I intentionally waited a while to post this, because I didn’t want to get the person in trouble, and also wasn’t sure how to handle this. But I’m certainly curious to know how you guys would have handled this.
A while ago I was in a city and arranged a full day private tour through the hotel, as I often do when I’m in a city for the first time and have a limited amount of time to see things. I was told a certain price for the tour, which seemed high for the market, but I was told it included a driver and a guide. I could have probably gotten a better deal if I had arranged it directly with a tour company, but in this case it wasn’t worth the effort, I thought.
Fast forward to the morning of the tour. I’m in the lobby at 9AM, and the “guide” shows up at 9:05AM. I didn’t think much of him being a few minutes late.
About 20 minutes after we start driving to our first destination he says “you recognize me?”
“I work at the hotel, I just finished the night shift! Sorry I was a few minutes late, the person from the next shift was running late.”
Let me start by saying that I’m generally terrified of driving, and I’d like to think it’s a realistic fear, since it’s the most dangerous thing we do on a day-to-day basis. So when I’m paying for a service that involves driving, all I ask is that a driver is well rested and that the car is well maintained (which certainly wasn’t the case when I took Uber in Moscow).
Long story short, the guy giving me a tour had worked the night shift at this hotel from 10PM until 9AM, was supposed to give me a tour from 9AM until 6PM, and then was working another night shift that night from 10PM until the following morning.
He hadn’t worked a night shift two nights prior, and he explained he got up the previous morning at 9AM. So he had been up for 24 hours, was supposed to give me a nine hour tour, and then four hours later was supposed to be at work for another 10 hour shift.
On top of that, there wasn’t a driver and guide as promised, but rather he was both, and his car was really beat up and rattled constantly.
So I’m conflicted, because he was the nicest guy imaginable. He gave me incredible insights into the place, was so genuine, explained how he was saving money, etc. It also appeared like giving the tour wasn’t his idea, but rather he was asked by the hotel.
At the same time, he yawned constantly, a couple of times while driving me he wasn’t paying attention to the road (I had to say “watch out” or he would have hit something), etc. I can’t say how much of that is linked to him not sleeping, though to me it’s utterly reckless for an international hotel chain to assign a guest a tour guide who they know hasn’t slept for 24 hours, and who is expected to work yet another shift a few hours later. At the same time, this wasn’t a country with especially strict labor laws, based on my understanding.
In the end I paid the full price (even though I didn’t get both a driver and guide, and even though the car was in terrible condition), because I really liked the guy.
At the same time, I feel like allowing this was incredibly negligent on the hotel’s part. The problem is that I feared reporting this to the general manager would have caused the guy to get in trouble, even if it wasn’t his fault. They set me up with someone who clearly wasn’t well rested enough to do a job safely, and I also didn’t get what I was promised.
So what would you have done? Would you have said nothing, negotiated the price, asked to turn around the second you found out the “guide” also just worked an overnight shift, or…?
(Note: Despite the cover photo, this didn’t happen in Hong Kong, it just seemed like a pretty picture to use)