Internet Explorer users may need to widen their browser windows to span all three columns. Or download Firefox.
Welcome! My main blog is Notes to Self, where I write about my big, little life. This is a place in the margins to jot down reviews, finds, and ideas worth passing along. I only post about things that are of genuine interest and relevance to me, whether suggested or discovered. I disclose all gifts, sponsorships, favors owed, blood bonds, and other vested interests. Contact me at kyranp c/o gmail.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Il pleut.


Dear Quebec City Courtyard Marriott

Say you were an overnight guest in my home. Say I suggested you let me park your car for the duration of your stay. Say when I went to fetch your car in the morning, to both our dismay, it had been broken into and robbed. Items stolen, and containers dumped out everywhere. Say you were shocked and upset and your smallest child began to cry.

Imagine you had gone out of your way to stay with me, and that it was an indulgence for you on an otherwise tight and frugal itinerary. Imagine you had a long, hard drive ahead and your departure time came and went while you were still trying to put things back together.

Suppose I told you I felt bad, but these things happen. Suppose I offered to call the police, but beyond that, there was simply nothing else I could do. Afterall, it wasn't me and my family who broke into your car and robbed you. It's like bad weather, I'd keep saying. Beyond my control. Unfortunate, but...Goodbye. Come again.

Of course, I would never act that way or say those things, because what kind of host would that make me? I can't prevent crime or bad weather, it's true. But I could ask you to come inside, sit down. "It's very upsetting," I'd say. "Let me make you a cup of tea, while we figure out what to do. How about a cartoon for the children. I'm so sorry. This doesn't normally happen. I hate that it happened to you."

You'd be very shaken and upset. I'd try to learn what your itinerary was. I'd invite you to stay the night, while we waited for the police, give you a chance to regroup, and hopefully, revise your parting impression of me and my city. If you had to be on the road, I would see if I had friends on the way who might ease the day's journey. Because, while I can't control crime or bad weather, I can provide comfort and shelter. Together they add up to a little thing I call hospitality. You should look into it.

After being told repeatedly that the hotel was in no way liable for bringing our valet-parked vehicle back to us robbed and vandalized (bad weather was the oft-used analogy), I got on the phone to Courtyard Marriott customer service. My first contact put me on silent hold so long, I finally had to drop our call to attend to the children, who were completely ignored by hotel staff in the lobby. At the second call, I was told they would see if the valet charge of twenty dollars could be waived. No one seemed to have anything to offer beyond fatalism, so I suggested to the hotel manager that our 250.00 room charge be waived. He seemed to find this quite beyond reason. After several exhausting and emotional minutes in which bad weather was much invoked, he agreed to take half of our bill. I left the hotel in tears, feeling doubly robbed.


Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

CANNOT believe this. Seriously. Heart breaks for you.

July 28, 2009 at 7:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What horrible customer service. So sorry this happened to you.

July 28, 2009 at 10:31 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

ohh, and oh! Long time reader delurking to say that I'm so sorry this happened! The rest of your trip seems magical, and I'm sorry your peace was broken.

July 28, 2009 at 10:32 AM  
Blogger Jomama said...

I am so sorry to hear this. Bad customer service SUCKS.

I had a terrible experience with a manager at the DisneyWorld Port Orleans hotel. After an awful day schlepping my child to magical Disney MEDICAL facilities, ON HIS BIRTHDAY, one very nice concierge at the hotel told me to take a cab back to the hotel to be reimbursed. Very considerate. When I attempted to reclaim the cab fee, I was told my the desk manager that since the mystery rash on my son's face was in no way Disney's fault, they could not reimburse the cab fee--even though I was able to name the concierge, etc. Instead, I was made to feel like a criminal who was trying to rip off the hotel. Bleh.

I should have started blogging right then!

Hope the rest of your trip remains tranquil....

July 28, 2009 at 12:35 PM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

bad service is the hallmark of a failing company...they should know that negative word of mouth is much more costly than a $250.00 credit.

July 28, 2009 at 12:48 PM  
Blogger Gerbera Daisy Mom said...

This pains me for multiple reasons: 1st I was sideswiped on Markham last week and did all the right things: remembered the tag number, the car and had witnesses -- all which mattered little to the police officer when he finally came. 2nd, my friend's car was broken into the next day at Park Plaza -- she was in Dillard's all of 20 min returning shoes; the security guard was there the whole time while a theif broker out her passengers window and took FAKE money intended for her daughter's 1st grade class without bothering to stop it -- and finally, because I LOVE MARRIOTT -- they are the only hotel chain we frequent! It makes me want to write a complaint letter on your behalf! Sorry to blather on...hope you make it home safely and without incident.

July 28, 2009 at 1:26 PM  
Blogger Karina said...

This is Quebec for you. They need to change their provincial motto from "je me souviens" to "eh, je m'en fiche"

July 29, 2009 at 9:13 AM  
Blogger katrynka said...

I am so sorry that you had such a bad experience. You have some really constructive suggestions of how they could have made this experience less stressful. I hope you send this onward, and perhaps someone higher up the ladder will see the error of their ways, and at least prevent this from happening to someone else.

July 29, 2009 at 2:28 PM  
Blogger Stickhorsecowgirls said...

At the risk of shamelessly promoting my own blog, let me suggestion you read my post of this morning about yet another LARGE company who just has lost all sense of connection with us "real people." I'VE HAD IT!!! (can you tell?). Anyway, I totally agree with you. It is inexcusable and inhospitable for you to be treated like this. We're with you!! C

July 29, 2009 at 6:37 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home