Room With a View
by Larry Mundy
July 2006


 The Forensic Hotel Housekeeper
 
I am a big fan of all the “CSI” shows on television – CSI Las Vegas, CSI Miami, CSI New York, CSI East Topeka – and I’m always fascinated at the high-tech ways the Perfect Crime inevitably unravels under mass-spectrometer analysis, DNA testing, and dusting the whole scene with magic powders.  If Sherlock Holmes only had supercomputers and handheld narrow-spectrum light wands, there would have been no crime in London.  I find myself looking for clues in the form of discarded fortune-cookie slips or smudges on my car bumper, even though I haven’t found myself in the vicinity of actual wrongdoing for months.

That’s why, in my next life, I want to be a hotel housekeeper.

There is nothing more sacred in our industry than the guest’s privacy.  Well, OK, maybe RevPAR is more sacred, but guest privacy is way up there.  It’s only after the guest leaves that we get to speculate on the events of the past 24 hours in room 235, and it’s the housekeeper that’s always first on the scene.   Sometimes the housekeeper has to contact the chief engineer, the general manager, Interpol or the Center for Wolverine Control, but most of the time he or she just mentally records the evidence, sorts it according to guest type, and moves on, with 12 more rooms to go.

Some clues are simply too easy – empty liquor bottles, razor-blade marks on the desktop, blankets and pillows in the vicinity of the toilet.  No challenge there.  But every now and then there’s an interesting case to cogitate, to the whine of the industrial vacuum and the squeak of the linen cart.

Case #133: bed not slept in, three empty pots of room service coffee outside the room door, wastebasket full of crumpled pencil sketches of shoes.  Insomniac fetishist?  Pressured shoe designer?  After work, I’d have to survey the city for shoemakers and establish surveillance at the Manolo Blahnik outlet.

Case #292: phone off hook, scattered belongings, sheets knotted together and trailing out the second-story window to the ground.  An obvious quick exit.  Tipped off to police raid?  Arrival of angry ex-wife?  I would check the local court records for unpaid alimony, and examine the clothing for the reflective paint used in making license plates.

Case #219:discarded matchbook from upscale restaurant in Copenhagen.  Wrinkled map of Bogota.  Pistol under the pillow.  Paranoid globetrotting executive?  Trafficker in illicit goods?  I’d check for unusual DEA activity at the international airport terminal, and scan the business pages for suicidal CEO’s departing under board pressure.

The best part is, there are new cases every day!  Some get solved, some don’t, but the thrill of the hunt would make it a lot better to spend my hours removing dried toothpaste from the lav top and sucking up toenail clippings.  And most of the time, I wouldn’t have to report my findings to anyone, which is a lot less hassle than the real world.  The problem would be, there’s no way to earn an actual, shiny badge. 


Larry Mundy works for a hotel company in Dallas.  His views are his own, and may differ considerably from those of a sane person."
 
Contact:

Larry Mundy
LJM2804@yahoo.com

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Also See: The Exercise Room in Your Hotel - Sweating the Details / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / June 2006
Remembering the old-time Hotel Engineering Department / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / June 2006
Curse of the Hotel Lobby-Dwellers / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / June 2006
What Do You Do With an Old Hotel? / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / June 2006
Hotel Smokers: A Dying Breed / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / May  2006
The New Food & Beverage – Food “Just Like Home”  / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / May 2006
Guest Privacy – It’s Not Just a Door Tag Anymore / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / May 2006
The Future of Hotel Reservations / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / May 2006
Soon Every Town in America Will Have an Unused Convention Center / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / May 2006
Hotel Pool Safety 101 / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / May 2006
Where Not To Build a Hotel / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / May 2006
“Exterior Corridors” – Disappearing, Because They Never Existed / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy
My Top Ten Worst Hotel Inventions / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / April 2006
Bed Tech / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / April 2006
A Sense of Arrival / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / April 2006



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