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You Can’t Take It With You

May 23, 2007

What is the world coming to when the morning news program has to run a segment about what you, as a guest, are able to remove from a hotel?

As they dive into the segment, they address the crazy things people have removed from hotel rooms—pictures, alarm clocks, silverware, towels, washcloths, irons, and even a complete marble fireplace. Said fireplace was evidently removed, piece by piece, in a “really big suitcase.”

One hotel owner described a couple that paid for a hotel room that opened to the exterior of the hotel so that they could park their U-Haul “within view” of their room. The couple proceeded to back up the U-Haul to the door of the hotel room and empty absolutely everything into the U-Haul… even the carpet. Yet another owner described a gentleman that was starting a catering business. Every time he would have a meal at the hotel, he would steal one piece of silverware. By the time he was finished, he had place settings for 60. Unbelievable!


My initial reaction was that these individual stories don’t seem to add up to much except sensationalism, right? They represent a few scattered incidents here and there, a few thieves in the mix, a microchosm if you will. Imagine my surprise when the piece went on to explain that hotels are experiencing this kind of theft to the tune of $100 million per year! People really are taking everything that’s not nailed down. No wonder rates are skyrocketing.

It’s so bad that there is an entire industry devoted to different kinds of anti-theft hangers and a patent issued for an anti-theft iron and ironing board. It’s so bad that hotels actually ARE nailing everything down—pictures, remote control devices for the TV, the TV, the furniture. What they can’t nail down, they are changing to make the items less theft-friendly. Robes that used to be lightweight are now heavy and bulky. Bath towels that used to be small are now bath sheets, not as easy to fit into the old suitcase. Hotels are even offering to sell the items folks are pilfering, in hopes that an honest opportunity to purchase will win out over greedy entitlement.

You would think this kind of thing would be common sense. Do folks automatically feel entitled just because they paid $60 a night? Did they not attend kindergarten and learn that you don’t take something that doesn’t belong to you? I traveled extensively for several years and felt guilty even taking the soap and shampoo, although I knew full well that they would discard the unused portion if I didn’t take it.

For anyone out there that might be confused about what you can and cannot remove from a hotel room, here’s a short list of things that hotels do expect you to take with you:

Soap.

Shampoo.

Shower gel.

Shower cap.

Sewing kit.

Stationery.

Shoe Shine Kits.

Slippers.

Outside of that, buy your own stinkin’ washcloths and towels! Buy your own remote (hint: the one from the hotel doesn’t work with your TV anyway, genius), decorate with your own art, buy your own bedspread (doesn’t the thought of using the one from the hotel just gross you out?), pick up a cheap hairdryer at Wal-Mart and grab an iron, too, while you’re there. Stop thinking you’re entitled to take anything that doesn’t belong to you and stop making the rest of us, by way of rising hotel rates, pay for your matching towel set.

Got it? Good.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. kenzielee permalink
    May 23, 2007 11:16 am

    I can’t believe that people really steal those things! I have to admit, I started laughing when I read about the marble fireplace. That is just ridiculous! So sad. Pathetic, really.

  2. May 23, 2007 1:52 pm

    Aren’t some people just the dumbest things on this planet? You really have to wonder about them. WHY do they do these things? I mean, seriously…stealing an iron? And, they’re crappy irons anyway. People are just stupid.

  3. May 23, 2007 2:47 pm

    Amen to this! The sense of entitlement these days is outrageous.

  4. May 25, 2007 3:01 pm

    Great post – and all true – I spent 10 years as an ex-pat not only working in 5 star hotels, but living in them. On occasion I would round the corner of a corridor and find a couple of guys loading a whole desk into a taxi! – anything that wasn’t nailed down was stolen. My clothes went missing all the time and I once had an entire load of washing return from the hotel laundry ‘WITHOUT A SINGLE BUTTON’! So not only the guests but the staff are a problem. And it is not ‘poor’ people that are the worst – I have seen some of the wealthiest people en masse strip a display of produce that we had arranged for a conference – in under 2 minutes – women whipped out shopping bags from their $3000 purses… and stuff them full. Amazing stuff!

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