Apologies to non British readers and youngsters reading this, who probably won’t understand the title. Those of a certain age, however, most definitely will.
Yesterday evening I arrived at my hotel door and was somewhat concerned to see the card reader already lit up, nice and red. I waved my card in front of it on the off chance but no, nothing happened. Popped back down to reception and explained the problem.
“No worries Sir” says the 12 year old receptionist, “go up with this lady, she has a master key.’
“Its not the card,” I explain again, “it’s the card reader on the door itself that’s not working.”
“Yes yes, please go upstairs with the lady.”
Its rare at my advancing years that I receive this kind of offer but on this one occasion I have to decline, and explain, patiently, once again, that a master card won’t suffice, it’s the card reader that doesn’t work.
I’m assured this is no problem, so I follow said lady to my door. Upon arrival she is somewhat surprised to see the card reader illuminated red.
“My master key won’t work on this, it’s the card reader that’s broken” she announced, happier than Columbo to have cracked the mystery. My tongue is firmly held.
“I’ll go downstairs and tell reception, don’t worry Sir, it’ll be sorted very quickly. In the meantime Sir, please sit down” and she pointed to the chair opposite the lift in the corridor.
After 20 minutes a man comes upstairs with a few gadgets and gizmo’s in his hands. He’s chatting away on his telephone, he stops in front of my door, puts his accoutrements down and keeps talking. He then walks back down the stairs without having said a word to me, leaving his tools outside my door.
45 minutes later I’m still waiting for the repair so I can get into my room. I’m a bit miffed by this point, so call the hotel manager. “Ahmed, this really isn’t good enough, can you please speak to your staff and ask them whats going on, as none of them are telling me anything.”
To be fair to Ahmed he arrives within a couple of minutes, and takes command of the situation.
“Ok Mr Chris, stay in the seat there (like I can go anywhere else) and we’ll get the door opened ASP.” He gets on his phone and barks orders.
Within 15 minutes the man of the machine returns, this time with a sidekick. Ahmed, finally, realises that he’s the manager and I’m a guest, and offers me the use of another room for a “few minutes” whilst the door problem is rectified. He installs me in the room, ensuring that there is a bottle of water, and assures me “I’ll stay with them until the door is opened” before going straight back to his room upstairs.
Two hours later, I leave my temporary abode to check on progress. The man with the machine is still there, doing exactly what he’s been doing for the last two hours, with exactly the same amount of success.
When I ask if there’s any chance of success this evening, I’m cast a withering gaze. I go back to my temporary room and call Ahmed.
Who doesn’t answer his phone.
Finally, just over four hours after arriving back in the hotel, the man with the machine shouts that my door is open.
Huzzah. Back I go. He explains to me that he’s “opened the door in my own way.” Judging by the bits of broken wood all over the floor, it would appear that his own way involves a sledgehammer. BUT, at least its open.
There is one small problem, I can go in, I can close the door, I can open the door from the inside, but outside …… Computer says no!!
I left my room this morning knowing that it won’t have been fixed by the time I return, so I’ll have the same scenario this evening. Good job its the weekend.