Former hotel staffer Jacob Tomsky has detailed the sketchy, raunchy, and sometimes scandalous things that hotel workers do when guests’ heads are turned in his new book, Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustlers and So-Called Hospitality.
After 11 years in the industry, including a couple years at a high-end hotel in New Orleans and several years at a luxury hotel in Manhattan, Jacob Tomsky says he’s come to know the dark underbelly of the hospitality industry.
Jacob Tomsky writes that long hours and rude guests lead staffers to seek an outlet for their frustration through mischief – which sometimes involves plotting revenge against the wealthy jerks they are forced to accommodate.
“A lot of people are watching <<Downton Abbey>> now, and they think, <<Oh, I’ve got servants, too!>>” Jacob Tomsky told the New York Post.
“Especially the affluent. They treat people as they never would otherwise. Meanwhile, hardworking people – who might be getting screwed – won’t say anything. It’s the people who have way more money who want everything now, and they want it for free.”
Daily shortcomings in cleanliness are commonplace, Jacob Tomsky says.
Duvets are never cleaned. The covers sometimes are – but the duvets? Never.
Drinking glasses are not washed with soap and water, but shined up with furniture polish to make them sparkle like new.
For particularly difficult guests, a staffer might seek revenge on their toothbrush or even change their key card to lock them out of their room – something that gave the overworked employees a small sliver of pleasure when the exasperated guest approached the front desk for a new card.
Jacob Tomsky said he also came across staffers who stole from minibars and from valet-parked cars.
Often, the mischief that staffers engaged in was purely out of boredom, he said.
“I’ve worked a month straight without a day off,” he said, describing “the mind-numbing boredom of an overnight shift”.
Boredom led to rifling through guests’ stuff, reading intimate information about them and giggling over their collections of sex toys.
“I found a pretty foul letter left in a room,” he said.
“It was about someone’s wife being a whore. It was probably a joke, because there was a stamp on it of genitalia, addressed to a Mr. Cuckold, with details about her sexual activities.”
Jacob Tomsky’s book is a warning, as well as a wake-up call, to hotel guests. He offers some suggestions for dealing with hotel staffers in a way that won’t leave you with a soiled toothbrush and a deactivated key card. As expected, those suggestions typically involve a generous tip for the staffer.
He has since quit the hotel industry and immediately sought anger management therapy to recover from his decade in the business.