Friday, April 19, 2013

Getting a Gold Star

I now work at a hotel. One of my duties there is to personally hand over the guest's dry cleaning to a worker from the company we contract. As it happens it is a very nice hotel and so the dry cleaners we contract pride themselves on doing an excellent job. Thus we will call them 'Gold Star Dry Cleaning'. One afternoon their van pulled up in front of the hotel as it often does to drop off the laundry that went out in the morning. The only thing was I knew we hadn't sent out any laundry that morning. But it was slow and I stepped out into the lobby to greet the delivery guy anyway thinking that maybe they were here to drop off a special order of linens for Sales or something. But in came the guy carrying a bag with something not particularly laundry-like in it. I could tell as they always bring things back in clear trash-style bags and this was one of those as well.

"I guess this is yours." Was all he said as he handed it to me before walking back out the door. I brought the bag back behind the front desk to investigate all the while having a kind of sinking feeling since I recognized the pieces of paper that doubtless led the dry cleaners to return the bag to us. Opening the bag I realized it was a black case like you might carry important papers in and two of the hotel's shipping forms that we use when a guest has left an item behind that they want sent to wherever it is they live. Which means that rather than have one of our shuttle drivers bring it to UPS when they went out we sent it out with the dry cleaning. I looked at the form and saw that it was filled out by one of the evening front desk people who must then have left it to be sent out in the morning when UPS was open. Except whoever worked in the morning did not send it to UPS.

I went out back into the office to tell my manger what had happened. The general manager overheard and came out of her office. "They called last night looking for a tracking number and we looked all over for that thing. Call and tell them we'll be sending it out today at our cost- fastest shipping available." She said. Great, I thought, so I get the lovely job of trying to explain that we screwed this up entirely. I thought for a few minutes while I called the shuttle driver on the radio so we could send the case right out. I took a deep breath and called the guest. I can't tell you how relieved I was when I got their voicemail. I left them a message in explanation and said if they wanted to call back later in the afternoon we'd have the tracking number for them. I gave instructions to the driver to send it the fastest shipping available at our cost and to make sure they got a tracking number.

The other front desk person, by this point aware of the situation, asked me what I had said. "Hello, this is Jace from the Fancy Hotel. I'm just calling to let you know that unfortunately there was a return to sender shipping error with your package but we corrected your address based on our records and will be sending the package out today via the fastest shipping available at our cost because of the inconvenience. If you would like to call back later for the tracking number our number is (777)-555-9999. Thank you." My coworker raised their eyebrows and said: "Shipping error, huh? That's what you went with?" To which I could only respond: "Well, I certainly wasn't going to tell them we sent their passports to the dry cleaners!"