Why do the challanging guest come at the worst time?

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Silverspoon's picture
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 I'm getting ready. I am toast, it's hot, end of August and I am ready for a break.  Word has it that this one, arriving tomorrow,  is a doozy.  Been coming to the area for over 40 years but is just now, for the first time, staying with us. He has "slept around" so other innkeepers have all had their turn hosting him.  Last summer he called to book this summer for 2 weeks.   I gave him 10 days which is 3 days more than we usually allow.  He called with "back problems" on his arrival day to say he didn't know when he would be here....maybe in a day or two but he was paying for all the days he booked.  (Damn right!)  Looks like he'll only be here 8 of the 10 days, so maybe we'll be lucky.

Apparently, he is one of the needy ones.  A shrink from the city arriving alone.  Lonely.  Tries to get other guests to invite him to join them  for dinner and activities.  Wanders the house looking for company.  You know the type.  Wish us luck.

 

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Silverspoon's picture
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 Update on this "eccentric" guest who arrived 4 days late, sacrificing about $1200 in deposit, and paid the remaining 5 days of his reservation in cash.  He hasn't been the worst guest we have ever had but he is not one we will hope to see again.  Here are a few interesting details during his stay (so far).

Upon realizing that he was scheduled to check out on Sunday instead of Monday he requested that we try to find him accommodations for Sunday night.  One of the places we suggested was "off limits" to him since he had been kicked out and was no longer welcome.  Apparently he was caught smoking a cigar in the room.  There were two other places that had a room available.  I called the nearest one, since he said he was familiar with the inn and liked it, and asked the innkeeper for a favor to accept one night (2-night min).  When I told the innkeeper the guests name all he said was...."Oh HIM!"   Yeah, this guest has clearly been around.  

Yesterday he shows up with a large potted plant from the local grocery and proceeds to place the damp, dirty thing on our new wool/sisal rug.   Urggggg!  DH got the thing outside.  I was warned by another innkeeper that he tends to fill the space with large houseplants but can only hope that his shopping spree while here is limited to just this one plant.

He specifically mentioned that he does not eat raw onions and so I left the fresh chives off his entree this morning.  "What's the matter?  Did you run out of herbs when you got to me?"  he says.  Once I explained that chives are a type of onion, he settled down a bit.  Still, he wanted some chives on the side so he could sample them. 

While I was changing over the suite upstairs he came up the stairs to "have a look around".  He proceeded to talk as I worked, purposely not giving him eye contact in the hopes that he would get the message and move along.  Nope.  The "puppy" in him just needed company.  And then, "How soon can I book for next year?" is dropped.  How does one graciously say "Never"?    So I hemmed and hawed and told him that we would contact him in March of 2013.  Now all I have to do is remember his cell # and remember not to answer the phone or his e-mails.  He is just not a good fit here and we will have no problem filling the place without him.  

Awww geeze.....is it vacation time yet?  2 more days....can't wait.

 

Silverspoon's picture
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 Update on this "eccentric" guest who arrived 4 days late, sacrificing about $1200 in deposit, and paid the remaining 5 days of his reservation in cash.  He hasn't been the worst guest we have ever had but he is not one we will hope to see again.  Here are a few interesting details during his stay (so far).

Upon realizing that he was scheduled to check out on Sunday instead of Monday he requested that we try to find him accommodations for Sunday night.  One of the places we suggested was "off limits" to him since he had been kicked out and was no longer welcome.  Apparently he was caught smoking a cigar in the room.  There were two other places that had a room available.  I called the nearest one, since he said he was familiar with the inn and liked it, and asked the innkeeper for a favor to accept one night (2-night min).  When I told the innkeeper the guests name all he said was...."Oh HIM!"   Yeah, this guest has clearly been around.  

Yesterday he shows up with a large potted plant from the local grocery and proceeds to place the damp, dirty thing on our new wool/sisal rug.   Urggggg!  DH got the thing outside.  I was warned by another innkeeper that he tends to fill the space with large houseplants but can only hope that his shopping spree while here is limited to just this one plant.

He specifically mentioned that he does not eat raw onions and so I left the fresh chives off his entree this morning.  "What's the matter?  Did you run out of herbs when you got to me?"  he says.  Once I explained that chives are a type of onion, he settled down a bit.  Still, he wanted some chives on the side so he could sample them. 

