Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Room at the Inn

When I tended bar in a hotel, I always had to work on Christmas. Hotels, of course, do not close on the holidays. They become large boxes of lonely people with no place to go except the hotel bar, hotel restaurant, or their own room. Every place else is closed on Christmas; sooner or later, they usually all wind up in the bar.

There is something sadistic about filling a hotel bar with Christmas decorations - reminding the customers of their isolation - by fate or design - from their families. It's like showing pictures of food to hungry children. Then you add alcohol to their misery and everything gets so much better. I think the decorations are nice enough in the two or three weeks preceding, but they might just as well be toned down a little out of respect on the Big Day.

One hotel I worked at tried to make me wear an elf hat on Christmas. I said, "I did not spend this much time doing my hair just to have it flattened out with a children's costume. No thank-you."


  1. I had a lone diner come in on Christmas Eve last year. I asked if he was traveling and he said he was not. Apparently he's a Wal-Mart greeter in my (former) town and according to other servers, is always grumpy when he comes in to eat.

    I sat down and talked with him a little bit. He told me about his grandkids who live in a different state and I told him about my mother not wanting my husband to come to Christmas. He turned out to be a sweet guy. Still didn't tip well, but I'd like to think I made his Christmas a little less lonely.

    I can imagine working at a hotel around the holidays and seeing lone travelers would be kind of depressing all around...ick.

  2. "The Wal-Mart Greeter and the Waitress." That is gonna be a Lifetime movie some day, for sure! Good for you. Bet his job sucks, too. "WelcometoWal-MartWelcometoWal-MartWelcometoWal-Mart" all day long.

    One of the freakiest things about hotels on the holidays is that everything will be really really slow - just dead. And then suddenly, EVERYBODY comes downstairs to eat. In the bar, in the restaurant .... it's all at once. Starts about 6 and goes to 8:30 or so. Then they're all just drunks. But since there's no place else to go, you get all of them. Usually, a hotel gets some, and some drift off to other restaurants/bars. I'm sure you know, it's the contrast from nothing to being slammed that throws you. And they are all in such a piss poor mood!

    I worked a Thanksgiving once when the hotel scheduled me alone in the dining room with just one cook. I filled it twice and was so busy the busser and hostess just threw my tips in a jar for me. I got two phone numbers, too!

  3. From a customer stand pt., I have to say a bar is a place where lonely people go to and mix that in w/a holiday and its a sure fire way to get that person to drink at a bar on that occasion...I've never found my place in a bar but given my family situation w/ a son who refuses to get help for his ocd issue has torn me and his siblings...and mix that in w/Xmas and that would make me run to a bar..