Sometimes, I think I try too hard and I should just, you know - stop.
I love Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and I try to go see them every year. In years past, I was able to go fairly close by - about an hour's drive - but in the past few years, their schedule has changed. They come to the capital of my state, but it's on a Thursday night - my mom and I did that once, but it's a 2+ hour drive, and we got home after 2 a.m.
Not happening on a school night is what I'm saying there.
Last year, I saw that they were in North Carolina, about 4 hours from me. I was DELIGHTED. I bought tickets, arranged child care, took my husband away for a nice, grown up overnight in which we saw the show and had dinner -
and he hated the show.
This year, I decided to bring my two performing arts school kids. I planned and planned. I bought the tickets when they first came out. I reserved a hotel - I looked online and saw a couple that were recommended, asked my glorious friend Becki (who just happens to live in the city we'd be visiting, how awesome was THAT?!?!), asked my husband which hotel he recommended, and ultimately, settled on
The Hampton Inn.
If this were a movie, dramatic music would be playing. The lights would dim, the wind would howl, dogs would bark, babies would cry, possibly a door would slam.
In other words, you'd know that this was a very bad deal.
Alas, none of that happened for me, and so I happily and cluelessly drove my truck close to 5 hours to arrive at the hotel at 1:45 for a 3 p.m. concert.
To be told that check in was at 3, despite the fact that I'd called ahead to be sure before I completed the online reservation, and there was not one room ready.
Not one. In a hotel of more than 300 rooms, not one was ready at 1:45. I asked, nicely, if I could be switched to another room - it didn't have to be the one selected for me. NO. The front desk clerk was snippy and rude and told me that there was nothing she could do about it, all of the rooms would be ready at 3. Every room was apparently being cleaned at the exact same time, or in use.
I explained myself - long car ride, couple of kids, called ahead to verify, just wanted to unload and shower and get to a concert that was starting in a bit over an hour - and grew more and more frustrated at her condescending attitude and belligerent, overwhelming hostility. I decided to cut my losses and asked for a manager.
To be told that there was no manager on the premises - he was gone for the weekend. Nope, no one else in charge - she was the only one there. Fine. I'd cancel my room.
Nope. No can do - I'd be charged the full amount. And? She wasn't going to let me cancel it, anyway. Check in was at 3, I could wait like the other people standing in the foyer waiting for their rooms - and, truth be told, listening to me - and
I left the hotel, went to an extremely nice DoubleTree across the way, found that they could meet the room rate and they would hold a room for me at no charge and without a credit card number, but as a gesture of goodwill - until after the concert.
And I went outside and called the corporate number for Hilton, the parent company of the Hampton Inn - and, coincidentally, the DoubleTree as well. And I was told that the hotel could, in fact, release the hold at no charge to me - all the manager had to do was enter a code into a screen on his computer and the entire reservation would disappear.
And, furthermore, the woman I spoke with - and yes, I have all of the names - said she'd personally see that it was done, and should a charge come to me, she's personally make sure it was taken care of, but I really did need to understand her position and the difficulty that I was placing on the hotel
And that, my friends, is almost when I lost it. No, wait, I'd lost it earlier, when I asked our intrepid Hampton Inn clerk for the phone number of her boss and she flipped a business card at me, and said, "Call the number on there," and that number, my friends, turned out to be the number FOR THE HAMPTON INN. The front desk. The phone she answered.
But I explained to the oh so very polite worker on the phone that, while I did, indeed understand her position - and that of the inanimate hotel - someone needed to understand mine. And that wasn't happening. I said I'd be happy to be put into a temporary room, just so we could clean up and change and have a place to leave our stuff -
and the phone clerk took my number and promised to get it all straight and promised she'd call me back before 6
and so we went to the other hotel, where we changed in the bathroom and parked in the lot and called a cab and I explained it all to my husband
who called while I was in concert and texted me a cancellation number, along with the fact that he'd called the Hampton Inn to speak to the manager - the manager I was told was away for the weekend - to be told that he was on premises but away from his desk
and so my husband left a message for this never working manager to call him back
and then he called corporate and was able to obtain a cancellation number while the kids and I were watching the concert
And today is Monday, and it's about 8:15 p.m. and I'm still waiting for my call from the phone clerk
and my husband is still waiting for his call from the manager of the Hampton Inn
and I'm still waiting for my $140+ charge to be credited back to me.
Because, yes, I was charged.
I just wanted to take my kids to my favorite concert.
And I will sleep in my truck before I ever, ever use a Hampton Inn again.