my worst manager story
Last night’s show was terrible. Only six people were in the audience, and one of them was my friend and was comped. We only made $30, which isn’t even enough to cover our musicians. Our listing has dropped out of the Chronicle, mysteriously, so our houses have been dropping. This is not good when you are putting up sketches to test audience reaction for your big audition in less than two weeks. And there were three times as many people there to perform as there were people in the seats. So that’s sort of depressing, so the show was slightly depressing. Low energy… the keyboard went out at one point, we had to rearrange the show… the producer/ set list maker got the flu and bowed out of the show ten minutes before showtime, so I had to make a set list. Sloppy. The show was sloppy. So I hope tonight things run smoother.
But after the show some friends went to a bar and had some drinks. Some played trivia, some played dominos, but a couple of friends and I sat around comparing stories about scars like that scene in Jaws. This led to bad job stories. I won.
Crackheads tried to kill me.
And this story always wins for Worst Manager Story.
I worked at a hotel… (oh, the lies… it was a motel). I worked at a motel a couple of summers ago. Let me start this out by saying that both of my parents are in the hotel business, so I have a very dedicated work ethic about desk clerk jobs. Okay. So I have this boss at the time who was a real pig. When I first started working there, there was no boss, and I was pretty much in control, and I was teaching people how to check people in and make reservations my first week. Some of those people had been there months, and never learned how. What they did on their shifts, I don’t know. In any event, it was really quiet and slow. Just like thirteen checkouts and six check ins on one shift. Well, this new manager guy comes in and is really seedy. That’s a very polite way of saying he was a shithead, which is what he really was. He starts talking about how I’m young enough to be his daughter, but that’s okay, so was his last wife.
He tells me I’m very pretty, and he wished that I would pick up a few more shifts.
He started putting the fan on the floor to blow up my skirt. I’d put it back on the counter and he’d complain. “What’s your problem, it’s just like wearing a bikini. Sweetheart, you ain’t got nothin’ I ain’t never seen.”
“Well, you won’t see mine and I don’t make it a habit of wearing a bikini to work,” I replied.
If this happened now, I would have walked out then, but I was young, and broke, and I never really experienced this kind of harassment before.
“You know, I don’t need you here during the week,” I told him. “It’s not busy.”
“Well, I need you to teach me how to work this place. I was told you know how to do it all.”
“Great. Here, let me show you.”
“Later, baby, we’ve got plenty of time.”
So one day I switch a shift with a girl and I’m working a Saturday morning, which is just crazy-busy. My manager? Oh, he says, “Honey, I’m gonna go look for an apartment today. If you need me, page me. Uh.. oh, and room 213? Don’t sell them another night, they’re making too much noise, we’re getting complaints.”
Well, check out time comes and goes and 213 hasn’t checked out. I keep trying to call them, but they have the phone off the hook or something. Now I’m the only person in the building except for the three housekeepers. Two of the housekeepers do not speak English, and do not talk to me at all. They work on the other side of the motel. The one housekeeper that does speak English is always drunk when she comes to work. So she comes in and I ask her to ask room 213 to check out, since I cannot leave the desk, which has about $1000 in cash in the drawer.
She comes storming back down a few minutes later. “I ain’t cleaning their fucking room! That fucking bitch is up there in her fucking underwear calling me a ‘dirty whore.’ I’m not going up there again. There’s crack and shit all over the room and they were all calling me bad things.”
“Crack?” I gulped.
“Yeah, baby, crack. That fucking bitch can rot in hell.”
“You don’t have to clean their room. Just forget about it. Thanks.”
So she left and I had to figure out what to do. I looked up towards the room and I saw four people standing in the doorway talking. Three men and a woman. Ten minutes later the woman was in front of my desk.
“I need the room for another night.” She slapped a hundred dollar bill on the counter.
Okay, I lied to her. I just didn’t want any problems, so I lied to her. I never ever should have done this. I just shouldn’t have worked here, that’s the bottom line, but still…
“We’re sold out tonight.” I said.
“What do you mean?”
“We don’t have any rooms tonight, that’s why you have to check out. Someone else has that room tonight.”
“You ain’t got no rooms nowhere?”
“No, pluswe’vehadsomecomplaintsaboutthenoise. We’re booked. Next door has some openings though, I think.”
“Do you know who I am?”
“I’m a fucking cop, that’s who I am.”
“And my father is a fucking cop. I’m coming down here and arresting your ass for racism.”
“You’re a fucking racist, that’s why you won’t give me the room.”
“No, ma’am. I assure you, I just can’t give you a room tonight, my manager said.”
“Oh, your manager said. Where the fuck is he?”
“He’s not here right now, he’ll be back at three.”
“He’d better be. Watch your fucking back, bitch.”
