Working at a hip New York restaurant has its hazards.
“Some people are so impatient,” laments a waiter. “One lady poked me in the hand with a fork while I was taking another order because she thought her food was taking too long.”
That restaurant waiter is part of a battalion of professionals tasked with making travellers’ experiences go smoothly, whether it’s a romantic getaway, business trip, or family vacation.
Consider the honeymoon planner who books your stay in Bora-Bora; the porter who helps you haul your luggage out of the airport taxi; or the national park guide who fields your questions.
While you might not think twice about the valet to whom you’ve entrusted your $US75,000 car or the front desk manager you chatted with when you checked in, these people have seen it all — and probably thought twice about you.
We’ve interviewed travel industry professionals to get them to fess up and share their tips, pet peeves and craziest experiences. They’re the eyes and ears of international travel, and their stories will make your jaw drop, or at least inspire more courtesy and more generous tips.
Confessions of a front desk manager
I like hearing people’s stories, but please, keep it brief. We have a button on the phone that will make it ring to rescue us from a boring conversation.
Not everyone tips, but some tip a lot, so it’s a wash. People have tipped me in marijuana.
And yes, we can hear you when you’re having sex, sometimes even from the lobby. And I can always tell how some people are going to sound.
Confessions of a flight attendant
A 20-year airline-industry veteran, who asked to remain anonymous, gives us the lowdown on working in the sky.
People treat the plane like a bathroom. I’ve seen passengers changing their babies’ diapers on the tray table, clipping toenails, and picking their noses.
Instead of the stereotype that we’ve all slept around, now it’s that we’re all old, fat, and mean. But we’re not.
How to get under my skin: push the call button to find out when we’ll land or to ask for beverages before we take off. Basically, you never want to push the call button. Period.
Confessions of a taxi driver
John McDonagh has been a cabbie in New York for more than 30 years (and yes, the job is as crazy as you’d think).
I can almost always tell the people that are gonna get sick in my car. Two dudes helping a friend stand? Yeah, I’m not pulling over.
A guy was making out with two girls at once and one got so jealous she jumped out of the moving car. I still got them to Jackson Heights all right.
The worst tippers are from Europe. It’s nothing to do with cheapness; it’s their custom.
New Yorkers are so spoiled. They’ll wait for a table or Broadway tickets. But a taxi? Fuhgeddaboudit.
Confessions of an Aspen bellman
A veteran porter sheds light on working at a ritzy ski-town resort.
A lot of people assume that we’re good for carrying luggage, and that’s it. But we know as much or more about where to eat and what to do as the front desk or concierge.
Some guests think we’re their personal assistants. They want us to get them groceries, swap their pillows, even drive them to the liquor store and wait for half an hour.
We see the craziest outfits. Last year a middle-aged couple was dressed almost identically in fur boots and fur vests, with head-to-toe fake tans.
Older ladies love to flirt with the bellmen. Usually they’re joking, but hookups do happen. The ratio in Aspen is about five guys to every girl — easy pickings for the cougars.
Confessions of a waiter
What’s it really like to work at a hip NYC restaurant? A server dishes the dirt.
Some people are so impatient: one lady poked me in the hand with a fork while I was taking another order because she thought her food was taking too long.
Please don’t ask for a more desirable table. I get that you weren’t allowed to sit at the cool table in high school, but it’s only a table. Just sit down.
I’ve never seen a server spit in someone’s food, no matter how much the customer deserves it. It’s just not worth it.
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