Tag Archives: hotels

I Need Your Dog Real Quick

10 Jun

I’ve been in Portland for a few days for a work thing and I’m wondering if I’ll bother to jump the plane back home. Portland, Oregon – not Portland, Maine – just in case you were wondering. I’ve been told no one but me ever does, but hey: just in case.

I think the hotel I’m staying at is built specifically to keep me here. There’s a button on my phone that I can push that says “get it now” and if I push it, I can have them deliver a pint of locally made ice cream to my door. On-demand ice cream. The new world is a marvel.

They also have something called a dog spiritual menu. At first I thought this meant that I could steal a random dog from the street and pamper him with a hot stone massage or get its chakras balanced, but it turns out it’s just a library of books available to me on pet psychology and whatnot. However, the front desk is also happy to help refer me to a pet psychic if it will make my stay more memorable, so I’m currently on the hunt for a dog with an owner who isn’t paying much attention to them. 

pet psychic

I know, pup. I have a lot of questions too. (photo cred: Joseph Morris)

There’s also a pillow menu. In case I’m not content with the 6 pillows on my bed already, I can call someone and custom order the type of pillow I would prefer. I’m not sure how to do that without sounding like a total and complete A-hole, but the curiosity is killing me. Do they bring sample pillows for me to choose from? Do they wheel a cart into my room with little fancy placards labeling their firmness? Why aren’t the pillows they bring up already represented among the several pillows already on my bed? WHY ARE THEY WITHHOLDING SECRET PILLOWS. WHY DO I HAVE TO CALL TO UNLOCK THEM?

In spite of these luxuries, this boutique hotel is lacking the only amenity worth booking for: the good old fashioned continental breakfast. I gotta say, I’m getting pretty tired of classy-claiming hotels that don’t give me free breakfast. In what world do I shell out more money than it takes to stay at a Holiday Inn to have my morning made-to-order omelet replaced with nothing but a pitcher of fresh cucumber water? Why can I rent a book from a dog wellness library and not get some free morning toast?

Maybe I’d feel differently if the amenities were geared toward cats instead of dogs. I’d swap out my free daily breakfast in exchange for someone getting inside Monk’s head. That cat is in dire need of some psychoanalysis. Really. I should have put him on a leash and stowed him in the plane. I could distract him with a damp sponge bath at the hotel while I have someone get to the bottom of what makes him punch me in the eyeball with his furpaw at 4am.

Even if they offered a cat spiritual menu, I’d still need to work up the chutzpah to pick up the phone and request it. I have yet to work up enough to request the pillow menu and ice cream. I don’t mean that from a lazy perspective (although – yes.), but just from a phone-hating perspective. I don’t even like to talk to my friends on the phone. I have a longstanding friend (15 years now?) with whom I have only exclusively chatted online. I credit it as the reason we’ve been able to hang in there so long. Still – the curiosity is killing me. I should call.

I really have to continually work at to getting over these sorts of little hangups in my quest to not become a bitter old shut-in. So, it’s decided: tomorrow is the big day: I’m going to pick up the phone, dammit. I want a firmer pillow. And a body pillow. All of the secret pillows. I should also grab a dog real quick just to get my full money’s worth from my stay. If I can just work up the courage to commit a tiny bit of random dog theft and pick up the phone, I can celebrate my wins in a pile of pillow with a $12 pint of hand-delivered ice cream.

Maybe I can even manage to save half of it for breakfast.

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Rodeway Inn Owes Me a Coffee

12 May

COFFEE 

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. 

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