It started out as a standard road trip day. Slept at the Days Inn in Birmingham, Alabama (near the 78 and interstate 20). Early morning walk outside with the dogs so they could explore and handle their dog business (calling in to trade on stocks, mostly). Dress the little boy, meet the family in the Days Inn hotel lobby for the free continental breakfast. Think about Christopher Walken’s “The Continental” bit from Saturday Night Live. Chat about the day’s drive ahead.
After about 20 minutes, everyone stopped and looked around.
“Where’s Lynda?” Uncle Donnie asked.
We assumed she was having a smoke break, and continued eating
2 minutes later, all hell broke loose. A flustered, angry, upset Aunt Lynda burst through the door with Carole’s big golden retriever Grace. She handed the dog off to Carole and stormed up to the front desk.
“I’ve been trapped in the elevator for 20 minutes ringing the bell and NO ONE COMES TO HELP ME?!?!?!?”
The Days Inn front desk clerk had been minding his own business, and all of a sudden had Lynda yelling at him about being trapped. First rule of customer service (from someone who’s worked a great deal of customer service positions in the past) (not hooking, ya pervs) is when something goes wrong, you apologize. Not this guy. He instantly started yelling back at her, and never said a word about the fact that she had been stuck.
Cut to the chase! When were the cops called!??!
After this exchange, my mom in law Carole took Lynda outside and made sure she was all right. Then Carole went to the front desk to talk to the guy. He was no more friendly with her, and ended this conversation with “GET OUT!!!”
“Get Out?!? GET OUT?!?!” Carole yelled back at him. Then I believe she threw a pen down on the desk.
At that point our personality plus front desk clerk pointed up at the tv screen above. He yelled that everything was on tape and he’d have the cops called.
Really great customer service at the Birmingham, Alabama Days Inn, guys.
The cops did drive up to the hotel, but they seemed to know it was a bs call and they just kept driving.
Needless to say, we left as quickly as possible.
A few interesting developments after this incident:
- Carole called the Days Inn corporate office, and was told she’d receive something like a complaint form with further instructions. That has yet to be received. She was also told she should be contacting the hotel owner, since they’re individually owned. She told them yes, but aren’t you the parent company? Aren’t you concerned that one of your hotels is being operated in this way?
- Our Uncle Donnie later told me that after years of working in facilities, he notices problems in buildings the same way I notice bad logo design. He knew that elevator wasn’t quite right the minute he rode in it.
- He also pointed out that it isn’t enough to have an “emergency phone” in the elevator if there’s no big clear sign instructing someone to use it. When folks panic, and when they are legitimately TRAPPED IN A DAYS IN HOTEL ELEVATOR, they need clear direction how to proceed.
- Maybe the emergency bell she was ringing in the elevator should actually, I don’t know, alert hotel staff in the lobby or something, instead of being an alarm that will only be heard if someone happens to walk by.
- Turns out Aunt Lynda wasn’t even rescued by hotel staff! Another hotel guest saw her go into the elevator, and 20 minutes later helped pry her out when they realized she was stuck in there.
So good work, Days Inn. Your southern hospitality and having the cops called pretty much ensures we won’t be staying with ya again anytime soon.
Thanks for the laughs, at least!
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