Did I do the right thing?

Old Aug 20, 06, 8:38 pm
  #1  
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Did I do the right thing?

Last Sat. night I tried to check into the Hampton where I had a confirmed award reservation held with a CC for late arrival. I almost never stay at Hamptons, but this one was right near where I needed to be with the Family.

Anyway, arrive at 10:15 pm, walk into the lobby, and no one at the desk. I call out in case someone is in the office in back. I use my cell to ring the hotel, thinking maybe there is another office somewhere. No answer. A few other guests show up trying to check in, and of course also can't.

Meanwhile, my 2 kids and wife are waiting outside in the car.

After another 10 minutes I notice that there is a small rack with envelopes (the type that they put room keys in), and one of them has my last name on it. I leaned way over the counter and grabbed mine. On the back it showed the room number, and sure enough the keys were already programmed, because it opened my door.

After getting stuff from the car, I take the elevator back down to park the car, and someone who looks like they might be the desk clerk - turns out he was - gets on with me. I tell him that there is quite a line to check in. He states that "it has been a tough night, and I am all alone". I tell him that I helped myself to my key, my room number, and my last name.

Anyway, as I re-enter afte parking the car, he calls me from the front desk and states that I really need to check in, but it is now almost 11pm, and there is a line at the counter of the other people who I guess weren't willing to take their own keys or maybe didn't have them pre-made. So I replied (truthfully) that I was on an award stay anyway, and I would take care of it in the morning, and that they should be able to trust a diamond.

In the morning I did speak to the day shift at the front desk, and told them what happened. I hadn't been checked in, so he checked me in, and he sort of laughed about it.

Anyway, no real apology from the hotel, but since I got what I needed - a clean room and a decent breakfast - I didn't complain.

So my only question is - was I out of line helping myself to the key, or was I making the best of an annoying situation? My last name is unique enough that it is virtually impossible that I was taking someone else's packet.

BJFly
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Old Aug 20, 06, 10:21 pm
  #2  
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Technically all you had was a reservation, so you really weren't entitled to anything, let alone letting yourself into their rooms. If they wanted to they could have made trouble for you, but because you could have made trouble for the night clerk too, I guess they just decided no harm, no foul. But I wouldn't "help myself" to anything I wasn't legally entitled to, no matter how inconvenienced you are. Some people don't like that.
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Old Aug 21, 06, 5:09 am
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I wouldn't have done what you did. If I somehow "checked" myself in(which I wouldn't), and the clerk waves at me to come and check in, I do so. There is a sense of arrogance and smugness like you're above waiting in line and being too inconvenienced, and that your "diamond" status should allow you to bypass protocol.
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Old Aug 21, 06, 6:59 am
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I'd never do what you did in the first place. I'd be suspicious/worried if a desk clerk didn't show at the desk after 10 minutes. I might even call the authorities. I don't think I'd feel safe moving my family into a room. Maybe I've watched too many Bruce Willis movies lately.

As someone else pointed out, your reservation entitles you to check in, not occupy a room. And, if a clerk requested I complete the process before retiring, I'd do so.
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Old Aug 21, 06, 7:23 am
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Your actions seemed similar to that of a pizza delivery man who comes to your house, rings the bell and because you don't answer it, he opens the doonr and not only leaves the pizza on the kitchen table, but helps himself to money that he "happens" to find in the cupboard.

Not a good example for your 2 kids
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Old Aug 21, 06, 8:00 am
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I have done CRAZy things but would Never have done what the OP did. Then again since it was a HI , I would have been too happy to have waited as long as they wanted me to and then upon check-out Invoke the 100% Satisfaction Guarantee and have had them return the Pts back into my acct.
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Old Aug 21, 06, 10:13 am
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Leaving room cards out already keyed-in is what bothers me. This is terrible for potential security issues.
As far as the question,I think you never would have asked it if you didn't feel a bit guilty.
Just as you should feel.
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Old Aug 21, 06, 12:22 pm
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Originally Posted by craz
I have done CRAZy things but would Never have done what the OP did. Then again since it was a HI , I would have been too happy to have waited as long as they wanted me to and then upon check-out Invoke the 100% Satisfaction Guarantee and have had them return the Pts back into my acct.
Bingo! That's what I was thinking


Originally Posted by jabez
Leaving room cards out already keyed-in is what bothers me. This is terrible for potential security issues.
As far as the question,I think you never would have asked it if you didn't feel a bit guilty.
Just as you should feel.

How does this bother you? Most properties almost every property I've been to the Front Desk staff already has room keys (and any other items a particular guest should be given) made up and in a rack (sorter) similar to what the OP stated.

It's not as if they were lying out on the counter, in EASY view or EASILY ACCESIBLE.
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Old Aug 21, 06, 1:57 pm
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Did you do the right thing? Nah, but I can't say that I wouldn't have considered doing it as you did. Except maybe at least dropping off the cert before calling it a night.
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Old Aug 22, 06, 5:47 am
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It's not as if they were lying out on the counter, in EASY view or EASILY ACCESIBLE.
I think that's not exactly the way I see it.
I notice that there is a small rack with envelopes (the type that they put room keys in), and one of them has my last name on it. I leaned way over the counter and grabbed mine.
To me "notice"= "easy view" and leaning "way over the counter" sounds like access to rooms were too easily accesible"
Imagine what that might have looked like to a thief . Just help yourself to some keys, possibly leaving the duplicate card in the envelope. Then later help yourself into some rooms.
Even worse, imagine the security a female traveler would feel ,if she thought someone could already be in the room when she arrives.
If there is a chance that a desk might not be manned,especially for any period of time, activated key cards should not be left a "lean over the counter" away.
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Old Aug 22, 06, 6:33 am
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Originally Posted by BamaVol
I'd never do what you did in the first place. I'd be suspicious/worried if a desk clerk didn't show at the desk after 10 minutes. I might even call the authorities. I don't think I'd feel safe moving my family into a room. Maybe I've watched too many Bruce Willis movies lately.