And she left. The housekeeper came back into the room. “Girl, you better be careful. That lady just stopped me to tell me to tell you that she’s coming back to shoot you in the face.”
So I’m getting a little nervous. The phone rings.
“Yeah, do you have any vacancies?”
“Yes sir, we still have a few. What can I help you with?”
“THEN WHY THE FUCK DID YOU TELL MY WIFE SHE COULDN’T HAVE A GODDAM ROOM?”
“You’re a fucking racist bitch!”
“Sir, I assure you it had nothing to do with the color of her skin, I just couldn’t let her have a room tonight. I told her we were sold out so there wouldn’t be any problems.”
“What the fuck are you talking about, ‘problems’?”
“We’ve had some complaints, so I was told that I couldn’t rent her the room again.”
“Who told you that?”
“I want to talk to him.”
“He’ll be here at three.”
“Well, he’d better be, because if I show up at three and he’s not there, it’s your fucking ass that I’m gonna shoot.”
“Sir, I’m sorry–”
“Complaints. That’s ridiculous because she’s in there all by herself.”
“Sir, I’m looking at three men in her doorway.”
And he hung up.
I paged my manager.
“You need to come down here.” I explained the situation to him.
“Sweetie, I’m sure it’s nothing. All talk. You know she’s not a cop. Don’t sweat it. I’ll be back later on, okay? Just don’t worry your sweet buns about it.”
And he hung up.
Phone rings again.
“What time is your manager there?”
“He’d better be, or it’s you we kill.”
Phone rings again. It’s the housekeeper.
“Girl, those people from 213 just got in their Range Rover and they are driving towards the front desk. Get down, girl. Get down.”
The front desk has an all glass front, and overlooks the parking lot. I am now laying on my stomach underneath the front desk, shaking with fear, phone to my ear.
“Okay, girl, they’re slowing down. They’re looking in the windows. Are you down?”
“Yeah, you under the desk?”
“Good girl, they don’t see you. Okay, they just got back in the car. Okay, they took off.”
And I got back up, and I called my manager again.
“I want you here now, I want to go home.”
“Honey, I’m gonna do some laundry, okay? I probably won’t be in until like five.”
“NO! You have to be here at three or they are going to kill me.”
“I’m sure they won’t.”
I call the police.
“Well, unless they are there right now with a gun, we cannot send someone. This isn’t an emergency.”
“But it will be!” I am crying like a baby now.
“You just have a bad manager. I’m sorry about that. If they step foot on the property, we’ll dispatch someone over in three minutes. You just call us.”
I should have walked out. I should have thrown all the cash in the safe and walked out. But I was petrified that someone was waiting for me to walk out.
I spent the next hour in complete fear. The girl who worked the next shift came in late after I pleaded with her to come in early to be with me when the crackheads arrived. She said she would. She didn’t. She wasn’t a dummy.
Nothing happened at three o’clock. But I ran to my car and left that place and went home crying.
My manager called at five.
“See, sweetie? It was all talk. Nothing happened. Sometimes you have good days, sometimes bad.”
“That’s not the point. You should have come over. You’re the manager. That’s your job.”
“See you Monday.”
I spent the weekend fuming, deciding what I should do. I called him at 1:30 am on Sunday night.
“I’m not coming in. Ever again.”
“When were you scheduled to work again?”
“In six hours.”
“Well, you can’t do that.”
“Pamela, you need to be here. I can’t get anyone else to come in that soon.”
“I guess it will be you.”
“But, I don’t know how to do it.”
“Tough. I tried to show you, but you wanted to look up my dress instead.”
“Pamela, we’re a team. If you let the team down, that’s not good.”
“TEAM? Where were you? You were doing laundry. I’m sorry, coach, but you weren’t in the game.”
“I’m asking you to reconsider.”
“I don’t believe this. This is the worst thing I’ve ever seen from an employee.”
“I’m not an employee. I quit.”
“You know, when you try and get your next job, and they call me for a recommendation, I’m going to have to say you weren’t a good worker.”
I laughed at him.
“I’d never put you down as a referral.”
“I don’t believe this.”
And that was it. I picked up my last pay check and never looked back.
I got a phone call two months later:
“Is this the Pam that worked here during the summer?”
“Hi. I’m the new manager here. I understand you had some problems with the last one?”
“Yeah, you could say that.”
“Well, I don’t know how else to say this, but, he’s gone. He’s been fired.”
“And no one here knows how to run the hotel but you.”
“I’m begging you to come back.”
“Oh. Thanks, but no.”
“Please. We need you.
“I really never want to go there ever again.”
“If you change your mind, please call me.”
They needed me. They tried to have me killed, but in the end, they needed me. And I felt revenge.
And that’s my worst manager story. Can you beat it?