One of the most well-known cliches of Americans traveling abroad is that they feel entitled to everything and treat everyone like trash.
However, from someone in the hospitality industry, I can tell you that they don’t have to be abroad to act that way.
There’s some leniency we have to consider here, for certain. American workers get less vacation and time off than most people do, unless you make enough or have a privileged enough position that you’re not guilt-tripped or threatened with termination for taking it. But there is a point of understanding that most people don’t get to go on vacation at least once a year, let alone the six weeks that countries that aren’t constructing a modern-day remake of Metropolis receive.
But does that entitle you to be an absolute shitwaffle in the process?
Through luck of the draw this year, I worked Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. Most of them were fine, and abnormally slow… except New Year’s Eve. For context, my hotel does not have a bar, a restaurant, or anything like that, and isn’t really a “Destination” hotel, as it’s not near anything and it’s in the suburbs of Minneapolis. It’s an extended stay residence, which essentially means people who come into town on business or who have to be out of their homes for an extended period of time are more likely to find a place like this, as our rooms have full kitchens and other amenities that ones that are more likely to expect nightly checkouts do not have.
I arrived at 11pm on New Year’s Eve to find my normally quiet lobby overflowing with people. My afternoon person explained to me that there was a hockey team staying with us. But these were not the hockey players, which is the behavior I’d expect from teenage hockey players in Minnesota, and by that I mean it’s expensive as shit to play hockey, so it’s a privilege to say the least. These were the parents, so we’re not talking children or even young teens or early 20s people here. These were 35-55-year-olds acting in a manner that would make the boys from Animal House tell them to tone it down a bit.
I know, it’s New Year’s Eve, and for reasons I’ll never understand, it’s a date where people feel almost obligated to go out, drink, and party late. I can be somewhat forgiving of that. But these people had enough alcohol with them to celebrate a national championship. I mean it, throughout the night I took out three giant trash bags of nothing but liquor bottles and beer cans, and I didn’t get them all.
Complaints were coming in from all over the hotel from the noise level of this group. Apparently some people do like to sleep rather than get obscenely drunk. The entitlement behavior this shows is that it’s okay to act completely inappropriately because they’re not in a place that’s theirs, so therefore they don’t have to clean up or deal with any of the consequences. They’re at a hotel, so it’s okay to trash and break property and expect the person working there to clean it up.
Three fights broke out. Physical confrontations because, surprise, drunken hockey parents have some disagreements. The men started harassing female guests, either to have a drink with them or to give them their room number. They got louder as they got drunker. They jumped in the pool in their clothes at midnight, bringing a ton of their beer in there and of course leaving that trash can overflowing as well. One guy was double-fisting a beer and a bottle of champagne. Another wet himself in the lobby.
They had a game at 8am the next morning. Well, the kids did anyway.
Someone came down with a bluetooth speaker and started blaring music well after midnight, and seemed surprised that I told them to cut it off. Telling these people to keep the volume down was fruitless, as was thinking of calling the police when the fights and harassment started breaking out, because they were already out there everywhere anyway. It finally ended at 3am, with the last few of them falling over themselves to get to bed, after some of them who got in fights had to book additional rooms to split up.
I don’t understand what makes people act like that, or feel that it’s okay to act like that. I understand needing to let loose, or have a party, or have a good time, or enjoy a day traveling. I do not understand what makes people feel entitled to behave obscenely, to destroy property, to harass people, and to drink so excessively that you get into fights and can’t stand up in a hotel lobby. It was embarrassing. Or it should’ve been, anyway.
Certain industries see the worst sides of people, and most of the time, I’m not at a place where I have to see it myself. But holy shit was New Year’s Eve some embarrassing behavior on behalf of people who supposedly were there to support their kids playing a sport, but rather decided to party themselves sick and wasted while their kids slept upstairs.