I have been working for accommodation at a backpackers for a week and a half now. Everything has gone very smoothly and the cleaning, bed making, and helping check guests in and out is all rather simple. Most of what I do is common sense. If the kitchen is a mess, clean it up. If the bathroom is terrible, clean it up. If a room has been vacated, make the bed, vacuum and clean the mirror (they really like their mirrors and windows to be streak free).

On the off chance that it is super slow, I have to do deeper cleans of rooms, fridges, cupboards, etc. Not a big deal. The other day I actually found the “lost remote control” that caused the owner to purchase a new stereo system. (He needs the remote to get the play list on random shuffle- without the remote it would be the same songs in the same order day after day after day and you would slowly go mad…). It had fallen into a brochure holder that was on the book shelf. He was very excited to see it.

Anyway, the other day there was an incident! Oh my! The backpackers (a backpackers is a smaller, family run hostel. Usually much cozier than motels, hotels or hostels) was full for the weekend with a Danish tour group of 10, plus their guide, two couples and then the regulars (my boyfriend and I and two long termers). Every bed was filled. Every person in the hostel, with the exception of the tour guide, looked between 16 and 29.

I came into the kitchen before my shift and found two people asleep. One was sitting in a chair with his head on the table. The other was on a mini sofa with his legs on another chair. He had a heap of empty duvet covers and towels piled on him. I then looked down the hall to the bathrooms to see that the linen cupboard with a large “Private” sign hanging on it was wide open and things were a jumble. The boy with the towels and linen on him had obviously disregarded this sign. Fearing the worst, I peaked into the bathroom. Oh my. Not going to be pleasant and definitely a cleaning-gloves day.

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I was not happy. I was angry that these two boys from the tour group had become so drunk that they couldn’t make it up the stairs to their dorm beds….I was planing on how I would tell the tour guide that we needed to charge for the used towels. Since I wasn’t technically on the clock yet, I went for a morning hike.

Upon my return the table was full of the tour group busily eating breakfast, the two drunks still oblivious to the commotion around them. I found the tour guide and began to politely tell him the problem. His response “Ah, they aren’t a part of the group.” Hmmmm….I then decided to find out more about these two “guests”.

I woke them each with a gentle nudge and asked why they weren’t in their beds. The mumbled response “Lost our keys”. I then asked what room they were in. The response “Don’t remember”. When the tour guide had said they weren’t a part of the group, I had a suspicion that these two weren’t even booked in the hostel at all! My final question was to confirm my suspicion: which hostel is this? Their response “Dunno.”

I called the owner. This was still before 8:30, the time I start, and he was still sleeping when I called. He told me to charge them the price of a dorm bed and to charge the towel hire per towel the one lad had used. And most importantly, get them out of the hostel as soon as possible.

I had gone outside to make the phone call and the two blogs had fallen back asleep. I started with the one at the table. Shaking him “awake” was easy enough. Getting him to comprehend that he had to pay money for sleeping at a table took a little bit more effort. Eventually, with not much argument, just confusion, I got cash off of him. Ok, one down, one to go. This lad wasn’t as passive. He began to ask why he was being charged the full price of a bed when he hadn’t slept in a bed. I stuck to my guns, and got his credit card. I had input the charge amount for a bed and towels when the machine stopped working. This could be a problem, he was already unhappy about paying for a crappy nights sleep on a kitchen chair/sofa and now it was taking too long to take money from him. In came the Calvary (the boss)! He then took over and berated them for their stupidity and blatant disrespect.

Once the guys cleared out, a few of the guests complimented me on how I handled the situation. I was just shaking from the adrenaline rush, trying to sip tea and have breakfast before I had to clean 12 beds….

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