Rodeway Inn Owes Me a Coffee

12 May


Last night I intended to be a responsible adult and go to bed early so that I didn’t need a mid-afternoon caffeine kick to get me through my boss’s ridiculous, unending demands.   Unfortunately, my plans were spoiled by a little hotel about 45 minutes away from my humble apartment, where a group of morons were working the desk as my parents attempted to check in for the night.

I’m not really one to blast companies for bad first experiences because I understand that things happen and people are human.  In fact, I’ve been on the other end of customer service at several establishments and know it’s a living hell so I do my best to make things as painless as possible for the other party.  I learned the Military Phonetic Alphabet so that they know what letters I’m spelling out for names (really), I always begin my call by asking for the correct department for my inquiry and then immediately offer up my confirmation number for reference.  I mean, I’m kind of a pro at it.

But last night I was tired, and the Rodeway Inn in Greensburg, PA did more than test my patience.

My parents attempted to check in at this cheap hotel just outside city limits because they love me and want to spend time with me and they don’t mind staying in a modest place to do so in order to spend money on touristy things instead.  Usually it works out really well.  Unless, you know, you have complete imbeciles running the place.

Having already made a reservation online without submitting card information, my darling mother checked in happily to The Rodeway Inn at about 10:00pm.  I attempted to call the hotel earlier to have them make a note that she would be checking in late and had a conversation that went something like this:

RI:  Rodeway Inn.  How can I help you?
Me: Hello – Reservations please.
RI: How can I help you?
Me: Oh, okay – can I give you my reservation number for your reference?
RI:  What for?
Me: So that you know which reservation I’m referring to for this call.
RI:  Well what do you need?
Me: Okay – well my parents are running a bit behind this evening and I was hoping you could make a note on their reservation record that they will be checking in late tonight.
RI: They can just come.
Me: What?
RI: It will be fine.  Like, whenever they come they can check in.
Me: Oh – okay… I just wanted to make sure that they could still have their reservation held. 
RI: Yeah.
Me: Great, thanks. *click* Right.

I have made similar calls to pretty much every hotel everywhere, as the front desk likes to have an idea of whether someone is checking in late or simply a no-show.  In addition, some hotels have a policy that if you don’t check in by a certain time your reservation is no longer held.

Their lack of familiarity with this polite process should have been the first indication of trouble.

So my parents finally made it to the hotel and because my mother is kooky about the way she budgets, she needed to put part of the reservation on one card and the rest on another, but was promptly informed that it was not possible.    She then asked if she could pay part in cash and the rest on a card and was informed that that, too, was impossible.  So she decided it was no big deal and that she would just cancel her reservation and come stay with me.  The front desk told her that would be fine but that she had to cancel the reservation online.

That’s stupid, but okay.

My parents left the establishment and I got online (because my mother is a baby boomer, after all, and doesn’t take the Internet with her everywhere she goes) to cancel her reservation.  But when I brought up her record, it indicated that she was outside the cancellation period and couldn’t cancel her stay.  She would be billed the full amount.  So I called her back, told her to turn around and go get the front desk’s advice – if they couldn’t split the payment and they couldn’t cancel her reservation, what exactly was she supposed to do?  Was she supposed to be billed when she goes home for a reservation that she was unable to check in to? Apparently the answer was yes.

So they left again, frustrated and tired, and headed back to their home 2 hours away.  Finding the entire scenario ridiculous (my mother’s strange payment methods, the front desk’s lack of customer service), I called my brother.   To solve the problem, he called to authorize a payment over the phone for his card (something I do every day at work without fail for hotels that are 5 times classier than this) and was told he couldn’t.  Instead he had to send a fax with his card information and write out a statement that he was okay with the charges.

My brother is a Senior Software Engineer and Systems Analyst.  He spends his days developing the most efficient, cutting-edge methods to solve problems.  He’s not really down with obsolete technology and asked if he could email it instead.  The front desk said they didn’t have access to email at night (what?) and that the only option was faxing.   

