Welcome to the latest installment of Tales From The Road. I can only imagine how strange it must be for someone to walk into a hotel liquidation sale for the very first time. I’ve often heard it referred to as The Twilight Zone by customers and I can definitely see how someone could get that feeling. I, on the other hand, feel like I’m in The Twilight Zone when I walk into an open and operating hotel. For this post, I thought it would be interesting to talk to some of our crew about how they got started with NCL, what their first liquidation sale was and whether or not their first day of work felt as if they had just crossed over into The Twilight Zone.
Debbie Hayes joined NCL in 1981, fresh from the alter. She made the decision to join her husband on the road primarily because of the experience she had visiting him at a job site prior to their “I do’s”. Debbie visited Don while he was setting up the liquidation sale of the Ben Franklin Hotel in Philadelphia. She told me how exquisite their room was, a suite no less, and how cool she thought it was that they could pick from any room in the hotel to stay in. Fast forward to her first sale as an NCL employee at the Palm Beach Hotel in Florida “No hot water and twin beds”. If you could have seen the look on her face when she said that, you’d be laughing right now, too. Even with the cold showers, she still said her first NCL job was so exciting because it was something totally different. Debbie said that she loved seeing all of the people enter the sale and go on their very own scavenger hunts. Nowadays, Debbie is NCL’s controller, based in the corporate office, and she knows to ask if there is hot water before she agrees to go on a job site.
Paul Redmond joined NCL in 2000, after leaving active duty in the military, by way of yours truly. Paul and I have been friends for many years, so I was happy to put him in touch with Don when he left active duty. After all, I knew NCL was looking for A Few Good Men. Hey-o! Paul’s first sale was the St. Moritz in NYC (not too shabby). If you’ve ever been to a sale in New York City you’ll understand what Paul meant when he said “It was hard to get used to the madness of it all. Sometimes I had to step back and observe”. Controlled chaos is what he called it. Paul also shared a Twilight Zone moment with me from our liquidation sale at the El Rancho in Las Vegas. He told me how creepy it was turning on all the lights to the casino every morning. One particular morning, Paul was walking through the dark, empty, casino floor heading for the lights, when all of a sudden he heard a “Bzzzzzzzzzzz” followed by a high-pitched scream. The buzzing was the sound of a bug flying into his ear and the high-pitched scream was Paul’s reaction to said buzzing. Oh how I wish I could have witnessed that. Paul has since moved on to the world of stock and bonds (not because of the bug incident) but still enjoys talking about his time on the road with NCL.
Greg Hall got started with us by chance, in 2007. He ran into Mike Lunsford one weekend and asked if we were hiring, interviewed with Don Hayes the following Tuesday, and was on a plane to Los Angeles the following Monday (that’s typically how things work around here). Greg’s first sale was the Le Meridien in Beverly Hills (now the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills), and since he didn’t have a lot of time to process or prep for his new career as a hotel liquidator, he really didn’t know what to expect. Greg had the unusual pleasure of getting to stay in the hotel while it was open for a few days, as they arrived onsite before the closing. Maid service, room service and cable were a few of the amenities Greg got used to those initial days, not to mention it was a 4 star hotel. I imagine he thought it was a pretty sweet deal…and then the hotel closed. Greg told me the biggest adjustment for him was learning to live without TV, specifically ESPN. When you aren’t used to that type of quiet in the evening, it can be a bit unnerving. He quickly learned a trick of the trade and found a DVD player for his room. “One of the first things we do when we get onsite is find the closest Redbox”. Nowadays, Greg is seasoned in the oddities of a sale site. Having just returned from four months in Las Vegas, managing NCL’s liquidation sale of the Sahara Hotel and Casino, Greg is looking forward to spending some quality time with his TV.
Well that’s all for now but I’m working on gathering some more stories to share with you all (maybe even some ghost stories for the upcoming holiday). Till then! Meredith