Saturday, November 27, 2010

Reality of Innkeeping: Sticking to One's Guns

There are reasons to visit the Outer Cape on the Friday of Thanksgiving, even when the weather is cloudy and gray. An excellent one is the Karol Richardson Warehouse Sale, which used to be held here in Wellfleet. Now fashionable women in-the-know flock to the Main Street store in Orleans to take advantage of sale prices from 50 to 75% off. I went in the morning and scored some real deals on stylish clothing from the fall collection. Everyone loves a bargain. Any Karol Richardson fans out there?

Having lived in France for 20 years, new clothes put me in an extremely positive mood, so it was rather disconcerting to receive a phone call around 2:15, once we had finished Green Room preparation, and suddenly feel as if a bucket of cold water had been dumped on my head. The caller had a British accent and sounded quite angry, like the yapping chow chow that attacked Sven at Duck Harbor Beach last week.

ME: “Chez Sven, hello?”

HE: “I’m rather annoyed that you are charging $50 extra for a one-night booking.”

ME: (I could hear road noises in the background). “Who’s calling, please?”

HE: “This is XXX’s partner. She rang you up 24 hours after making the reservation and wanted to cancel one night because our plans have changed.”

ME: “That may be true, but I explained that we have a policy of not doing one night.”

HE: “I’m not alright with you charging her $50 extra.”

ME: “That’s our policy. It’s on our Web site. And, after she reserved the two nights, I turned away another couple.”

HE: “I’m not alright with that. In fact, I’m going to cancel tonight’s reservation.”

This, too, is innkeeping. I wanted to say, please do stay away with your bitterness and attitude, but instead I heard myself suggesting they find a local motel. Sven and I only want happy guests, and there’s no way this couple would be satisfied unless I waived the $50 supplement. An innkeeper needs to know when to stick to her guns and when to make an exception. Fortunately, such phone calls do not happen often.

How would you have handled this irate gentleman? Would you have wanted him staying at your house? Would you have insisted on payment for the reserved night?