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Homophones Are Hard, Okay?

, , , , , | Working | July 10, 2020

My wife and I are on our honeymoon. It’s before many businesses are doing business on the Internet. We are taking a meandering drive home from our main honeymoon location.  

I’ve called ahead to make a reservation at a hotel in Pennsylvania. I chose it because the printed travel book said it had an in-room Jacuzzi and complementary breakfast. We arrive in the evening after a long drive. After checking in, we enjoy the Jacuzzi and a pay-per-view movie.

The next morning, my wife asks me to go check out the breakfast, as she has an aversion to egg dishes and wants to know if there are other options. So, I walk down to the lobby to look. I don’t see any typical hotel breakfast set up, so I walk to the front desk and address the clerk.

Me: “Hello. Where is the complimentary breakfast for guests?”

Clerk: “Just around the corner to the left, sir. In the restaurant.”

Confused, as complementary breakfasts are usually just set up in the lobby space, I walk over to the restaurant. At the entrance is a sign that reads, “Complimentary Breakfast $8.99”. Still confused, I talk to the hostess.

Me: “I’m looking for the complimentary breakfast for hotel guests.”

Hostess: “That’s here, sir. We have the breakfast buffet set up over there, and it’s all you can eat for $8.99.”

Me: “Umm… So, how do the guests get it for free, you know, complementary?”

Hostess: “Yes, sir, the breakfast is with our compliments.”

Me: “No. The term ‘complementary’ means you’re providing it for free.”

Hostess: “I’m sorry, sir. Our complimentary breakfast is $8.99.”

I glance over at the buffet, deciding if it’s worth the price. It’s got lots of eggs: scrambled, over-easy, boiled. I can smell the eggs from across the room, and I don’t think my bride would care for sitting in the room.

Me: “I think we’ll pass. Oh, and have your boss look up the word ‘complementary’.”

I told my wife the story of the “complimentary” breakfast. We decided to check out and try to find breakfast elsewhere before hitting the highway. We ended up finding a fantastic diner about two blocks away that had eggless options my wife loved.

When we got home, I looked up the word “complementary”. The second definition is “given free as a gift or courtesy”.

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