Yo King B – why no post on Fred-6’s speech?

January 12, 2011

RE: My Stay At Your [redacted]Property

To Whom It May Concern

Although I’m no longer in the industry, I have a long history of gainful employment in hospitality. I have worked in every role in a restaurant; was a bartender at an Adam’s Mark Hotel; a waiter at everything from pizza joints to the type of place that has a wine cellar; I was a street vendor for two years; and my current job is in a field where customer service is key, and I am the post upon which angry customers release their fury through a never-ending volley of whips.

Ergo, before continuing, in good faith I want to ease your mind – whoever you may be – and point out that once I’m done writing this letter, my complaint will be finished and my problem solved. I bear no grudge against your trademark or this specific property, I don’t want a refund, a voucher, an apology or an explanation; frankly, I just want to vent, and seeing as I have nothing better to do (keep reading), that is what I shall now do.

I’m writing a letter to you not because I’m feeling old-fashioned or sentimental for a bygone time when Americans didn’t use email and Facebook to communicate. No, I’m writing this letter because I have nothing better to do in my room right now because the free WiFi doesn’t work, the only channel on the television that can be seen through the snowy picture is The Weather Channel, and I’m still thawing out after entering a room that had no heat on, even though the mercury hasn’t climbed over 25 degrees all day long.

My entertainment[1], in and of itself, is not your concern, of course, except that it is[2]. After Holiday Inn began taking the country by storm in the 1950s and Conrad Hilton built an empire out of a dusty roadside motel, most hotels and motels have found that the more there is to do in the room, the less they have to endure the petty needs of their customers. So enduring is the American roadside motel that the Gideons started putting a Bible in every room, to soothe the wary traveler and maybe find a few converts along the way. Hence, Color TV, Free HBO, swimming pools, and for the last few years or so, Free WiFi.

Also, I’d like to point out that I’m a corporate man, a Capitalist, a modernist and a lover of the American style of laissez-faire capitalism, something I also worry is becoming a thing of the past. Be that as it may, I just wanted to state that I’m not some Pinko-anti-corporate hippie who hates everything that doesn’t fit their notion of greenly organic. Screw’em.

In the pursuit of my job, I travel throughout [redacted] and spend at least one night a week in a hotel or motel in [redacted]. I have done this for two years, and before this, I have traveled throughout the world, to nations in worlds both First and Third, and in those travels I’ve stayed at everything from hostels and hovels to four-star resorts. I consider myself a traveler, not a tourist, and as such, I don’t expect much from a property beyond what is advertised; furthermore, even as luxury resorts, I consider it a point of pride to not have to ask Staff for assistance with anything – I’m a big boy, I can usually do it myself. So long as I’m not bound and raped by horny locals bitter about the starving economy, I really don’t have it that bad.

Most hotels don’t advertise “Air Conditioning” and “Color TV” anymore, because it is expected as a given. My room indeed came with a color television and A/C and heat, so other than the former not giving me a picture and the latter not being turned on when I got here, no complaint here.

Allow me, if you will, to take this one-sided conversation in a different direction.

The great thing about The Internet is that no matter what doesn’t work, so long as one’s WiFi connection does work, then all is good[3]. For example, were my WiFi working right now, I wouldn’t even consider looking up your home office on The Internet to write a brief message letting you know about my stay, much less write a letter that, when all is said and done, will probably be several thousand words in length (sorry, I’m a writer and currently, I’m a bored one – we all bear our crosses, ya).

Like most people who are traveling and stuck in a room, so long as we have the Internet, then everything else goes, for the most part, unnoticed. When we don’t have The Internet, we must find other ways to entertain ourselves. Since I don’t drink, I’ll not be going out. Since I’m not a religious man, I’ll not being going to church, even though it’s a Wednesday and I’m sure there are several services in the area. Since I’ve already read it, I’ll not be reading the Gideon’s Bible. As organized religion and drinking oneself into a stupor are really the only two things a single man can do on a chilly night in [redacted]– and since I let someone borrow my Kindle and as such I have nothing to read[4] – I’m writing this letter.

Through a series of unfortunately predictable events, I find myself in [redacted] tonight. I was here this morning, and realizing that I might be in [redacted] for the evening, I stopped at your property. A nice woman around the age of 65 greeted me. I asked for her biggest smoking room, and she said there was one that was big indeed – a King bed, a kitchenette, a mini-fridge, etc. Wary – I’ve stayed in a lot of dumps in this part of the country – I asked her if I could see it, and she did one better – she escorted me up to the room to show it to me. It was indeed spacious – I was taken aback. Giant bed, flat-screen TV, large desk in the corner, and a kitchenette at that. I asked if it was smoking again, and she said it was. I asked if there was WiFi, and she said there was. I gave her my information and asked that the room be held until 3, which she did.

Clearly, this issue isn’t a matter of staff – both people I’ve met have been delightful.