While I was changing over the suite upstairs he came up the stairs to "have a look around".  He proceeded to talk as I worked, purposely not giving him eye contact in the hopes that he would get the message and move along.  Nope.  The "puppy" in him just needed company.  And then, "How soon can I book for next year?" is dropped.  How does one graciously say "Never"?    So I hemmed and hawed and told him that we would contact him in March of 2013.  Now all I have to do is remember his cell # and remember not to answer the phone or his e-mails.  He is just not a good fit here and we will have no problem filling the place without him.  

Awww geeze.....is it vacation time yet?  2 more days....can't wait.

 

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Silverspoon wrote:

 And then, "How soon can I book for next year?" is dropped.  How does one graciously say "Never"?    So I hemmed and hawed and told him that we would contact him in March of 2013.  Now all I have to do is remember his cell # and remember not to answer the phone or his e-mails.  He is just not a good fit here and we will have no problem filling the place without him.  

We had this our first year here with a group that always came on the same weekend every summer. When they wanted to make their rez for the following year we told them we'd contact them in January. We wanted to be sure we could handle them. Oddly, in spite of all the horror stories we'd heard, they were a great group and they cam back every year for 4-5 years.

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Silverspoon's picture
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 He arrived last night at 11:00PM...the fifth night of his 5-night deposit.  DH is taking control and I am staying in the background cooking, cleaning and taking the "balance due" to the bank.  For some reason he thought he would be checking out on Monday and DH gently showed him a copy of his confirmation showing that his scheduled departure is on Sunday, BEFORE 10:30AM.

So far so good...keeping our fingers crossed.

 

gillumhouse's picture
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Thank you for keeping him in your State and away from here. I appreciate you.

Madeleine's picture
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We had last night what I'm going to term 'jello guests'- the kind who just keep slipping thru your fingers when you try to nail them down! Left early this morning because they had to have a specialty drink. Came back and asked a bunch of questions about things to do in the area. Decided to go back to their room at almost 11 to 'talk things over'. Then they oozed out of the house, one at a time. Then back in. Then back out and I still don't have the keys. Then back in to use the bathroom. OK, way after check out now but their room wasn't cleaned so what's the big deal.

When I left at almost noon they were still oozing around. But the door combos were reset and I was outta here!

We tend to get about 2-3 of these/month. The guests who don't seem to be able to tell time. Who always have 'one more thing' they have to look up on the computer or one more question to ask or one more mug of tea to drink or one more bathroom break.

They're all of a piece, too. Kind of ethereal. Don't answer in full sentences. Get lost halfway thru a thought. I always wonder what they do for a living.

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We get them so rarely. I've had two in the last little while that have had to be coaxed out by 12:30 instead of noon. When guests ask about check-out time, I tell them it's noon and at 12:05 we are in their room moving their luggage out.

Maybe I should change check-out time to 11:59A and that at noon, a fee of $25 applies. The noon thing obviously must work like the 6PM thing, I think it's time to be more precise.

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We look forward to your updates, and seeing this unique individual vicariously through your posts.

 

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Sounds like an eccentric individual.

Sorry you are "on hold" at this time, that would drive me bonkers. Our guests arrive later and later, last night, after all rooms check out and we bust buns to get them cleaned for check in, they arrive after 10pm. They said 4pm. This happens regularly. I remember the old forum or other forum who accused those who have "self checkins" as being horribly inhospitable, but there is no way we can be ON 24 hours a day, humanly impossible.

So last night even though the note was out, I was 'waiting' for them. We all know the routine, will they show, will they no show? I thought of you Silverspoon, waiting not for 6 hours but for days on that wing nut!

Madeleine's picture
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Joey Bloggs wrote:

So last night even though the note was out, I was 'waiting' for them. We all know the routine, will they show, will they

no show

? I thought of you Silverspoon, waiting not for 6 hours but for days on that wing nut!

The note was out and they rang the bell anyway. So I had to drag myself out there in my jammies just to find them in the house with the note in hand. 'We didn't see it...'

Silverspoon's picture
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Today is Monday, the last day of his paid-up-deposit for his 10-day reservation. I have left him a voice message telling him that we have appointments scheduled for today and that we are available after 3:00 PM to check him in.  I'll be damned if we will give up the entire day sitting on our hands waiting for him to arrive. So we are heading out to visit friends once the rooms are fluffed.

We still have no idea if he will check in today, but, if he does not show up today, I do not want to ever see his face in our B+B. I would rather give up the $$$ than to put up with this nonsense.  

