Yes yes, I know you’re all out there surruptitiously ticking off the days on your desk calendar and posting excitedly on snowHeads about ‘how many sleeps’ (Honestly, how old are you, six and a half? Get a grip.) until you get to go skiing for Christmas. And to be fair most of our seasonnaires are looking forward to it as well, despite the fact that it means they will have to cook dinner for 16 with an all-day hangover when their culinary experience so far stretches to that student pasta thing with tuna and mayo in it. Even as we squeak, menus, accounts paperwork and HACCP handbooks are being turned into creative fancy dress outfits along with half the hotel’s supply of tinfoil, most of the bogroll and in one case several tablecloths. You know who you are, man who went to Smithy’s dressed as a crocodile. As hotel manager at the time I should probably have got all po-faced on that one, but it was worth it to see someone attempt to get a pint of beer into his gob by pouring it down an improvised cardboard croc-snout without drowning in it. Besides, the tablecloth had a hole in it anyway.
But spare a thought for the people who have to a) organise it all, b) make sure staff are present, correct and preferably not still dressed as crocodiles in time for breakfast and c) deal with your complaints after you were served burnt porridge by an outsized lizard reeking of toffee vodka.
Managers arrived in resort last week or thereabouts, following their half-baked training courses and desperately in need of access to Jaegermeister following days spent role-playing utterly unlikely situations, trying to prevent their brains imploding during that interminable accounts presentation and sitting through hours of wannabe kids TV presenters mis-applying Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. They always used to gloss over the sexual intimacy bit, I noticed. Which was just as well, because I was certainly not about to get involved in making sure a bunch of spotty post-adolescents with personal hygiene issues had their needs met on that particular front. Explanation as to how cleaning toilets and being patronised by middle-class one-piece wearers was likely to lead to self-actualisation was unforthcoming either, much to my disappointment – I would have been fascinated to hear that one.
Since parachuting in, our brave new managers have spent their time burrowing in filthy basements from whence large parts of what was allegedly stored over the summer has mysteriously disappeared; trying to track down the Christmas puds/crackers/teabags which were ‘definitely’ delivered to Chalet A; sourcing new staff accommodation (in Val d’Isere at five to Christmas on a budget of 6000€ for the season – FAIL) because Madame Barking Loon With Huge Reeking Dog has just sold her six-bed shoebox which was earmarked for eight staff without telling anyone; and trying to persuade frozen food suppliers that it might be convenient if they delivered the freezer the day before its contents rather than vice versa.
Having found what little is left of last season’s kit, put the handyman onto tracking down the crackers (a mistake – two boxes of them will turn up in mid-March underneath the front seat of his van), rammed homeless staff into the latest-opening chalet and stashed the frozen food delivery under the snow somewhere, intrepid managers will now spend the next several weeks being plagued by petulant staff apparently unable to wipe their own bottoms and higher echelon individuals who either disappear, offer utterly nonsensical advice or demand that they prioritise meaningless corporate paperwork over getting the electricity put back on and the dishwasher repaired in Chalet B whose guests arrive in two days and whose host will walk tomorrow morning if he has to have another cold shower in the dark.
By the day after New Year, experienced managers might have managed one full night’s sleep, probably with the aid of a chemical cosh in the form of whatever weedkiller their employer is serving in chalets and calling wine. Noobs will be stuffing Pro Plus and Red Bull and sitting up all night over the accounts, not having grasped the fact they can tell the powers that be to shove it with impunity because everyone has now seen what the job entails and no-one would touch it with a bargepole.