November 25, 2012

Author Q & A: Service with some bile

Jacob Tomsky, whose new book dishes on the underbelly of the hospitality industry, is being compared to Anthony Bourdain.

By Meredith Goad
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 2)

A: I think yelling, right away. I think there's a big difference between a request and a demand. I think a lot of people lose that line, and that's a very good way to irritate staff – demand as if everything is deserved for you when there's other people who have guaranteed reservations.

Snapping their credit card on the desk, that's one of my little personal pet peeves. Being on your cell phone during check-in (is) very, very rude.

Q: What are the grossest parts of a hotel room that people should avoid? I noticed you made fun of the guests who brought their own pillows, but if you watch "CSI," you know the bedding is disgusting even after it's been washed.

A: The duvets themselves are a little disgusting. Now what they're going to do is, they're going to put a duvet cover on there, and the duvet cover will be washed, but the bedding itself inside is a little bit disgusting. That's not cleaned as often as you think, since they think it's OK just to put their duvet cover on it.

Or maybe in a more budget motel, you've got that scratchy blanket. They'll put it in between two sheets and think that makes it sanitary. You might just want to take that off the bed completely and just use the sheets.

The minibar glasses, oftentimes it's the responsibility of the housekeepers to clean, and you can look on their cart and there's no dish soap. So often, they clean them with what they can, aka shampoo and sometimes Lemon Pledge, because Pledge leaves it streak-free and they're judged on making sure the glasses are clean.

The TV remote, if you've ever tried to clean a TV remote, even in your own home, you're going to realize how hard it is because of the sticky rubber buttons – which you really want to clean, because when the thumb presses down and touches the plastic underneath the button, it's very hard to clean that. Of course, any number of things can happen with that remote in a previous guest's hand.

Q: You said that you're a full-time writer now. How did that come about, and what are you working on now?

A: I could write an entire other book on hotels. If you get near the end, I was assigned anger management and all this stuff, so there's a whole other series of events that took place after the chronological ending point of the book. I'm expanding. I've written some articles on fashion, and there's one I've got coming out on dating in the 21st century.

So while I was at the hotel, I wasn't just sitting there being a front desk agent. I've been trying to be a writer my entire life. The front desk was paying my rent while I was constantly looking for agents and constantly working and working and working.

Staff Writer Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:

Twitter: @MeredithGoad

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