boxofdelights: (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
As the childcare coordinator at Wiscon, I had to get parking passes for my childcare workers. I asked at the registration desk, which is where I thought we got them last year. Lenore had parking passes for people who needed to haul things in, but didn't think they would work for my workers, who needed to stay there the whole day; she suggested I ask the hotel directly.

I went to the front desk. I said that I was the childcare coordinator, and that I needed to get parking passes for my childcare workers. Front Desk said that no parking passes had been left with her to give to me. I said okay, how can I get some? Because my workers aren't guests, they don't have room keys that they could use to get out of the parking lot, but they need to park. Front Desk went and got her clipboard, flipped through it in front of me, and said again that no parking passes had been arranged. She said it with that falling intonation at the end of the sentence that means, "This subject is closed."

But it wouldn't be right for my childcare workers to have to kick back $10 a day to the hotel for the privilege of working there. I had to get them parking passes. If it came out of my pocket I could ask the treasurer for reimbursement, but either way, my workers shouldn't have to pay for parking. So I said, okay, is there anything I can do about that at this point? Who should I talk to? Front Desk said, I guess that would be Party Planning. Again with the falling intonation.

Okay, I said, who is Party Planning? How can I talk to her? Front Desk went and got a walkie-talkie, talked to someone over the walkie-talkie, then told me that she didn't have any information about parking passes for childcare providers either. I understand that no parking passes have been prearranged, I said. So I need to get them now. How do I do that?

Front Desk huffed at me and said she would get someone else to talk to me. Someone Else came -- the person at the other end of the walkie-talkie, I think -- and had me explain again who I was and what I wanted. How many do you need, she asked? Two, I answered. Oh, I can just give you those, she said.

Thinking it over afterwards, trying to figure out what I did wrong, or what I could have done righter, I realized that the problem was that I didn't have a lanyard. See, there are these special lanyards that tell the hotel that you have the power to spend Wiscon's money, so when you wear one the hotel is eager to do anything you ask. Some years I get one but this year I didn't.


In real life, being brushed off is normal for me. It's also normal, when I have been brushed off enough times for me to give up, to send my husband in with the same request and see him get compliance the first time he asks. And no, I don't think I loosened it for him. He's just wearing the lanyard.

Date: 2013-06-09 04:13 pm (UTC)
sasha_feather: Steam punk goggles (Steam punk goggles)
From: [personal profile] sasha_feather
Very interesting post. Front desk people like that, who are too lazy to do their jobs (which is helping people!), are so obnoxious. You didn't do anything wrong; the front desk person is just not a good worker.

Date: 2013-06-09 06:02 pm (UTC)
amaebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] amaebi
Ooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, yeah.

And since I'm in a frustrated and fuming period: *fumes impotently*

Date: 2013-06-09 07:54 pm (UTC)
sonia: Quilted wall-hanging (Default)
From: [personal profile] sonia
Thanks for the vivid image for this. In a similar vein, I'm realizing that it's not that all the web hosts I try have terrible customer service. It's that all the web hosts I try have terrible customer service - for women. Sigh.

I'm sorry the hotel staff person dismissed you so rudely, and I'm glad you were able to persist until you got what you needed.

Date: 2013-06-09 09:32 pm (UTC)
jesse_the_k: those words in red on white sign (be aware of invisibility)
From: [personal profile] jesse_the_k
I think the lanyard may be even more close a parallel: WisCon created the lanyard system precisely because women con runners were getting blown off (not to mention that it's a challenge for hotel workers to learn our faces).

There were a couple years when I *should* have asked for a lanyard, but felt I wasn't "important enough." See also the defeated feeling when we've been dissed by staff.

Sorry you had to go through that. Glad we're still learning.

Date: 2013-06-11 07:58 am (UTC)
bibliofile: Fan & papers in a stack (from my own photo) (Default)
From: [personal profile] bibliofile
I don't remember having heard this story before, about why we have lanyards. It's such a common need that hotels & conventions regularly have their own systems for it. The con I ran, the hotel gave us a few special lapel pins.

And yes, the symbol (lanyard, pin, whatever) signifies both "take me seriously" AND "I can order stuff that costs actual money, and the convention will pay the bill." As opposed to, y'know, bossy and opinionated people who aren't actually in charge (oy, fans). WIthin reason, anyway.

Also, I'm guessing that front desk workers tend to be the newest and thus the least flexible hotel employees. THey're sort of gatekeepers, it's true, but the newer ones don't yet know how much other stuff is around.

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