What’s yours and what’s not? Confess to what you have taken from hotels and restaurants

Written by admin on December 13, 2012 – 5:52 pm -

There appears to be a special set of rules that dictates what’s right and wrong when it comes to taking items as mementos of a hotel stay or a restaurant visit.

Remember the days when people used to have matchbooks as souvenirs from hotels and restaurants? Perhaps, that is out of date because in this non-smoking era, it’s increasingly hard to do. So, what’s appropriate to take? And what’s not?

Soaps, shampoos, body lotions, etc. are pretty much accepted as items that are OK to take home as souvenirs. On the other hand, have you noticed how many housekeeping carts are now locked, in the event you want to avoid ever buying these products again, or at least for the near future?

In addition, unless you’re a guest at a grand luxe hotel and paying big bucks, little bottles and bars of this and that, tend be only be large enough to accommodate the duration of your stay. Plus, they probably aren’t replenished each time one is opened. It’s called watching the bottom line.

Clothes hangers:
You know, the ones from good hotels that have their names etched on them. Should they serve as a reminder of your visit? Not all of them; maybe, just one or two?

Ditto. Are they yours to help the thougthful property that provided them market their hotel or brand, or not?

Towels, robes, duvet covers, the duvets themselves and monogrammed pillowcases. There are even people who have extensive collections of bath mats.

Jean Marc, a general manager in one of Paris’s “palace” hotels confided that he thinks some guests enter the rooms and look around to see what they’re going to take home with them.

He ponders whether or not it’s an inborn gene. “These people certainly have enough money to buy whatever they want. We don’t mind people taking stationery and toiletries, but there should be a limit.” When queried about who helped themselves the most, Jean Marc was more than discreet and said, “ Clients are accorded privacy chez nous.”

You’ve undoubtedly noticed many items are for sale in the premise’s gift shop. In addition, many hotels now note that if things are missing, they’ll be added to your bill. Don’t help yourself and then act surprised if you see an additional charge on your credit card. (When you registered, you probably missed the clause giving the hotel that prerogative.)

I must confess I used to (occasionally) help myself to branded ashtrays if they were unusual. That was until I developed a conscience that assumed they weren’t necessarily free. If they were for sale, and I had to have one, cash or a credit card would do the trick.

Knives, forks and spoons:
As pretty as they are, don’t help yourselves. Hotel and restaurant owners complain that cutlery has been known to evaporate and they’ve stopped having theirs monogrammed.

People have amassed entire collections of flatware, and even though their stories may be terrific about what came from which property, the managements’ aren’t.

If you have a spoon craving, ask to buy one. Who knows, you may luck out and you’ll receive it as a gift.

But, you won’t be told it’s OK to take a doorknob from a palace hotel. One person stole one after a night of passion as a reminder of that evening. The story goes that the knob was returned to the hotel years later. It arrived in the hotel manager’s office in an unmarked box. Did the sender have a bout of conscious or was the passion over? It’s anyone’s guess.

Other thefts:
Room keys, when there used to be keys, often vanish. Hotel managers expect a few to disappear each year. But, have you noticed how many desk clerks insist you return a designer key before you leave the hotel even for an hour or two. Or, the fancier keys are so big and heavy that you’re delighted not to lug them around.

Do-not-disturb signs:
Don’t laugh, but these are collectors’ items. Realistically, they may be good mementos. One from every hotel you’ve stayed in might be interesting — although, when you’re staying at motels on the Interstate, they may lack super-duper snob appeal.

Pens and pencils:
One person said he has taken a set from every hotel he stayed in during his extensive travels. He framed each pair individually and lined his hallway at home with them. They’re wonderful souvenirs and most hotels don’t mind losing a few.

In jest (I hope) someone said he takes Gideon bibles and that you can’t have too many. Another source lamented that these days of a bible in the night stand might be coming to an end because of Kindles and other electronic readers.

It’s your turn to voice your opinions:
What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve heard of being removed from a hotel or a restaurant? It goes without saying these reports are simply hearsay. We know no Consumer Traveler reader would do anything that verges on being considered theft. At least we hope not. And, if you have, what should the penalty be?

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