Through WCCUSD’s Ivy League Connection program, Hercules High School Students Justine Betschart, Stacy Chan, Ramiah Davis-Shephard, Louisa Man, Julia Maniquiz, and Yueming Wang will be attending Cornell University to either study Freedom and Justice or Hotel Operations Management during the summer of 2009.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A day Full of Laughs

I began the morning feeling extra tired. I do not know why. I felt I had a sufficient amount of sleep. Maybe it is that whole 90-minute cycles. As it neared lunch time, I began feeling my body growing achy. When that happens, it normally means I am about to sprout a fever or a cold. Therefore, at lunch, I wanted to go for some soup, but none of the selections were appealing to me. Instead, I grabbed some green tea and a cheeseburger, food far from making my body feel any better. I feel that I should now pay more attention to what I eat and make sure I eat enough fruits and vegetables each day.

After lunch, we watched an incredibly disturbing video about "hotel horrors," the many dirty secrets of the housekeeping world, which include the lack of laundry done on the bedsheets and blankets and the glass cups in the hotel rooms. It seems that even some of the most luxurious of hotels including the Ritz Carlton commit such deeds. I was absolutely disgusted to hear that the bedsheets were not laundered after each guest stay and that the cups provided in the bathrooms were just rinsed. It happened to be that not cleaning those cups correctly is a violation of health codes. If I were managing the housekeeping department or the hotel, and I found out such acts were in my hotel, I would be furious. What kind of service is that? The Golden Rule in the hospitality industry is to treat others the way you would want to be treated. Would you want to reuse a cup that was only rinsed or sleep on sheets that hide all sorts of wastes, germs, and diseases?

The video was not to completely gross us out though, it was to present an issue and see how we would react to such a problem and solve it. Basically, it was testing our leadership skills. There were several shorts skits in which Mr. and Mrs. McCarthy chose students at random to handle the situation over the housekeeping incident as well as on how to deal with one's dysfunctional management team. They were absolutely hilarious. I have discovered that my classmates are some pretty creative individuals. They kept us laughing all the way. Mr. and Mrs. McCarthy were smiling from ear to ear. It was also interesting to see different views on leadership. They helped us determine which methods seem most effective in different types of situations. All in all, it was an amusing day.



  1. Louisa,

    I’m wondering if this is the same video expose that was shown on TV a year or so ago. I know that the public outcry was horrendous and some of the hotels listed suffered severely.

    People expect certain things when they stay at hotels/motels.

    It’s pretty common these days for facilities to offer ‘green’ services and giving the customer the option not to have their bed linens changed every day and even to reuse their towels without laundering. In those cases, though, it’s the customer’s choice and whatever may be left behind will have been left behind by the same customer who will be using them again.

    Most of us don’t change our bed sheets at home every day and most reuse their towels for a few days so is it really a crime to suggest the same when staying at a hotel?

    But having me sleep on YOUR soiled sheets, use YOUR used towels or drink from YOUR dirty glass is asking me to cross that line that should never be crossed. [I have it on good authority that you have cooties.]

    Although cutting corners may save money in the short term, it’s all a big gamble and if they’re caught the cost to the business can be catastrophic.

  2. Now you see what I mentioned with the activity that takes place behind the scenes. You are lucky to have the opportunity to learn about what happens routinely every day.

    The fact of the matter is that people are stressed, overworked and unappreciated. The reality is that society does not value labor and as a result these acts that you saw are not shocking but expected.

    The key is how you address the situation. No one mentioned the theft that takes place by employees who routinely steal from the Hotel and its customers. Like I mentioned do the research and you will see more than just the glitz and fun associated with staying at a high end hotel.

    Before you leave Cornell visit with one of the workers who is making up the beds or washing the dishes. You may also run into someone maintaining the grounds. Go into the basement floor of the Statler so you can get a real sense of how a Hotel Operation really runs. You will see a lot of people who look less than happy. Nonetheless go beyond "what is expected" and learn how it is for the rank and file.

    Take care.

    Charles T. Ramsey, Esq.
    School Board Member
    West Contra Costa
    Unified School District

  3. Louisa,

    I am so impressed with the Hotel program.

    Your class this morning had to do with employee performance, supervision and training. I think your instructors have developed an extraordinary way to teach this very down-to-earth part of the hospitality business.

    Mr. Ramsey brings up the issue of employee theft. This has a big impact on the hospitality industry and created the "integrity mystery shopper" job. Where mystery shoppers are trained to look for "gaps" in integrity on the part of employees. Take a look at this site for more info on this:

    I think Mr. Ramsey's suggestion is a wonderful one. Why not interview a member of the housekeeping staff and find out their view on the industry. It could be an eye-opener. Ask you instructors if this will be covered.

    Thanks for sharing the class. Keep enjoying your time.