I’m away again this week with some of my new colleagues and after two weeks together I’ve completely given up hope that they will ever get downstairs at our agreed upon meeting time. Our first night we agreed to meet in the hotel lobby each morning at 830am ready to head to the office. However, we have yet to leave prior to 8:55am any morning! As I’m a newbie I’ve been pretty lax on scolding them and I understand how rough mornings can be, I was definitely a serial add 5-10 minutes offender at my previous job, but 15-30 minutes late seems crazy. Granted, I’ve appropriately adjusted my timing but there’s still a lag. I’ve heard some pretty interesting excuses upon calling their rooms around 840-845am each day:
- The fire alarm went off after steaming my pants in the shower and I’m with housekeeping trying to get it to turn off.
- I just switched from the Blackberry to the iPhone and completely forgot that the alarm doesn’t work when you turn off the phone.
- The fish last night must have gone bad and I need some extra time with the bathroom.
- I drank too much last night.
- The shower only had cold water so I had to wait until it got warm again.
- There was no iron in the room and I had to wait for housekeeping to come with one.
Granted, some of these are logical excuses that I may have used in the past to justify my 5-10 minute late arrivals, but it’s hard to understand 30+ minute late arrivals. Lucky for me, the hotel front desk might have actually solved the problem for me this morning by embarrassing them. The front desk clerk sees me each morning having my breakfast while I wait for the others to come downstairs and we had a joking conversation last week about how no one else is ever on time. This morning I received a 825 call that the alarm didn’t go off and that 15 extra minutes was needed. I took some extra time and headed downstairs around 845 to grab breakfast. The others arrived at 910am and the front desk clerk began to laugh after watching me roll my eyes at their apologies. She called them by their surnames and told them politely that making other people wait is “considered rude in this part of the world” (as if they were form a different hemisphere). I was actually going to have the same conversation today at work with them about valuing other people’s time! They looked thoroughly embarrassed that someone else had noticed their lateness and joked that they’ve had a comedy of errors leading to their late arrivals. She called them out on the fire alarm and the iron (which we had previously discussed), noting that each room has an iron and that no fire alarm was reported from any guest rooms! That quieted them down and it was off to the office. We’ll see how tomorrow goes…
Anyone else have a similar situation when traveling with colleagues? How much additional buffer time is appropriate? Going forward I think 5-10 minutes is fine but any longer is considered rude and I’ll call you out on it. Anyone heard any other creative excuses?