Life in Hanoi

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Impolite staff

So far seems like I am having a great time in the hotel with all the staff. But in fact it is not. No matter how you behave, you can't please everyone and that's life. So it's time for me to describe about those people.

First of all, the ladies in le club bar. I don't even recognise her appearance; just remember I was being insulted by her in the early morning. It was 5 30 in the morning, I took breakfast in le club (the only place that all the staff in their own suit can take breakfast in) and asked for that girl to give me a check to sign in. She seemed nice and asked if I want coffee or not. After having breakfast in my room, I brought back the tray to le club. I then asked the lady where can I place the tray as it definitely will safe their time (at that time I don't have a chance to enter the kitchen, even now!!!!). She was furious and got angry with me and claimed that there is no need in doing so. She needed the forks and the tray back and immediately grasped my tray and left, w/o saying good bye.

Second dude working in Met Pub. He had been working in here for a long time but are still in that low position. So I guess he was envy on me and become to hate me. Once I ordered food from that pub in the evening and he agreed to call me in around 15 mins. But after 30 mins he didn't call me yet. So I came down and realised the food was already there. He then said he forgot to call me and I smiled at him, no problem, that's fine for me and I left. (He was the guy who always “REMINDS" me to bring back my tray after eating).

It seems like there is at least one dude hate me in each restaurant. Now turn to the spices garden, the typical Vietnamese garden. After finish eating today, I came down to the spices garden, walked straight to the back of the house and asked a dude where to place those plates. He reluctantly, with a insult voice, pointing the stewarding place. In addition, there is the spices garden manager, a typical Vietnamese lady, who had been working there for a long time but she seems so indifference on me. Sometimes she smiled at me, but I can sense that vague smile (I am not familiar with westerner vague smiles, but definitely is an expert in figuring vague smile of Asian people). I don't understand why can't she be real....At first, I quite appreciate this lady, thinking that she should be a good manager. Hope things run well when I work in her restaurant for TWO DAYS in Feb. Hopefully she won't find some ways to torture or give me a trap to step in.

Now turn back to the reception. So far everyone is nice except two people. One of them was a 29 yr old lady, who in first sign looks like 40 yr old. Everyone call her "tiger" in her back and she knows that. She is those people that love to order others to work and being lazy once her supervisors are gone. Like yesterday morning, I was the sufferer. Worked as M2, morning shift guest relations, my task is to print out two lists to check all the VIP silver covers and guest names and their corresponding letters, French or English, first come or second call (return guest within two weeks) and check the welcome letter. Also I have to inform the business center the number of copies of French and English info news and then the remaining tasks is to escort guests. Of course, no matter where I AM WORKING, I have to check the today's arrival list and have a look at each of those guests with guest history and check out their comments if any and to make some modifications to minimize their complains or in other words, enhance their satisfaction.

So that tiger suddenly gave me 170 envelops and welcome letters, in which all were in a mess, not in aphetically order. Oh, I think immediately, Ha, you wanna challenge me. COME ON IN. At that time the FO Dir was not far from me and looking at what I was doing. So I first asked for the list of this 170 guests and asked if they check in the same time or not. And the answer given were that they check in different times. So I started to work in that messy, narrow, chaotic back of FO, with continuous telephone calls. I first fold all the welcome letters. (It's not that easy at first, the quickest way is to fold with 8 to 9 letters at the same time and there are certain folding specification. If you do not fold it appropriately, those letters won't fit in the covers and then trouble exist. As the GM has to sign in each of these welcome letters)And then put them in a side. Actually I mixed them all up as they were already not in order. Then I put those welcome letters into those 170 covers. The question now is where can I place those letters and should I put them in aphetically orders? While thinking where to place those covers, I saw there was an empty fruit basket and so I made use of that. I put those cover with welcome letters into the fruit basket, tending to place from A to Z. Afterwards, I checked all those letters and collected those people that come in a smaller group, which in this case was the earlier group. At that time, Karoi came and helped me a bit. This welcome letter activity last 45 mins, which I know the FO Dir and the tiger were surprised. (Imagine during this activity, another gal came and put some irreverent welcome letters into my welcome letters to FAKE ME. But hey, although I did not do such a thing before, but if you have an organised plan to do things, for sure you can finish it effectively. This reminds my old days in EHL, mp1 in the kitchen, of first pealing boxes of onions and then slices them. Do one thing at the same time and be sure your workstation is always tidy.

In addition, that tiger also requested me to replace the staff in the new wing for lunch, which normally should only be taken for 30 mins but they usually take it for an hour. Of course some other staff saw that and smiled. I knew they are playing on me but I went there straight w/o hesitation. At least I can sit in that station.

One last thing which is about the food. The quality of food is excellent but there exists a problem of the place to eat. Usually I will take the food to my room instead of eating in the staff canteen. As I said before, I feel strange of eating other types of food while others eating food in the staff canteen, which is in insufficient quantity to feed my appetite. If I have time, I usually will order three cones of vanilla ice-cream. The problem is that there are no special way for staff to walk from the restaurant to my room. So as usual, I have to take a tray and walk around that common area where all the guests will pass by. I as well do not want them to see me bringing the tray so I try to find some time where there aren't that much guests walking around in those public space. But it is impossible to ignore guests. Just like today when I brought back the tray to the restaurant, I met two guests. The male said " Ah, having a good dinning in the bed". I smiled and said yes and ignored him. At that time I was wearing in casual. But how will those guests think of me?

Another issue is the feeling of loneliness. Eating in the room is lonely. I tried to eat in the staff canteen, but unfortunately, always in bad timing that I have to eat with some ladies that I hate, like the tigers. We have nothing in common and SOMETIMES I have to find something to chat with her to lessen the weird feeling. I hate being so vague but I can't as Vietnamese strongly regard it as impolite if you do not chat with others while dinning.


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