Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hand Washing at the Hotel

Whenever you check out of a hotel in this country you have to give the hotel staff an extra 5 minutes to check over your room and make sure everything is intact before they will actually give you back your deposit and let you leave. The staff counts to make sure all of the mugs are present and accounted for, the sheets and towels are still there and in usable condition and that you didn’t ruin anything.

Several years ago I was staying in a three person room, I had noticed shortly after we checked in that they had only given us two glasses in the bathroom, but didn’t bother to mention to any of the staff the missing cup. We checked out and were half way down the street when we noticed a hotel employee frantically chasing us. By the time she caught up tears were dripping off her cheeks. “Please, you must come back to the hotel, a cup is missing”. She sobbed. “It was missing when we checked in, so it is not our fault” I replied . “Please you must come back or else they will take the cost out of my paycheck” her utter panic made me willing to shell out the three dollars for something I hadn’t done.

Fast Forward to this past trip down south. My friends were checking out of our hotel and were told we were going to have to pay the price of a new towel because they had ruined one. The guys knew they had left the room in pretty good condition and so they asked to see this “damaged towel”. The lady checking over the room handed them a slightly muddy towel that they had used to get some of the dirt off their shoes. “This will washout no problem”, the guys said confidently. Next thing they knew the staff member was handing them one of the complementary shampoo bottles and asking them to prove it. The guys were shocked. I don’t care what country you’re in, it is not the guests’ job to wash their own linens at a hotel. “Don’t you have a washing machine?” they asked flabbergasted at the demand that they start scrubbing. “Of course, but that stain might not come out in the washing machine and then we will have to pay for it”. Grumbling a little at the craziness of a hotel not factoring these things into their overhead cost my friend went to work on stain removal and soon had the nod of approval from the staff member that indeed the towel was not permanently damaged, just in need of a good wash.

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