“Good morning, thank you for calling the concierge desk, how may I assist you?” It feels like the big run on sentence that is my life. Last week was the 3rd anniversary of me becoming a concierge. It’s made me think a lot about what happens at my desk every day.
I work as a concierge by day and scheme my entertainment career by night AND day. I work with my wedding clients by night and weekend and then in the mornings I deal with crazy lunatics from far off places in my face asking about tours, shows, and anything free they can get their hands on. I am a concierge.
When I talk about being a concierge, I say it’s fine; it’s actually kinda cool. I became a concierge because I thought it wasn’t too far away from what I know and understand. The perks were great too; people are thrilled when you come to their shop or restaurant. I like learning about NYC and I like helping and meeting new people. I enjoy the products I sell and the things that I can do for people.
It definitely starts to evolve into something different after years behind a desk. The more I stand here, the more I wonder about human beings. It’s not so much the job, which like I said, is fine- it’s people. I’m embarrassed at how people speak to me and how I’m forced to speak to them as if nothing they did or said was wrong, customer service at its best. I’m great at it. I’m an actress, biatches. I got this. The good experiences stay with me forever and the bad ones visit me by way of nightmares where everyone has a French accent and wants a subway map. It’s the positive dealings that make me want to jump around in the bouncey house of life and the rude things that make me want to shoot explosive diarrhea in their face.
Let’s give some examples, shall we! (If you want more you should hit up this awesome site: howmaywehateyou.com!)
*9/11 is a touchy subject and it’s always a rough day when someone asks where “the big hole is with all the dead people.” Are people unbelievably insensitive or what? I usually have to explain that the Twin Towers are in fact gone and were demolished in the 9/11 attacks. The Freedom Towers aka 1 World Trade Center, the 9/11 Memorial, the 9/11 memorial Museum, and the 9/11 Tribute Center are there now; it is no longer called Ground Zero. When you used to have to make a reservation at the 9/11 Memorial, people would be ANGRY when they had to wait. One guy pissed off a cop at the site so bad that he wasn’t allowed into the Memorial. He came back to the hotel and complained to me “I’m a Vietnam veteran and I need to see the hole where they all died. I wanted a T-shirt!” UGH you disgusting person, get away from me or your horribleness might rub off!
*I love getting asked about the Eiffel Tower. What city are you in? Do your research. You look stupid.
*”I need to buy a car so I can drive to Guam.” Who gets asked things like this? THIS GIRL. These guests TRULY believed that they could drive a car directly to Guam. I had to explain that it was an island. Far, far away! Woof.
*I was asked for a secret club once. I recommended a fabulous underground bar but the guy kept saying no-no no. I didn’t know what he was talking about but then he finally came out with it: the nice, respectable Arab man with his wife and 3 kids wanted a “titty” club to “touch the ladies.” Lovely.
*A crazy Southern gentleman with a drink in hand: “Who do I need to screw to get in to see Jimmy Fallon?” Me- His mother. And scene.
*One of my favorite scenarios is when someone wants a restaurant recommendation. I am not a mind reader so I always ask what kind of food would you like. Most times people can tell me Italian, Steakhouse, Burgers, Thai, etc. THEN you get the crazies. I’m vegan, gluten-free, pescatarian who doesn’t eat wheat, soy, vegetables, fruit, or ANYTHING. I mean people are crazy. Worse is when they say they would go for “anything.” I then recommend Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Sushi, Ethiopian, Peruvian, Greek, and anything other cuisines you can think of. They don’t like those. Obviously anything is a loose term. I’m not your mother. Make some decisions. You are in a city where you literally can have anything you want. Dream big.
*The hop on, hop off buses. I literally lay everything out, tell them how to save money and do the most in the least amount of time. I’m pretty awesome. Let me explain. One tour is $49 and it only covers half of the city; it only lasts 24 hours. For $59, you can get five different hop on hop off buses and it lasts 48 hours. What seems like a better deal? Duh. I try to save people money daily because I know how expensive this city can be. It’s actually a lot of fun to take these buses (Hubs and I had a ball doing them!). They make perfect sense to people from outside the US. The Americans are the ones who cannot grasp the concept, read and listen to the possibilities. Obviously a language barrier is necessary to understand.
*People bring us vouchers for services that they bought online or through their travel agent. Travel agents don’t know jack shit or just don’t feel like doing anything. They never make the customers reservations; what’s with that? They take their money, give guests a piece of paper, and make us finish their jobs by actually making the reservation. When I have to do this for people, I make sure it’s right because if not, they blame it on me. Getting their info is like I’m trying to rob them; I can’t get you a shuttle if I don’t know when your damn flight is. Do you want help?
*There are also the lazy guests who want you to walk them outside and point at things, who want your to print their boarding pass when there is a computer for them to use next to you, who want you to take all the time in the world with them and don’t care that you have five other people waiting for a simple map and instruction. Womp.
And then you have the great guest, who thanks you, either monetarily or with their many thanks. I happily accept both. These guests keep me going, smiling and make it worthwhile.
“Without your help we would have never seen all that we did.”
“That restaurant was unreal! Best food I ever ate.”
“You made our trip!”
“Look us up when you visit and we will show YOU around.”
“You are a gem! Going to a Broadway show has always been a dream of mine and you made it come true.”
Becoming a concierge was necessary to get to the next step of my life: paying for our wedding, getting settled into a full personal life, and paying for all the classes, headshots and music equipment I want to help me grow this gift I’ve been holding tight to. I have no regrets. As an actor I ALWAYS felt poor of pocket and rich of heart. Now I’m not rich by any means but I’m in a better financial land but my heart is poor and empty without the missing puzzle piece of musical theatre, two of the most glorious words in the English language. I want to feel both! I really do want it all. But the question is: is that too much to ask and to strive for? I hope not. I feel like I will always be trying to figure out how to get it.
Day by day I work on holding my tongue and smiling through the painful questions. I do a great job. I get through to the weekends that are filled with wedding jobs, family events, singing, and lazy time with the Hubs. I get my daily dose of crazy. It’s a burning hot tablespoon of medicine to swallow. Then I go home to try to create some of my own sweeter tasting elixir. This job isn’t who I am. It won’t make or break me. I got this. And I got much, much more than just this.