Getting Away with Candy and Cocktails: “Heads in Beds” by Jacob Tomsky

Check Out Time with Jacob Tomsky

Jacob Tomsky’s brand new book "Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality" takes a look behind the scenes of the hotel biz, tracing the author's stints through a multitude of industry jobs, starting as a valet at a hotel garage in New Orleans and including a longtime gig at the front desk of luxury hotel in Manhattan.

Tomsky shines in his portrayal of co-workers in dialogue-rich scenes that portray how hotel staff handles problem guests, what they do to get out of shifts, and what they talk about when they’re just killing time. Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys makes an appearance, as do a handful of other celebrities, but with aliases. Tomsky also renames himself Tom and calls the midtown hotel where he worked The Bellevue, presumably to protect former co-workers and managers who might otherwise track him down for a roughing up because of all the dirty laundry he airs.

Here you can find out why the Expedia customer is low priority, the most polite way to refuse help from a bellman, and why problem guests are put in room 1212.

Most helpful for tippling readers, Tomsky teaches you how to weasel out of your minibar tab. It’s easier than you might think. You lie. Eat and drink whatever you want, and then say you didn’t have any of it. The system for tracking minibar inventory is so flawed, and the huge hotel staff is inevitably peppered with thieves. According to Tomsky, fighting you on the claim that the minibar fees are messed up would mean risking his job: a tough, decent-paying, occasionally fun job that has led to this funny and profane memoir.

"Heads in Beds" by Jacob Tomsky. Illustration by Nathan Gelgud, 2012.

"Heads in Beds" by Jacob Tomsky. Illustration by Nathan Gelgud, 2012.