As someone else pointed out, your reservation entitles you to check in, not occupy a room. And, if a clerk requested I complete the process before retiring, I'd do so.
I would definitely have called the authorities on this one. It sounds like the OP probably waited 20 minutes overall for a desk clerk, before helping himself to the key. At that point, I would be pretty concerned that something was wrong.

Unfortunately, the end result would be that the desk clerk would be fired, when it is the manager who didn't provide enough night staff that should get booted.
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Old Aug 22, 06, 8:46 am
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Originally Posted by jabez
I think that's not exactly the way I see it.


To me "notice"= "easy view" and leaning "way over the counter" sounds like access to rooms were too easily accesible"
Imagine what that might have looked like to a thief . Just help yourself to some keys, possibly leaving the duplicate card in the envelope. Then later help yourself into some rooms.
Even worse, imagine the security a female traveler would feel ,if she thought someone could already be in the room when she arrives.
If there is a chance that a desk might not be manned,especially for any period of time, activated key cards should not be left a "lean over the counter" away.
Let me define what I mean by "easy" view. Your standing at the counter and you can look down, at all the names on a document that has classified information.

For all of us that travel regularly, we all know that many properties have pre-made (pre-assigned) packages with names, room number and any other information a guest may need and usually its on some sort of rack, especially for Diamond members. You might not be able to see names/room numbers, but you know there is a "place" where these items are stored.

the OP stated, "I leaned way over the counter and grabbed mine." To me...that not "easily accessible", but everyone processes information differently

The real issue is WHY THE HELL WASNT THE PROPERTY PROPERLY STAFFED??!! Thats what would piss me off and make me leary about staying the night.
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Old Aug 22, 06, 5:07 pm
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Definition of reaching "way over"

Originally Posted by Cheap Elite

the OP stated, "I leaned way over the counter and grabbed mine." To me...that not "easily accessible", but everyone processes information differently

Since my original post is generating a bit of discussion, I will clarify. The keys were on a rack that was easily visible on the right side of the front desk area (right from the guests perspective, left from the hotel clerk's), at eye level, with easily legible, handwritten surnames.

The rack itself was an easy reach from the right side of the front of the desk, except for a potted plant that adorned that side of the counter. So reaching way over was the alternative to moving the plant. If I was posting again, I would omit the word "way", but at this point I don't think it would make sense to edit my original post. With the plant there, I had to stand on tip toes. Without it a person of 5 feet could have reached the key cards. I actually don't think that this is pertinent to the question at hand, however. Either I was doing something wrong, or I wasn't doing something wrong.

Also, (in response to another previous post) my comment that I was a diamond was not to obtain special favors or an act of arrogance, but to suggest that they had excellent records on me, and certainly could track me down should they need to find me. In most businesses, there is a level of trust given to the top repeat customers that wouldn't be granted to a "walk in"... this is why hilton honors members have check cashing priviledges while the general public doesn't. Whether my action in "self check in" was proper or not is up to each individual, but please don't take the diamond comment out of context... it was practical in nature and not arrogant, nor was it perceived by the hotel clerk as arrogant - he understood exactly what I meant.

Finally, to the poster concerned with the lesson I taught the kids - they were asleep in the car (one of the motivating reasons for me not to wait forever), so you can rest assured that this is a moral debate between adults only, and not a corruption of future generations.

Incidentally, I did consider calling the authorities (as in "I wonder if he is lying down in the office with a heart attack"), but in the end decided not to make that call, figuring it much more likely the employee was just neglecting their duties. This turned out to be the right decision, although in actuality the employee was working hard and simply was taken away from the front desk area to deal with other issues in the hotel.... which is to this point the only pang of guilt that I feel - thinking badly of the employee who was trying to make the best of the situation.... also the reason I didn't really want to envoke the satisfaction guarentee (probably getting someone in trouble unjustifiably) when I could just make myself satisfied.

BJFly

Last edited by BJfly; Aug 22, 06 at 5:13 pm
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Old Aug 22, 06, 6:38 pm
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I would not have grabbed the key either. Just because you have a key does not mean that you are checked into the computer. There is a slight chance that the night clerk could have slid around some registrations such that he/she could have checked some else into the room and you would have gotten walked in on.

I would hope that the hotel learned something from this and moved their key rack further out of reach.

One last comment: here is one negative issue with small hotels, such as a Hampton Inn. They generally staff the front desk pretty lean, especially at night. If you check in after 11pm you will most likely only see one person working the 3rd shift.
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Old Aug 22, 06, 6:40 pm
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Think I may have done it too

So I have been watching this post from the onset and have been cruious about others opinion. If after a long day I arrived at a HI and wanted/needed to get to my room I may have done the same thing. I do think I would have left a note handled things in the morning. I agree with the post about a certain level of trust for your most frequent customers.

Remember the old days at Hilton and others? Express check in was a key packet in a rack not even behind the front desk, grab it and go. I find this siutation at Choice hotels the only person working is called away from the desk for whatever reason and your standing there waiting.

Not passing any judgement of the action and think that I may have done the same thing in the right situation.
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