The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Why A Toothbrush Will Stop Me Staying At The Sheraton …
August 27, 2009, 6:29 am
Filed under: Comment

Before I start – I have a sneaky suspicion that I may of already written this post before.

I’ve done a cursory check, but can’t find it … however something is niggling away at me that this is ‘old news’, however as pretty much everything on this blog is old news, I guess you’re used to it.

I am a reluctant tipper.

Let me rephrase that … I am a reluctant tipper unless I feel someone has been especially good in how they have handled my request.

Maybe it’s because I’m a Brit … or a total tight arse … but I find it very hard to hand over a ‘bonus’ simply because someone passed me the salt. 10 minutes after I asked for it.

And yet I now live in a society where people expect to get given money regardless of what they have done.

OK … OK … I know in many cases these people get paid shit and a little can go a long way – however with so many hotels/restaurants already ripping people off with a ‘service charge’, I can’t see for the life of me why I should pay a tip on an already self-imposed tip simply because someone is doing their job.

It’s for these reasons that I am deeply unpopular when I go to the US.

I remember paying for a dinner where I was expecting about US$50 change and the waiter – who had been absolutely fucking shit – boldly said …
“Is the change mine?”

I couldn’t believe it, so much to Andy’s amusement, I replied, “No, but a whole dollar of it is.”

To say I was given stares of death is an understatement – but why the hell should I give more money to someone who hasn’t done anything to earn it?

Fuck, I sound like legendary tight arse Rod Stewart don’t I.

This is all coming out wrong … I guess I am just saying that I don’t subscribe to the ‘always tip’ mentality because I don’t believe in rewarding someone if they’ve acted [attitudinally or interms of their performance] like a total tit.

Hmmmmn, I think this has just about guaranteed no one wants to ever work with me again. Oh well …

Anyway the reason I say all this is because this ‘tip obsession’ has ultimately robbed the Sheraton Hotel in Malaysia of a customer.

Last week I was in KL.

I arrived late at the hotel and basically just wanted to go to bed.

Now I stay in a lot of hotels and apart from the Sanderson in London – who tried to charge me TWENTY POUNDS for a toothbrush kit – I have pretty much always found a basic amenities kit in the bathroom.

That was until I stayed at the Sheraton.

Oh no. You see, despite it supposedly being a decent hotel – they don’t put anything in your bathroom except some soap and toilet paper.

“OK, no worries” … I thought, “… I’ll just ring house-keeping.”

“No problems Mr Campbell” they said, “… we’ll send one to your room immediately”.

5 minutes pass.

10 minutes pass.

15 minutes pass.

20 minutes pass.


Finally …

I open the door and find a young guy holding my toothbrush like it was a javelin.

“Your toothbrush” he declared, like he’d just found the Da Vinci code.

“Thank you very much”, I replied … however, as I took the item from the guys hand, I realised he was rooted to the spot.

Had he accidently stood in a jar of super glue?

Was he standing on some chewing gum?

No, the cheeky bugger expected me to tip him.

For bringing me a toothbrush after 20 minutes!!!

And did I?

Of course … because my mind basically went through all the reasons why it wasn’t his fault.

1/ Maybe house-keeping couldn’t find a toothbrush and held him up.

2/ He was young and probably working to pay his way through university. Or look after his dying parents.

3/ I never feel I deserve to be in nice places so I thought maybe some of my guilt could be off-set by helping out this guy … someone I felt more related to than I did anyone else in the hotel.

And that is why I paid more for this toothbrush than if I’d gone to the shops and bought everything Colgate had ever produced for people’s gobs.

Yet I feel a bit pissy.

OK, so in the big scheme of things it’s nothing much, however the fact a hotel feels it OK to make guests order a toothbrush and go through – for Brits – the anguish of ‘do I tip/don’t I tip’ means I am much less likely to stay there in the future.

Maybe I am an anomaly … maybe I am a tight arse … but with hotels doing more and more outlandish schemes in an attempt to get customers whilst still charging outrageous rates for the smallest of items [Can of Diet Coke? $7!!!], they should make sure they get the basics right because I care a damn site more about having a toothbrush in my room than I do a bloody monogrammed bathrobe.

25 Comments so far
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You could spare yourself all sorts of anguish if you took your own toothbrush. Just saying.

Comment by John

This post explains so many things for me.

Now I get why everyone told me to always talk to George about money rather than you, why you now only stay in America for a few days rather than move back and why the Brits have such terrible fucking teeth.

Doesn’t explain why you’re always happy to help people who want some advice but I’m guessing it’s to earn some karma points to counter all the waiters and hotel staff you fuck off or so you can get them hooked before you start charging them. 🙂

Now explain this. You’ve gone on about the importance of little things then in your comments in yesterdays post you said companies should do big things then today you talk about how a fucking little toothbrush will stop you staying at the sheraton again.

Small. Big. Small. I know you’re half Italian so you keep changing sides but can you make your mind up, I’ve met women who are more single minded than you.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Dodds is right even though if makes him sound like a miserable pensioner.

Do you take your own soap and shampoo whenever you go travelling too? That’s another couple of things Rob doesn’t have to worry about either. LOL.

Comment by Billy Whizz

You’ve met women who are more single minded than me have you Billy? That’s because they’re single minded on not letting you get anywhere near them.

And yes Dodds, that is a sensible concept – but as most of the places I stay aren’t such tight fuckers with their dental kits, I have got used to not needing to take one with me.

Out of interest, were you in Boy Scouts?

