Working in customer service requires a great deal of emotional labor. This is especially the case in the hospitality industry where you come across all types of customers.

As someone who has worked in the industry on and off for the past six years, I have encountered a great variety of customers that have walked into the lobby and these are only a few of the many types of customers that I have dealt with. This also includes working in the industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Perturbed white woman
[Image description: A white woman dressed in pink asks if she can speak to the manager.] Via Giphy
Ah yes, it’s not just retail and food services that have to put up with white entitlement. The hospitality industry has to deal with them too. These people know that as receptionists we are unable to put these people in their place and so they will use their privilege to verbally assault us. We DREAD the moment a KBBC walks into the lobby. Every hotel employee eye-rolls every time they say “I need to speak to a manager” for every small inconvenience they encounter. TLDR: these people are 47% of the reason why I go to therapy. 

2. The Extreme Couponer

[Image description: Spongebob slouched with both arms behind his back.] Via Giphy
The most common phrase from this type of customer is “CaN I gEt a dIsCoUnT?” after they have already gotten a pretty generous discount. Now don’t get me wrong, asking for discounts, in general, is not inherently wrong. It’s just incredibly frustrating and annoying for employees when we see that you already got yourself a pretty good deal. Keep in mind that there is no establishment in a tourist town/city that will ever rent you a room for less than $80 especially during the summer. 

3. The guy (aka KYLES) that never grew out of the college frat phase 

[Image description: Middle-aged man drinking and partying.] Via Giphy
These are the most belligerent and loudest customers. They are inconsiderate towards management, staff, other customers, and the property as a whole. These are the type of people that do not respect hotel rules. The KYLES streak, smoke even when the rooms are non-smoking, and damage property. And if this picture wasn’t sad enough, many of the KYLES I’ve encountered are in their 40s… 

4. The ones who don’t respect COVID guidelines 

Annoyed fast food worker
[Image description: Woman points finger at customer and says “Ahaha, no”.]  Via Giphy
Yeah, I’ve had customers who threw a bitch fit because the hotel was unable to offer services like continental breakfast, pool, and jacuzzi. It’s annoying when customers complain about things that are not within my or anybody else’s control. It also doesn’t help when their response is “Ugh, seriously I booked this place for the pool”. Sorry, Brad, COVID-19 doesn’t give damn about your travel plans. 

5. The ones who don’t wear masks when they check-in 

[Image description: A person creating a makeshift mask.] Via Giphy
We send out emails telling you to put on a damn mask when you check-in so we can keep you and ourselves safe. The governor of CA has also mandated for every individual to wear a mask when entering an establishment. As employees, we feel disrespected if you walk into the lobby without a mask on. Especially, when we have asked nicely.  

6. The no-shows

[Image description: A woman sits at a table, behind her laptop screen, looking at it with her hands up in frustration and confusion.] Via Yan on Pexels
What’s the point of booking the room if you’re not going to show up? I’ve had to stay up at the office as late as 3 a.m. waiting for some irresponsible customer who didn’t even bother to call and cancel. 

7. The grumpy late arrivals 

[Image description: A close-up of the famous grumpy cat.] Via Giphy

Recently, I had to check-in a customer at 4 a.m. I still maintained a friendly demeanor but Karen and her partner decided to have an attitude with me. Look, I get it you’re tired and you’ve had a long drive. That being said, you’re still an adult and as an adult, you should be able to keep your emotions in check. That includes not treating the hotel employee (or any employee) like garbage. 

8. The white saviors 

[Image description: Woman says: “Privilege. White.”] Via Giphy
Sigh, cue the white savior. The hotel I work at is owned by immigrants and all the employees are BIPOC. We get a few of these now and then, but these are the people who go out of their way to let the owners know that “IMMIGRANTS ARE WHAT MAKE AMERICA GREAT” followed by “Can I take a picture of you for my blog?” Yeah, it’s really weird. We know you all mean well but I think most hotel managers and employees would rather not have political conversations or have our pictures taken by a stranger. 

9. The unprepared traveler

[Image description: Confused puppet.] Via Giphy
How does one travel HOURS away from home and not do their research? You have the internet at your disposal. You could call and ask questions as well. I understand the appeal of doing spontaneous trips to mountains, beaches, and just anywhere in general, but it’s just a little odd (and unsafe) is all I can say. 

