By Katharine Giovanni
I’ve been teaching people how to be a concierge for 20 years now, and as a result I have collected some truly strange stories! Some are from independent concierge companies, others are from hotel and residential concierge.
Concierge around the world are asked to do weird stuff all the time. Some are asked to purchase elaborate gifts, others might be asked to find rare animals like albino peacocks. Another friend of mine had to regularly feed a client’s chickens, while one concierge had to bail a client out of jail. If you search the internet for strange concierge and hotel stories, you’ll find tons of them. All part of the job for a concierge! As long as its legal, moral and ethical a concierge will do it.
To protect everyone’s privacy, I am not going to reveal any names or cities. Although a few stories walk the line and might be rated R, they are all fun to read. Enjoy!
Bats in the Attic
An independent concierge was asked to clean out a client’s attic. Easy you think. Not exactly. When they started to carry all the boxes and junk out, they discovered hundreds of bats living up there! You would think they would know the bats were up there right? Nope. Needless to say, animal control was called immediately.
Goats on the hill
A concierge in Washington, DC was asked by a client to get a client a goat and bring it to their office within one hour. Why you ask? I wondered myself and asked the concierge telling me the story. They replied that not only did they get the goat, but they delivered within one hour as requested. They did not ask why the client needed the goat however. I would have! I did ask if they got the goat back alive (sorry that’s where my brain went) and thankfully the answer was yes.
During the Christmas holiday, a client wanted a concierge to set up a live reindeer in a pen in their front yard. They were to feed, water and generally keep them happy for two weeks.
A friend of mine used to be a meeting planner before she was a concierge. She remembers one woman in particular who wanted her to organize a birthday party for her elderly father and his friends. The only catch was that she didn’t want her father and his friends to use her bathroom, so my friend was asked to order five port-o-potty’s and place them in the client’s driveway! She did as she was instructed, but made sure they were very high end so she could put flowers and towels in each one.
I really do think that this one falls into the “what is wrong with people” category.
A concierge was hired by a gentleman who wanted her to go into his elderly mother’s closet and take the dirty dresses to the dry cleaner every week. The catch here was that the woman hung all her dresses up neatly in the closet after wearing them. So the only real way to figure out which ones were dirty was to … wait for it … sniff them! I used to tease her for years for offering “dress sniffing” services.
Trip around the world
An elderly woman called a concierge friend of mine up with a request to help her cross off a bucket-list item. She wanted to take the trip of a lifetime and travel around the world! She just didn’t want to do it alone so she asked if the concierge would accompany her. Of course my friend said yes! I sure would have. So after careful planning, they traveled all over the world flying everywhere first class, staying in five-star hotels, and had the time of their lives. The client even paid her a weekly stipend. What a great gig!
The favorite jacket
A singer forgot a jacket they wanted to wear in their concert. So a concierge was called to go to their home, retrieve the jacket, and then hop on a plane to deliver it to them. I hope they got to stay for the show!
Mail order bride anyone?
A concierge once told me that they made all the arrangements for a mail-order bride for a client.
I trained a concierge phone bank a number of years ago, and when the training was finished I asked them what the strangest call they received was. Immediately a young woman shouted “tell her the blow fish story”. Apparently, a veterinarian had touched a pet blowfish wrong and the fish blew itself up. He called because he wanted to know how to deflate it! It took them about 2 hours to find the answer … you put on rubber gloves (because they are poisonous) and gently tickle its belly. Who knew?
A concierge told me once that a senior home called to find out if they would be willing to come out and cut all the residents toes. She said absolutely she could help them and promptly arranged for a podiatrist to give them all exams and a nail salon to give them pedicures.
A customer called a concierge and asked if they provided deer pushing services. Deer pushing she asked? Yes, he replied, I need someone to follow me into the woods and push the deer towards me so that I can shoot them. She politely declined.
Hotel room bait and switch
A hotel guest walked up to the registration desk to check in. After he gave his name, he requested a particular room. The front desk agent politely told him that the room was occupied, but he could have the room next door to it. The guest exploded and angrily demanded that she fix the situation and give him the room. The situation quickly escalated.
A friend of mine happened to be the concierge on duty that night. After listening to the entire exchange, he calmly walked up to the guest and said that it would be his pleasure to reserve that room for him. He then asked if he could buy the guest a drink while he made the arrangements. The guest happily agreed and went to wait in the hotel bar.
My friend then ran to his desk and grabbed a screw driver. He went upstairs and removed the room number from the door of the room the guest wanted, and swapped it out with the empty room next door. He then went and told the happy guest that his room was ready.
So what happened to the guest who was occupying the room you ask? He told me that he stood by the hotel’s front door until the guest returned to tell him that his room number had changed. After telling the guest what happened, he comped his room and bought him dinner. My friend was the hotel hero for months after that!
