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Costa Mesa, Mormons, Phones and Bitches!

Welcome nullzeit!

Several things have me thinking lately about my short lived career as a reservations agent for Marriot. I only lasted a little over 30 days. I went through four weeks of training. I was one of the top performers in the class. So they asked me to be in a group called “Cluster” where I would get paid more and I would have to get extra training in order to perform additional tasks. What members of the Cluster group do is represent actual hotels. When you call a specific Marriot and ask to make a reservation they transfer you to the call center and the person they transfer you to answers the phone as if they are on site. It is rule number one to keep up this appearance. “What color is our pool, you ask”... tap tap tap... “Why is sky blue and aqua tiles in a kidney shape. And yes Disneyland is only 4 miles from here.

I am one of the worst liars on the planet. I am unpracticed and not quick on my feet. Lying does not come natural to me. I thought I could do this job, I will get the hang of it. But my first day of actually working in cluster destroyed me. Instead of eating lunch that day I decided to make a phone call and cry instead. I’m not an emotional person, I might cry once a year, although these years where people have been dying on me I have cried a few times, but I don’t cry during movies or over stress very often.

So what could have possibly been that bad to make someone who doesn’t cry break down in the lunch room and cry in the corner hoping no one sees. The day started off slowly and worked it’s way into a frenzy.

“Anaheim Marriot reservations, this is Eric, how can I help you?”
The girl on the other line had questions about how close we were to Disneyland, which was no problem because I had gone to a party at this hotel before. Then she had a few other questions which I answered quickly. She wanted to use her Dad’s employee discount but there weren’t any employee rates available for the dates she wanted, so I bid her a good day and good luck and took my next call. The next call was just a straight forward reservation. But the next one made me wonder about lightning.

“Anaheim Courtyard reservations, this is Eric, how can I help you?”
Can you belie it was her again, same questions for a different hotel... I managed to answer all her questions and she didn’t notice she was talking to the same person a couple of minutes ago. Sadly again there were not Employee rates available. What were the chances that out of the hundreds of people in the call center she would get me twice!?! Feeling lucky, you guessed it.

“Fullerton Marriot Reservations, this is Eric, how can I help you? Hello... Hello?”
It was her again! She was confused as to how I was driving all over town to answer phones in different hotels! “I was talking to you at the Anaheim Marriot, and it was you at the courtyard too wasn’t it?” She demanded. “Um, yeah.” I mumbled. “Where are you actually?” She asked. “umm, well,” I was considering my options, trying to think of a lie... But there weren’t any I could think of, so I continued, “In a call center in Costa Mesa” After a little explaining how I knew all the info for all the hotels and had access to all their information, we were all good, I just hoped I wasn’t being recorded breaking the rules. I told her I would search the system to see if I could find any employee rates available for any hotel in the area but since she was trying to book just a week in advance it wasn’t likely. The only hotel I found with employee rates available was so far from Disneyland she decided just check around for what non-marriot hotels were charging and call us back if we had the lowest price.

When that call was over I thought the worst of my day was now behind me, that is as long as I don’t get in trouble for coming clean, but I was confident the fuck up wasn’t my fault and I had led it well. It was almost time for lunch and one or two more calls and I could get a bite to eat, Yay!

“Redondo Beach Marriot Reservations, this is Eric, how can I help you?”
“I need to book 10 rooms, I need the travel agent rate and my number is (blah bla blah)!” the woman barked out at me. “Ok, just one moment please,” I started to pull up and fill out the forms. “What is taking so long? Is this your first day or something?” she asked in her bitchiest voice. “Actually, today is my first day. Please be patient can I...” but I was interrupted. “Jesus Christ, why does this shit always happen to me? Why is my luck so bad that I always get the most incompetent people?” I should have just hung up on her right there. I should have said, “Marriot is a Mormon company and we don’t appreciate abusing employees with this kind of language, have a nice day... Click!” but I unprepared for this kind of abuse. I had never been treated like this in my many many years of working in retail and security.

I was determined to finish the call so I said, “Uh, Can I please have your agent number again?” This started another whole rant about how incompetent I was and how the world was conspiring against her. “you can’t even remember a number!” she yelled at the faceless voice who was me. By this point I’m sure I was red-faced with anger, “Can. I. Have. Your. Agent. Number. Again. Please!” the rest of the call went like this with me having to ask for information several times before she would actually give it. The call took about half an hour. She wanted the confirmations faxed to her and that wasn’t a problem. But her last request put the biggest smile on my face in months. “Make sure all the rooms face the beach,” She demanded, “These people have to have the best vacation of their lives.” I was so joyful at that last comment, because I knew I had her bitchy ass! If she was nice to me I would have saved it but instead I said, “No problem, I’ve marked all the rooms to be facing the beach.” and she hung up without a thank you or goodbye.

She was right the world was conspiring against her, but not because people were incompetent. The world was conspiring against her because she was a bitch to people and incompetent herself. She had called the wrong hotel. She made reservations for ten couples 20 miles from the beach in the middle of an industrial wasteland. She meant to call the Redondo Beach Marriot Marquee which is located on the beach and is a lot more expensive. Who’s the incompetent one now, bitch! I almost feel sorry for those people on their vacation. I hope they yelled at her as much as she yelled at me.

