Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I know I'm early but...

It doesn't happen every day, but it happens often enough. I'm in the middle of cleaning rooms, or worse, still cleaning up from breakfast, when the doorbell rings. A couple is standing inside my vestibule and I open the door.

"Can I help you?"

"Are you Janet? We're xxxxx. We know we're early, but we wondered if our room was ready...?"

Um, no. Not usually.

Okay, I really do get it that most people have very limited vacation time, that traffic is lighter early in the day, it's perfect beach weather and my guests want to get as early a start as possible. I sympathize with that, I really do. But please understand the math.

Breakfast here starts at 8:30 and goes until 10. That's nominal. Sometimes people linger, sometimes I'm engaged in conversation with them. It can easily stretch to 10:30. Check-out is 11 a.m. Yes, people often leave earlier but not always. It takes me a half-hour minimum to clean up from breakfast - that's bare minimum: clearing the dining room, loading the dishwasher, putting away the perishables, clearing the sink. I usually need to eat something myself. Then I start rooms. It takes roughly 40 minutes for me to get a room ready for new guests. I may have several rooms to change over. Check-in starts at 2 p.m. which is actually quite early. Many places don't start check-in until 3, 4 or even later. Each time the doorbell rings, it interrupts my rhythm and everything takes longer. It can be quite frustrating, particularly on a day like this past Sunday where every room in the house changed over and the guests for all but one room rang the bell between 11:30 and 12:30.

I really can't check you in that early. Check-in is a process and it takes a little time. I also may get to chatting, which I enjoy but it's keeping me from finishing the rooms. Occasionally my husband is home and if the room is ready he can take care of checking in an early guest while I continue to work, but it doesn't happen often. Even on days where I have help, it's important for me to have that time between 11 and 2 just to feel ready to greet my new guests.

Here's what I can do before 2:
- let you use the first-floor bathroom;
- get you a proof-of-stay so you can purchase a beach sticker and go to the beach;
- direct you to a restaurant where you can get lunch.

Feel free to ask me for any of these things. I will be as polite as I possibly can while asking you to come back after two.

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