BY Michael Fleming

DATE: 09 MAY 2012


It’s late.  I’ve done a full day’s training in Birmingham and then squashed myself onto a commuter train to London.  I’ve made it to the hotel in London.  I’m tired.

I usually stay at a great American business hotel called Club Quarters on Ludgate Hill.  Actually it’s pretty much my second home.  The manager, Renatta, and the rest of the staff look after me well.  I leave suits, shoes, toiletries, running and gym kit there and they get it cleaned for me and hold it between visits and it’s always waiting for me when I get into my room.  Unfortunately there’s some big corporate event on and someone has booked out all the Club Quarters’ rooms so I’m slumming it in a cheap end chain hotel.  Oh well, it’s only for one night.  A clean pillow to stick my head on is all I need.

Right – get checked in; change out of the suit and into jeans and a t-shirt; grab the Blackberry; head down to the bar for a nightcap and a flick at the day’s news and emails on the i-Pad.

Half an hour later – head back to the room feeling suitably chilled but very tired and ready for a good night’s sleep.  Busy day’s training tomorrow.  New law firm client so need to be there bright and early to check the venue and get myself sorted out for the day’s training.

The room key (the usual plastic card thingie) refuses to work.  A few expletives are uttered.  We’ve all been there.  Never mind.  Not a huge problem. Just head back to reception and get them to code me another keycard.

First problem – the lifts have decided to stop working.  OK.  So it’s the stairs.  But hey that’s good exercise for me.

Get new key coded by miserable night time receptionist and go back to try again.  It doesn’t work.  More expletives!

And...... repeat.  Several trips up and down the stairs to speak to The Misery at reception ensue.  Multiple versions of the keycard are thrust in and out of my room lock and wiggled about.  All to no avail.  That little red light stubbornly refuses to turn green and let me go to my bed.

The Misery finally agrees to come up and try for herself.  Written all over her face is an expression that says “You are a complete tube and clearly cannot work a simple room lock”.  But even the sight of her terrifyingly frosty face fails to open the lock.  “It’s not working” she announces (of course - if only I’d realised that) and then looks at me as if it’s my fault and I should know what to do!

So General Manager gets called and there proceeds: much to-ing and fro-ing; much re-coding of yet more room cards; much wiggling about of keycards in locks; much huffing and puffing; and even the use of a snazzy little device that looks like something Bruce Willis would plug into the lock to blow it out in one of his action movies.  The lock remains defiant.

It’s now after midnight.  I’m really tired, somewhat fed up and just want to go to my bed.  It’s really important to get a good night’s sleep before an eight hour training day with a bunch of lovely but often very challenging law firm partners.

The General Manager finally announces that he cannot get me back into my room.  But not to worry he says – he’ll give me another room to sleep in, the maintenance guy arrives at 10am in the morning and he’s sure he’ll be able to sort it!  Right – this guy clearly doesn’t “get it”.  So I explain in fairly blunt terns that I need to be getting into my suit (in my room) and reading my training notes (in my room) by around 7.30am.    He still doesn’t seem to get it.  Eventually he accepts that he’s going to have to do something other than wait for the maintenance guy at 10am.

I finally head to bed in another room (of course now without any of my usual stuff – no toothbrush or other toiletries etc) – after 1am having had him agree that he’ll call a 24hr locksmith and break into my room during the night so when I get up at 7am I can get access to my stuff.

Scroll forward a few hours to 7am, after a pretty awful night’s sleep, and......

The General Manager I spoke to has gone home (along with The Misery); the new GM and receptionist know nothing about my plight; no locksmith has been called; and my stuff remains locked in my room.  After a somewhat heated exchange, in which the new GM pretty much accuses me of lying about the locksmith arrangement, I have to start making calls to the office and they have to get hold of the new client to explain that Kissing With Confidence’s Training Director has been “held up” and is going to be slightly late for the planned session start time of 9.30am.

Eventually locksmith arrives around 9am, stuff is retrieved, hasty shave and shower takes place and I make it to the new client’s offices shortly after 9.30am.  Of course the delegates don’t even realise there’s been any problem – because they are lawyers – and so they are 15 minutes late arriving for the session anyway!



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about the author

Michael Fleming is our Head of KWC Legal. If you would like to know more about this subject, drop him an email and we will be in touch.

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