M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Thursday, June 27, 2002  

I’m back. First of all, my wife and I want to thank all of those readers who sent sympathy e-mails over the past week. I hope I’ll always be amazed that people are out there and paying attention, let alone responding. Your condolences are much appreciated.

When Trash and I went to Iowa this weekend for her cousin’s funeral, we checked into a Holiday Inn Express, so named because apparently you can get a full night’s sleep there in just forty minutes. I have no idea how that works, but it must be quite a boon for the busy traveler.

Despite our longstanding curiosity about this marvel of temporal engineering, the Express probably wouldn’t have been our first choice if Trash’s brother hadn’t already been staying there with his family. We figured that staying across the hall from Deneice and her parents, combined with the hotel’s proprietary wormhole-powered sleep enhancement amenity, would provide us with the ultimate in convenience.

This was before we met the desk clerk.

We showed up at about two in the afternoon. Trash went in to secure the room while I waited outside and chatted with her aunt. As I later heard, “secure” was an unfortunately apt word for what Trash had to do. She was forced to “secure” it in much the same way that US Marines “secured” islands in the Pacific during World War II.

“Hi! We need a room,” Trash announced, pleasantly enough. Especially given the fact that we had just come from a brief visit to one of Trash’s other aunts. Yes, that aunt. The one who’d just lost her daughter.

“Are you with the wedding?” the clerk asked.

“Um, no.”

“Oh. Well, we have this big wedding party coming in so we’re not going to have a lot of rooms.”

We didn’t need a lot of rooms. We just needed the one. We’re simple people, really.

All I can assume is that the desk clerk was hoping we would go away so they would be able to accommodate all of the wedding guests, if and when they all showed up. Which is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of: “Let’s turn away random people who walk in and want to pay to sleep here, so we can fill our entire hotel with people who all know each other, and are here to celebrate a happy occasion, and will therefore get loudly and boisterously and perhaps destructively drunk, all under a lower group rate! It’s so brilliant it just might work!” Or maybe entering us into the system as individual customers rather than part of a group would have required her to perform an additional keystroke or mouseclick, forcing her to miss another precious second of whatever TV infomercial was regaling the empty lobby.

Anyway, for whatever reason, the desk clerk was persistently reluctant to, you know, do her job and just get us a damn room, already. Trash, naturally, was getting pretty impatient with her attitude, which was taking most of the “hospitality” out of the phrase “hospitality industry” and leaving only the “spit” part.

Finally, Trash said, “we’re not here for a wedding. We’re here for a funeral.”

Here’s where a human being would instantly melt into a contrite puddle of sympathetic ichor and gristle. In this case, we discovered that Holiday Inn Express has harnessed not only the space-time continuum, but evil robots as well.

“Oh,” the desk clerk said snottily.

“Oh”, you say? “Oh”? “OH”!?

Whereupon my sweet, gentle wife reached across the counter, grabbed the malevolent clerkdroid by the scalp, and pounded its head-unit repeatedly on the counter bell.

BAM!/ding! BAM!/ding! BAM!/ding!

All right, obviously that didn’t happen. Most hotels don’t have those little bells any more. But obviously someone’s operating system needed a good rebooting.

The only reason we didn’t vote with our feet that second was because, as I said, Trash’s brother was already there. And we had to check in, if for no other reason than to warn him and his family that they were under the care of soulless replicants.

Basically, it was a lose-lose situation for us. We leave, and they get their way. We stay, and they get our money. Nothing we can do.

Other than post a pissy rant about it on the Internet, of course. Too bad I’m above that kind of behavior.

posted by M. Giant 3:54 PM 0 comments


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