A client’s cat sadly passed away. She was devastated. So she called her personal concierge up and asked if she could get her cat stuffed so that she could keep her forever. Although startled by the request, the concierge agreed and promptly went to the store to get a small cooler. She then went to the client’s home, collected the cat, and went to the taxidermist to get it stuffed. When the cat was ready, she then delivered it to the happy client.
Weight loss secret
Years ago, in the days before computers, a concierge got a call from a client who told him that she would like to lose weight and would like him to hire a hypnotist for her. After telling the client that he would be happy to assist her with this, the client interrupted and made a second request.
“Well, before you help me with that I would like you to find me a really good psychic.”
“That’s fine, but may I ask why?”
“I want to make sure it’s going to work.”
When my friend told me this story, I burst out laughing. After I recovered, I just had to know what happened. He replied that he took out his yellow pages (remember those?) and called the first psychic he found in the listings.
Did she ever lose the weight I asked?
He gave me a huge grin and replied “sadly, no.”
Rest in peace
A concierge got a call from a client who wanted her to come over immediately. Sensing the panic in her voice, she ran to her car and drove there as fast as she could. Upon arriving, she was ushered into the study and found her client’s husband dead. Apparently, the wife fell apart when she found her husband and could only remember one telephone number… their concierge. A great number to remember as the concierge rolled up her sleeves and immediately went to work. She notified the family, the coroner, and made arrangements for the funeral. In fact, for the next few months she did everything including planning the funeral, cleaning out the husband’s clothes and office. From thank you notes to making sure the wife had dinner, she did it all. The gig took months to finish, but at the end of the day she helped a very sad wife get through an extremely hard time. Concierge to the rescue!!!
The following two stories were told to me years ago by two retired concierges. Both stories are from the 1970’s. That being said, please know that concierge today do NOT do these types of things.
About 15 years ago I was told a story by a retired hotel concierge. He was quick to assure me that this incident happened years ago in the 1970’s and is no longer practiced.
Back then, this hotel concierge secretly kept two lists at his desk. The first was a list of celebrity men who liked to have dinner and companionship with women not their wife. The other list was of celebrity women who wanted the same thing. One night, a celebrity gentleman called the desk and asked the concierge to find him a dinner date. The concierge then randomly chose a name from the other list and contacted her. When she arrived at the suite, imagine her surprise when the door opened and it was her husband! Wouldn’t you like to have been a fly on the wall to hear THAT conversation?
The Egg Man
Another very old story from the 1970’s…
An elderly gentleman arranged for the Presidential suite one weekend. Upon arrival, he called the concierge desk and asked her to send up a dozen eggs, a bunny costume, and a date for the evening, shall we politely say. When the woman arrived at the hotel, the concierge grabbed the eggs and escorted his date up to the suite. When they arrived, the woman put on the bunny costume, picked up the eggs, and walked into the bedroom. Before the concierge had time to get to the door to leave, the woman ran out of the bedroom, gave the concierge the eggs, took off the costume, said that the man was crazy, and left. Meanwhile, the man is in the bedroom screaming “No sex. I just want to give you $1,000 a pop”
The concierge thinks it over and after a minute or so she grabs the bunny suit and puts it on. No sex? $1,000? Why not? Besides, her curiosity was peaked by this point. When she opened the door, there was the man dressed in a bunny costume. When he saw her, he immediately said, “every time you hit me in the family jewels with an egg I’ll give you $1,000.”
She walked away with $12,000 cash.
May I interview you?
Lastly, here is one of the strangest things that has happened to me personally.
About a year or so after I published my first book The Concierge Manual, I got a phone call from a woman who wanted to interview someone from my company for her new book. As I was busy writing another book at that moment, I forgot to identify myself when I answered the phone. Without asking for my name, she asked if she could ask me a few questions for her book. I then politely asked her what her book was about.
“I am writing a book about how to start a concierge business. My goal is to blow Katharine Giovanni’s book out of the water.”
I almost dropped the phone! How could she not know she called me? Although I was caught off guard by the comment, I quickly recovered and replied…
“Normally it would be my pleasure to give you an interview, but you are actually speaking to Katharine Giovanni.”
BAM! The phone call disconnected immediately.
It probably doesn’t surprise you much that I never heard from her again. Plus, I never did find the book she was writing.
You just can’t make this stuff up.
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Copyright © 2017 by Katharine C. Giovanni. All rights reserved.
About the Author: Katharine is a world-renowned concierge and front desk trainer/consultant/speaker and three-time award-winning bestselling author. She is considered by many to be one of the original founders of the independent concierge industry. Her warm, friendly and approachable style inspires people to be their very best! To read more about her, please visit www.KatharineGiovanni.com