Crew Stories: Rude, aggressive and guest who complain about anything

Oct 08, 2019

During my first contract, I had one lady giving me the biggest shock in 8 years of Hospitality, so what happened. 

During the day, right before my shift ended a woman sat at a table in my section, minutes after I whipped that table and cleaned it with disinfectant.  She looked a bit strange, like an old biker. She pulled out a deck of cards and ordered a diet Coke with her Soda Sticker. Most of the guests thought that if they drink a diet Coke after a ridiculously big meal that all the calories would simply disappear and that it would help with their weight. The Soda Stickers can be used for all bubbly drinks, not just Coke.  My biker lady guest didn’t like how the table was still a bit wet from the disinfectant so she called me and asked me to wipe it again. I smiled politely and said ‘Don’t worry it will dry up very soon” and went to the bar to get her diet Coke.

I didn’t want to appear rude or lazy, but that chemical has its own properties and it is not recommended to be wiped again after it was used on a surface. When I was coming back with her drink on my tray I saw something that I’ve never seen before in the seven years that I spent working in the Hospitality industry – she took off a sock with her right hand, place it on the table and started wiping. I couldn’t hide my shock when I saw her doing that. I just gave her the Diet Coke that she ordered and went to the kitchen to come together a bit. 

I had four more orders with my regular guests who were very nice and always ready for a good laugh. I was bringing them their martinis but at the moment I reached their table I couldn’t remember who ordered what.

I apologized and said, “I’m a bit shocked by something that just happened and I can’t remember who ordered what”. They reacted so gracefully and asked if they could help in any way. I told them what happened and of course, they were completely shocked. They asked me who the woman was and what table she was sitting at. I looked at her and all four of them looked in the same direction. 

At that moment the rude woman’s’ friend joined her. As far as I could tell they had an argument because the friend saw the rude woman wipe the table with her sock and told her that she was extremely inappropriate. They both stormed out of the bar soon after that. 

When the four great ladies finished their cruise, they gave me a tip and a pair of socks. 

On my first contact for another five-star luxury cruise line, I had one lady who really also shocked me with her behavior. The guests here were really being spoiled on these cruises because they really did get the finest service. The Company takes care of its brand and they want their guests to feel at home. They would even tell some VIP guests “Welcome back home, Mr. and Mrs. Smith’. I thought that was alright and a good strategy. 

I did my job very professionally and in accordance to the Company policy. I learned a lot from the main Sommelier called Karen who would pick at me sometimes, but only because she wanted me to learn as much as I could and be as good as she was. That really helped me improve my skills and I hoped to advance to bartender or Assistant Sommelier positions. 

Near the end of that contract I received my first Complaint from one of the guests. This one lady who was traveling alone is the one who had a complaint. 

I noticed her for the first time in the Club Bar when regular guests boarded the ship and were greeted by the Hotel director and other managers. 

This was a sort of a mixology bar and it had its charms, during the day they had lectures and games there, and in the evenings it would turn into a night bar. 

She was dressed very well for a woman her age. I really liked her shoes, they had like a print of cat ears in the front. I loved that and I told her that they were amazing. She just gave me a look and I could almost hear her think “Who asked you anything serving girl”. I made a mistake on the last night of that cruise. I saw her sitting alone at a big table. All the other guests around her were talking and laughing but she was separated from everyone and I felt sorry for her. That section wasn’t mine but I had to go there and take some more wine to one of the guests. 

Because I felt sorry for her and I wanted to make her feel a little less alone, I walked by and said “Sweety, are you alright?”

At the end of the cruise she sent an email that said that it is extremely unprofessional for me to talk to her like that. I was shocked when Karen told me that and I promised myself that from now on I would only refer guests as Sir and Madam. Later I found out that she was an important person and a critic of the Cruise industry. Things made more sense after that. She didn’t refer me specifically in that email but rather she spoke in general, referring to anyone who spoke to guests like a normal person. 

The most memorable scene in the last ten days of my contract was during that last cruise. This was the time when I hardly spoke to guests and other crew members because I was totally focused on packing and going home. I was working in the main restaurant and an older couple sat in my section. 

The woman looked like an evil witch. She had an angry look in her eyes and she was constantly touching her big ring on her left hand. Her husband looked half dead and didn’t really care about anything. 

When she sat down I noticed that the main cook came to say hello to her. He was almost on his knees, he came close to her ears and mouth and telling her how he will do everything that takes to make sure that there is always enough fresh fruit and vegetables as long as she was there.  I never saw him do anything like that for any other guest. 

I thought how strange that was and assumed that this woman must be someone very important and specific. I approached them and in a very calm and sweet voice presented the wines of the evening, but she just asked which Bordeaux wines we had. I excused myself and said that the main Sommelier would come to serve them. I ran to Karen and asked if she could take over this lady because I thought she was someone important and that I don’t want to make any mistakes. Karen was about fifty years old and she was Canadian. 

Canadians are known around the world as extremely kind and polite people. Karen spoke with the woman and presented the wines. When she came back she gave me the wine that the woman chose and I served it to her to the rest of the evening, trying my best to be very polite. 

The next evening Karen came to me and said “Can you believe that the woman from last night complained that I was very rude and that I didn’t serve her properly”? I said “I knew it. I told you that there was something evil in her and that she just wants to make someone miserable”. I have never served a ruder person in my life. I was so looking forward to going home that I was almost counting the minutes to my last day. 

The worst part of the Bar Department was the night shift, at Observation Bar In that bar it is characteristic that the Bar itself is in the center of the room and that Bartender is always surrounded by guests. It was about midnight, we wanted to close at least until then there was no one there, but at that moment four people came in already in a drunken state, sitting around the Bar and looking for 4 drinks from Bartender. Two hours after and a huge amount of alcohol they were drank, the woman sitting to the left of Bar begins to cry and cry that she is a mother of three and that she has done the best for them, to the gentleman to herself, who is trying to use this situation and starts hugging her. The other two gentlemen want more drinks; Bartender refuses to serve them, informs the security, and at that moment the ugly words to Bartender begin. We are all in shock no one should react roughly, we try to calm the situation and ask them to go to sleep. The situation is getting worse, the leader of the group, the gentleman, about 50 years old, rushes to the bar to serve himself a drink, calling Bartender incompetent. The first contact starts pushing Bartender with both hands. At that moment, Bartender takes the phone and reports the gentleman so that tomorrow is not my word against his. And with the company protecting the interests of the passengers, he would probably get fired if he had no evidence, even though the two of us waiters were also witnesses. Fortunately, security came soon, all finished with yelling, pushing and vomited in the end, with the constant crying of a woman… The scene from the movies we all ended up looking in shock, we just wanted to break everything down and close the bar. In silence went to sleep. These guests were blacklisted and were escorted from the ship the next day.