July 12, 2011
The Two Dollar Toothbrush
Posted by Usha Rodrigues

So my July is a disaster.  5 trips, no daycare the last 2 weeks of the month.  I'm expecting general insanity and probably not a lot of serious blogging for the month.  So I'll settle for a rant.  It was a minor happening from an early July trip, but it still rankles.

The trip planners put me in a boutique hotel that seemed nice enough.  You may know the type: euro chic design, assured staff that somehow manages to mix friendliness with the barest hint of condescension for the stray bedraggled academic that their earpiece-wearing doormen happen to usher in.  They answer the phone with awkward taglines like, "How I can I surprise you today?"

So I check in, have dinner with a friend, and am back at the hotel a little past my bedtime, only to discover to my dismay that I've forgotten my toothbrush.  I call down to the desk and am told that they do have toothbrushes.  For a $2 charge.

Two dollars?  Really? 

Honestly, it's not the money, which is clearly de minimis.  It's the fact that a hotel would expend so much effort to cultivate an air of "urban sophistication and style", exclusiveness, and "whatever/whenever" and then nickel and dime a guest at 11 pm at night over a toothbrush.  I'm not the most seasoned business traveler, but this choice seems obviously wrong from a business perspective. 

How can you surprise me, indeed.

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