Unsung Heroines

Nancy Anderson
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Runny eggs for breakfast … a surly desk clerk … a noisy air conditioner–almost any inconvenience in a hotel can be forgiven or compensated. But the one thing a guest will not forgive or overlook is a dirty room. Guests have walked out because they found a hair in the sink or a stain on the floor. Always at the top of the surveys of guest expectations is a “clean room.”

So, a well-deserved “Thank you,” is due to the hotel’s housekeepers. These ladies (and the vast majority are women) handle the dirtiest jobs of the hotel. There are the sheets that must be replaced, the beds that need to be made and towels gathered and exchanged. There is also the general mess of empty food containers and drink bottles as well as newspapers and trash scattered about the room. And of course there are the crumbs and stains that need to be vacuumed up and wiped away.

There are also the grosser aspects of the job. A child has wet the bed; someone has missed the toilet; a drunken guest has regurgitated—these are not pretty pictures, but someone has to clean-up the mess. That someone is the housekeeper. No wonder rubber gloves are standard issue for them!

And they do all this for minimum wage with few opportunities for advancement. The average pay for housekeepers is $16,900 a year, just $325 per week. For that they can clean up to 15 rooms a day; and with a noon or one o’clock check-out time, they have to hurry to be ready for the 3:00 pm check-ins. They rejoice when one of their assigned rooms has a DND (Do Not Disturb) on the door as they make their morning rounds; and they hope it is still there in the afternoon.

Unfortunately, if a guest forgets that they forgot something or misplaces an item, too often we hear, “The housekeeper took it … moved it … broke it.” When it is discovered that it was the guest’s error, all you get is a “Never mind.”

So next time you use a hotel, remember to leave a tip for the hardworking women who provided you with a clean room. Try to make it more than just the loose change you leave in an ash tray or on the dresser. It’s a good way to say “Thank you” to the hospitality industry’s unsung heroines.

For more information on hospitality jobs, check out http://www.hospitalityjobsite.com/
By: Joe Fairchild

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