Monday, March 24, 2014

Hotel maid wars: The Battle of the Whistler Blanket

It began innocently enough, there in my hotel in beautiful, snowy Whistler.  I pulled the spare blanket out of my hotel room's closet and spread it over my bed.  I was sick, so I wanted to stay extra warm while I slept.  I also took out the spare pillow and added it to the bed's pillows, because I'm a man who likes a lot of pillows.

When I came back the next day, the blanket was back in its plastic bag, as was the pillow. 

I again made the bed the way I wanted, and then I called housekeeping.  "To save time for both the room cleaners and me," I said, "would you please ask them to leave the blanket and extra pillow on the bed?" 

As one would expect in this sort of hotel, the woman on the other end of the line responded, "Certainly, Mr. Van Name."

I thought I had proposed an efficient solution in which everyone won.

Apparently, whichever maid--this is not a sexist assumption; all the people servicing rooms on my floor were women--responsible for cleaning my room did not agree.

The next day, when I returned to my room in a break in TEDActive, I found the blanket pulled so taut you could bounce coins on it and tucked so tightly I had to pull pretty darn hard to free the covers.  My five pillows sat in an artful but useless pyramid at the head of the bed.

Okay, I thought, they hated that idea, but I can live with this.  My blanket and pillow are indeed on the bed. 

When I sat at the room's desk to work, however, I discovered that the battlefield had spread.  I had customized the desk surface, as I do in hotel rooms, so it was just as I like it:  multi-charger top left, tablet to its right, phone charging area next to that, coasters for glasses to the front left, etc.  Before the Battle of the Blanket had started, the maid had left my arrangement intact. 

Now, nothing was where I had left it.  Hotel books and paper pads, which I had banished to a side table, were now back.  All my devices were in different spots in an arrangement whose virtues I could appreciate--I have to be fair--but which was sub-optimal. 

After restoring the desk to my original arrangement, I went to the bathroom to get a glass of water. 

My toiletries were no longer arranged as I had left them.  Most of the hotel's items were back in the hotel's original formation, but not all, and my toothbrush, toothpaste, brush, and deodorant were now in new formations.  Again, I could appreciate the intelligence behind this distribution, but it was not my own, and so it was sub-optimal.

I restored the bathroom to its proper state.

I hoped this would be the end of it.

Foolish me. 

The next day, when I first visited my room after its cleaning, the blanket was stretched even tighter, its threads straining to maintain its structure.  My pillows were now in two stacks of two, with the smallest hiding behind the others.  My desk was in yet another arrangement, as was the bathroom sink.  The new arrangements seemed best suited for a left-handed person and sported a pleasant whimsicality, with at least one item on each surface in a place that was attractive but that made absolutely no functional sense. 

I fixed both surfaces. 

The battle continued for the next couple of days.  Each time, the maid tried a new arrangement in each area.  Each time, I relentlessly returned the spaces to the setup I wanted for each. 

On the last day before checkout, I returned to the room to find the bed's pillow arrangement as I had left it and the blanket tucked reasonably, the desk as I had left it, and the bathroom almost--almost--as I had left it.  The sole exception was that my toothbrush stood upright in a glass in the center of the bathroom counter, a single finger showing me the maid's feelings. 

I decided I could live with that--but I still put the glass and toothbrush back where they should have been.


Rosanne said...

Passive-aggressive maid service

Mark said...



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