Passive Aggressive and Guilt

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Generic's picture
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Okay, so I have a guest who calls me and emails me from within my own home. (To be honest, this is what I expect of a teenager, not an adult, but I digress.)

The email last night certainly seemed passive agressive and guilt ridden, only... I'm not buying. I served an omelet yesterday. They had issue with a spice that they hadn't told me about. They didn't immediately make me aware, so that I could prepare a replacement, they decided to eat it, in it's entirety, instead. And then send me a note about how the issue.... half a day later! I keep on getting an ever changing list of dietary constraints

Seriously... this is an ADULT. Did I put a gun to their head and force them to eat? I'm not sure what to make of this or if this is some sort of psychological mind game that they are playing. Anyone else ever have to deal with this?

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Aussie Innkeeper's picture
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 If someone leaves you a $3 tip, do you take that as an insult? 

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gillumhouse's picture
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I so rarely get a tip that whatever is nice. But yes, I would think they were abit cheap OR that was all they had in small bills. There is no way I would leave a $50 tip and there have been times that was the smallest bill I had - not on urpose, just neglected to get change because I did not realize that was the smallest bill..

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Aussie Innkeeper wrote:

 If someone leaves you a $3 tip, do you take that as an insult? 

Having worked in a hotel as a housekeeper, weeks can go by with no tips.  Then we can get a good spurt where we get a lot of tips (summer people seem to be more generous from what I experienced).  $2, $3, and $5 seem to be the norm.  One stay over guest left me $3 per night which was appreciated.  My highest tip was $25 dollars and they told the front desk that they were very pleased with my service ... needless to say I was thrilled Smiling

 

Breakfast Diva's picture
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I wouldn't consider it an insult. I think that a lot of folks leave something like that for housekeeping in a hotel.

I was floored today when I found a $20 tip left in the room from guests that I just couldn't connect with. Her favorite phrase was "can I request...."  I guess they enjoyed their stay more than I thought they did. Most PITAs don't know they're PITAs so they never tip.

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Aussie Innkeeper wrote:

 If someone leaves you a $3 tip, do you take that as an insult? 

I need some context here. Did the guest stay for a week? A night? A weekend? Was the room refreshed everyday? Assuming you did nothing extra for the guest as you don't mention any extras, your $3 is $3 more than we ever get. So, no, I wouldn't be insulted by it. I might think it was a little cheap had they been there for a week. But we've had more guests leave nothing after a week's stay than leave $3.

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Generic's picture
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Sometimes all they leave is their local change. Now, leaving a single penny, that has a special significance in this country. Me, though, doesn't bother. I just figure they just had a local penny. Of course that won't last long, they are phasing out the penny.

Generic's picture
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Not at all. Even a penny. I assume it's all they had.

Generic's picture
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I tried, maybe stupidly, to see if I could repair it, saying that we can't change the past, but to assume the best and to come to breakfast. From the actions, I have to assume that I was rebuffed.

So, MoH lost ten hours of pay over this, because he stayed home one day and went into work late another day. I've been hiding in my own house like a rat. I've had nothing but the best of intents but no matter what I do, it's taken wrong. And of course considering that everyone else is happy and cheerful and having a great time here, they don't appear to have figured out that it is them. But I have no more effort to make, I said I was going to put it into the pass and lock it there and I am doing exactly that. And letting my MoH deal with it.

Definitely a hotel person. But of course, I can't say so, because of course the message dies because of the messenger.

One more day... one more day... one more day....

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Now that you know you have tried everything, it is best to just let it go.  People are strange.  It could be many things that have made them bitter this trip, NOT necessarily your place or your actions.  THEY need to put it all behind them and enjoy themselves but some can't do that.  

They will be history in 24 hrs.... 

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It's a good thing there are other happy guests in the house. At least that way you're not thinking you really are doing something wrong. All you can do is be polite when they leave tomorrow. Then have a good scream as they pull away!

