Thanks to a heads-up from Mark Evanier, I spent an enjoyable portion of this morning reading a wonderful Rolling Stone interview (Eric J. Plosky is the interviewer) with one of my comedic idols, John Cleese. It’s essential reading, and the part that made me fall out of my chair is when Plosky asks Cleese whether or not Fawlty Towers actually helped or hindered tourism in the United Kingdom:
I tell you, Hyatt used to show those to their employees as training films, on the basis of, “Watch this; whatever the characters do, do the opposite.” That’s absolutely true. In the one-man show I’m doing at the moment, one of the lines I say is that the basic British hotelier’s motto is: “We could run this place properly if it wasn’t for the guests.” I think that that’s the kind of feeling: that the guests are the people who come in — they mash the process up, otherwise everything would run smoothly.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a long time, you’re no doubt familiar that I was employed as a night auditor for one or two hotels in the Savannah area, and if I had a nickel for every time I would complain to my fellow employees “This would be a great place to work if it weren’t for the guests” I’d be living comfortably in a penthouse about now. So it’s gratifying to learn that my attitude isn’t an individual one.
(Okay, kids—this is just Uncle Ivan’s way of having fun…by no means is he suggesting you get a job in the hotel industry and be purposely rude to guests. Oh, and stay off drugs!)