When I returned at 3, the delightful woman I’d met earlier was just leaving, and she was relieved by a cute young girl – 18 or 25, who knows, it doesn’t matter. In my younger, more carefree years, I would have flirted with her, perhaps gotten her number or perhaps not, but I’m older now, so such things while traveling on business are no longer my concern. As she swiped my card, I asked a question that hadn’t occurred to me ever to ask at any other hotel before, especially in the last decade, because it’s never been an issue:

“Is there a coffeemaker in the room?” I asked.

“Um, no, there isn’t. I’m sorry.”

“Are you serious?” I asked, thinking she was being sarcastic. She was not. So, I felt the need to engage in a bit of useless exposition. “So I have rented a room that has a kitchenette, a microwave and a fridge, but the one thing most travelers want – coffee – is not available in the room?” I tend to lapse into sophistry from time to time, but she bore this well, as I delivered it in an even, passive tone so as not to appear threatening, as I’m not a threatening person. She played along with my quasi-fake outrage well, and agreed that yes, there should be a coffeemaker in the room, and barring that, one that occupants can borrow for the course of their stay.

She apologized and said she could make me some coffee downstairs. I thanked her for the offer, but told her I bring my own coffee[5] for just such stays. I asked where the nearest Dollar[6] store was, and she pointed me to the local Family Dollar here in [redacted].

Anyway. I drove to the Family Dollar and paid thirteen-and-change for a white, 10-cup coffeemaker[7] and returned to the hotel. “It does have WiFi, yes?” I asked.

“Oh yes,” she said.

If this sounds odd, this notion of going to a store to buy a coffeemaker because my hotel room doesn’t have one, you’ll get no argument from me: I’m a human being and have odd quirks, just like you do. I drink a lot of coffee, only smoke my cigarettes[8] halfway down, and I’m a big man who drives a tiny car. The last time I was in an American hotel room that did not have a coffeemaker, complete with two cups, a pack of regular and a pack of decaf, along with two packs of sugar and at least one pink/blue/yellow sweetener, it was so long ago I don’t remember. As you can see from this letter, I’m a details guy, and am the type to remember such things. I drink an obscene amount of coffee everyday and always travel with my brand – it never occurred to me, though, that when staying at a trademarked, chain hotel clearly marketed for business travelers in which the room has a mini fridge, a flat-screen television, a microwave and a nice faux-granite countertop, it wouldn’t also have a coffeemaker. How I didn’t notice this on the earlier tour of the room I have no idea.

I made it to the room and it was chillier than I remembered, I guess because it was later in the day. I unpacked my stuff, fired up my laptop, made my coffee in my new coffeemaker, and went to the bathroom. The door was closed and as there aren’t vents in the bathroom, the standing temperature, were I guessing, was about 26-degrees, +/- 2. There wasn’t ice in the toilet, so maybe I’m off a bit, but I could “see my breath,” as the saying goes. It was cold, and I’ll leave it at that.

So, getting to my computer, I searched for the WiFi signal and after a few tries, finally found the two offered at the property. I logged onto the first one, and couldn’t get a connection. I logged onto the second one, same result. As this isn’t my first rodeo, I continued for a few minutes until finally getting the connection I’d so desperately sought all those minutes. And, like the logician Lewis Carroll and his famous White Rabbit, I’ve been chasing the WiFi ever since.

That was around 4 pm. Two hours later – it’s currently 1755-CST local time[9] – I have played WiFi hide-and-go-seek until I finally gave up the ghost to write this letter. The connection kept dropping in and out at the desk, which is in the corner directly across from the entry door. So, moving the desk to several locations, I still couldn’t find purchase for more than a few minutes. These moves ultimately led me to where I am now – the desk is perpendicular to the mirror, which is on the wall in-between the television cabinet and the door, and my desk is wedged between the king bed and the wall on the other side of which is the shower.

Anton Chekov wrote a great deal about the beauty of winter, but I’m finding none of it tonight. I am stuck – yes, stuck – in a room whose television does not work, whose WiFi does not work, whose office chair – my second one – does not work (more on that shortly) and whose coffee was made from the beans I brought in the coffeemaker I bought.  Instead of listening to Sirius Radio online, I’m listening to an old Dave Matthews Band cut[10] I happened to download and leave on my desktop yesterday while creating a Word document.