Comment by Rob

Apparentely I have written about this situation before – which shows I’m obviously full of shit because I ended up staying at the hotel again even though I swore I’d never do it again.

I was obviously made for advertising.

Comment by Rob

Should I mention the toothpaste story here Robert?

Comment by Bazza

nice example of receprocity and the lizard (irrational) brain still being the easiest way to get someone to part with their cash.

Maybe they had you under surveillance, and they seen you eat that 10 dollar burger and figured
“he’s gonna need a brush, bad.” Went in Tom Cruise style, got out then double charged the brush to you…just maybe

plus Billy’s lucidity is scaring me..

Comment by niko

I’d really rather you didn’t thank you very much Baz. It was a blonde moment. And yes, bald men who used to have dark hair can have them.

There’s a joke linked to what you’re saying Niko …

A man walks into a store and asks for some tampons for his wife.

The sales assistant looks at him for a moment and walks him to the gardening section of the shop.

“Can I interest you in a lawnmower?” asks the assistant.

“A lawnmover?” asks the customer, “… why on Earth would I want a lawnmower?”

The sales assistant smiles a shit eating grin before replying,

“Well you came in for some tampons for your wife, so your weekends fucked so you might as well mow the lawn”.

And for the record, the place I had the burger was in Singapore, not KL … and they supplied a toothbrush in the room … but then when you pay something like $25 for a piece of meat between 2 buns and some fried tatties, it’s the least you’d expect.

And ignore Billy’s attempt to be a planner. He probably looked them all up on the internet. 🙂

Comment by Rob

Billy, I’m pretty sure I only take my toothbrush. I only say pretty sure because I’m more than a little bewildered by your revelation that you’ve met women .

Comment by John

Isn’t looking things up on the internet a planner’s job description?

Comment by John

what doddsy said.

Comment by lauren

I prefer what Billy said. To Doddsy.


Comment by Rob

Look at Doddsy coming over all bitchy. Andy would be very, very proud – but then it’s Billy, so it’s not really a fair fight is it. 🙂

Comment by Rob

I understand that mentality.

I’m very reluctant to tip bad service, but very happy to tip good service

Comment by Rob Mortimer

By that reckoning Mr M, I wonder how many agencies have ever been tipped? Haha.

Comment by Rob

We should be tipped mostly on the quality of the food.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Excellent point. Sad point, but excellent all the same, ha!

Comment by Rob

Don’t get me started on this. I could feel the blood rise as I read it.

For my son’s christening we took over part of a restaurant. Royal China, Baker St, if you’re asking.

We ordered too much food and fed maybe 100 or so people. And then when the bill came they added 15% service, despite it being awful. And what did I do, I sodding well paid cos I was a little drunk and ‘didn’t want to cause a scene’. And to this day, 5 years on, I really begrudge them that money. And a memory is ruined. Aghaghhhh

Comment by simon

Shall we start a group lobbying against automatically added ‘service charges’ Simon? Can you imagine any other industry trying to get away with that daylight robbery? Oh hang on, banks do it – especially in Oz – where they charge you for putting money INTO your account and then taking it OUT of your account … and in the unlikely event you actually make any poxy interest on your savings, the Government dip into that as well.

Let’s do it … let’s think of a way to stop restaurants getting away with it?

Up for it?

Comment by Rob

Definitely up for it. Let’s fight back. I feel a return to Mr Pissedmeoff

Comment by simon

What if we start a society whereby whenever we feel forced into giving a tip we don’t feel is deserved we ‘clean graffiti’ the floor with “Thanks for the food poisoning”

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I can sort-of handle the ‘tipping’ issue because at the end of the day, I should be a man and tell them to fuck off if I don’t think they deserve it [“Fuck Off” in the sense that I say it in my head] however the ‘service charge’ thing makes me angrier than Nottingham City Council spending a shit load of money on the shittest beach EVER. [I have a video from my trip there – must upload it so you can share the horror]

So whilst I’m with you Mr M, could I ask you & Simon to think of ways we can get the automatic ‘service charge’ taken off our bills, especially as in many cases, the person who gets it are the greedy restaurant owners who think it is perfectly acceptable to charge 20 quid for some frozen chips, warm lettuce and some mystery meat.

So there you have it – the goal is to stop the ‘auto-tipping’, the challenge is how do we do it?

Comment by Rob

may i just sneak in? well, i just do it…

how to get it off the bill? i guess they have to be convinced to do it.

the restaurants obviousley calculate with the service charge. so instead of naming it and wiritng it on the bill, they should calculate it in the prices. so the burger would not cost 10 bucks, but 11, for example.

as many people feel annoyed by extra service charges (me included), customers might now be happy to come back. well, if the food and service was good. this could lead to more and regular customers. even in tourist areas (like in venice), because of word of mouth, reputation and all that…

or they should get rid of it without compensating it with the prices, but with tips. so in the end the food is cheaper, but the ‘regular’ tips, over all, are higher.

since a couple of years, there are some restaurants in berlin (maybe in other cities too) where you can pay as much as you want to. they are doing quite well.

that seems to underline the point that people tip well, if they feel the service was good.

Comment by peggy

Ideas so far:

All ‘included’ service fees to be paid in penny coins

– If service is now part of the price, I demand my money back under trades description law

– Add “+ Mandatory service cost” stickers to every item on their menu

Comment by Rob Mortimer

[…] time where so many hotels are trying to charge you bloody fortune for basic amenities … like toothbrushes and […]

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