10. The Wreck-It Ralph

[Image description: Cartoon exclaims “IM GONNA WRECK IT!”] Via Giphy
This guest causes serious property damage. In some instances, they try to hide it. A few weeks ago, one customer broke a glass coffee table and tried to hide the remains under the sink. Yeah, this person thought we weren’t gonna find out? 

11. The internet addict

[Image description: White male yelling: Give it to me!”] Via Giphy
“OMG, there’s no wifi in the room?” “UGH, I NEED WIFI”. Now, I understand that WiFi is important during our current modern era. I rely on it very much as well. However, when I’m on vacation I go with the intent of planning out my day and participating in activities within that location. I don’t spend $100 or more just to sit in a room and spend hours on the internet. But that’s just me. The hotel I work at is located in the mountains and there’s no cell tower close by so WiFi is a bit finicky. We also do not advertise in-room WiFi so, like the unprepared traveler, the internet addict also gives us a major headache. 

12. The nitpicker 

[Image description: Man in a suit saying: “We’re nitpicking right now.”] Via Giphy
This person complains EVERY abuot single thing from the moment they check-in. “Why can’t I check-in early?” “Why does it cost so much?” “This bar of soap is too small.” I always wonder how such a person cannot loosen up. At least you have some time off dude, lighten up. 

13. The manipulator 

[Image description: Kourtney Kardashian saying “I just don’t relate to backstabbing, manipulating, lying.”] Via Giphy
They lie, cheat, and scam. These are the people who are like “yeah, I saw online that this room is x-amount, could you honor that rate?” No, no I cannot because I am looking at all the websites right now and the rate you quoted is not the right one. 

14. The two-faced customers 

[Image description: Ursula looking into the mirror.] Via Tenor
These are the customers who are extremely nice during check-in and then turn into monsters later in the day. For example, I had a pretty good rapport with a customer during check-in, answered all her questions, and wished her a good stay. About an hour or two later, she called in a noise complaint and DEMANDED a different room. I told her that there were no rooms available because we were completely booked that day. She then proceeded to make the rest of my night a living hell.

15. The GLENS

[Image description: A woman pushing a a guy away in irritation as she says: “Ew! Get off of me!”] Via Giphy
These are the inappropriate flirty customers (almost always middle-aged white men). Every female employee is gagging at the thought of these dudes calling us gross pet names. Unfortunately, it is widespread for female employees to hide from these men or have the manager step in because we do not want to deal with them. I can’t even count the number of times a GLEN told me that I had a “beautiful name.” Sabrina is the most basic American name out there sir, I do not know what you mean. 

16. The Human Embodiment of Toxic Masculinity

[Image description: Angry cartoon boy firebends out of frustration.] Via Giphy
The aggressive violent customer who does not get his way so he throws things and bangs on windows to intimidate the staff. 

17. The Bigot

[Image description: A man says: “ah shit! Racism! Here we go.” into a mic.] Via Giphy
They are sexist, homophobic, racist, Islamophobic, and every other -ist and -ic. They are hard to avoid and, unfortunately, we come across these people way too often. 

18. The sweet old lady

[Image description: A cartoon old woman is laughing as she knits.] Via Giphy
I cannot tell how happy I get when this customer walks into the lobby. They genuinely care about how I’m doing and they’re ALWAYS fascinated by the souvenirs. It’s cute and wholesome; this is the customer that deserves a spot in heaven. That’s all I have to say about that. 

19. The humble nomad

[Image description: Woman exclaims: “GOOD PERSON!”.] Via Giphy
These are the respectful customers that don’t terrorize hotel staff and just go about their day. They are very polite during check-in and check-out. When they have a complaint they behave in a way that isn’t outright disrespectful and are patient with staff to attend to their needs. We appreciate the humble nomad because the humble nomad minds their own business.This concludes the diverse range of guests that I have interacted with. Planning vacations can be stressful, but so is being mistreated by someone who is on vacation while you’re working. 

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  • Sabrina Hossain

    Sabrina Hossain is a senior earning her bachelor's in Sociology. Her interests vary from race, education, psychology and politics. She is an aspiring writer working to use her knowledge to help underrepresented and vulnerable communities.