Day 4 on the road in the low end of the High Desert of California (Riverside) where gas is $2.99 and holding. Oddly enough, I hear stories about oil prices falling and gas prices falling in DFW, but it isn’t reflected in other parts of the country.
I know it’s Day 5 but I could not execute the blog or e-mail on Day 4 because of the not-so-helpful folks at the Comfort Inn. The free Internet service in the room didn’t work and no one was terribly interested in fixing the problem. Of course, the reasoning was ridiculous.
“Some other guest had the same problem,” said the night desk kid.
“Don’t you think you should contact someone?” I asked.
“Naw, for two out of 60 rooms?” he answered.
“One incident is isolated; two is a problem,” I said.
No one was contacted and nothing was done. So I went into the lobby, which is wireless to do my work. And the management will eventually know how lousy the customer service was.
Being in the motel business must be pretty good. There are scores upon scores of different chain names, although many of them are clustered under a few corporations (Accor, Choice, etc.). The Mom and Pop entities might be disappearing but the sterilized, sameness of a Motel 6/Best Western/Comfort Inn are dotting the landscape in increasing numbers.
That, however, doesn’t mean improvement. Far from it.
How do I loathe the motel? Let me count the ways.
The showers are too short while the towels are too small and too hard (a little Downy please?). The soap always seems to crack in your hands as you wash. I should note that one Best Western in Boerne, Texas, had hand dispensers in the shower for soap, shampoo and gel (a wise investment to avoid waste).
The beds are too hard, the blankets are too thin and the sheets rip off the mattress if you just touch them. The air conditioning unit is too loud and is only operates under ice cold or broiling hot. And I could write “War and Peace” about the many foibles.
All too often, the prices - for what you eventually get - are too high. Unless you want to spend more for a little luxury (usually associated with the multi-story hotels), economy is a prime consideration when traveling.
Once I heard a car dealer give a perfect explanation about his business, “All Fords are the same; the difference is in the service.” All motels are basically the same; the difference is how the traveler is treated. On this night, this traveler was not treated as well as he should have been.
Now it’s on to LAX to meet the espousa and headed to San Diego for a weekend of wild animals, zoos and heavy traffic. And that will just be the hotel check-in.