Five Star Stories 1: The Bellboy’s Song and Dance

Have you ever wondered about the promptness with which the bellboy grabs your suitcase and marches you ahead towards your room no sooner you have completed your check-in formality? Earlier, when I was not familiar with the ways of the hospitality industry I thought he does so in order to get a good tip from me. Later I realized that the reason was somewhat different, he had a different route to engineer a tip. The suitcase-grab is a rather deliberate one – the sadist enjoys seeing you struggle carrying the heavy laptop- while he takes you on a long-long march to your room. Him wheeling your suitcase merrily through the corridors while you are struggling behind lugging your millstone trying to catch up with him before he disappears behind one of the various twists and turns of the route culminating into your room.


With a flourish he fishes out the key card and opens the door. He has assumed that you are a complete idiot, and he closes the door again and gives you a helpful demo on how to open the door. Insert the key thus, not-too-quick, not-too-slow. Wait for the green light to come on, but not too long that the light turns red, etc etc. “Ah, the room!” you exclaim and unload the laptop from your shoulder. You are keen to unpack/ go to the loo/ change/ pour a drink or whatever. But Mr Bellboy will have none of it. He will sprint to the other end of the room to draw the curtains. “Excellent view, sir!” “Good, good”, you mumble politely. He runs to the bed-stand, grabs the TV remote and gives you a quick lesson on operating a TV. And he is not done yet. He will tell you where the water is kept and he will yank open the door of the mini-bar and show you its contents. Just when you are ready to call the Duty Manager and ask him to take this man away, he gives a deep bow and wishes you a very pleasant stay. Time now, you realize, to pull out the wallet and do the honors. The tip! And the man vanishes, for good.


Only when he leaves the room you realize that the security strap-seal on the suitcase needs to be removed so that you can access your stuff. In this get-to-know-your-room rigmarole, the Good Samaritan does not bother to cut the strap off, the single-biggest favor he could have done to you. You most likely end up using the matchbox placed on the center table to burn a section of the plastic strap. You would rather not call the hotel staff to help you lest you receive another lesson on the layout of the room and its various facilities!


All you, dear fellow travellers, does all this sound familiar to you?


To be continued..


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