Saturday, August 22, 2009

Additional Charges May Apply

I've got the mini-bar and snack list for our LA hotel in front of me and I'm contemplating the $7 beer. I don't know why I am; this is far too much for one beer, but the hotel has me in its grasps. Part of me wants to thank the hotel for it's ingenuity. They put terribly unhealthy food and beverages right in my grasp: fried almonds, potato chips, soda, candy bars, and alcohol. I could probably be asleep and purchase and consume an item, it's so easy. Then they charge a king's ransom.

Small Evian Water--$5
Large Evian Water--$10 (They know it's just water right?)
Vitamin Water--$6 (Crazy, I swear there used to be just one kind of water.)
Red Wine--$24 (Seems like the least rip off.)
Corkscrew--$9 (Damn, that's where they get you.)
First Aid Kit--$9 (Maybe the price is a deterrent to keep you from getting hurt.)
Intimacy Kit--$9 (An okay price for and inflatable doll.)

Holy hell, where to start. For one, the price on the first aid kit will make you question the severity of an injury. "Honey, are you sure it's really bleeding that bad?" Maybe, the new White House medical plan will cause hotels to drive down the price of an aspirin and a band aid as well.

I wonder if a large percent of people who buy the wine and intimacy kit also buy the first aid kit. Maybe there is a mini-bar spiral that kicks in--thinking you will indulge in a few items, then one mini-bar mishap begets another, until finally you have to kick in for the mini-bar defibrillator.

I don't mean to be stingy, but I am. I can't help but see every charge, every purchase as a sabotage by a mustachioed man hiding behind a mirror rubbing his hands together saying, "Oh goody, look what we just got him to buy now. Next we'll pitch some 'high quality breathing air' and see if we can get him to purchase that." It grates on me. Yesterday we paid $37 (not including tip) to park the car. The hotel (which I won't name, but if you put the words 'inter' and 'continental' together you might get the idea) only gave us the option of valet parking. I'll tip and I understand that is part of this culture, but Christ, we pretty much had to pay for the car to get it's own hotel room.

Now we did get a swanky hotel, and maybe this is part of the swanky hotel culture. I'm probably just a bumpkin bumbling my way through this experience while the hotel staff smiles at me and guides me on my grumpy way, but I can't help but feel used and unaware. I'm scared to ask how much it is to put my luggage in my room.

Nothing left to do but to endure and drink tap water. I hate to say it, as a native of this land, I feel awfully naive. I understand what makes people crack and not trust anyone. You question and prod and try and keep what's yours because it seems if you're not careful, it slips away so easily, as easily as your car in the hands of a valet. So easily that your guard must always be up, thus the beer. A respite, and an indulgence. A letting down of the guard and saying okay hotel, you got me and don't care, I'll give a little more. Then realizing I'm too tired for much right now, and general retirement to sleep. I just wonder how much it is to rent a pillow.


theorris said...

Pillows are $42.35 a night.

Anonymous said...

Hey this is Wendy....DO NOT TAKE THE BATHROBES or the towels...the maids actually count them...