Funny Business with Jane Wells

Marriott Goes to the Mattresses! (Towels, Clocks Too)

I travel fairly regularly, and I sometimes stay at a Marriott . However, I've never noticed the following sign, which a friend sent me while staying at a Courtyard by Marriott in Paso Robles, CA.  


The picture shows a menu of items inside the hotel room available for purchase. "Due to the popularity of our guest room amenities, our Housekeeping Department now offers these items for sale," the sign says.

Guests can buy anything from the $25 alarm clock to the $30 iron (plus another $30 for the ironing board!) $15 towels, $60 sheets and an $80 comforter.

Is Marriott really trying to sell this stuff? Is it really "due to the popularity" of these items? Or is the "menu" a warning against theft?

"Should you decide to take these articles from your room instead of obtaining them from the Executive Housekeeper," says the sign, "we will assume you approve a corresponding charge to your account." (By the way...Executive Housekeeper?)

"People do occasionally walk out with items but that is not why we sell them," Marriott's Laurie Goldstein told me. "We started selling items primarily because people wanted the beds and we wanted to make it easier for them." The beds aren't on the in-room menus, but you can buy them online.

Goldstein says Marriott began selling items in 2005. "Our guests were taking the beds apart looking for the brand," she says. "We purchase them from Jamison, which only sells business to business and not to consumers." Goldstein says it's not a large business by any means for the hotel chain.

Source: Marriot

"It's a service, of sorts...there are not many products that a customer can test out like this and then decide they want to buy--you can't borrow clothes or shoes to see if they are comfortable."

Beds, bedding and towels are their biggest sellers, though "we have sold shower heads and alarm clocks, but not coffee makers or ironing boards."

I guess I need to pay more attention to the shower head next time I'm there to see what's so special about it. My complaint about hotel showers is that they should all be uniform. I hate trying to figure out how to turn the thing on and get hot water every time I come across a new variation.

But do people walk off with in-room items often? I have to admit I've taken a few of those little shampoo bottles. "I recently heard about a woman who took one of the TVs from the room," Goldstein said. "The hotel charged her $1,000 for it. Taking a TV is definitely unusual."

Now that's chutzpah! Sneaking out the TV is only slightly easier than sneaking out the bed...

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