It hasn’t been a particularly good couple of days. We went off to the staff meeting on Friday afternoon expecting to find that we had 11 guests and were pleased to have that confirmed. They were only going to be using 6 rooms which was good; I’d have to strip all 8 but only set up 6 on Sunday. I’d only have 6 to clean during the week so could accomplish the overall turnround of the other 2 in stages, doing a little bit each day so that they were ready for the following Sunday. Our new arrivals weren’t due until 7.15pm and 8 people from the top floor rooms were first to leave so turnaround could be achieved in a coordinated, progressive process as the last people to leave were vacating 3 rooms, 2 of which were not required this week. What a great plan. We have not had a smooth turnaround since we started, either we have difficult flight/departure or arrival times or when it hasn’t been too bad on that front something has gone awry with the clean laundry delivery. The only time it has been within our control is when our guests were leaving at lunchtime so we opted to go in and deliver breakfast at our normal time instead of the obscenely early hour that is usually required and which we could have chosen to do to get a head start on the day instead of playing continual catch up.
Of these 11 guests we had 2 children as it is Easter holidays but that does mean that we have to be back in the chalet no later than 5pm to deliver their high tea and we’d only recently managed to achieve a 6pm return but, in theory, that means we should be able to leave earlier in the morning as we could do some more prep in the evening but it is another meal to make so only one of us is free to do that. We also found out that one guest is allergic to chocolate, poor s*d, but that means we have to do replacement cakes and puddings. In isolation that’s not too bad but coupled with someone who doesn’t eat red meat or pork (that’s 4 days menu which could be replaced by the veggie dish) but also doesn’t eat mushrooms, red peppers and peas which comprises many of the vegetarian dishes gives us a bit of headache and more work!!
There was also a little note beside a booking of 3 people saying VIP. This transpired to be someone from head office with his 2 (aforementioned) children. We had determined that they would get no preferential treatment, just the same as everyone receives to have a realistic view of, what we consider to be, pretty good service. We were a little surprised to hear the children tell one of the other guests that they were VIP and at their tender ages of 7 and 10 they knew what it meant. We haven’t actually been asked to treat them any differently but it is Murphy’s law that determined that it would be his door handle which fell off last night; one of the few new problems.
So anyway, only 11 people and 2 of those eating early meant that the evening meal of 9 (canapés included – yippee, they’re the biggest single pain in the bum as they’re so fiddly and we have made 32 of each normally) would be quite a relief as they take as long as the rest of the meal to prepare. However, by mid afternoon on Saturday we had 14 people booked in, including 2 singles which meant that every room was taken and the new bookings were travelling independently which means that we’d not know when they’d arrive, although it was thought to be around lunchtime. Suddenly things were a crock of sh**e again.
We work roughly 8 hours a day 5 days a week and then silly hours on Sundays but never less than 14 so far. So by the time we’d finished on Sat evening we’d completed a minimum of 40 hours. Our lovely guests from last week toasted us in their thanks and insisted we join them in some wine after the meal which we didn’t want to decline but it meant that it was nearer 10.30pm before we got away, heading straight for bed. Our first departees were being picked up at 5.30am and we are obliged to provide breakfast for everyone so the alarm was set for 4.30, 5 and 1/2 hours later by the time we got back, with a long day ahead after what would be a full week for most people! However, to add insult to injury, the clocks went forward here as well so we only had 4 and half hours between shifts, the latter transpiring to be a mere 16 hour day!
On Saturday we also learnt that another colleague was leaving, resigning on the spot in fact and another would be leaving before the end of the season, leaving fewer and fewer of us to complete the post guest shut down, when we are already runing 2 staff down on a team of 13, thanks guys! The problem is that the stresses are getting greater as we become more stretched and the rewards diminishing as the paltry completion bonus coupled with the rapidly dimishing snow do not act as enticements to stay. As each person leaves, the workload increases for those left behind, tempting those without loyalty to either the company (and who would be after the way they treat the staff) or their colleagues/buddies/team to jump ship as well. By doing so they also save the company money by relinquishing their commitment bond as well as their bonus but also need to fund their own return trip.
However, one single little beacon of light is …… snow is back! The temperatures have risen so it seems to be melting as it’s coming down but it was raining yesterday for our new arrivals and had turned to sleet as we came back to the flat last night. 5cm at high altitude was forecast but we woke to 4-5 inches as can be seen from this photo as we staggered out the entrance in the pale light of dawn (having lost that hour) so perhaps we’ll get a bit more good skiing in before we finish and hopefully it will last until next week for our special party of guests, or just party!