The part where I finally have a nervous breakdown…

by sam on 10/8/2005

So, this was a particularly crappy week. I managed to come down with some sort of flu/sinus infection thing where my entire head feels like it’s filled with cotton balls and I’m nauseous to boot. And it’s been raining for the whole week. And, even though I only worked four days last week because I took Tuesday off for Rosh Hashonah, I still managed to bill almost 70 hours through the end of Friday. Needless to say, I’m a little burnt out.

And the hotel isn’t helping. I’ve had a series of (relatively petty) problems since I’ve gotten here. I admit that most of them are petty, but over time, I’m beginning to think that someone is out to get me. It started with my "business-oriented" hotel having no idea how I could print a document my first week here. It took four hours to get it done, after I spent at least two of those hours moving my way up the chain of command trying to find out where the business center advertised on their website was. So that pissed me off.

My room key stops working every 2-3 days – they tried to use the excuse that if I keep it in my purse near a cellphone, it can become demagnetized. OK, fine. I won’t keep it in my purse. And then I noticed something – about two weeks ago, I was getting it fixed (again), and even though my reservation at the time was through October 3rd, they only reactivated it through September 30 (I watched the guy typing on the computer). I actually didn’t say anything at the time, because, who knows, I could have been wrong, but sure enough, September 30 arrives and my card doesn’t work again. So that was another thing that pissed me off.

Two Saturdays ago, I went to get breakfast at the hotel. Get a table in the courtyard, and sit there. and sit there. and sit there. I didn’t want to eat the buffet (frankly, I wanted an omelet), but I eventually (after about 20 minutes) got up and went inside to get some food because no one appeared to want to take my order. When I got back to my table, I then had to go find the maitre d’ in order to (finally) get a cup of coffee. Then the bees showed up. Needless to say, I got up and walked out of the restaurant without signing for my bill. This was the point when I went to the guest relations people and started to complain. Where they told me, a full week after my printer problem, that they were going to get me a printer in my room (first I had heard of this). I pointed out that it probably would have been more useful, like, 7 days earlier when I actually needed to print something (mind you, I still haven’t seen this mysterious printer).

They also, at that point, offered to change my room to one with a nice big patio (not a bigger room, mind you, I still trip over the furniture and have to work pretty much from bed). The patio is really nice to look at through my window and the pouring rain.

They also informed me at that time that the reason I couldn’t "find" the business center was because they had to close it. Apparently the Italian police have decided that there needs to be fairly significant security at any public access point (ID requirements and whatnot) because terrorists were using these public sites to plan stuff. OK, fine. But this hotel decides that they just need to close the entire business center (at least temporarily). Instead of, you know, just sitting some low-level staff member at the front door to make sure that anyone who wants to use the center has a hotel room key. Mind you, they don’t bother mentioning any of this when you make a reservation.

Ah.

So everything goes fine for another week, largely because I pretty much ignore everyone. Until Thursday, when I get back from a very long day of meetings at about 10:30 at night. I’m actually worried at this point, because I’ve been sick all day, but I’m now starving, and I know the restaurant closes at 11. So I run upstairs and call room service at 10:45 to order some plain pasta (because I’m pretty sure it’s the only thing I’ll be able to keep down). But according to the room service guy, the kitchen is closed, even though the book of information clearly says 11 p.m. So I call the front desk and ask to speak to a manager. The girl downstairs says she’ll have someone call me back right away. 10 minutes go by, and I don’t hear anything. So I go down to the lobby, book in hand, and find out that she’s gone home for the day, and there is no manager on duty. So I demand that the concierge call the manager at home, where he apologizes profusely but doesn’t actually do anything for me. I point out that the could send someone out to a restaurant that is still open (if I wasn’t sick I would have gone myself). Or, you know, let me into the kitchen and I’d cook myself dinner. I argue about this for 45 minutes, with everyone apologizing but not actually doing anything. When finally one of the guys says he’ll send someone out to get me some food (I’m pretty sure that they realized that I was just going to continue arguing about it until I got my way, in full view of all of the other guests, so they gave up). So I finally got some plain pasta at 12:45 in the morning.

OK. manager meets me on Friday to apologize, makes a joke about how they should just sell me my room at this point.

Great. Ok. At this point, nothing else could go wrong, right? I mean, I’ve had enough problems that now the manager is looking out for me personally, right? Plus, I’ve paid my bill to date, so that my office could reimburse me and I’d still have room on my credit card, so the hotel has almost $10K of my money already….

So let’s see what else happens….

Oh yeah, there was today. When I sent my laundry out.

And then got a call from the manager at 6pm saying that the laundry service had "damaged" my clothing. And not just once piece, but most of it. By pouring bleach into a load of laundry that pretty much consisted of black clothing (socks, underwear, cotton shirts). And some of it might have been shredded.

Now, of course they were happy to reimburse me. And that’s all fine. But now I needed to go out, on a saturday night, in the rain, with the goddamn flu, in order to have underwear to wear on monday to work. So I dragged a hotel employee with me, made them drive me around, and made them pay for everything up front because I refused to spend a dime. I was kind of a bitch.

While I was sitting in the lobby waiting to be taken around, I of course sent a very long e-mail on my blackberry to the hotel’s american headquarters, and made them all sit there and watch me write it. The manager thanked me for being so calm (i.e., not yelling). I actually had to point out that my anger had gone past the stage where I was even capable of yelling. I mean, this is supposed to be a 5-star hotel and they can’t even figure out how to wash a pair of socks.

I am just so ready to be back in new york. But I’m stuck here for at least another week. I’m hoping that I’ll at least get to go home for a few days at some point…I think even my boss, who was in town this week, recognizes how stressed out I’m getting. And it’s not just the work. Sure it’s frustrating and I’m working a lot of hours, but there are plenty of times when I’m home that I work like this as well. But there’s a support system I have in NY that I just don’t have when I’m four thousand miles away from my office, my family and my friends. Argh.

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