Not cool, La Quinta. Not cool at all.
This past weekend, on a trip to Charlotte, North Carolina, to attend my best friend’s daughter’s wedding, I stayed at a La Quinta right off the main highway that runs north of town. It was a perfectly decent little hotel, with a free breakfast and free Wi-Fi, and after the first night everything was going smoothly. Then the next day, something happened. And I’m hoping and praying it’s not a policy that hotels across the country are starting to adopt.
On the second day, in preparation for the wedding, I filled up the bathtub and hung the Do Not Disturb sign on the door. I love a good, long, relaxing hot bath, so I was planning to be in there a while. Heck, I was even going to shave my legs for the occasion. But no sooner had I stripped down and hopped in the tub than I heard BANG, BANG, BANG. Someone was knocking at the door.
I ignored it at first, hoping the person would simply go away. But a few seconds later they knocked again and the voice on the other side of the door yelled “Housekeeping.”
Fearing that if I didn’t answer back this time that they would simply let themselves in, I yelled back—from the tub, mind you—and said: “No, thank you. I don’t need the room cleaned today.”
The rest of the conversation went like this:
Housekeeper: “You don’t want the room cleaned? Okay then, can you sign my form?”
Me: “No, I’m unable to come to the door at the moment.”
Housekeeper: “But if you don’t want the room cleaned, I need you to sign my sheet.”
Me: “Really? You need me to sign a form saying I don’t want the room cleaned even if there’s a Do Not Disturb sign on the door?”
Me: “Well, I’m in the bathtub at the moment and can’t come to the door. Can’t you just sign it for me?”
Housekeeper: “No. I’ll just come back in a few minutes.”
Me: “Well, I might be a while.”
Housekeeper: “Okay, I’ll go clean the room next door and then come back.”
In 15 minutes or so, she returned. I huffily answered the door and quizzed her on whether the hotel really had a policy demanding that they bother guests with a Do Not Disturb sign on the door simply in order to have them initial a sheet confirming that they didn’t need their bed made and towels folded that day. Apparently they did.
I guess I should look on the bright side and be glad that the housekeeper didn’t just forge my initials on the sheet without confirming that I really didn’t want my room cleaned that day, but dammit, a Do Not Disturb sign means do not disturb. And unless the hotel is about to burn down or Elvis Presley has risen from the grave and is performing in the lobby, then I, like Greta Garbo, just want to be left alone.