Be Careful, guys

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seashanty's picture
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06/02/2008

like many of you at least part of the time, I ran the inn solo or worked alone ... still do. Was reading one of the threads recently not sure which one ... about guests or friends wanting something when you're busy running the place and I (really without thinking) would tell guests 'It's just me here' or 'I'm flying solo' or whatever. 

You know where this is going, by telling people I had no night staff or that if I was cooking in the kitchen I couldn't go to the office, I let myself wide open for the occasional dishonest person. I might be saying this on the phone to a friend within earshot of other people.

Caught one rifling through my office desk when she thought I was  busy in the kitchen, another approached me late at night when I was going in and out of the innkeeper quarters ..., I grabbed the school bell I had on a table outside my quarters and started ringing it. Doors opened and he fled. Not a guest, no idea where he came from. I suspect some guests left the door ajar as they often did rather than bother with their key. Another night, people came to both the back and front door at the same time. I was in the kitchen and saw people coming up to the door through the very dark back yard when the front door bell rang. I grabbed my car door opener and hit the alarm. Both groups of people ran off so I'm sure they were up to no good. I felt bad for the noise at night, but glad I saw that suggestion somewhere and was happy I thought of it.

So ... when you are saying that you are working alone or can only do one thing at a time, think how you might phrase it for your safety. I would say 'My son is in the building somewhere, let me call him.'  or 'My maintenance guy is in the (basement, attic, barn, whatever). I'll call him.' He was truthfully a call away but often NOT in the building, not even in the area. I invented staff, a manager, a housekeeper ... whatever seemed appropriate.

Without thinking one night I stopped at a Dunkin Donuts and asked the young girl behind the counter if she was working all alone. I never should have asked that ... she looked frightened and said 'someone is in the back'.  I immediately realized my mistake and apologized. Told her if she was alone, she should never say it, however kindly meant. It was an eye opener for me. 

This applies to both men and women .... 

okay. nuff' said

seashanty's picture
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06/02/2008

Oh, it just sounds like a lot when all in one post. Most of the time folks were wonderful. Had a few more scares than these but also lovely people ... 

just wanted to mention it when it’s tempting to say ‘I’m working on my own here!’ 

Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

All good points. I might consider yelling toward the office, 'I've got this one!' to imply someone is there answering phones or whatever.

I remember your guest you went after with the frying pan. You are a gutsy lady!

My daughter used to close the Subway sandwich shop in our little town. She would take the cardboard to the dumpster with a carving knife in her other hand. When she told me that I asked why didn't someone come with her and she said they were all afraid of the dark. Geez. My daughter is 5' in her shoes! I told her in that case, slash and run toward the street, don't wait around.

__________________

Never judge a person's story by the chapter you walked in on.

 

seashanty's picture
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Morticia wrote:

All good points. I might consider yelling toward the office, 'I've got this one!' to imply someone is there answering phones or whatever.

I remember your guest you went after with the frying pan. You are a gutsy lady!

Good idea, Morticia. Frying pan man was a skinny old guy in boxer shorts, reeked of whisky and wanted a good night kiss. I was at the sink and turned around with the frying pan. I kept nudging him backwards until he was out the door. ok, maybe I did threaten him a little as he was persistent. His wife said 'oh he always goes after the girls' ugh

Scariest was the man who came in through a third floor window off the fire escape 'because all the doors were locked' He 'wanted to rent a parking space!' Who does that?!  I had taken the opportunity to take a shower with all guests out and heard noises in the front hall. I never should have opened the door leading to my quarters. OMG! I closed and bolted the door on him. That was the worst. I called Bud (rip) owner of the hotel across the street and he came right over. He took the guy's money and car key and left them in an envelope taped to the wall. I still think that guy was up to no good.

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09/21/2019

Oh so what did you say to the person going thru your desk?

seashanty's picture
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Oh so what did you say to the person going thru your desk?

Can I help you?

Rushed past me and sprinted out the door.

Nothing in that desk but random paper, brochures and things. Contrary to popular belief, hardly anyone paid in cash so I didn't have a lot of cash around. But if she'd got into the locked filing cabinet, there would have been a problem. But I was pretty upset.

 

 

Anon Inn's picture
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09/26/2011

Wow.  I knew you were often up against it as far as too many tasks for time in the day, but didn't realize you had the scary people too.  Remote car alarm is a great tip.  For awhile we had a camera over the desk, but over the years we've been incredibly lucky and no one has violated our personal space, (kitchen a different matter and now locked) even though there is only a room divider between the guest and private spaces.  

Cash?  What's that?  Maybe one cash payment per year.  I have a great old antique cash drawer for just-in-case change making.  Button to open is totally hidden.  most people probably have no idea what it even is.  Very little taken over the years, maybe a few mugs.  Maybe a book.  Never a scary guest.  So sorry you've had to deal with that too many times.  Sad

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09/21/2019

I am running the show alone and I know my family has worried about that over the years. I do have a drive way alarm that warns me in advance of someone driving up but...

Guess saying, " yes I do this all by myself " having my prideful moment is maybe not so smart.

There has been so very many times when someone, not guest, show up to see the B&B.. Just yesterday as a matter of fact.  Now that is as easy of an invitation in the door as it gets. You would not do that for your person home but a business, well. Thing is you cannot judge people either, say it looks like a simple couple wanting to see the Inn, great Bonnie and Clyde just robbed you.

I would be an easy target, at the end of my road and not another house in sight so I do need to be more aware.

Thank you for the reminder.

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

Point taken. I always try to remember to refer to we and write  as we.

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