Sunday, August 25, 2013

Housekeepers With Terminal Cuteness

Part of the fun we experienced in Vancouver at our hotel was interacting with the housekeeping staff.  They were a great bunch of gals from the Philippines, India and Africa.  When I was feeling really ill, I was greatly cheered just listening to them giggling together out in the hallways as they worked.  Clients at Sunset Inn and Suites Vancouver are left by the entire staff with the feeling that management is doing all the right things to keep the working atmosphere as happy as possible in this sometimes brutal service industry.

The building used to be an apartment building and has been renovated for short and longer term hotel stays.  Thus, with so many suites to have to prepare each day for 4pm new check ins, those of us all ready in residence often had to wait until after 4pm for our daily tidy up.  Some of the guests didn't appreciate that aspect of the stay, but if they really needed service earlier in the day, a quick call to the desk would be sufficient to arrange it.  The housekeepers were very efficient when they did arrive, very conscientious, and smiling all the while. I felt sorry for them that I was always there when they arrived, but they didn't seem concerned about my being ill.

I don't know how tipping officially works in this country when it comes to hotel housekeeping staff.  When I try to find out I get the usual Canadian style answer that tells me little other than that a tip is always appreciated.  So, since I was always in the room when our housekeepers came I was able to give them each their tip on the way out.  hahahaha  It was hilarious after that first day.

The first day I had 2 gals do the bit of work required.  I tipped both of them.  The next day that I required work there were 3 gals.  I tipped each of them.  The next time there were 5 gals falling over each other to do the work of 2.  I tipped them as a chuckle formed in the back of my throat.  The last day, when 7 of them showed up to change 3 garbage cans and replace 2 sets of towels, I very nearly gave in to howling with laughter right out loud.  But, I managed to reduce my hysteria to a twinkle in my eyes as I tipped all 7 of them and they grinned like crazy at me.  They knew I was on to them and I knew they knew and we all ended up laughing as they bowed their way out to the cleaning cart to go and find their next victim....oops, I mean client.

There are mostly non-Canadian guests in the hotel in the summer, guests from all over the USA, Europe and Asia.  The USA and Europe have a long history of tipping hotel staff whereas Canadian guests in the two and three star hotels have just been catching up over the past few years.  I have considered myself a fairly cheap to middle of the road tipper of housekeeping staff, but after this last experience I am wondering if people are not tipping as they should be these days.  Never before have I seen so much excitement generated over my measly daily tip.  

The only other reason I can think of for the sudden rise in numbers of housekeeping staff in my room  is that the ladies enjoyed giggling at me for any number of reasons.  hahaha  I know most of them come from countries that cannot fathom the apparent craziness/stupidity/obesity/immodesty/dreadful eating habits of their North American neighbours.  Whatever the real reason for the growing ranks of staff over the week I was in residence, I really enjoyed meeting them.  I enjoyed their laughter, even if some of it was "secretly" at my own expense. I enjoyed their chatter after a few hours alone while my guys were busy elsewhere for the day.  I enjoyed the complete lack of sulking and frowning and complaining that seems so often to happen (and often not without justification) with hotel service workers.  I am only the guest.  I can sympathize but can do little else as a mere visitor.

Too many Canadian hotel housekeepers seem quite happy to announce their dissatisfaction with their jobs to any guest who will listen to them and even to some of us who don't want to hear it. They could learn a lot about making a difficult job more easy to bear if they spent some time with these immigrant women who have just as difficult, or more difficult, personal lives as their Canadian counterparts and who are often trained in their home countries for professional careers they can't get jobs in here.  They could learn how to work together more cooperatively from this bunch at Sunset Inn and Suites, that is for sure.

These ladies made my otherwise bitterly disappointing stay in Vancouver a lot easier to bear with the attitudes they displayed around the guests.  I don't want to add up what I spent in tips because it turned into a horrendous amount and I don't want to spoil my own fun.   

Yup, housekeepers with terminal cuteness...I enjoyed them immensely.


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