by Larry Mundy
|In my experience, there are two basic types of hotels: those that have
the housekeeper fold a cute little triangle into the unused end of the
toilet paper, and those that don’t. Call it silly, call it pointless,
I call it a sure indicator of the service levels I can anticipate at the
I have heard it said “the devil is in the details.” I have also heard it said that “some dinosaurs were smaller than chickens,” but that’s another column. That tiny detail of carefully triangulated tissue tells me that someone cared, that another member of my own species was here, in this very room, within the past few hours and spared no effort to make the end of the roll both presentable and easier to grip in my time of need. I don’t need to engage in frustrating roll-rotation exercises just to find the loose end. I don’t need to contemplate the jagged tear-line from the last user’s haste – in fact, it doesn’t occur to me there was a “last user” at all, because the roll looks neat and new. A friend of mine is so overjoyed by this detail that he calls housekeeping to re-triangulate his roll after every use.
Studies have shown that a room with triangulated toilet paper is 37% more likely to have had its pillows hand-fluffed, rather than just thrown on the bed willy-nilly. More importantly, more than 50% of guests responding to my informal and well-lubricated poll in a Hyatt bar one night, believe that neatly triangulated tissue has nearly one-to-one correspondence with the incidence of properly centered pillow mints. This too seems like a small thing until you have experienced a pillow mint that slides off the pillow and hides unseen in the bedding. You toss and turn that night, smearing waxy chocolate in your hair, and awake with one nostril plugged with a wintergreen paste and a wrinkled foil wrapper pasted to your forehead. It’s not a pretty sight.
I’m also pleased, upon arrival, to see vaguely-shaded vacuum lines in the carpet. This tells me two things. It tells me the carpet was recently vacuumed, because nothing disappears faster under foot traffic than vacuum lines. It also tells me the carpet has sufficient pile to show vacuum lines in the first place. Indoor-outdoor marine-rated recycled-Pepsi-bottle carpeting from Home Depot does not show vacuum lines.
If the room has one of those “Where to Go, What to Do in Schenectady” magazines, I check the date. Many hoteliers assume their guests are disinterested in local jewelry-store ads, or are illiterate. If it’s April, and the magazine’s cover story is “Octoberfest Kicks Off Downtown,” I can be reasonably sure that at least two items on the room service menu have long been discontinued, and that the complimentary desk pen will be out of ink.
I am rapidly balding, and two drops of Head and Shoulders is a week’s supply for me, even if my head is smeared with dried chocolate. But I check the little shampoo bottle for signs of prior use. If the drip in the shower has nearly worn through the porcelain below, I assume maintenance has not been ordered for some time. If I turn on a lamp and the light bulb is missing completely, I wonder whether some penurious guest secreted it in their luggage (if so, I hope it shatters into a million pieces in their packed underwear), or whether it was “borrowed” by the staff to place in the room of some other guest who will be reading more important things than local jewelry-store ads.
Like cheap, inedible candy at Valentine’s Day, it’s the little things that count. When I see that pointed paper end, I know someone cared. I imagine the entire housekeeping staff, smiling in freshly-pressed uniforms, attending a TP-folding seminar on their own time, because they take pride in their work. I envision them proudly wearing their “Mint in the Middle” buttons and backing slowly out of the guestroom door so they won’t disturb the vacuum lines in the carpet. As my first wife told me during our happy years, sometimes little things mean a lot.
Larry Mundy works for a hotel company in Dallas. His views are his own, and may differ considerably from those of a sane person."
|Also See:||A Chain, a System, a Franchise, a Collection, a Group, a Brand... / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / July 2006|
|The Forensic Hotel Housekeeper / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / July 2006|
|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|