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Yup, just let it go. For whatever reason they are not happy and you can't make them so. I know the feeling of not wanting to be in contact with guests who are annoying. Sometimes not wanting guests to think I'm keeping tabs on them.

Last night some of our guests came in as I was working in the dining room. I said, 'Hi! So what did you get up to today?' They answered with a big list of what they did. Later on I saw them again as I went into the kitchen. We started talking and they said they like B&B's but it's really hard when they come in the door and the innkeeper say, 'So, what did you get up to today?' (Yes, they repeated my exact words!)

I said, 'Why that's exactly what I said!' They replied, 'But not every time we came in the door. You only asked once. We've stayed places where we couldn't come and go without being asked what we were doing!'

I hate hiding out to avoid guests. Do you say hello whenever you see them? Ignore them? Nod your head? What are we supposed to do!?

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Madeleine wrote:

I said, 'Why that's exactly what I said!' They replied, 'But not every time we came in the door. You only asked once. We've stayed places where we couldn't come and go without being asked what we were doing!'

I hate hiding out to avoid guests. Do you say hello whenever you see them? Ignore them? Nod your head? What are we supposed to do!?

I have done the same for years and some quickly reply while others then feel it is an invitation to a long conversation.  If once we get the brush, we understand and back off.  I refuse to just ignore people when they pass but have learned to keep it down to the basics unless they embrace the communication.  Always that fine line and you don't know that line unless they help you to know. 

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"Send in the snake charmer"

Yes, I actually used those terms just this morning by golly! DH (who had a job interview or normally would be gone by 730am) was sent in to the dining room and the snakes were giggling like school girls... So SEND IN THE SNAKE CHARMER.

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 Job interview???  promotion or new one??? Good luck if he wants to change.

Generic's picture
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Apparently, they are in fact interpreting everything that I do as being a slight to them. I apparently can do no right. And the email was intentionally passive-agressive, as I had read it.

It hurts. No matter how much I try to be nice. No matter that my intent was good. Telling them that I moved their luggage, so they aren't surprised by it, is apparently chastising. I don't know what to do, other than to let MoH take over, because no matter my good intentions, everything I do... is wrong, horrible, awful and a slight.

Madeleine's picture
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OK, step away from the situation. Sometimes that's all you can do. Let the other half step in when it is necessary to talk with them. Be kind, gracious and do what you usually do knowing that no matter which way you step you're wrong. Once you accept that it's easier to just be you. Because you can't make them happy, make yourself happy.

BTW, reading a Brit mystery right now and MoH is Master of the Hounds. I can't help reading it that way when you write it.

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Madeleine wrote:

OK, step away from the situation. Sometimes that's all you can do. Let the other half step in when it is necessary to talk with them.

That is such good advise. I checked a mother and daughter in this evening and they have both P****d me off big time. The mother is arrogant and rude and the daughter just rude. We've agreed that tomorrow I will have nothing to do with them and DH will look after them. He's very good at mocking people like this to their faces in a humourous way and lightening the situation.

I had the last laugh though, she scoffed at the fact that in the confirmation it said you must book the local Inn in advance if you wish to have evening meal. She asked me to phone for a table and they are full to the gunnels, not even a table in the bar, so the two of them have had to drive to town for dinner..... Ha Ha as camberley's icon says.   

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Joey Camb's picture
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Ive got a vegan chap in who is oviously very restricted but to be fair he is no trouble - Came to me after reading the menu in his room - I can eat X Y Z so don't worry about anything else. So every day he had toast with jelly (or jam) fried bread, veg sausage, tomatoes, beans and mushrooms and yumms it up.

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Shared experience - in taking the rez I ask "Are there any dietary restrictions or requirements?" answer - none.

I serve pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and blueberry bread pudding for breakfast and the guest is pushing it around on the plate (mind you, she put it on the plate as I serve family style). I ask if something is wrong and am told, "I can't have cinnamon." It would have been nice to have been told before but I just scrambled some eggs. Wasted time and ingredients was my issue.

