When I booked the airfare for my house-hunting trip to Florida, I had the option of adding a hotel stay for a cheaper overall price. Since it was just for me and I wasn’t going for a luxury vacation, I opted for a room that was inexpensive and between the airport and the realtor’s office. Well, it wasn’t the Bates Motel, but . . .
When I arrived, I checked in with the guy at the front desk who was friendly and efficient. I walked up to my room which smelled a little musty and was a little warm, but I honestly didn’t care because I was so tired thanks to my delayed flight and plane ride from hell sitting next to Frank the Flatulant. So, I threw on jammies, washed my face, and wait a minute, why is the sink filled? The sink isn’t draining. At all. Ugh. I was too lazy to get dressed and ask for a room change so I decided to deal with it tomorrow. I crashed (after checking under the bed and in the closet for ax murderers and dead bodies, of course).
The next morning, the sink was still filled. I looked a little more closely and realized it wasn’t so much clogged as the stopper was just broken and wouldn’t stay up. I decided I didn’t care about that enough to switch rooms. I went about my day – breakfast, looking at houses, lunch with my realtors, then back to my hotel for a little R & R. As I entered the lobby, the fire alarm went off. Then it stopped. Then it sounded again. Then it stopped. Then again. And again. And again. I returned to my room where this notice had been shoved under my door.
Let me translate for you.
Dear Sucker Who Booked Your Stay at our Hotel,
We’re going to be sounding the fire alarms (all 4000 of them) every minute for over an hour today. Good luck taking a nap, relaxing, or basically trying to keep your heart rate from jumping through the roof every sixty seconds. Oh yeah, and you might want to invest in a pair of earplugs. We have some Mickey Mouse ones in our gift shop for $39.99 plus tax. We knew about this test a month ago, but didn’t want to lose business, so we didn’t disclose this information to you when you booked your stay.
P.S. If you smell smoke, you might want to evacuate just in case a real fire breaks out during our test.
P.P.S. Don’t bother looking around for firemen either. Just keep walking. This means you, Dawn.
At some point in the afternoon, the incessant ringing stopped. Either that or I finally went deaf so I didn’t notice the alarms anymore. I got ready and went out for dinner with a good friend of mine from high school. She dropped me off at my hotel late last night. She pulled her car up to the lobby. I got out and started for the entrance when the guy behind the desk said, “Be careful if you come through this way. There’s a snake inside the door there.”
Oh. My. Gosh.
I think this was the point, I decided that not only was there no way I would move to this horrible, snake-filled state, but I wasn’t waiting around for my return flight either, and I started walking home to Chicago where we only have squirrels and pigeons who might occasionally try to peck your eyes out, but never ever inject you with venom.
I couldn’t sleep last night because I was convinced my room was crawling with snakes. I mean, look at that thing! It totally blends in with the luggage rack! It could be covered with snakes and no one would know! The whole place could be crawling with them! I sat up in bed, the lights on, and a Bible (thank you, Gideons) in hand that I could throw at anything that slithered. I don’t ordinarily treat Bibles with such disrespect, but I think God would understand. In fact, think how things might be if Eve had just chucked a copy of the Good Book at the snake!
Then today, I noticed this sheet on the desk.
I love how they’ve worded this. “Due to the popularity of our guest items…” That’s the nice way of saying, “Don’t steal our cheap, used stuff. If you do, we’ll charge you 10 times the replacement price.” I was pretty bummed when I saw the list because I was totally going to steal the shower head until I saw the price. Since I can pick one up at Lowes for $20, I decided to do that instead of using the wrenches I’d packed for this very reason, and removing the old shower head that was covered with the calcium and lime deposits.
And $50 for the hair dryer? Really? Here’s the dryer . . .
Let me reference the size of the dryer for you . . .
It’s smaller than my hand. Brooklyn blowing out birthday candles has more power than that dryer!
The sad thing is, you just know there’s some fool who’s going to steal the couch, or garbage can, or coffee maker, or curtains, and he’ll claim that he thought they were free for the taking since they weren’t on the list. Although, I do have to wonder how much they’d charge if I peeled off a strip of that snazzy wallpaper to use in my new house . . .
ADDENDUM: No sooner did I publish this post, than I got up to go take a shower. Before I even set foot in the bathroom, I noticed that it was flooded. The sprinkler was leaking and there was standing water on the floor. Fed up, I called down to the front desk. Three times. Letting it ring for a couple minutes each time. No one bothered to answer. So I marched down there and waited in line for 15 minutes. The young girl behind the counter told me there was no manager there and in fact, she was the only one working at all. One person seems adequate to handle all check-ins, phone calls, requests, and complaints, don’t you think?
I mentioned my string of complaints and when I got to “snake in the lobby”, the man standing in line behind me freaked out. He was a big, 6 foot tall dude and he started babbling, “Snakes?! I don’t like snakes! Where’s a snake?! I don’t like snakes!” all while his eyes darted here and there, fully expecting a snake to do some ninja sneak-attack move on him.
She said the only thing she could do was move me to another room if I wanted. If I wanted??? No, I want to swim to the toilet! Yes, move me! I think I’ll be having a little meeting with the manager tomorrow.
UPDATE: I spoke with a manager who offered me a disinterested apology. Then he turned around and charged me $40 for a late check-out. Now, I understand that things happen. I won’t judge an entire chain of hotels by the experiences and inconveniences of one stay. However, the lack of customer service and willingness to make amends for the things that happened is inexcusable and that’s what has lost them a customer.
Want to read more from Dawn? Whether you’re thinking about having kids, you’re pregnant now, or you’ve ever been pregnant, you’ll love her popular, You’ll Lose the Baby Weight (and Other Lies About Pregnancy and Childbirth)!