So, Thanksgiving came and went.
Holidays are always an interesting time of year – back when I was at the resort, the Thanksgiving-to-Christmas-to-New Year’s stretch was always one of the more hectic times of the year. To be honest, I always found it massively fun – the busier it was, the more stuff I had to do, and the more I enjoyed my job. Must be an adrenaline thing, or perhaps I am a masochist.
I was doing all of the food & beverage buying, and orders just would ramp up in volume tremendously, with a correspondingly high number of invoices to process. Not to mention that I’d usually end up having to chase down a wine truck driver (metaphorically, on the phone, not trying to suggest that I actually went running down the street after the truck) every week because wine vendors always get more orders this time of year, which means more deliveries for them, which means delays. And if there was ever a time that we really couldn’t afford to run out of wine – especially our by-the-glass wines – it was around the holidays. People want to drink at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. People really want to drink on New Year’s Eve. It’s just a fact. Must be because of all that family time. If we had no alcohol, no one would want to come to stay. I can’t even begin to imagine how badly sales would have plummeted. The Loading Dock closed at 4:00 pm each day, so if the wine trucks didn’t all arrive by 3:00, I’d be on the phone with my sales reps trying to get an ETA for the Receiving department. Sometimes we’d have to take an after-hours delivery, which was always a bit complicated because packing slips and invoices were more apt to go missing if we were going off the official procedures. Usually the Beverage Manager would step in in those circumstances, but I took an after-hours delivery once or twice after the Receiving staff went home just to make sure I got all of the paperwork I needed. I never really minded, though. Guests need their booze at the holidays. Family time and all.
Speaking of families, one of the more entertaining (and sometimes frustrating) aspects of working in the hospitality industry is explaining to family members year after year that I don’t necessarily get the holiday off. I don’t know why it’s so hard for people outside of hospitality to understand; it’s pretty straightforward: guests come and stay in hotels during the holidays, and there needs to be staff there to serve the guests. Simple as. Yes, front-of-house and back-of-house. Purchasing people like me aren’t off the hook. And yet, year after year, I’ve fielded calls from my family on Memorial Day and Labor Day and Thanksgiving while I am in the office and am subjected to confusion as to why I am in the office.
“It’s not fair to you!” they say.
“Actually, it’s perfectly fair. I don’t mind,” I say. “This is the way this industry works. I earn the holiday day and take it at another time.”
Cue more confusion. In all fairness, I have a lot of family who work in academia and they get three months off in the summer and a month off in December and time off in the spring as well, so this might be a hard concept to wrap their brains around. My father works in banking at the corporate level, and the head office always gets bank holidays off – any time the bank is closed, all of the senior executives get the day off. Banks take every holiday that ever exists. I get calls from my father on Columbus Day every year where he’s all excited about getting a day off and I usually haven’t even realized that it’s Columbus Day.
The net result of having worked through many holidays is that generally, the holidays aren’t that exciting to me anymore. Or rather, they’re not exciting in the same way. I don’t get excited about presents and turkey anymore, I get excited about high occupancy rates and food & beverage revenue. I don’t really mind this, either – presents stress me out (I’m terrible at buying presents for other people and I have too much stuff in my cluttered apartment so I often dread getting even more stuff) and turkey makes me sleepy. A full house, on the other hand? Awesome. I love that. It may kind of stress me out, but in a good way. And it definitely doesn’t make me sleepy.