So, in bullet format, here is a list of everything that is wrong with this room from a seasoned traveler’s point of view, in no particular order. This list isn’t really relevant, but considering this is the most expensive room your hotel offers and the lady who gave me the tour noted that people rarely stay in it[11] I thought it was only fair. As a traveler, when I don’t have access to what is advertised in the room which I’ve paid, this is what I’m left to do with my time. With that said, the list:

  1. No coffeemaker, cups, glasses, sweetener, etc. With all the cabinet space in the room – I’ve never seen a hotel room with more cabinet space – it seems like a few glasses and coffee cups would be appropriate.
  2. The television “reception” is awful, and the only channel that can be watched without annoyance is The Weather Channel.
  3. The WiFi isn’t spotty, it just doesn’t work and no, it’s not my computer.
  4. The bathroom is colder than a walk-in freezer.
  5. The room was as cold as a walk-in freezer when I checked in.
  6. The office chair, while modern and stylish, had a seat that was slanted down toward the floor. The girl at the front desk brought me another one, and it won’t stay elevated, but I’m done complaining in person.
  7. The relaxation chair has one long rip and one quarter-sized cigar burn in it.
  8. It’s now 1843-CST local time, and the room is still cold and I have no hope of it warming up as it’s 14 degrees outside.
  9. There is no guest book in the room, so I won’t even be able to properly address this letter until I can get a WiFi connection and look up your home office online. There is no card asking how my stay is/was, there is nothing other than a list of channels with a burger menu on its other side.
  10. The bed is rock-hard. I’m a light sleeper and require only a few hours each night, and I can tell tonight’s visit from z’Sandman will be unusually brief.

Those are my chief complaints. Of all of them, the only one that would be relevant were it not for the absence of WiFi would be the coffeemaker. Everything else is just an annoyance of travel.

Physically, I like the room. I’m a modernist and a minimalist, and my own style is Bauhaus. My first condo was about the same size and layout of this room, and I could easily use this exact footprint as a vacation home, assuming it weren’t located in [redacted] and the WiFi worked.

The décor in the room is perfectly kooky, and I would guess intentionally so, which I love. It’s not drab but it’s not tacky, either. Someone had an eye for detail, the hue in the woodwork accenting the mustard paint and faux-granite, and I don’t say that sarcastically or condescendingly. Whoever designed the room understood that there are no small jobs, only small people. If the WiFi worked, I’d stay at your hotel every week, but it doesn’t and I won’t stay here again.

The two staff members I had contact with were both exceedingly friendly, and although I asked the girl working the evening shift if there’s a better spot to pick up the WiFi signal, she was clueless and I didn’t expect a satisfying answer. She’d already brought me a different chair, so she’s paid her dues.

With that I close, feeling less annoyed and more satisfied. We live in an age of Internet Tough Guys, and I’m not such a person. I have no plans to bad mouth your property or your brand, I just wanted to drop you a 2,804 3,108 word letter giving you my thoughts on my one-night stay. It is with that I close.

Sincerely,

 

King B

Cc: [redacted]

 

 


[1] See also: The Internet

[2] The promised WiFi; see also: The Internet

[3] I refer to this phenomena as Internet Lucidity, and its antecedent Internet Anxiety Disorder: The presence of Internet access will immediately make a stressed person more lucid so long as they have the means to access it, and the absence Internet access will immediately make a relaxed person stressed if they otherwise have the means to access it.

[4] Technically untrue – I have the Kindle for PC ap on my laptop and just happened to download Stephen King’s ‘The Gunslinger’ before my WiFi disappeared into the ether for good; once I’m done writing this letter, I can read.

[5] To clarify, I’m a Starbucks man, if not in employment, at least in spirit. I drink a lot of coffee and my bean of choice is Starbucks Komodo Dragon Bold – if you like coffee, I recommend it. At $10.99/lb, it’s a bargain.

[6] I don’t know where you are from, but in [redacted], Dollar store is a catchall for Family Dollar, Dollar General, Dollar Tree etc; in every small town that doesn’t have a Wal-Mart (and the medium-sized towns that do) there is inevitably a Dollar store, sometimes two.

[7] List price $12 even, pre-tax of course. ProctorSilex Durable Coffeemaker featuring AutoPause & Serve, model 4351Y, Made in China

[8] Marlboro Ultra Light 72s

[9] I’m now in editing mode, and it’s 1913-CST local time.

[10] #41, live from Ontario, Canada, I believe, from April 20th, 2000 or so. The cut is notable because it is the longest version of the song the band has played – 32minutes and 11 seconds. Also of note is the presence of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. In the final five minutes or so of the song, the master Banjoist lapses into a wicked solo of one of his own ambling songs, fusing it into the darkly popular #41. If you’re wondering why the song is called #41, it’s because it was the 41st song Matthews wrong. Originally appearing on the “Crash” album (if you’re over 25 and under 50, chances are good you’ve owned a copy of this album at some point in life), the song is often thought of as a rueful love song, when it is in fact about the firing of the band’s manager. FWIW. Having been to 10 DMB shows, I will also tell you that there are generally three long jams the band chooses from to play – #41, Warehouse or Jimmi Thing, and one of those songs inevitably plays. #41 is my favorite DMB song, although the song I enjoy live most is Two Step, off the same album. The moar you know…

[11] I still don’t know what she meant to imply by that.

 

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About godsowncrunk
I'm King B, the originator of the Jellywhite lyrical style and god's own crunk.

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