False environmentalism, & other hotel pet peeves

Most people who plan events for a living do a fair amount of traveling.  As I write this, I am sitting in my hotel room reflecting on a number of things that seem to annoy me in virtually every hotel I’ve stayed in.   Allow me to share them with you, and if they annoy you as well, let me hear a loud “amen” after each one.

1.  False Environmentalism. I don’t know if that’s a real phrase or not, but to me it encapsulates companies who endorse a practice under the banner of being eco-friendly, when clearly that is not their motive.  Case in point: towel washing.

How annoying are those little placards in the bathroom of hotel rooms that read, “Please help us save the earth by saving water.  We will only wash towels if you put them on the floor; otherwise we appreciate your efforts to reuse your towels.  And the environment appreciates it too!”

Nice try.  What it really should say, is:  “Boy, do we save money by washing fewer towels.  You know what our union labor rate is?  We’d never have the balls to ask you to reuse your towels so we could save money until the whole green movement came along.”

2.  Confusing Shower Mega-Knobs. OK, if this is just me, than I’m pretty embarrassed, but I have to tell you, I think you have to be in MENSA to figure out hotel shower knobs.  You know those single knob devices that control both the water pressure and the temperature?  Forget it.  I don’t even try to master them anymore.  I just turn or pull them until water comes out, then tweak what I’m doing in small increments, each time putting my hand under the water to gauge temperature, until I’m able to get into the shower without burning or freezing myself.   Maybe this is designed to encourage you to take fewer showers, and use less towels.  You know, to save the earth.

Oompa Loompas3.  Shower Curtain Rod Expanders. So after staring down at the tub while I try to figure out the knob situation, I am led to believe the shower is a normal size.  Then, when I get in and close the curtain, (you know, that curved curtain that extends outward?) I am suddenly in a gigantically large shower!  Goodness, how did that happen?  The hotel is magical!  I can’t wait for the oompah loompahs to bring me room service!

I’m sorry, I just don’t get the bow-shaped shower curtain rods.  I’d rather see the hotels put their money into, wait for it . . .

4.  Toothpaste! This is up there with the riddle of the sphinx.  Why on earth won’t hotels give you toothpaste?  Every other amenity is provided, even a sewing kit.  A sewing kit!  Toothpaste we use every day; a sewing kit we use, um, NEVER.  That’s up there with the bible in the nightstand.  (When do they think we read these bibles, before or after we’ve ordered the porn on pay-per-view while drinking the bourbon from the mini-bar?)

I am really at a loss for words as to why they won’t give us toothpaste.  It certainly can’t be a cost factor, especially not for those hotels that pay to install a phone next to the toilet.  Truly, truly, truly, I have no idea.  Someone please tell me.

Now, if you go to the front desk and ask for toothpaste, virtually every hotel will give you some; albeit in small sizes, but they do stock it.  So I encourage everyone to go to the front desk wherever they stay and ask for it.  Eventually they’ll find it more cost-effective to just stock the rooms with toothpaste in the first place.  hamster on wheel

5.  Snail-Net. You pay the $9.95 per 24 hour period for internet access in your room, only to find out it’s literally the slowest possible connection in the universe.  It’s as if it’s being powered by a hamster on a treadmill in the basement somewhere.  Those of you that have broadband cards bypass this annoyance, but for the occasional traveler, you’re stuck with this injustice.

There you have it.  My hotel pet peeves.  Love to hear yours.  And I’ll send you a $15 iTunes gift card if you can logically explain the toothpaste thing.

By |2010-07-12T23:18:00-04:00July 12th, 2010|Articles, Creative Writing, Uncategorized|10 Comments

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  1. Liz King July 20, 2010 at 10:07 am

    Great post! I totally agree with it all! I once heard that they don’t provide toothpaste in hotels because it’s too hard to package for a single use. So, while they provide it at request, they don’t give it in every room. Not sure if that’s true, but seems logical to me! 🙂

  2. shantala July 16, 2010 at 10:00 am

    ditto on the shower knobs..ugh shoot me..i can never figure them out!

  3. Gwen July 15, 2010 at 12:20 am

    internet powered by a hamster in the basement is the funniest thing i’ve heard all day. What will you think of next?

  4. Larry Hess July 13, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Nice work, spoken like a true road warrior. I have never understood the toothpaste deal either. What kills me, is they will in fact give you one (and a toothbrush, razor, shaving cream) if you forgot to bring them with you. So why not stock them? It could be a cost thing……but I am sure they could present this as a sampling option and have product shipped in for free.
    While we share the same peeves….here are couple that really get me.
    A confimred king non-smoking….turns into a smoking double….even though I have a confirmation number and “locked” it in with my credit card. They look at me and usually say if you had gotten here earlier, really? Then why make a reservations?

    My all time pet peeve though is when they put me in a handicap room without telling me first and just letting me go up and find out upon entering. While I don’t have too much of an issue with the handicap room, I aways think to myself, what happens if someone who needs this type of room comes in late that night?

    I do disagree with one thing…..I enjoy the curved shower rod. I hate when those nasty curtains touch any part of my body. You just know those things are never cleaned…..ever.

  5. Andrea Figman July 13, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    I am glad you brought up the shower knob. Trying to get that thing to turn and actually put out water had me late to the meeting. Yes, this sounds like “the dog ate my homework” but given I was up late reading that bible near the night stand, I gave myself a little extra time to sleep only to be delayed by that shower knob.

  6. anne July 13, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    It is so refreshing to hear someone verbalize what has really bothered me, ( with such wit and insight), particularly about the toothpaste and the hot water adjustment in the shower.
    After all, they do supply a blower and a sewing kit and why not toothpaste?
    One of my pet peeves is trying to blow my hair and not having the outlet near the mirror in the bedroom which leaves me standing facing a wall or a window.Thanks for bringing this inner rumble to the surface!

  7. Meredith from Here Comes The Guide July 13, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Howard, you have just given voice to every pet peeve I’ve had when staying at hotels. Seriously. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wondered about the toothpaste vs sewing kit issue. It’s just mind boggling.

  8. Maya Kalman July 12, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    I’m laughing out loud in hysterics right now. That just got funnier by the line. Truly the best rant I’ve read in a long time! Keep up the good work! xoxo

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