The Diggs, family of four, have succeeded in securing a tiny room and are now attempting to enjoy a vacation.
Mr. Diggs is standing in the lobby, sopping wet, rainwater dripping from his head and coat. A big puddle has formed around his shoes. A lobby porter stands idly by, leaning on a mop, waiting for the man to move, wondering if he'll slip and bust his ass right here in the lobby. That's a lot of water.
Though Mr. Diggs managed to save $100 booking over the Internet, after two full days of vacation he has already exhausted that money. And he's wet.
Mr. Diggs is now down $400.
More if you count the minibar, which he hasn't.
Heads in Beds and learned, among other things, that housekeepers can only clean the minibar glasses with the cleaning agents they have available. And shampoo and lemon Pledge are what housekeepers have available. Not wanting her children to drink Pert, she uncapped both $5 bottles of minibar water, electing to pay the price and just refill the bottles. Later, housekeeping will see the empty bottles on the desk and promptly throw them in the garbage, and then minibar attendants will politely replace the missing bottles with additional uncapped $5 bottles. Mrs. Diggs will subsequently open those bottles and housekeeping will again discard them.Room charges began to accrue immediately after Charles the bellman left the family alone in their king-bedded room, which was much too small for a family of four. Karen Diggs, the loving wife, had recently read a hotel memoir titled
Tim, the front desk agent, is leaning on the desk with his chin in his hand, watching this guest drip all over the lobby floor. The guest is not even moving, he notes. Just standing there, dripping. Tim worries that Mr. Diggs is going to lose it or something.
"Sir. Mr. Diggs?"
Turning his head and moving a foot forward, Mr. Diggs flails and spins like a windmill to regain his balance. There is a wailing floor-squeak that accompanies this moment of terror before Mr. Diggs is stable again, arms out. The lobby porter now stands like a shortstop, crouched with hands out as if to receive a grounder, though he is much too far away to prevent Mr. Diggs from falling.
Tim rounds the desk and walks to the center of the lobby (coming around the desk being something he secretly considers a high form of respect, only to be bestowed upon the worthiest of guests), taking Mr. Diggs by his wet arm to prop him up against the desk.
"Wait here while I get a towel," Tim says and jogs to the nearest storage closet, returning quickly with a large, fluffy, white towel. While the guest dries himself, Tim begins hammering at the keyboard until he finds what he wants.
"How is the room treating you, sir?"
"It's too small. Not what I booked," Mr. Diggs says through a layer of towel, still hurt about not getting his "requests" — requests that never went through with his discount Internet booking. Clearly he is still blaming Tim, in a way.
"I apologize again about that, sir. And being that it's your last night, I'd love to make it up to you. Offer you a nicer room."
Mr. Diggs looks at Tim.
Mr. Diggs' hair is flat-out ridiculous right now, and it almost makes Tim laugh, so that he's smiling when he says: "A suite. With two bedrooms. For your last night. What do you think?"
"For the same price?"
"Well," Mr. Diggs says, tossing the wet towel down on the front desk, which Tim would've rather he not done. "You would do that?"
"Sure. Where is the family?"
"Shopping," Mr. Diggs says, judgment in his voice, as if they were actually eating at a strip-club lunch buffet or something.
His family actually was eating at that moment but not around strippers. They were also bone dry because Danny the Doorman, catching them on their way out, offered the family one of the doorman's special umbrellas, which are enormous, the kind of umbrella that causes city people on the street with normal-sized umbrellas to think, What the? Ugh. Really? That thing is ridiculous. Danny offered his big umbrella to the family because Mr. Diggs gave him a $10 bill at check-in. Danny had thought he was about to get stiffed, but Mr. Diggs had been surprisingly generous. And he appreciated that. So he had a soft spot for the Diggs now.
(Mr. Diggs did not mean to give Danny a ten. He meant to give him a five but made a mistake during the rush of checking in — a mistake which he noticed immediately in the room and which caused him to lower the size of his tip to Charles the bellman, who was off today and actually was, not so remarkably, at a strip club. But he wasn't eating lunch there. He goes to strip clubs but he never eats at strip clubs.)
Room service is now busy preparing an order of hot chocolates, cookies, and a bottle of champagne for Room 2119, which is Mr. Diggs' new, upgraded suite. He is already in the new room, unpacking the moved luggage, his hair still a hilarious mess, ready to surprise his family, who, according to a recent text, were on their way back to the hotel.
With the room service bill, Mr. Diggs is now down $557.
But he doesn't care. He's thinking he loves his wife. He loves his family. He's even beginning to like that Tim guy, who set him up with this one-night upgrade. Mr. Diggs doesn't even want to leave the hotel on his last night. He wants to let the kids run around the suite, blasted on cookies, and later, once they pass out in their connected room, make love to his wife.
"His wife is hot," the lobby porter says to Tim while mopping up Mr. Diggs' wet spot. "You seen her? She's hot, man."
"I checked them in. Look, here she comes. Should I let her go up to the old room to build the surprise or tell her about the upgrade now?"
"What did you say? Look at how hot she is. Damn... she got a little wet out there too."
It's going to be a fine night for the Diggs family.
But tomorrow is the day they check out. Or, as it's referred to in the Bible: The Day of Reckoning.
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Jacob Tomsky is a dedicated veteran of the hospitality business. Well-spoken, uncannily quick on his feet, and no more honest than he needs to be, he has mastered every facet of the business. Born in Oakland, California, Tomsky now lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Books mentioned in this post
Jacob Tomsky is the author of Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality