They’re All Upcharged Up

, , , , , , | Right | March 7, 2019

(While at grad school I work the overnight shift at a cheap hotel chain. Rooms are about $50 a night, but there is a coupon for $39.99 in a popular hotel coupon book that’s available all along the interstate. It clearly states on the coupon that this is only for non-renovated rooms, and that there is a $5 upcharge for the renovated rooms. One night I have this conversation.)

Customer: “Hi. I’d like one of your coupon rooms, please.”

Me: “Okay, we are currently sold out of our non-renovated rooms, so is a renovated room okay for the $5 more?”

Customer: “What? No. Your coupon says $39.99. That’s what I want.”

Me: *resisting the urge to sigh because this is a common argument and it’s one am* “I’m sorry, but those rooms are sold out. I can give you a renovated room for $44.99.”

Customer: “This is ridiculous! I’m calling your corporate office and reporting you for false advertising!”

Me: “It clearly states on the coupon that—“

Customer: *flips phone open and dials corporate, glaring at me*

Me: *soldiers on* “The renovated rooms are a $5 upcharge.”

(I give up, because I know how this will go with corporate; it’s happened before, though, granted, not with the customer standing right in front of me while calling.)

Customer: *talking on the phone to corporate* “Hello. I’m at your hotel in Syracuse and they won’t honor a coupon from this coupon book. Yes, I’ll hold.” *continues to glare at me*

(The hotel landline rings. I pick it up, looking steadily back at the customer.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Hotel]. This is [My Name]; how can I help you?”

Corporate: “Hey, this is [Corporate] from corporate. We just got a customer complaint about a coupon?”

Me: *still looking steadily at the customer* “Yes, as I explained to the customer, the room that the coupon refers to is sold out for the night. We do have renovated rooms available at a $5 upcharge from the coupon price. It explains that on the coupon.”

Corporate: “Okay. I’ll let her know, thanks.” *hangs up*

Me: *hangs up*

Customer: *obviously just taken off of hold* “Yes, I’m here.” *I can faintly hear corporate repeating word for word what I’ve now explained three times* “Fine.” *hangs up* “I’ll take a renovated room.”

Me: *smiles* “Of course.”

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