Sunday, June 20, 2010

What You Can Steal From Your Hotel Room—Guilt Free

Lots of jokes abound about the things people feel compelled to steal from hotel rooms when they check out. There's even the unconfirmed tales of people changing their name to correspond with their newly acquired monogrammed bed and bath linens.

There are items in your hotel room that the hotel is happy to have you take—free souvenirs, mementos of your trip, a keepsake from a special occasion.  And then there are the items that at the least can result in a hefty additional charge on your credit card and possibly even something as serious as criminal charges.

Pens and Pencils: Stationery, pens, pencils, and the postcards in the room are yours to take. Every time you use them, it's free advertising for the hotel.

Towels and Linens: Towels are not yours for the taking, but they are the top item to disappear from hotel rooms. Holiday Inn alone estimated that they lost 560,000 towels in one year. But to also take the bed linens? Just how big does your suitcase need to be to have that much extra room in it?

Lotions and bathroom items: All those little bottles of shampoo, hair conditioner, body lotion, and soaps are there for you to use and take with you whether they've been opened or not. They're the perfect travel size and take up very little room, not to mention that they're sized to meet the airline 3 oz. rule.

Laundry Bags: We've all helped ourselves to the plastic laundry bags in hotel rooms to use for dirty clothes or that damp swim suit. No problem there. However, if the hotel uses cloth or canvas bags, you can expect to see a charge on your bill if you take it with you when you check out.

Docks and Clocks: It's safe to assume that a room's clock radio and iPod dock system are not there for you to take home with you. Boston's Onyx Hotel takes a simple approach. "You can take anything you want from the room, but we'll charge your credit card for replacement."

Robes, Slippers, and Umbrellas: It can occasionally be confusing, but most hotels will bill you if that luxurius robe goes missing. Some hotels will provide package rates that include such items as monogrammed robes, slippers, branded totes, books, and even bottles of premium liquor. But beware, those "complimentary" items can come at a steep price as some of the package rates can be as much as twice the regular room rate.

Gideon Bibles: Bibles have been a long time amenity in hotel rooms. Even though they are slowly being edged out, Gideon International still places more than ten million copies in hotel rooms annually to replace those that are taken. They claim they're happy, in this case, to have people break the eighth commandment about stealing.

There have been lots of strange items taken from hotels over the years. The following are some true tales.

A woman from San Jose, California, took the "C" from the coat check sign in San Francisco's Fairmont Hotel and was pursued through the hotel by men in blazers shouting, "Madam, the 'C'…give us the 'C!'"

A Geneva lawyer admits being caught by a receptionist of a Hamburg hotel while trying to make off with "an entire display of apples in a rather large fruit bowl from the hotel lobby."

A huge piece of blown glass by Dale Chihuly was once stolen from a table in the lobby of The Alexis in Seattle, Washington.

Bill Babis of 70 Park Avenue said the most outrageous things stolen from the chic hotel were the thermostats.

So the next time you're tempted to slip a little keepsake from the hotel into your suitcase you might want to ask yourself if it's really a freebie or if you'll end up paying more for it than if you had bought it at a store.


Lilly Gayle said...

Fun post. And "Madam, give us the 'C' sounds like a cheer. lol!

Samantha Gentry said...

Lilly: You're right, I hadn't thought about that. It does sound like a sports cheer! :)

linuxjim said...

Once I was in a hotel and I read in the Gideon Bible "Thou shalt not steal." That really impressed me, but I was afraid I'd forget it, so I took the Bible along to remind me!

Samantha Gentry said...

linuxjim: LOL ... And did it work?

s7anna said...

My conscience feels waaay lighter now that I know it's okay to take the lotions/shampoo/conditioner & the pens/pencils.


Janice said...

The only thing I have ever taken was the shampoo and conditioner. Well, I also took a wash cloth but it didn't end up on my bill.


Margaret Tanner said...

Great post Samantha,
Makes you stop and think. But how low can you go, stealing the bed linen?



Samantha Gentry said...

Anna: I'm happy that I was able to lift that burden off your shoulders. :)

Samantha Gentry said...

Janice: I ended up with a wash cloth in my suitcase once, but it was purely an accident and fortunately they didn't charge me for it. However, I would have been happy to return it.

Samantha Gentry said...

Margaret: Yes, it really makes you wonder what in the world they were thinking about assuming they could get away with stealing bed linens. :)

Nicole Morgan said...

ROFL..I LOVE this blog post! A little secret about me? I work in Marketing for a fairly large hotel chain *points to your slippers above* and I got a kick out of reading this!

Thanks for sharing Samanta. I'm sitting in my 'hotel' office laughing right now. I needed it this Monday! :)

Samantha Gentry said...

Nicole: LOL...Ah, you work for an "unnamed" hotel chain. I'm glad I was able to give you a Monday morning laugh. I hope the rest of your day was as much fun. :)