Upon returning from our backcountry weekend, I was met with a startling event. I had just gotten up at 5 am and rode the bus 5 hours to be back by 11 am, all in time for my first shift driving at work. As I came into the office Carrie asked me to come outside to talk. I wasn’t sure what was going on, my mind was racing.
She seemed a bit nervous which only made me wonder more what was going on? Just like that she said I was being let go. I was confused, last week had gone well, my monthly review had gone well, what had I done? She informed me that an exuctive at Princess Cruises had called and informed them “I had made some dispairiging remarks about them.” I laughed and responded with I guess they only proved my point, didn’t they.
From there she stated that my check was handwritten and my tips were included. If I wanted to talk to Jeff about it, he would be available later. I looked at her and simply said with a smile OK, can we talk more about this later, I’m going to find another job and I’ll be back in about a half an hour. Within ten mnutes, I was hired somewhere else and had a ride on the way, I just needed to start packing.
I came back into the office and said “I’m mad at you”. She was taken a back for a second, yet she knew I wasn’t actually mad, she just wasn’t sure what the next stament was going to be. “You know, you could have just sent me a text and said I was fired, I could have slept in and taken my time coming out of the back country. Oh, I’ve got another job, how long till I have to be off the property?” She replied with 24 hours and if I wanted to talk to Jeff I could. I asked her what there was to talk about, I was asked a direct question, I answered it, they didn’t like the answer, they called you to complain, you were forced to let me go to save face. I’ve got another job, I’m leaving in a few hours, what was there to talk about. She replied that she guessed there wasn’t.
She seemed relieved, and I asked her how she was feeling. Sure enough she was. This was the first time she had ever had to fire somene and was quite nervous. I jokingly said I made it really easy, didn’t I? But seriously though, the next time you fire me and I’m in the back country, send me a text and I won’t hurry back to get to work.” I asked her on my way out, what she would do without my direct sense of humor, it was going to be a boring place around here with no one telling it like it is. She laughed in that adorable laugh, that only she can do, as I exited the door to pack up my things.
On my last tour for the week, I was asked a very direct question and I had answered it with the truth. How do I feel about Princess? I simple stated they suck, no one likes them. They treat their employees like shit, housing them in the Princess Prison complex way out of town, they were given less than 24 hours notice of a day off. The empolyees worked 6 days a week with one day off at random days. Their drivers made about 11 dollars an hour, 4 or 5 less than any other bunsiess in the area. The rest of the other employees made considerably less than the other busninesses as well. The employees were so unhappy, it wasn’t a rare occurance to see them looking for other jobs or even trying to pick up a second so they could actually make some money this season. I was often asked if we were hiring drivers because they wanted out.
The guests, for the most part, were in Denali for less than 24 hours. They arrived by train around 4 pm and were out the next morning around noon. They had one night to eat and were so tired from their 8 hour train ride, they went directly to bed after dinner. Most of them went into the park and were out to the train the very next morning. They never got to experience Denali and the area around it. Princess made it difficult for the tourists to get off property, so they couldn’t spend their money anywhere else. Princess wanted all of it.
Their greed extended to the other tours you could book with them or anywhere else for that matter. Pricness wanted 40% off the top of every tour they booked. This meant that smaller operations couldn’t even recoup the operating costs for the tours booked at Princess. The only way to break even was to charge them more to cover Princess’s huge take. All the local bunsiness were down numbers wise. Ours was down over 2000 people for the season. The whitewater rafting, Heli Tours, Jeep Tours, ATV/Zipline were all down a great deal. Not only that but all the local restaurants were down as well. But how could that be?
Princess’s hotels were at full occupancy, the cost of a room you booked, outside of the cruise, was close to $400 a night. The only people in their hotels were crusie ship people and Princess wanted to control them just like they control their employees. Princess was the Devil. A few years ago, they wanted to buy one of the back country lodges and and the businesses back there banded together so one of them could buy it, thus not allowing Princess to build a friggin resort in the back country.
As it turns out who ever asked me the question was the husband or boyfriend of one of the executives in the Princess Lodge here in Denali. Being true to their form, instead of taking what I had to say with a grain of salt, this woman sought to remove me from my job, which by the way isn’t even owned, operated, ran, affiliated with Princess. I thought to myself, what is one answered question vs a story on the internet?
Within a few hours I was at my new job and getting ready for the weekend. I was excited to start the next venture with just a month or so left in the Denali area.