August 2009
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Day 20: The re-steal

I may have mentioned before now my tendency to stock up on small bars of soap and tiny bottles of shampoo whenever I stay in a hotel.

The usual routine, working on the assumption that things that are partially used or missing when the maid comes the next morning will probably be replaced, is to leave out anything half used and hide anything I haven’t touched at all.  One of the drawers in the dresser usually does the job.

This week, my five night unnecessary reservation at Paris Las Vegas has gone largely unused.  I’d popped in a few times to make the room look stayed in to ensure they didn’t check me out after finding the room in perfect condition when it seemed likely I wouldn’t be staying, but I hadn’t actually spent a night there – until tonight.

While Claire decided to try to get maximum value form the 5x points day at Terribles, I played poker on the Strip.  She had the car and I had a place to crash.

I even got to play at Bellagio for the first time.  It’s also going to be the last time.  Clearly, I’m not welcome there.  But two big rants in one blog post is almost two too many, so I’ll save that one.

When I got back to Paris I was delighted to find two pens in the room.  Sometimes you only get one.  I pulled open the top drawer to deposit them with the rest of my haul from the past four days and…

… empty! 

Seriously?  The maid stole it all back?  How dare she!

I’m not even joking.  Since when did the cleaning staff start going through closed draws in hotel rooms – let alone playing a vigilante in the War on Soap?

Sure, my pilfering hadn’t been subtle. I’d also taken all the non-decaf coffee from the machine without leaving a single wrapper in the bin.  No used soap.  No half used shampoo.  It doesn’t take a genius to work out I’m on the take.

But for fuck’s sake… did she really go looking to see where I’d stashed this stuff, quite happy to rummage around in the drawer I usually use for dirty underwear, and swipe them right back?

Apparently so.

Is there some kind of "fair usage policy" on the amenities that I’m not aware of?  It’s "unlimited soap" on the surface, but if I need both bars replacing on four straight days, does it red flag my room and print out a search warrant?

Am I somehow wrong to assume that these disposable items, left for me daily to use as I see fit, are fair game?  I know I’m not alone.

If housekeeping feels that I am using too many of their valuable resources, the way to deal with this is to stop replenishing them.  Indeed, this happens.  At the Rio earlier in the trip, we dropped from 2 daily bars of soap to 1, and on some days the lotion didn’t get replaced at all.

That’s not a big deal.  If I genuinely needed more supplies than they left, I could call housekeeping and ask for more.  I didn’t need more, I’m just a hoarder. 

I don’t take the towels, the ice bucket or the bible.  OK, I’ll admit I did take an ice bucket once, but it was a long time ago and I know it was wrong.  There’s a big difference between the fixtures and fittings and consumables.

But the soap isn’t really the issue here (although, of course, I did want as much fake French "lotion pour le corpse" as possible, just because I wanted to believe they actually were little bottles of formaldehyde).  Searching the personal storage areas of an occupied hotel guest room is a gross invasion of privacy.

Not to mention that it kind of freaked me out when I got in late at night and realised someone had been through my stuff. 

What’s really interesting is that the welcome card from the maid – the one that says "Hi, My name is Rosario, please give me money" – and sometimes even comes with a handy envelope for your donation – had also been removed.

I guess you don’t think you’ll be getting a tip now.  You’re absolutely right.

If I wasn’t still milking every last cent of value out of my Harrah’s status I would have caused a hell of a fuss.  The circumstances are a little embarassing ("I know someone’s been messing with my things because I’d filled a draw with your toiletries and now they’re gone") but it’s a major worry to think hotel staff are going through the things you put away when you’re not around.

The problem is that I still have two fully comped reservations at Christmas which I really want to keep.  The last thing I need is to attract attention so they look me up and see that I haven’t gambled at a Harrah’s casino in Las Vegas for almost a year.  The upside (most likely nothing more than an apology) didn’t seem to be worth the risk of the downside.