Silverspoon's picture
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 He still hasn't arrived.  Supposedly today is the day....already into the 4th day of his 10-day reservation.  We'll see.  He e-mailed the innkeepers at the place he stayed a couple of times over the past few years and asked if it was OK for him to stop by and pick up the chair, umbrella and BBQ he left with them for "storage" a couple of years ago.  Needless to say, those things had already been taken to the transfer station.  He was not a happy camper!  

gillumhouse's picture
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He e-mailed the innkeepers at the place he stayed a couple of times over the past few years and asked if it was OK for him to stop by and pick up the chair, umbrella and BBQ he left with them for "storage" a couple of years ago.  Needless to say, those things had already been taken to the transfer station.  He was not a happy camper!  

NOW you know why it is your turn! He needs a new storage unit.

Silverspoon's picture
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 At this point we are not sure it IS our turn.....First he was arriving on Thursday...then it was Sunday....then it was Saturday...yesterday it was back to Sunday...today he called and said  "It's such a nice day...I think I'll bike around the city and drive to you tomorrow".  So now it's Monday.  If he doesn't show up tomorrow he will have used up his 50% deposit for the 10 days of his reservation.    That's when it will get REALLY interesting! We have turned away a bunch of people who wanted to stay this week. Now I'm wishing I had taken names.

This is a first for us.  We don't usualy get guests who are so casual about giving up almost $1500 in deposit.   On the one hand, it's been nice not having the work and not having to deal, face to face with HIM.  On the other hand, all this waiting around is getting on our nerves.

Madeleine's picture
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Silverspoon wrote:

On the other hand, all this waiting around is getting on our nerves.

And that is what would be driving me bonkers.

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Yeah I bet that can be real nerve racking. He does understand he is losing his deposit doesn't he? Good luck when he finally shows up!

Silverspoon's picture
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 Oh, yes....the deposit came as a check back in Feb.  so he won't get that back.  The innkeeper who had the "nerve" to toss his junk says that he always pays for days he doesn't use.  Never complains about losing the $$$.  Can't wait to see what he is driving !    

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 WHAT??? How dare they throw out his unwanted crap!!!!  This guy must be a real winner. I sure hope you can stand him when he gets there!!! Check him in and then run!!!

Generic's picture
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Make a list of local restaurants that have a counter. This way, he can go to dinner and not sit alone. 

seashanty's picture
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agreed, the difficulty is amplified when you need a break.

i have a suggestion regarding the needy, challenging guest with a reputation that precedes him.

anticipate that he will need face time with you and sort of schedule it in. 

hopefully he is a reader so you can give him little lists of things happening that day ... hand it to him at breakfast or at day's end. 

seat him near the chattiest, most outgoing guests you have.

set up clear boundaries for yourself and what you are going to say if he asks to help, to join you for dinner, etc.

carry your phone with you and press the ring button so you can 'answer'  i had to employ this tactic to interrupt my puppy guests.

hey, here is a new one for the glossary.  the puppy.  the guest who wants to stay by your side and play or just sit in your lap ... and who doesn't understand 'no'. 

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seashanty wrote:

hey, here is a new one for the glossary.  the puppy.  the guest who wants to stay by your side and play or just sit in your lap ... and who doesn't understand 'no'. 

PERFECT

Silverspoon's picture
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 Great ideas that I will pass on to DH who will be doing one on one with him for breakfast tomorrow since one couple left early due to illness and the other will be hitting the road very early to try to avoid the weekend traffic tie-ups.  He knows the area very well so he already knows the places that suit him.  

DH is much better with small talk, I simply don't have the time or patience for lengthy chats.  So with a little luck, our "puppy" (love that! ) will adjust and fall in line.

I have no problem just excusing myself if a guest is too demanding.  Usually, I just give them the "innkeeper is like a duck" talk and tell them it's time to start "paddling like hell" to get all our chores done.  But I'll carry my phone...just in case!

Madeleine's picture
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We had a group here whose reputation preceeded them. We laid out the groundrules based on what everyone else said had been the problem areas. Oddly, having them here and understanding their problems made us lay things out differently and it helped ALL of our subsequent guests.

Madeleine's picture
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I'm not your new best friend. That's what I have trouble with. In the past 2 weeks I've had too many of the ones who plop down in a comfy chair (while I am left standing) and want to either tell me everything they've ever done or ask me a million questions.

I don't 'do' small talk.

gillumhouse's picture
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Because they can. Plus, if you were not so worn out and READY for a vacation, you would just slough him off. It is because it is your worst time that he IS a challenging guest.

Madeleine's picture
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They come because you're full and your defenses are weakening in the weeks leading up to your own vacation!

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