August 24, 2014

The Creep of Costs For Other People's Bad Behaviour

I've been noticing this everywhere. People are paying for other people's bad behaviour, in ways that seem unfair to the majority of us. This is just one example.

Rules are usually a reactive measure, right? Someone keeps forgetting to close the gate, and a sign goes up: Please close gate. A few people grab at a porcelain doll in a gift store, it gets broken by accident, and a sign goes up: Please do not touch. A couple of randy topless men make a habit of being smelly and uncouth, and a sign goes up: No shirts, no service. We all understand the need for rules, but the majority of us will close the gate, handle the doll carefully, and wear a shirt in public.

When those rules become too rigid, though, everyone pays for the few. I recently stayed in a tiny, ocean-side cabin with no frills. It was overpriced at $160 a night for a bed, small table and kitchenette (i.e., microwave, 2-burner stove and mini-fridge). The tea, sugar packets and powdered milk sitting in a little wicker basket on the counter had been there a long time. You know what I mean. This was no luxury hotel.

On the wall next to the door was posted a long list of "Don't" rules. Don't make noise. Don't smoke. Don't leave the outdoor lights on. Don't, don't, don't... and at the end: Enjoy your stay! In the bathroom was another list of don'ts, including the now-obligatory mention that the resort was "eco-friendly" and supported minimal washing of towels and linens. Of course, that saves the management time and money, too, whether it's for the environment or not. That's OK, I don't need fresh sheets every day, I have no problem using the same towel several times.

I stayed two nights, and there was a cursory visit from the staff while I was out, because my wet facecloth and hand towel were removed and replaced (unnecessarily, I might add, but maybe it was laundry day). The bed was left unmade, which surprised me; that's usually a small courtesy. (In some luxury hotels, they even offer you turn-down service along with a chocolate on your pillow - as if it takes such a great effort to pull all those chenille cushions off your massive stuffed King-sized mattress and pull the silk comforter down a few inches.) I digress.

When I packed up my bag to leave, I wondered about leaving a tip. I know a lot of these cleaning gals count on tips to augment their salary, and I'm generally a considerate person that way. But then I saw the last sign and another "rule" which left me shaking my head in wonder.

I respect common property, and I would like to think most people do, but please - if you're a hotel owner and know otherwise, let me know! And yes, I can imagine that, every once in a while, someone comes in and trashes a room. Rock bands are notorious for it. Drinkers get out of hand and leave their trash behind. Some people might even be messier than usual, as a form of passive-aggressive protest against high prices. But unless this is happening on a regular basis, is it really fair to impose these rules on everyone?

Some business owners are going to tell me that the rules are applied on an as-need basis; they protect the establishment only when having to deal with an abusive guest. But I also know how easy it is to add a charge to my credit card after I'm gone, and how complicated it is to have it removed and/or prove that I didn't break the rules.

You know what? I would have done my dishes anyway. That's just the kind of person I am. So this last sign was just over-the-top for me. New rule? No tip when there are too many rules.

(And yes, I will pass my comments along to the management.)

1 comment:

  1. I'd go one better and vote with my wallet: choose somewhere else next time. Yikes, that's definitely over the top. I don't travel much, but even my little bit, I've never seen that.


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