La Lupe / Puro Teatro - Various Artists - Las Canciones De Almodóvar


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 5th, 2005 10:49 pm (UTC)
What a little glimpse of hell that job sounds like.
Jan. 6th, 2005 11:28 pm (UTC)
And that's why I didn't last very long. Love the new user pics!
Jan. 7th, 2005 04:59 am (UTC)
Thanks for the compliment. Did you ever get talked to about your "excessive honesty" problem? =)
Jan. 7th, 2005 11:40 pm (UTC)
My pleasure. I didn't get talked to by Marriot but yes, I have people have told me I need to learn to be less honest.
Jan. 5th, 2005 11:11 pm (UTC)
Well, I didn't know you had it in you. I work in a call center currently, the good part is the callers need the service we provide. When I get a bitchy call, I speak as slow as I can and repeat what they say even slower. Oh the public.
Jan. 6th, 2005 11:31 pm (UTC)
Didn't know I had what in me? wow that sounded a lot more loaded than I intended. glad your callers are better and also very proud of your strength with the not smoking. Go D!
Jan. 5th, 2005 11:16 pm (UTC)
hmmmm... nice anecdote but you've obviously never worked at a collection agency. it's funny how people just assume that you're some completely uneducated idiot and can't possibly find any other job just because you work for a call centre. my favorite was when people started talking about the "principle of the matter." principle = i'm too cheap and won't take responsibility for my own actions.

i have an english lit. degree and therefore have a better than average vocabulary. when people would be especially abusive i'd throw in a few big words, confuse the hell out of them and then end the call, hopefully leaving them wondering what the hell i had been talking about.

if you have any lawyers on your friend's list, this is directed at them: just because you have a law degree doesn't mean that you're any smarter or well versed in the legality of an issue when you call a collection agency. do your freakin' homework before you call them up. a law degree is not seen as intimidating and many collection agents see it as a challenge, not a deterrent for active collection.
Jan. 6th, 2005 11:33 pm (UTC)
I really wish my friend Wendi would post in her journal, she has the most amazing stories from when she worked at Toyota motor credit. my favorite was the woman who was having sex with her coworker why she was disputing something... Wendi had to keep putting her on hold so she could laugh or scream!
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 6th, 2005 11:34 pm (UTC)
EEEEEE! Thank you, I love you too my talented little butterfly!
Jan. 6th, 2005 02:13 am (UTC)
Me too. That was a great story but what I liked best was how well organized the telling was. How did you learn to write like that? Granted you just relayed the details of what happened, no big deal there, but really, where the fuck did Ellen go?
Jan. 6th, 2005 11:37 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I've been so busy and have had so little to write/respond. I guess I was too busy to let Ellen show her face! Hee hee!
Jan. 6th, 2005 04:18 am (UTC)
thanks for the welcome! as well as the knowledge my day at work wasn't that bad after all:)
Jan. 6th, 2005 03:09 pm (UTC)
That is great!
I love how you handle things. You might get upset but never un-nerved. Cool.

People are just rude. But I find women with power to be the rudest. I work in the world of politics. I see it all the time.

Jan. 6th, 2005 11:40 pm (UTC)
Re: That is great!
I almost never lose it, but when I do, it's in true Taurus style. It's one of the few astrological traits that I think really does describe me.
Jan. 6th, 2005 05:22 pm (UTC)
Travel agents can be the worst. I did reservations for US Airway at the end of my career there. I will never forget the travel agent from Boston that wanted to use a voucher to go to Hawaii. I kept telling her first that we didn't fly to Hawaii and second she couldn't use the voucher to go there. She insisted that she could and that I was stupid. The voucher was for free roundtrip airfare within the continental United States... she just didn't get it.. sigh
Jan. 6th, 2005 11:43 pm (UTC)
Are you implying that Hawaii isn't connected to California? What kind of crazy talk is that. If the airline doesn't fly there then the airline should buy her a ticket on another one... it only seems fair. The customer is always right.
Jan. 7th, 2005 12:43 pm (UTC)
ummm.. yes it is, shall we look at a rental car so that you can drive instead?
Jan. 6th, 2005 07:02 pm (UTC)
holy redemption batman!
having been you before, in that, and many other situations, i have to say..thanks for taking AND giving one for the team.

wow...i'm impressed.
Jan. 7th, 2005 11:31 pm (UTC)
Re: holy redemption batman!
Thank you! Believe me it was no problem giving one for the team!
Dec. 25th, 2005 03:13 pm (UTC)
Lightning can strike twice in the same spot, and even three times! What a story. I'd have been stressed out too, and I'm not half as shy as you are. Hearing the woman's voice the third time and knowing that she'd sussed that you weren't on-site must have been unsettling. I hate knowing that someone else is about to ask or tell me something difficult but not knowing when: the stress of waiting for the sword to fall. You handled it very well.

I think you handled the second woman excellently. She would have blamed you anyway, even if you had told her at the end that she'd called the wrong hotel: she'd have expected you to telepathically know she was looking for a hotel by the beach. When I worked in retail, we'd get that kind of customer, the kind who just came in all ready to tear someone a new one, and went off at the slightest provocation. Horrible people, and this bitch sounds like their queen.

I hope she had hell to pay when the people saw their hotel.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )