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Accused of not paying for beverage from pantry?

Accused of not paying for beverage from pantry?

Old Feb 25, 2021, 11:54 pm
  #1  
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Accused of not paying for beverage from pantry?

My and my fiancée and currently staying at a nearly empty Embassy Suites. We have been staying here for the past few days, and after returning one evening, we walked into the lobby and took a look at what was available in the pantry area for sale. Nothing looked appealing so we walked to our room via the staircase.

It appears that the front desk agent thought we had not paid for a drink in our hand (that we had brought from our car) and followed us up the staircase as we walked up, and almost up to our room and asked us if we forgotten to pay for our drink. They seemed embarrassed when we told them that this was our own drink that we had brought in from our car.

We walked past them on the way in and waived hello and we were in clear sight of them on the way up to our room.

I just wanted to get a sanity check from FT to see if this was SOP at properties these days or if it was out of the ordinary.
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Old Feb 26, 2021, 12:02 am
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Originally Posted by bman1002
My and my fiancée and currently staying at a nearly empty Embassy Suites. We have been staying here for the past few days, and after returning one evening, we walked into the lobby and took a look at what was available in the pantry area for sale. Nothing looked appealing so we walked to our room via the staircase.

It appears that the front desk agent thought we had not paid for a drink in our hand (that we had brought from our car) and followed us up the staircase as we walked up, and almost up to our room and asked us if we forgotten to pay for our drink. They seemed embarrassed when we told them that this was our own drink that we had brought in from our car.

We walked past them on the way in and waived hello and we were in clear sight of them on the way up to our room.

I just wanted to get a sanity check from FT to see if this was SOP at properties these days or if it was out of the ordinary.
Never had this happen. I’d guess they probably had a bit of missing stuff, and the manager asked them to keep their eyes open.
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Old Feb 26, 2021, 6:14 am
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Originally Posted by bman1002
My and my fiancée and currently staying at a nearly empty Embassy Suites. We have been staying here for the past few days, and after returning one evening, we walked into the lobby and took a look at what was available in the pantry area for sale. Nothing looked appealing so we walked to our room via the staircase.

It appears that the front desk agent thought we had not paid for a drink in our hand (that we had brought from our car) and followed us up the staircase as we walked up, and almost up to our room and asked us if we forgotten to pay for our drink. They seemed embarrassed when we told them that this was our own drink that we had brought in from our car.

We walked past them on the way in and waived hello and we were in clear sight of them on the way up to our room.

I just wanted to get a sanity check from FT to see if this was SOP at properties these days or if it was out of the ordinary.
I wouldn't be too hard on the staff. They probably do have a serious problem with missing product (maybe they're being accused of theft themselves) and you did serve to create confusion by bringing a product into a retail outlet which apparently sells that identical product.

Since childhood, I consciously don't carry anything into or out of any retail area that could be easily confused with any item on sale. Anything 'attention-getting' in my hands goes into a pocket. If it's something that doesn't fit in a pocket, I wave it in the face of an employee beforehand so everyone's on the same page or I set it outside the door of the facility before going in.

I also make it a habit to carry the receipt in my wallet, readily accessible in case there's any doubt. As a child, when my mom bought us any drinks or snacks meant to be carried out in public, she'd have them rung up separately at the register. Then she could tape each receipt to the outside of each drink or snack bag to avoid all doubt. Seems excessive maybe, but it kept us consciously thinking about what we were carrying or doing, well into adulthood. (She worked in retail and refused to put herself in a position where her actions or integrity could be called into question.)
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Old Feb 26, 2021, 6:46 am
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If you came in from the lot, there should be CCTV footage proving you brought it in. Suggest they retrieve the CCTV...
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Old Feb 26, 2021, 7:06 am
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Would you openly carry a Coke or candy bar into a 7-11 or a grocery store without giving it a second thought? It's only natural for the clerk to assume someone carrying an item away from a store got said item from the store, regardless of what kind of store it is. They are trained to keep on eye on what is leaving, not necessarily what is entering. It should be something that is easy enough to straighten out with the management after the fact, but I would hardly blame the desk agent for doing their job, as I am sure that theft from the pantry is a common occurrence in some locations.
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Old Feb 26, 2021, 7:08 am
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remember there are quite a few people that will "acquire" anything not locked down in hotels.... towels, sheets, furnishing..
I have had a employee chase my wife and myself for a coke that we left with, when he saw us walk in with it and asked for a glass of ice to go with the coke...
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Old Feb 26, 2021, 8:14 am
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The thread title is misleading. OP was not "accused" of anything. By his own words, "asked us if we had forgotten to pay...."

An accusation is not warranted here. But, asking someone who has walked out of a retail area with an item which is apparently sold in that area whether he has paid his both appropriate and non-accusatory.
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Old Feb 26, 2021, 9:09 am
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Sorry for your experience. This is unrelated but as a person of color - and sometimes having the not so 'assume guilty of wrongdoing' surveillance eyes in normal circumstances when browsing/shopping. I make extra effort to verify if I bring in material from outside the clerk views I have a receipt or even announce I'm bringing this in. I can guess some guests (especially foreign) might think the pantry is complimentary for those staying at a hotel. After a frustrating experience at a Publix supermarket - I even get a plastic bag for a single item before exiting the store and never use the self-checkout whereas my 'green' self would rather just hold the item in my hand but, it is embarrassing.
I agree with a prior comment check your CCTV, but creating confrontation/defensive sometimes fuels the behavior vs. discourage it.

If a hotel has a shortage issue or can't verify which registered vs unregistered guests are visiting for the breakfast they should staff adequately to monitor such activities vs. make a part-time business management in school/part-time front desk clerk have to serve as security without any real training or knowledge besides their own prejudice.
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Old Feb 26, 2021, 10:50 am
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Two points worth making:

1. In my experience, there is more suite shop/treat shop (whatever it's called) theft than you think. As crazy as it may seem, a lot of guests, especially weekend/transient, assume that it's all included in the room price to be taken or simply they don't care and will take their chances that nothing is said. With times being as bad as they are in the industry it wouldn't surprise me if management has the staff watching every nickel and dime in every way possible. IMHO, the desk clerk made an embarrassing mistake and hopefully they apologized for it. Stuff happens.

2. A lot of hotel's camera systems are weak/bad/inadequate or nonexistent i.e. are there as a "visual deterrent" but they don't actually record anything. At the Hampton I work at now we have five "cameras" on the property but none of them are capable of recording anything and I've also worked at a Homewood Suites where the camera footage could only be retrieved via our corporate office which was 1500 miles away and they only did it via a subpoena. The idea that you're going to just ask them to check the footage right there or in a timely manner, while possible, is not likely happening.
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Old Feb 26, 2021, 10:56 am
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Or the property could simply ask a person walking out of the "pantry" with an item sold in the pantry whether he had paid for it. Seems fairly reasonable question. The problem is when the thread starts with a loaded term such as "accused" when no such thing happened according to the person who used the term.
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Old Feb 26, 2021, 11:09 am
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OP, this is normal in our new "guilty until proven innocent" society. Sorry for your experience.
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Old Feb 26, 2021, 2:37 pm
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Originally Posted by downinit
Would you openly carry a Coke or candy bar into a 7-11 or a grocery store without giving it a second thought? It's only natural for the clerk to assume someone carrying an item away from a store got said item from the store, regardless of what kind of store it is. They are trained to keep on eye on what is leaving, not necessarily what is entering. It should be something that is easy enough to straighten out with the management after the fact, but I would hardly blame the desk agent for doing their job, as I am sure that theft from the pantry is a common occurrence in some locations.
Whilst I understand the difficulty the desk agent might have faced, this is not really a fair comparison.

A hotel lobby is far from being a store. It is not unusual for people to walk into a hotel lobby with a bottle of water or coke in their hand whilst they are unlikely to do so in a grocery store.
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Old Feb 26, 2021, 4:31 pm
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Pro tip #1: Don't go into the lobby market/store with stuff in your hands.

Pro tip #2: If you have stuff in your hands, don't go into the lobby market/store.

David
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Old Feb 27, 2021, 5:50 am
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I have been in a few Hamptons and HGIs where, after checking in, the front desk agent will say something like "as a diamond you can take two items (or your free water bottles) from the pantry". But sometimes the pantry area is some distance away. By the time I've walked over to choose my items on my way to my room, the agent is not watching me any more and it always feels like I'm stealing.
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Old Feb 27, 2021, 7:37 am
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Follow up:

Pro Tip #3: Explicitly put items in hand on counter and let the Agent(s) know before entering said lobby market / pantry.

David

p.s. Reminder Tip: Remember to pick up left items from counter after exiting said market / pantry (and disinfect according to one's CV-19 / cleaning protocols)
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