May 1st, 2009

Bad hotel service

My boyfriend and I wanted to celebrate our one year anniversary so we decided to book a Rydges package that included a cheese platter, room service breakfast, and tickets to Taronga Zoo for a very reasonable price. We were both looking forward to it but because I'm hearing impaired, I thought it'd be a good idea to contact them and see if subtitles/closed captioning were available on the TVs.

I sent the central reservations office three emails asking about CC availability, and they promised that the hotel I'd actually booked with would let me know if they had them or not. Of course, the hotel never replied so I called on the day before the reservation to see what was up.

It wasn't so bad at the start because reception said that they would check with maintenance to see if CC was available. The TV system they use doesn't support it (which is fine because I don't expect them to automatically be able to cater to me) but I was told in a way that made me feel like I was being an extreme inconvenience to them. I thanked them for their time and hung up.

Spoke with my boyfriend and he said that it was a shame closed captioning wasn't available but it wasn't their fault and then he suggested asking if they could place a DVD player in the room so that we could still watch movies at least. So I called back, got the same person on reception and when she realised it was me again, she became very disinterested and "what do you want?". I asked if they had DVD players available and she said no they can't do it, but if you want to bring your own in maybe we can hook it up.

I know it doesn't sound like much here but her tone and abruptness made me feel really bad, like they couldn't be bothered trying to help out people that had special needs etc (not that I count subtitling as a special need per se). I actually cried when I got off the phone because I'm a little sensitive to people treating me in a lesser way just because I have dodgy hearing.

The boyfriend was aghast at their service so we cancelled the reservation with Rydges and started ringing around other hotels to see what they could do. Star City hotel couldn't do the subtitles either but they were really nice and apologetic about it and were willing to reserve a DVD player if we wanted and so forth. Sir Stamford in Circular Quay guaranteed subtitles would be available straight up and they had a really good rate going so we went with them, and had an absolutely fantastic time so all's well that ends well.

(I know some of you might be thinking, how does she use the phone if she has bad hearing, and the answer is that I use a relay system where an operator relates to me word for word what is being said so even though it's typed, you can't really mistake the inflection or tone.)

Rub it in her face why don't you . . .

As an outsider, this is funny. Had it actually hurt someone's feelings, it would not be funny.

My friend Susan P. got married about two years ago. Her husband and his first wife "Cathy" had a rather acromonious divorce, but Cathy kept the last name of P. Susan, Cathy, and Mr. P all go to the same dentist.

Susan always gets Cathy's "dental reminder" cards, even though Cathy has not lived at that residence for  well over two years. 

First time she called the dentist, told them Cathy did not live there, and they said "no problem, we'll take that address off", but they didn't (which actually makes sense, because it wouldn't be a great idea if some random person could call in and get your address changed, BUT they shouldn't have told her "no problem" and then not do it.)

Second time she called in, FYI, please check your records, send the reminders to the place listed on Cathy's insurance card. The dentist's office wanted to know if Cathy's "husband" (i.e. Mr. P) had moved as well.  Susan let them know that Cathy and Mr. P had divorced, so she had moved, and Susan and Mr. P had stayed put. Ok, no problem!

So then they just started sending Susan's reminders to Cathy, and kept sending Cathy's reminders to Susan.

So that THIRD time she called them up, had a long chat, and reiterated that they needed to remove the note about Cathy and Mr. P being married, because Cathy is the ex-wife, could they PLEASE make a note of that? No problem, we're making a note of it!

So they did make a note of it.

A reminder  for Cathy's next dental appointment came in the mail, to Susan, on Thursday. She brought it in for us to see. You know how you'll get letters that addressed to you formally, but they have a "nickname" in the salutation? Yup.  The card was addressed to Catherine P, but started off with:


Susan asked for my reccomendation for a new dentist.