Marissa Explains It All #5 – Traveling Entitlement

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.

Marissa Explains It All #4 – “Time to Lean, Time To Clean”

“Time to lean, time to clean.”

I remember hearing that at my very first job at fourteen-years-old. It was something the managers said whenever anyone had the nerve to not be doing something 100 percent of the time, even if things were slow. Don’t you dare rest your cranky back or anything, you should be scrubbing during a few second reprieve of bullshit.

I can’t help but notice that’s a common theme in certain kinds of jobs. It doesn’t just stem from idle time, but an overall lack of humanity and agency for the workers in jobs that society as a whole views as “lesser.” Here are some more examples.

-Restaurants that make you take off your work uniform during a lunch break. Because if the guests find out something ridiculous, like that the workers are also human you need to eat, they might not come back or something.

-Eating in a closet-sized breakroom for the same reason, because not only are you a robot that doesn’t eat, but if you’re seen doing so, it might reflect laziness upon the staff. Yes, actual excuse I’ve heard.

-Don’t show up to eat if you’re not scheduled that day. If they find out employees also have days off, the apocalypse might happen.

-If you can be making commission on the sales floor, you really should be doing it. I know we technically have to offer you a break, but we’ll look down on you if you take it, and maybe not keep you on because you might like to eat during your twelve-hour holiday shift. We’ve already established from restaurants that eating is a sign of laziness.

-Even if your sales environment is slow, don’t you dare get caught sitting down or glancing at your phone. Sure, a customer hasn’t come in in two hours due to the blizzard, but if you have to stand up to greet a customer, they might think you did something outlandish like eat a snack or acknowledge your existence outside of the business. I know you have injuries that make standing for eight straight hours difficult, but you should’ve thought of that before thinking you should eat this week.

-You want to spend part of a holiday with your family? Hah! We’re your family. So what if you have to work from 11pm Thanksgiving night to 1pm Black Friday afternoon? We black out holidays for requests off, working those days is mandatory. Anyone who calls off will be fired on the spot. Spend time with your family in March.

-I know you already have two jobs, but you don’t have literally completely open availability so we won’t even look at your application. I know we’re only offering 15 hours a week but you need to be available 24/7 so management doesn’t have to work evenings.

-If you have the nerve to actually be off on your day off and not be on-call or accepting of any extra shifts, you’re probably just a lazy bum who doesn’t really care about your work and you don’t have what it takes. People should always want to work all the time no matter what.

-You spend too much time in the bathroom. Get back to work. Nobody has to go that often, you’re probably just sitting on your phone.


So when I read stories about companies inventing toilets slanted 13 degrees, or workplaces with a policy of “if you’re in the bathroom longer than ten minutes, a smell check will be administered,” or that Amazon workers have to piss in bottles because their rates might slip into firing range if they dare go to the bathroom, all I hear in my head is:

“Time to lean, time to clean.”

Marissa Explains It All #1 – The Night’s Watch

It’s odd to have a blog again.

Not because of any societal progression or technological advancement reason, but because I feel like I never stopped writing blogs, more or less.

I’m in the tail end of graduate school, in what’s called a low-res program. In essence, I attend school for ten days during the summer, and the rest is online. With weekly journals (daily during the summer) and other writing exercises where we’re basically blogging our thoughts, I suppose the only difference is that I’ll be graded by trolls finding my existence repulsive instead of professors dealing with my thoughts on their extensive reading assignments. Not a huge difference, but a difference nonetheless. Though, with at least with one I have to, at minimum, feign giving a shit.

I should wrap up my MFA by the end of the summer and hopefully move on to something on the other side of the post-secondary educational equation. Until then, my job keeping the night’s watch is what pays the bills.

No, this isn’t yet another Game of Thrones hot-take, but rather a fancy way of describing my day (night?) job: working third shift at a hotel. Technically it’s called the night audit, but given that the extent of my auditing is printing out reports and putting them in a folder, I prefer calling it the night’s watch. Mostly because “glorified babysitting” could be taken the wrong way.

