Smaller Cabin Fever

, , , | Right | April 15, 2019

(I work the closing shift as a receptionist at a five-star campsite in Sweden. Most people who rent cabins book their stay weeks in advance as they are very popular. One evening I answer a call from a man speaking English with a heavy accent.)

Me: “Hello, my name is [My Name]. You’ve reached [Campsite]. How can I help you?”

Caller: “I need a room for tonight. One bed.”

Me: “You’re lucky! We have two cabins left that can be rented tonight: one with four beds and running water, and one smaller with two beds and no running water. You will have full access to our nearby service facilities where there are restrooms and showers no matter the choice.”

Caller: “I need a toilet in the cabin.”

Me: “Certainly! The larger cabin is [price] per night—“

Caller: “What? That’s not good enough. How much is the smaller cabin?”

Me: “That would be [about half the previous price].”

Caller: “Can’t you give me the bigger cabin for the price of the smaller one?”

Me: “Um, unfortunately, I cannot do that. You would still have restrooms nearby the smaller cabin if you don’t wish to pay for the larger one. I can assure you the service facilities are well maintained.”

(The caller grumbles something angrily in a language I don’t understand.)

Caller: “I’ll call you back.”

Me: “Of course! Keep in mind we can’t check you in after 10:00 pm when we close the reception.”

(He hangs up. An hour later, around 9:00 pm, a biker rides up and parks his motorcycle right outside the reception — not in the assigned parking space — and comes in. It has just started to rain.)

Man: “I called earlier. I need a cabin.”

Me: “Welcome. It was me you spoke to. Both cabins are still available for one night.”

Man: “I want the one with water, but the price is too high.”

Me: “Unfortunately, I cannot lower the price. The cabin is in top shape, newly renovated. With the cheaper cabin, you’ll still have access to toilets and showers less than a fifty-meter walk away.”

Man: “I don’t want to walk in the rain! You won’t rent out that cabin tonight, anyway, unless I take it. I should be able to choose the price myself. Any money I don’t give you is money you lose! I want to speak to your manager. He will teach you how to make business.”

Me: “I could give you her number, but she doesn’t work right now and won’t answer until tomorrow. Until then, I have to follow our rules.”

Man: “Come on! This is stupid! I won’t pay that much! You’ll just lose business!”

Me: “I’m very sorry, but I’m not authorised to change our pricing for anyone.”

(The biker stomps out of the building swearing and gesturing obscenely. He takes off and I assume he’ll try to find a cheaper campsite. There is one about half an hour away, but I know already that all their cabins are fully booked. At 9:50 pm, the biker returns, fully drenched. It’s still raining.)

Man: “Look at me; I’m all wet! I want a shower in the cabin.”

Me: “That still is [price]. For [cheaper price] you’ll still have access to showers. They’re really close to the cabin; I can show you on our map here.”

Man: “Forget it. You know nothing about business. I’ll take the cheaper one.”

Me: “Sure! I just need your name, address, and a valid ID.”

(He is very reluctant to show me his ID, and even more so his address.)

Man: “What do you need my address for?”

Me: “We keep a register of all our guests to make booking faster should they come back. An address is part of the obligatory information needed to make a booking.”

Man: “Well, I’m not coming back here.”

Me: “I still need your address to complete your booking, sir.”

(Finally, he gave me an address. I got him his key and explained the map and some rudimentary rules. To save trouble for my colleagues in the morning, I didn’t even mention our option of paying at checkout and got him to pay upfront. The next day, I heard that my colleagues had to kick him out as he wouldn’t honor the checkout deadline. Apparently, he liked that smaller cabin after all.)

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