshit. (throws credit card on the counter).

Me: Thank you

AYM: It’s bad enough I have had to wait for the last 3 hours to check in. I’ve been here since 11am.

Me: I am sorry about that but check in time actually doesn’t start for another hour but I do have a clean room for you now.

AYM: I don’t care what your check in time is. My reservation is for Tuesday and this is Tuesday.

Me: Here are your keys, sir. Enjoy your stay.

The Stay

(15 minutes after check in, the guest returns to the front desk)

AYM: You gave me a bad key. Only one of the keys work. This is a great inconvenience.

Me: Sorry sir, I will make you another one.

AYM: Is it that hard to make a key for the correct room?

Me: I apologize sir, occasionally we get a bad key. Here is your new key.

AYM: Yeah, I am sure it is a “bad key”

(Yeah, I purposely gave this asshat a bad key because I enjoy him so much.)


(later in the day we get a call to the front desk)

AYM: I called housekeeping 10 minutes ago for another blanket for this icebox you stuck me in and they haven’t brought it yet.

Me: I am sure they are on their way but I will call and make sure there isn’t an issue.

AYM: Is there anyone that actually works in your hotel?


The Check Out

(apparently sometime during the night, AYM called and asked for a late check out and was denied because we needed the room. It is now 3pm and he has been called several times that he needs to check out or he will be charged for another night. AYM, of course, is abusive to the clerk and manager who has been calling the room. Security is called. 15 minutes later, AYM is storming to the front desk followed by security. He wants to talk to the manager because security has manhandled him. He conveniently ignores the fact that he has attempted to punch our security guards, including a female guard.)

Me: (attempting to stall) Yes sir, let me see if the manager is available.

( I look up the notes on the reservation and see that the manager has written on the file about everything that has happened and that the police have actually been called. Luckily, Metro shows up in the lobby just as AYM is starting to get abusive to me. Apparently, he believes that someone entered his room while he was sleeping and stole one of his bags. He seems happy that Metro is here because he can press charges against security and the hotel. I am sure he was surprised when they cuffed him and escorted him out of the building.)

 

BTW if you are not following me on Twitter, please do. I often tweet about little work stories that don’t make it to the blog. My handle is @VegasHC and as always, thanks for reading.

The Hazards of Wholesale

I understand the idea of saving money. I try to save as much as I can. I am a pretty simple guy. Give me a big TV, a laptop and quality internet and I am pretty much a happy guy. There are a few things that I splurge on because quality and satisfaction are important with those things. I don’t buy cheap cigars, I don’t buy my steaks at Walmart and I don’t buy Boone’s Farm when I want a bottle of wine. I want what I want and I am willing to splurge on those things. I recognize the difference.

When you travel to Las Vegas what is important to you? Do you want a specific room in a specific hotel or do you want a cheap deal? If you want the cheap deal, great, go with a wholesaler. They do what they do, they get you a cheaper room. If you want something specific and are willing to spend a little extra money for it, then do it.

I did a small sampling this past week on check-ins from wholesalers this week. The results are by no means a accurate portrayal of what happens every day or week but it is a trend that I see. Also remember that I have no idea if some of these errors are guest error or wholesaler error but it still is significant.

  • 15% of the guests got the wrong type of room booked for them.
  • 25% claim that the wholesaler never told them about the security deposit or they couldn’t find it in the small print.
  • An airline and a travel agent never sent us the actual reservation so the guest showed up without a reservation.
  • 6 guests had their reservations cancelled by the wholesaler because their credit card declined but never contacted the guest to tell them.

Now I realize that means that the majority of times they got it right but no one cares when it goes right. The issue is when it goes wrong. Do you want to be one of those people when it comes to check in?

The wholesaler just wants to sell the room and get their money. That is when their transaction ends. Not yours. If your reservation depends on saving some money on the hotel, by all means, do that but please, follow up on the reservation. Call the hotel and find out about what room you have or if there are any fees at check in. Make sure any additional people that will be on the room are listed on the room. If you get delayed and someone else is staying in the room might get there before you, they can’t check in if they aren’t on the room.

Also remember that we, at the hotel, can’t change a 3rd part reservation. If you find out that the wholesaler has done something wrong, you will need to call them back. I know, it is a pain, why can’t we do it? They have the information on the reservation, if we change something then our records don’t match and getting payments and commissions will get screwed up.

