Questions I’ve been Asked in the Hotel Life

We have been asking questions from the beginning of time. We are full of questions and answer. Questions are great for deep meaningful conversations that can connect us on another level. In keeping with the Hotel Life theme of this years A to Z challenge I wanted to share some questions that guests have asked me over the years. Now, I must warn you, I’m not making these up, and I may sound a bit condescending but bare with me, you’ll understand. I’ve written about these questions in my latest memoir of working and living in small resort towns, Behind the Swinging doors, my crazy resort life. Summer I.

When I first became a server I had to train for about two weeks with a senior server. I had many questions about general service, how do I keep my tables in sync to avoid getting in the weeds? How do I sell wine I’ve never tasted before? How do I describe the tiramisu to someone who doesn’t speak English? I never thought I would have to ask questions in retort to guests questions like, How much does that mountain weigh? Seriously this was a question asked on a nightly basis. As servers, we had the full range to be a smart ass in a polite way.
With or without the glacier? I could hold a straight face, even though I was pretty much cracking up inside. Then I would be surprised when the guest would say, with the glacier. I kid you not. I would then say, give or take a few tons.
Guests would respond in some dumbfounded way, Oh. Like it was a surprise. I sometimes wondered if guests would believe me if I said or about 50 tons, only because we had the exact number of 35, 675 feet above sea level when the would ask how high up we were on the mountain.

Other questions asked:

• Does the shrimp come from the lake (the questions was prompted when guests ordered the shrimp and clam pasta entree)
• Can I take a picture next to a bear?
• Do I get American money back? (when paying cash for anything)

My Standard answers:
• No, the lake it too cold for the shrimp, but there are small minnows in the lake.
• Bear’s are dangerous, it’s not a good idea to get close to them.
• You will get Canadian back. If I was in the states would I get Canadian back? (Sometimes I had to thrown in a smart-ass answer, I wouldn’t get tipped, but I didn’t care, I liked to throw their stupidity back to them.)

One of my favourite questions was: When do you drain the lake and paint the bottom? Sometimes I would hear other servers share that we paint the bottom of lake. They would go into great detail, such as: well first we wait for the ice to melt and that happens in late May early June. Then we drain the lake at midnight when everyone is sleeping and all the staff have to come out and paint a section of the lake. There are about a thousand staff so it takes no time at all and we fill the lake back up by sunrise. I kid you not. And sometimes guests would believe the story. I would shake my head and think what are these people thinking? They look intelligent, did they leave their common sense at home?

When people asked me about when we drain the lake to paint the bottom, I would go with the truth. I would start with how the minerals from the glacier fed the lake and when the sunlight….I’d lose them there. Guests couldn’t understand that the color of the lake was natural. There was no way there were shades of blue that blue, ever. The power of stubbornness at its best. I politely would change the subject and ask them about their travels and in one moment they would forget about the lake.

As I reflect on my times in the Rockies, it doesn’t surprise me as much when people still ask me about if they will get American change back if they use their US funds to pay for something. Once again I direct the conversation to how they are enjoying their vacation and instantly the question of the money disappears.

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .


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