Over the past thirty years, twenty-four guests cancelled. I don’t count those that arrive before I leave the house, so all occurred while I was on my way. To this I must add eighteen no-shows: guests who weren’t in the room when I knocked. This always annoys me because I tell guests when I’ll arrive. In my younger, passive-aggressive days, I would phone later. Guests would swear they had told the hotel and express outrage that the employee had failed to pass on the message. After hearing the same excuse every time, I stopped calling.
Fifty database files appeared under “No Pay,” meaning I wanted to collect but couldn’t. A minority were blunt refusals from guests who never intended to pay; a dozen were clearly mentally ill. Four guests had called the paramedics before I arrived, and they were already on the scene.
“No way!... Take it up with the manager” caused trouble until I saw the light. Hotels often pay if guests are injured on the premises, find bugs in the room, or believe they’re poisoned by hotel food. Unfortunately, sometimes the hotel refuses, and it’s a bad idea to argue. After leaving unpaid several times, I learned to stay alert during the initial phone call for situations when guests blame the hotel. If so, I tell them to discuss matters with management before I leave the house.