Oh, and if saving money is an issue and you are gambling, guess what can be done on a reservation done through the hotel. We can comp it or we can discount it. We can’t do that with a wholesaler. They have your money, we don’t.

If you are willing to spend the money, book direct with the hotel. If you need to get the discounted rate, book with the wholesaler but do your follow up.

 

Who’s on first?

I was introduced to classic comedy from a series of cassette tapes in my Grandpa’s den. He had a series of tapes that featured Red Buttons, Red Skelton, Sid Caesar, Lilly Tomlin and my favorite comedy routine, “Who’s on First” by Abbott and Costello. If you don’t know the routine please look it up. I will wait for you.

Welcome back, funny right?

I have always thought about doing stand up comedy but I never realized that I was going to be straight man to a drunk lady doing a version of “Who’s on First” at a hotel.


 

(A lady in her mid 20’s walks up to the desk. She is obviously drunk and seems panicked)

Drunk Guest: I really need some help.

Me: Yes ma’am, how can I help.

DG: I don’t know where I am going?

Me: Where are you supposed to be?

DG: My friend told me to meet her at Hotel XYZ.

Me: Ok, well you are at Hotel XYZ.

DG: but I don’t know where to go.

Me: Did your friend tell you what part of the hotel to meet you at?

DG: Yes, she said to come here but she isn’t here.

Me: She told you to come to the front desk?

DG: Yes… no… she said I need to go to the restaurant.

Me: Which restaurant?

DG: The restaurant.

Me: We have different restaurants.

DG: I think it was the (non-identified) restaurant.

Me: Ok. I can show you how to get there. Go this way and then that way and it will be on the left.

DG: Thank you.

(10 minutes later, she is back)

DG: I’m lost.

Me: Was your friend not there?

DG: I asked the girl there where I should go and they sent me here.

Me: What did you tell her?

DG: I told her I was meeting my friend at the front desk.

Me: I thought you told me you were meeting her at the restaurant.

DG: Yes.

Me: Then why did you tell the restaurant you were meeting your friend at the front desk.

DG: She wasn’t there.

Me: did she call you and tell you to meet her here.

DG: Yes, she told me to meet her at Hotel XYZ.

Me: Yes, and then you told me she was at that restaurant.

DG: Yes.

Me: Then why did you come back to the front desk.

DG: I’m confused.

Me: So am I. Did she call you or send a text or e-mail.

DG: She sent me a text.

Me: Have you tried to call her?

DG: There was no answer.

Me: Can I see the text?

DG: Sure, here it is.

Me: Ma’am, it says to meet her by the cage.

DG: Cage? What is that? I thought she said cafe so I figured it was a restaurant.

Me: Let me get a security guard to walk you over to that cashier cage.

DG: Ok, thank you.

(Who’s on first, what’s on second, I don’t know, front desk.)


 

I missed a question on the Q&A so I promised I would cover it here. It is a difficult one because it asks me to stereotype, which I hate doing but I will do my best.

Is there a city, state or country that produces less polite and more polite customers than others?

In general, I really enjoy checking in people from Great Britain and Canada. They just seem really patient and are happy to just be in Las Vegas. I would say that a very minimal percentage are problem guests.

Most foreign guests are great to deal with but sometimes the language barrier is a tough one to deal with. I know some French and Spanish so I try my best.

Midwest, middle aged to seniors are mostly a great experience. They are the ones that give me the most warm fuzzies.

The guests that I have had the most difficulty and it still happens rarely would fall into three groups.

  • Locals who think they should be treated differently because they aren’t tourists. They want discounts, they want special treatment just for the fact that they live here. Don’t like it? Go home.
  • Young guys from California. They are here to gamble, go clubbing and pick up women and they couldn’t care less about listening to what I am saying about security deposits or that they booked a room with one bed for 4 guys. I can guarantee I am getting a callback from the room about what was just charged or the type of room they get.
  • This one is not region specific but definitely has a southern tilt. The (usually) woman who has booked the cheapest room she can find and then complains about how the room is not up to her standard but when asked what she thought she was getting, has no idea what the different room types are. This usually ends up being about getting a food comp or something for free. It rarely has to do with the actual room.

There have been very few guests that I would not want to see again. In the last few months I would say maybe 3-4. In general, most people are either a great check in or at minimum not very memorable. The memorable ones either make me smile or get written about here and the big assholes are usually a faded memory a few days later.

 

Again, thanks for reading. I appreciate it.