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Pet Peeves 2011

Here are some of the things that really got in Editor-In-Chief Glenn Haussman’s proverbial craw during his last year on the road.

Thursday, December 29, 2011
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Insufferable Spa Music
As one of the lucky ones that have gotten some great massages this year at some leading hotels, this is totally a first world problem. Nonetheless it doesn’t diminish the deep seated pain I feel every time I am subjected to this rankling issue. Every time I get a massage I am force fed Enya style music. Can we please make it stop? Some may find it relaxing but enough is enough. It’s time to make that music in the background relevant to people that are not lovelorn hippies seeking solace in their spiritual pain.

How about giving me some Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, for example? Or maybe some classic Grateful Dead such as Workingman’s Dead. There is plenty of relaxing music that is more relevant to people’s lives than most of the drivel that infects my ears. Hoteliers can take it to the next level and make this a point of differentiation too. At a bare minimum tell them they can bring their iPod and listen to their own playlist. Now you have a way to make people happy and give your spa personnel something better to listen to. Trust me, they are not so keen on Enya either – I always ask! – and are just being polite because you pay them.

Guestroom Clocks
I just want to know what time it is when I am stumbling in the dark to the bathroom. Yet in what probably averages out to about 80 percent of hotel rooms I stay in year after year the bedside clock is incorrect. Sometimes it's six minutes off, sometimes it's 20 minutes and sometimes it is several hours. No matter what, the end result is the same; I am forced to do math simply to know what time it is. That doesn’t work too well in the morning for me or the middle of the night; or at 3:00 in the afternoon either.

It’s as if the entire hospitality community is conspiring against their guests’ desire to be on time. Is this really that hard of a problem to figure out? I suspect housekeeping could theoretically handle this, or maybe a supervisor that comes by to check the room. Yet it’s always the same. Though it may not be an issue that seems like a big deal, it’s a big, bright, blinking symbol that your hotel doesn’t have it together and is quietly telling your guests you are not on your game.

Sealed Tight Windows
All I want is a little fresh air. It is so painful to go to an older hotel that has real windows only to be confronted with the reality they are sealed tighter than a North Korea despot. What, too soon? I appreciate you hoteliers trying to control energy costs by maintaining the temperature, but after spending months in a hotel every year my body craves real air, not the stuffy stuff that most hotels make us breathe.

Some hotels have tried to meet me in the middle, like Treasure Island in Las Vegas. This hotel has a teeny tiny lever at the base of the window sill allowing a sliver of space for some air to get into. That’s great except to get any actual fresh air I have to bend down and suck it in like I’m Frank Booth in Blue Velvet. Mommy, mommy, yes, fresh air mommy.

How’s about we go back to being able to open windows at least a few inches. You can make the HVAC system shut off when I do to keep control of costs. I think the stale air breathing masses would be OK with that.

Overstuffing Paper Towel Dispensers
For an industry that says it’s ‘going green’ this one always surprises me. Overzealous public bathroom attendants that overstuff paper towel dispensers. You know what I am talking about. The dispensers get stuffed way beyond capacity so anyone trying to remove a single towel inadvertently pulls out a stack that could dry the hands of the entire Duggar family three times over.

I’ll use one or two and leave the other 200 sheets behind, but we all know no one likes to touch the paper towels on the counter that may have a few droplets of water on them. Pure waste. I’d suggest we all use the hand sanitizer that’s popping up more and more, but that’s usually located outside the hand-washing area. And I can’t stand the shameful glances I get from people thinking I have elected to not clean my hands.

When In-Room Amenities Go Bad
Thanks for the cheese plate but 3 days later it’s still here. There is nothing more exciting to me – pathetic yes—then checking into a hotel room and getting some sort of treat from the GM or PR pro handling the property. You have succeeded in totally making me feel special, but many times I can’t seem to get to everything you so graciously give me.

Sadly it sets off a showdown where no one wins. That is, food that starts to go bad and rots away throughout my stay. I get that housekeeping doesn’t want to rob me of my treats, but when the gorgeous bright and shiny cheese gets yellow and crusty I think it’s safe to say it’s time to go. Typically it’s just me and my cheese staring at each other wondering who will last longer. Not that we can get that right either since we have no idea what time it actually is.

Sorry to blast you again TSA, but I am exhausted already from the security sham I am subjected to on a semi-monthly basis. No clever jokes here (or anywhere else in this piece for that matter); I would really love this agency to do something I actually believe will increase security as opposed to creating the illusion of security.

I flew about 90,000 miles this year and I suspect if I were a threat I’d have probably already ‘gone postal.’ Which would most likely be set off by watching yet another 80 year old wheelchair bound grandma get a more thorough exam than at the proctologist’s office. Since I haven’t, isn’t it time to treat me and my Platinum status brethren as people that can be trusted?

Valuable resources are being wasted here with this one size fits no one security theater and a little dash of common sense will make everyone’s lives easier; even the poor guy who is forced to spend eight hours a day telling people to remove their shoes and take their laptops out of their bags.

C’mon John Pistole (Administrator of the United States Transportation Security Administration), stop protecting yourself and enacting reactionary policies and start being realistic about the millions of frequent travelers that are helping to support this economy. The government already knows everything they need to know about me. Yes Virginia, there is no more privacy. So it can’t be that hard to know the most dangerous thing I have done to the other passengers is to eat a garlic bagel before boarding a flight.

I guess there is good news though; I have been forced to go through so many x-ray machines that I now glow in the dark. It’s been very helpful for finding my way to the bathroom at 3:00am. Or is that 3:12am, no wait it’s really 4:18am. Grrrr!

Honorable Mention – Society
I am very upset with you, society, for helping foment a country where the Kardashian Khaos store at Mirage in Las Vegas is possible. That’s right, I am putting this squarely at your feet. I could choose to be angry at MGM International, but this is not really their fault. No. It’s you, society, for finally taking us so far down the rabbit hole that something like this is even possible. MGM International is simply playing off of and profiting from the trends. That is their sworn duty and they have mostly been on the side of good, such as adding the super awesome BLT Burger. But whether we like it or not, the Kardashians have somehow become style arbiters and now get to hawk items they produce or endorse. The store opened on November 1 and I am sure it is going to be a big hit.

The Mayans tell me I have the destruction of the known world to look forward to at the end of 2102, so at least I know the pain will not last forever.

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RE: Pet Peeves 2011 article link
Great article, Glenn. Actually, all your articles are great but this one is just a bit better. You said all the same things that I wish I had the nerve to say....so you must be very smart! BTW, good luck getting thru security the next time you travel. Those guys read these articles. You're my hero for complaining but I'm afraid you are now a marked man. Good Luck!!
Posted by: Mrs. Christy Winter
Email: cwinter@aptations.com

RE: Pet Peeves 2011 article link
Loved it!! Best article of the year!
Posted by: Ms. Donna Mincey
Email: dmincey@minceymarble.com

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