If you have never worked as a hotel housekeeper, it might be difficult to appreciate just how hard the job is. After all, we can spend our entire hotel stay without even seeing the people who magically clean up our mess, make our beds, and replace our used towels and toiletries. But, next time you stay in a hotel, spare a thought for the housekeeper who has possibly made 15 beds — pushing through the work-related pain from which 91 percent of U.S. housekeepers suffer — before even getting to yours, and consider how you can make the job a little better for them (or at least not way worse).
1. Accuse them of stealing
An anonymous maid told Rooster last year: "When a guest is missing something, they immediately accuse the housekeeper of stealing. Most of the time, whatever they’re 'missing' is right where they left it. I was called to a room where a woman swore up and down that her purse was gone and that the housekeeper had taken it. She swore she searched the room. Lo and behold, it was hanging on the back of the bathroom door the entire time. I’ve had people accuse housekeepers of taking things out of their suitcase only to call us when they get home to find that they never even brought that item with them."
2. Not tip
We settled here once and for all the long-simmering should you or shouldn't you question of whether or not to leave a tip: Yes, you should — and you should leave up to about $5 per night. However, Rooster's same source said that maybe only 15 percent of guests actually tip the housekeeper. "You tip a bellman to bring your bags to your room. That takes five minutes. You tip a valet to park your car. Again, under five minutes. It can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to clean a room. A couple of dollars a day or $5 if you’re really messy would suffice."
3. Put your garbage in the hallway
Thrillist asked some hotel employees for their pet peeves. Messing up the hallway, which reflects badly (in management's eyes) on housekeepers and is an eyesore for everyone else, appeared on the list. "Room service trays are fine," said the source. "48 crushed beer cans, three pizza boxes, an empty mouthwash bottle, and what we’re really hoping isn’t a used condom? Not cool."
4. Make the bed
You may think you are being helpful but, as luxury hospitality veteran Bruce Claver told Quora, "the worst thing you can do is make the bed because the room attendant has to UN-make the bed." If you want to be helpful on check-out day, his comment includes a list of small actions that will be much appreciated, such as putting the remote control back where you found it.
5. Leave your suitcase on the floor
It just gets in the way, as a former hotel housekeeper told Quora: "If you're staying over, actually put your luggage on the stand thing (usually in the closet) so we don't have to vacuum around your stuff."
6. Hang the do-not-disturb sign when you are due to check out
Housekeepers need to have rooms ready for guests to check in and get all their rooms cleaned within their shift time. So, if you are lingering with your "Do Not Disturb" sign up on check-out day, they still have to knock. "If you're due to check out that day, the housekeepers must clean your room first (so it's ready for new guests)," managing director of K Hotels Lara Weiss told Woman's Day. "They have to find out if you've left yet in order to stay on schedule."
7. Tarnish the towels
A thoughtful reader once wrote to Dan Savage's advice column Savage Love asking for the correct etiquette when engaging in "sheet-staining" activities: "Is it better to cover the bed in towels and stain them instead?" They asked.
"Mess up the sheets, please,” one head of housekeeping told Savage. "We bleach the holy heck out of those sheets. And it is easier to get stains out of sheets than towels. And sheets cost less to replace — at least ours do.” If you want to be even more helpful, "strip the bed. Pull the sheets off and leave them balled up on the floor. All the ladies know what that means, and I promise you that no one goes poking in sheets left on the floor. They toss that ball in the cart and send it straight to the laundry.”
8. Leave an unholy mess
All of the above are mere inconveniences compared to some of the horrors hotel housekeepers have at times had to wade through. Take a read of this Reddit thread where housekeepers discuss some of the worst things they have seen in a hotel room... and reflect upon a few more reasons to make life a little easier for them.
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