When we leave Charleston, we’re faced with a very long ride through a national forest, which means a lot of beauty and low-traffic roads, but probably not a lot of services (aka food). And so, when gently prodded, Elden comes through yet again. He drives us about 20 miles out of Charleston and leaves us, basically, in the woods in order to shorten our day’s journey. He takes our picture. Elden looks concerned, as if he might like to hand us each a cup or two of bread crumbs, before bidding us farewell and heading back to civilization. We assure him we’ll be fine, thank him again for all the help and friendship, and begin the next leg of our trek.
First stop after our nice rest is Georgetown, South Carolina, where we’ll be staying at a hotel whose name I will not mention. Because I’m deeply unimpressed by said hotel. I feel we are treated unfairly. By the book, certainly, but unfairly.
Warning: anti-establishment rant follows. Skip if you like…
When you use this hotel’s website to book a room, using your phone’s internet app, and you use a fat finger to fill in all the fields to spend the night, if you miss a field, the website then reverts back to some of its previous data when going back to the previous page and prompting you for more information. One of the fields that reverts back is the Date of Stay field. When I booked our hotel for Georgetown, I made such an error. The site offered me the previous screen, reverting much of what I’d already typed, and I accidentally booked it for the day on which I used the app, and not for the day on which we actually planned to arrive. In fact, I booked it at a time of night that was some hours AFTER we’d have been due to arrive.
My bad. Sort of. It’s bad web design, but I should have noticed. When we arrive at our hotel in Georgetown, we are told that we’d been expected the night before. We go over all the details, and I realize my mistake, and the hotel has room for us anyway, and the nice lady behind the desk is helpful. I ask if we were charged for my error, and she says yes. The next day, I write this letter to the manager of the hotel, who is out of town at a conference and will be until after we check out. (She being the only one who can credit the added night.)
I stayed at [HOTEL] last night. My husband and I had a very nice stay. Unfortunately, it seems that instead of making a reservation for last night, when I went on my phone to book a room the day before, I made the reservation for that night – Friday rather than Saturday. When we didn’t arrive on Friday, it seems my credit card was charged for the mistake. I’ve been told that you’re the person to ask if this charge might be reversed.
My husband and I are in the process of biking up the east coast. We started in Key West on February 12th, and are making our way north to Vermont. As such, I’m pretty exhausted every evening, when we arrive in a town, decide how many miles to ride the next day, and try to book the next room. We’re going to be staying at a lot of [YOUR HOTELS] as we make our way north, as we really like the chain!
I know the mistake was mine, punching the wrong area on the face of my phone to make last night’s [HOTEL] eservation, but I’d very much appreciate your help in reversing the charge. It seems like a pretty steep price for my dumb error. I’ve also put in an official request with [CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS], which I’m told will be sent to you as well. Thanks very much for any help in this matter.
Needless to say, NAME at HOTEL is not moved. She is not swayed by our exhaustion, by my fat finger, by the fact of human error, by my self-deprecating use of the word dumb, by my happy little exclamation point. NAME never responds. CORPORATE never responds. I finally call NAME, but am told she can not come to the phone. Maybe she can’t. I call CORPORATE, who puts me on hold, manages to reach her, then comes back to say she’s still charging us. The hotel was full on the night in question and so our absence cost them money. (Huh. Really? Because I booked it at, like, 9 p.m. on the night in question…) CORPORATE informs me this is completely NAME’s decision. When I ask, CORPORATE also says that no, they have no gift certificates or discounts to give out for future HOTEL CHAIN stays if, for example, one is riding a bike north in a romantic bid to follow the spring. No such discounts exist. (Ironically, a couple weeks later, another hotel associated with this same chain takes our photo and puts it on their Facebook page, being impressed by our pluck.)
If, as the supreme court has informed us, corporations are people, then I would suggest that they are the kind of people nobody really likes. They are bitter people with hollow lives and no friends.
(Luckily, things improve again after Georgetown, and I move on. Really. Can’t you tell? I’ve moved on.)