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 Oh Geesh, how long are they with you?  We had one like this and there was absolutely nothing we could do that pleased her.  We kept trying, but she drove us nuts right up to the time we ushered her out the door.  I hope your guests are gone in a day or two...otherwise they are bound to conntinue to chip away at your patience.

 

I would try to speak to them directly and just restate your message.

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Generic's picture
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More emails.... and a week. I guess I'm some sort of ogre, forcing people at gun point to eat.

Madeleine's picture
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Next time you come face to face with them would it be possible to request they cease the emailing and just tell you, right now, of any issues with food so you can prepare for the rest of the stay? If they hem and haw, explain you will then just plan the meals around the folks who gave you information in advance and from the list you have RIGHT NOW from them and you hope they will be able to find something they can eat from what you are serving.

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 You do the best you can. Afterall you are not a restaurant. I would make it clear to them the next time they sit down to breakfast. You need to know what they can and can't eat. Otherwise, they are out of luck.You have better things to do than to mess around answering their emails!!!

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Not to me this hasn't happened, but I've heard other innkeepers tell tales of guests who call them from 10 feet away and who email or text their complaints.

We have had simple calls- what time is breakfast?- that sort of thing.

Because the story changes, that's an issue. Because they emailed may mean they are not comfortable with face to face confrontation. However, I have no idea!

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Madeleine wrote:

Not to me this hasn't happened, but I've heard other innkeepers tell tales of guests who call them from 10 feet away and who email or text their complaints.

We have had simple calls- what time is breakfast?- that sort of thing.

Because the story changes, that's an issue. Because they emailed may mean they are not comfortable with face to face confrontation. However, I have no idea!

I have an idea, it is because that is what they do, all the time. I would pick up kids from marching band and the daughter is texting or calling the mother who is standing right beside me, within eye view of the child. This is what they do. It is not anything crazy, it is HOW IT IS now. The food thing is just being a PITA.

Generic's picture
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 I think you are right about them doing it all the time and likely don't realize how childish (and unprofessional) it appears to be. It's bending toward the whims of a teenager when you should be making the teenager act like an adult.

The food thing... that's definitely PITA and head games. Reminds me of Anorexics, sometimes the reason they do it is to feel control of just one thing in their lives, without realizing that it ruins ever relationship that they have.... and maybe they shouldn't travel with such food issues.

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 I hope no one tries to do a psych eval on me, I just posted a blog article about a door. Gee wonder what that says! 

I think Eric was just venting his frustration. Comments asking for shared experiences, that is why the forum is so valuable, as we can have loose cannons and have "shared joy" ugh.

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I asked my soon to be psychologist DD (yes I actually called her at this time of the morning, but I have other reasons for doing so - this was just the bonus question), she said they have authority issues and conflict avoidance issues, along with trust issues.

In other words, they wanted to tell you but they were afraid to disagree with you, so they did what they thought was expected of them (eat the food put in front of them), but because they are trying to deal with their weaknesses, they chose to communicate with you electronically rather than have a face to face conversation.

She doesn't think it is passive aggressive as much as a conflict issue - they want to tell you want they want but they are incapible or for lack of a better term just plain (big psychological term here) Fxxxxd up in their own head.  You didn't do anything wrong, you didn't know in advance they may or maynot have liked what you prepared.

She said good luck because once they get started they are rarely satisfied, and usually work themselves into a state that they are convinced you "did" this to them on purpose.

 

 

Generic's picture
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Well, I replied saying that they don't have to eat anything, to tell me if there is a problem so I can immediately correct it and that I need a full list. Not much more than I can do. I'm doing the best that I can. I didn't say a thing about the fact that this came in electronically, because to me, that's just childish.

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 I would not have replied to them. That will only continue their messages to you. Talk to them directly. That is ridiculous.  Maybe they are afraid of direct confrontation???? But you just have to be your nice self and explain, "just tell me" I am happy to accommodate if I can Smiling

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