Some night auditors have very busy shifts, especially those who:

A. Work in a hotel downtown of a city.

B. Have a bar/restaurant for which they’re also running audit.

Fortunately, I do not have either. I say fortunately because my capacity to deal with people is significantly lower than it used to be. Years of retail and the worst of humanity this time of year took care of most of that. That and the same twelve songs on repeat for hours at a time for two straight months, let’s just say I’m glad that the now-former assistant manager showed me how to shut off the ambient music.

And why shouldn’t I? For the most part, I don’t talk to anyone until 6am when people start coming down for breakfast and/or coffee, and by then, there’s only an hour left. Those other seven hours are where I get most of my homework and writing done, because it’s seldom-interrupted silence, except for the television by the breakfast area if I decide to have it on. Did you know that back-to-back reruns of Bob’s Burgers play at three different times during the night on cable? Also the music channels (MTV, MTV2, VHI, CMT, and BET) mostly play 90s sitcoms like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Martin, Living Single, etc. Except for CMT, that plays four minutes of a movie between every commercial break.

This is also where I learned that commercials from when I was a teenager are still a thing. Remember LiveLinks? Anyone who stayed up watching Comedy Central or other channels back in the early 2000s might. They still exist. LiveLinks was (totally not phone sex) voicemail dating, I think, and I’m impressed they’ve managed to stay around this long. I was expecting to see one of those Girls Gone Wild ads with the island music any time. They still run ads for 1800-PHONE-SEX or some equivalent of that too.

The TV is normally on one of the ESPN networks, so when I don’t find anything of interest (or neutral background noise), I’ll flip back to that, and those ads are pretty reflective of what demographic they’re trying to market.

“This generation of men is weak, buy this pill so you’ll get your testosterone back up to MANLY levels! It’s definitely not a boner pill, it’s a MAN pill!”

“Wear these sunglasses so you can see better. See how this guy is in fatigues? That’s because they’re MILITARY-grade sunglasses! It’s like Modern Warfare, but for real, and you’re looking for BALD EAGLES!”

“Use this camera to stop your cleaning lady from stealing. I’m a cop, it’s a cop cam, be a MAN and catch people stealing!”

“Our dads had more testosterone than we do. What are you doing right now? Drinking craft beer? Watching a movie? Caring about something? MAN UP! Take this powder and be a MAN!”

Essentially, do all this stuff so you’re horny enough to change the channel back and call LiveLinks already? Who knows. It’s amusing though. They’re Powerthirst ads without the irony.

On some occasions, there might still be one or two check-ins yet to arrive. A good bit of the time, they’ve just flown in. It’s Minnesota in the winter, so if they’ve come from anywhere to the south, a comment about the cold or snow is almost guaranteed. During a particularly hellacious storm recently, a guest complained to me about the snow, I suppose as if I was supposed to give her a discount or something for my inability to tailor the weather to her needs.

On rarer but notable nights, though, a particular kind of couple will come in. One will be a woman I recognize, because she’s been here before with someone else, and the other will be a nervous man barely speaking above a whisper while looking down, like he’s at a porn store trying to pass off something he’s buying as being for a friend, like the people working there don’t hear that excuse every day.

Apparently they think we don’t know what’s going on, but… We do. As long as they’re not hurting anyone and they’re paying the person they’ve hired, we couldn’t care less. When they leave an hour and a half later after checking in at 11:30pm, that’s also usually a pretty good sign, but once again, we don’t care. At all.

That’s also to say we know the difference between someone hiring a sex worker and someone being trafficked, so don’t come at me with that.

Maybe this was a weird introductory first blog, but the quietness of the night and the particular behavior of advertising and customers is an interesting snapshot of the mindset of certain people. Also a canvas from which most future posts will be written, so all that to say, it’s a pleasure to be here, and I look forward to getting to know some of you.