My bro has no patience for nonsense or stupidity (sound familiar?) and insisted that they accept an email, which they agreed to after a lengthy discussion that resulted in a call to the manager.  The manager required that before my brother could send the email, my parents return to the building (…what…).  When my brother inquired as to why, he was informed that my mother seemed upset at the front desk and they were afraid that after processing her payment my parents would go to their room, be upset with it, and want to cancel again.

Dear Rodeway Inn:  Even if my parents were difficult customers, you can’t just assume that they will continue to be difficult.  You certainly can’t say to another member of the family that they seem like the kind of people who wouldn’t be happy with anything.  And actually, if you were paying attention, all they wanted was to get in the room.  That’s what all the fuss was about so why would they say no after they got inside?  What could they possibly expect from a budget hotel named “Rodeway Inn”?

So my brother flicked on his switch that allows him to have the patience of Job and called my parents to tell them to go back to the hotel.  Once they arrived, he sent the email.

But it bounced back.  Turns out the front desk girl didn’t really know the address (WHAT?) and wasn’t sure of anything in her life whatsoever.  Finally, her will broke and she allowed my brother to make the payment over the phone, we rewound to half an hour earlier when he asked if he could do that in the first place, and joy was restored to all.  

My parents went to the room, saw no problem with it, and promptly fell asleep.

And I, having a blog topic after a night of struggling (and failing) and content to blast a poor excuse for an establishment, did the same. 



14 Responses to “Rodeway Inn Owes Me a Coffee”

  1. bridgesburning May 12, 2011 at 9:09 am #

    Good grief, this whole disaster was a wide awake nightmare, I hope you send this to the very top of the company. Customer service? NOT!! Hope you and your parents have recovered a bit!


    • Jackie May 14, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

      There might be something in store for a future Lollipop Tuesday here. We shall see 😉


  2. Jw May 12, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    Your brother must be awfully full of himself. Too good to fax?

    Serious note – good for him. I can’t stand when any entity, particularly vendors, insist on fax over e-mail. Granted e-mail is terrible in its own way, but fax? 1986 called and apparently even it doesn’t want faxing back.


    • Jackie May 14, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

      LOL nice. Yeahhhh it was a night full of silly, antiquated red tape.


  3. pegoleg May 12, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    You’re damn tootin’ Rodeway Inn owes you a coffee! And here’s how you get it:
    1) Reserve your coffee online
    2) Have your brother fax authorization for them to put in 3 creams, no sugar


    • Jackie May 14, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

      I laughed out loud at this.


  4. Caitlin May 12, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

    Lol Thank God you have the memory for detail that you do to be able to record these precious memories. It benefits us all when (semi) bad things happen to funny people.

    Love you


    • Jackie May 14, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

      I am truly blessed 😛 Thanks for enjoying my misery.


  5. Renee Mason May 13, 2011 at 9:17 am #

    Shouldn’t killing stooopid people be considered justifiable homicide?


    • Jackie May 14, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

      I would lobby for killing complete a**holes first 🙂


  6. seybernetx May 13, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

    Sometimes the cheapest companies have the worst, and most antiquated, service. I always wondered if that was because they scrimped on training, or just really didn’t give a d*mn.

    PS: Don’t be so hard on faxing. I worked at Ameritech (back when there still was an Ameritech), and and a lot of the software I worked on ended a transaction by sending a ‘fax’ to an office somewhere else in the midwest. I always suspected that most places there was another computer on the other end processing the fax into an email or word-processing document, but some of the smaller offices apparently had real, live fax machines.


    • Jackie May 14, 2011 at 8:31 pm #

      Or maybe they just can’t afford to pay the employees enough for the employees to care.

      And yeah, there are certainly still places that have fax machines… but if they also have email and it’s 11:00pm and my parents are attempting to get to bed for the night, there’s no reason to require my brother to try to find a fax machine at that hour. Especially because they should have just taken his info over the phone in the first place.

      I still haven’t let this all go, apparently. haha


  7. Momma May 15, 2011 at 10:54 am #

    Battered Mom here…..the vacation was awesome. Always love spending time with you……but sure am glad to be out of the hotel from hell.


    • Jackie May 21, 2011 at 11:44 am #

      ❤ ❤


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