What I’m Reading: Heads in Beds

Heads In Beds(Editor’s Note – Yes, I promised you pictures of Eggroll for the next post, but my site is acting up. I think I really need to bite the bullet and either take a class on advanced WordPress or hire someone to run the backend for me. Any suggestions on either account? Solution or not, we should have Eggroll on Parade up tomorrow. In the meantime, go read a book…)

Hi friends! It’s been awhile since I’ve done a book review, but by golly have I been reading a lot of books while stuck under a pile of cuteness and/or only have the energy to turn a page.

My list is long, but a lot of what I’ve read, like The Fault of Our Stars, doesn’t need my endorsement. They have been living on the New York Times Best Seller List for longer than I’ve been in this house. I will give a quick shout out to Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman. I don’t watch the show, so I don’t know how it compares, but this is a pretty fascinating first-hand account of real life time in jail. Sure doesn’t show the federal prison system in a good light, but does make it seem like a very unique sisterhood. It’s worth picking up the next time you’re at the library.

Anyway, we are here for Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality by Jacob Tomsky. I stumbled into this book on the list of available audiobooks (another way to be entertained when feeding Miss Eggroll) via my library system. Here’s the official description:

“Jacob Tomsky never intended to go into the hotel business. As a new college graduate, armed only with a philosophy degree and a singular lack of career direction, he became a valet parker for a large luxury hotel in New Orleans. Yet, rising fast through the ranks, he ended up working in “hospitality” for more than a decade, doing everything from supervising the housekeeping department to manning the front desk at an upscale Manhattan hotel. He’s checked you in, checked you out, separated your white panties from the white bed sheets, parked your car, tasted your room-service meals, cleaned your toilet, denied you a late checkout, given you a wake-up call, eaten M&Ms out of your minibar, laughed at your jokes, and taken your money. In Heads in Beds he pulls back the curtain to expose the crazy and compelling reality of a multi-billion-dollar industry we think we know.”

I’m not sure if its the youthful hospitality management student, the former Pfister hotel employee (who’s first phone order while working in room service was for THE Mr. Larry Bird), or the aspiring world traveler in me, but I really liked this book. It’s a great mix of behind the scenes truths and tips for your own travel.

For those of you that aren’t local, the aforementioned hotel is the hoitiest of the toity in Milwaukee – all gold filigree and super fancy in-room soaps. They are a part of the Preferred Hotel Group, which means that they must follow very strict guidelines (pepper is on the right of the salt in the restaurants at all times, rooms must not have coffee machines in them (even when Pat Benatar comes down to the cafe to complain… yes, my job was a lot of fun!), etc.) But that’s in the front of the house. The back of the house – icky!! Now, everything was perfectly sanitary, but that’s about where the line was drawn. In the summer of 1999, the kitchen area where room service was housed was drab and falling apart. The food served to guests was four-star gourmet every time, but the food slopped out to the employees was unrecognizable.

This book reminds me of that life and what life would have been like had I decided to forgo weekends and holidays and stay in the hotel business. If nothing else, it’s a good reminder that I made the right choice.

If you’ve ever thought of yourself as a guest relations specialist or a sneaky “I’m getting as much as I can from this purchase since I paid so much” kinda guy, this book is for you. Either way – could you hack it like Mr. Tomsky??

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