The other day I received a call from a high strung man who wanted to know if we had any rooms available. I told him we had plenty and he asked for the rates. "There are rooms for $150, $175 or$200 per night." "Okay," he replied, "we'll be right there to take a look."
Five minutes later, he appears at the front desk with a lady by his side, ready to see some rooms. This man was a total creepshow. Although he wasn't actually perspiring, he looked like he was ready to at any minute. He seemed edgy and nervous and instantly made me feel weird. Maybe it was his giant wraparound old man sunglasses that were tinted pink and gave his face a sickly appearance. The woman was very schoolmarmish with a tight haircut, nerdy glasses and a long dress that almost touched the floor. "Follow me," I said, leading them upstairs.
I showed them all of our empty rooms and in each one, the man asked the same two questions: "How much would this room be?" and "Can we get a late check out in this room?" I wanted to know how late a check out he would be needing. "I don't know...afternoon. 6 o'clock." 6 o'clock?! What would require such a late checkout, I wondered to myself.
They wanted to see some more rooms so I gave them a map to the grounds. I was not going to spend any more time in this man's company than I had to. I circled the rooms that fit their needs and told them to check them out and let me know which one they liked best. Again he kept asking me about the price of each rooms so after telling him a few times in a row I write them down on the map next to each room so there would be no confusion. Eventually, they went out to walk the grounds.
I didn't see or hear from them for the about 20 minutes until the phone rang. "What room am I in?" barks the voice on the other end. "I'm not sure," I tell him, "I have no idea where you are. What is the number on the door?" "I didn't see a number" he tells me. "Most of the rooms you told us to look in are locked." This cannot possibly be true since we leave out doors unlocked all the time. At this point I wonder if maybe he has wandered off the property and is attempting to break in to our neighbor's house. I hear him fumbling around through drawers and opening and closing doors. "I'm in a blue or green house, where am I ?" This is a question I can't possible answer based on the clues he's given me. It turns out he was in room 34. He had climbed up the outer stairwell and onto the balcony, trying to enter each room through the sliding glass doors, which we do keep locked. He was nowhere near where I told him to go on the map.
Another 15 minutes go by and the phone rings again. "I'm in Room 19 ," he yells, "how much is this one?" Maybe they lost their map. That would explain how they got so far off course and why he can't seem to figure out the price of each room even though I wrote them down for him a half-hour ago. All of a sudden there's a thud and the phone goes dead. A short pause then he calls back, this time from his cell phone. "Yeah, uh, the phone is this room just went dead, can you come take a look at it?" "Maybe it's the wire," I tell him, "Check to see if it's plugged in." "I'd have to move the whole bed, also, the air conditioner in here isn't blowing to cool." Why had he turned the air conditioner on? "You probably just need to give it a few minutes." He doesn't like that answer. "I think it might be the air filter, could you come change it?" Now, these people weren't even staying at our Inn let alone in that room. Did he really think I was going to go change the air filter, which most likely wasn't even faulty, so they could check out the room at a cooler temperature? And why was this taking them so long? I gave them 4 rooms to check out not 42. Before we ended this particular conversation he asked me, "Can we get a late checkout in this room?"
The phone call ends and another 15 minutes go by. Finally, I see them approaching
the house. "Room 19 was no good, it had bugs...bad." I look up to see the
woman standing behind him, silently nodding in agreement. "We want to take
a look at the rooms in the main house again" he tells me. This is, apparently,
the most important decision
this couple has ever had to make. They go up the stairs and come back down
10 minutes later. "We're going to go check some more places in town." So,
after a mysteriously long hour of complaining and "checking out" the rooms,
they left. Thankfully, they never returned. What were they doing in the rooms
for so long, I wondered. Why did this visit leave me with such a strange feeling
in my stomach? To ease my curiosity, I decided to take a trip through the
main house and make sure nothing was out of order. I was glad to see that
everything still looked the way it did before they came and while I was checking
to make sure nothing had been stolen I was more interested in making sure
that the beds had not been used. Maybe we should consider renting our bug
infested, broken phone, clogged air filter, locked balcony door rooms out
by the hour. If it would mean more visits from creeps like him, I'd be all
Jeremy Paquette resides in Brattleboro, Vermont. He no longer has any room for the Inn. Wish him well.
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