Saturday, March 10, 2007

Friday March 9 Arlington Virginia

The hotel that I am in is really nice. They are in the middle of a $14 mil upgrade. My room has a couple of large beds, a great kitchenette, a huge refrigerator in that kitchenette (that has ice cube trays; ice cubes in my iced tea has become a luxury since my travels have started) and a good bathroom.

I have to wake up early to get a letter out for the consumer council and have some iced tea. Then I head down to a great breakfast that is part of the room package. There are pancakes, cereal, sausage, scrambled eggs, cereals, fruit, and the opportunity to choose between toast, bagels, assorted muffins and more. The company at breakfast was great.

Happily I head back up to my room to grab my back pack to head over to the board meeting.

The door won't open. I swear a couple of times and head back downstairs and tell the front desk staff--my door won't open. When I put my room key in, both the yellow and the green lights, light up. (Now I do a lot of hotel rooms in any given year. When a door shows up yellow and green lights at the same time when you put in a room key, that means that someone has pushed or activated a privacy lock--and a new key won't do it.)

The front desk clerks say, "Oh, your key won't work, we'll give you another key." I sigh as I have been through this kind of before but head back upstairs to good old room 505 to see if by some miracle the new key will work.

It doesn't and I head back downstairs. I tell them that this key won't work either and there happens to be a maintenance guy standing there. He gets out his macho attitude and tells me that he will go up and use his master key to get me into my room. Seven minutes later, after he has put his key in and tried to manhandle the door into opening (scarey how easy it is to break into these electronic locks) he realizes that his key won't work either. Doah.

His wonderful statement was that I will have to open it from the inside. I sat down outside the door to wait. He comes back a few minutes later with what is essentially a slim jim. Now that makes me feel really secure about staying in a hotel room.

It takes Bertolo about eight minutes to successfully open my hotel room door with the slim jim. It's much less noisy to use a slim jim than to try to get the lock to work with a room key or am master key.

Bertolo tells me that he will fix the lock while I am gone during the day.

Fast forward through the meetings. Well, except for Carmen. She got a mailing out today. What awesome staff support she is.

It's 5:30, I'm back at the hotel, I have another meeting starting at 6:30. I'd like to change my clothes before that meeting. My door once again, won't work. I think about Bertolo and decide that either he didn't get back to fix my room (my hunch) or he tried to fix it and it didn't work.

I go back down to the desk and explain the problem to them and once again the desk clerks say, "Oh, your key won't work? I'll make you another key." What part of stupid desk clerks have I allowed into my presence?

Interestingly enough, a maintenance man was once again standing beside the desk. (Maybe that is why my lock won't work, the maintenance men are always standing at the front desk.)

He puts on his macho attitude and goes forth to try his master key and beat up my door. After a few minutes he calls Bertolo and Bertolo tells him that he will have to break the lock off my door. It is now 5:50 and I am trying to keep my stress level down. I sit down in the hall to wait on the maintenance man.

At 6:12 I walk downstairs and there is the maintenance man once again standing by the front desk. I go from slightly upset to irate in .02 seconds.

The maintenance guy sees me coming. He says "I am just on my way back up to your room." yeah right, does he think I was born yesterday?

We engage in the following discussion. "I don't want you to break my lock off now. I have to go to a meeting right now, it starts in about 10 minutes and I still have to get there." The desk clerks offer to loan me their restroom to change my clothes in.

Now, my stuff has been locked in my room for about nine hours. It flits through my head to scream "what %$#@*&^ clothes? I can't get to my clothes."

But instead negotiate to have the maintenance guy to open my door when I return and negotiate a ride on the hotel van to the other hotel.

I attend a three hour meeting. Then I go back.

I ask the hotel clerk if she has my new room key. She says, go up to your room, call me and I will have your new room number.

The maintenance guy comes up to my door (states to me that he hopes he doesn't wake up other people) and then unlocks the door. It only takes about twenty minutes.

I call downstairs, the desk clerk says she will have to call me back. If people would quit calling she would be glad to assign me a new room. I sit around and watch TV and wait for her to call back.

She calls back and says, " I have assigned you a new room. I have given you the room right next door to your current one. You can come down and pick up your room keys."

Why would it matter if the room is next door. I have to pick up all my stuff, take it back down to the front desk, grab my new room keys and tote it all back to a room that isn't near the elevators which might have been helpful.

I unlock the door and am in a room that hasn't been cleaned. It was disgusting.

I call the front desk and the procedure repeats. "Oh, it hasn't been cleaned. I will have to find you another room."

I turn on the TV as I know the desk clerk will take forever to change my room.

After about 10 minutes I start down to the front desk. At the door to the elevator I meet the maintenance man and he hands me the keys to a new room.

Finally I settle down. The room isn't a large or quite as nice, but I am grateful for the new room.

Happy trails, Marty

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