Dear Motel 6….why have you left me underwearless?


Time to read: 5 to 10 minutes
Rant level: 9 out of 10
Humor level: 7 out of 10
While in Connecticut running insurance claims due to all the damage caused by winter ice dams, I have been staying at Motel 6.  Because of a state law, I can only stay at one location 28 days before having to change locations for at least one night.  The fact that I work 7 days a week, 12 hours a day makes moving a royal pain in the ass.  I am nearing the end of month 2 of this deployment.  This email is what I just sent to corporate customer relations based on my stay at the second location:
To whom it may concern,
I am tired.  Tired from lack of sleep.  Tired of inept management.  Tired of employees that could care less.  Tired of smelling cigarette and pot smoke in the non-smoking area of the hotel.  Tired of gagging from the stench of overflowing trash outside the exit.  Tired of seeing police arresting people every night at this location.  Frankly, I am simply tired.
I have stayed at countless Motel 6 locations as I travel for work and have a dog.  Your chain provides a great value for the dollar 90% of the time as my next option up (given the dog) is quite a bit higher in price with amenities I do not need.
Tonight was the last straw for me with this location and quite possibly your chain.  I am so pissed that I am actually taking the time to write this as opposed to sleeping.  Given that I am working 7 days a week, 12 hours a day, it doesn’t take a team of monkeys with calculators to figure out that I NEED any available sleep I can find.
I’ll start with what brought me to this email.  Tonight, I went to do some laundry and walk the dog.  I put my clothes in the washer, started it and walked out the door of the laundry room that led to the outside.  The door had a sign on it that said approximately, “Be sure to shut door completely.”  I did as instructed.  Later when I came back, my card would not read and simply caused a red light to flash.  Thinking my card had been demagnetized, I walked all the way around the building in complete dark (as this location has no concept of parking lot lighting….I’m guessing good ‘ole Tom Bodett was speaking figuratively as opposed to literally when he said he’d leave the light on for me).  I explained the situation to the front desk gentleman of Arab descent.  I mention this only for context as his accent prevented me from understanding much of what he said.  I would think a prerequisite of hiring someone who worked with the public would be that you could effectively COMMUNICATE with them.  I finally came to realize that he was trying to tell me that my card was fine and that the door doesn’t work for any card.  I also gleaned that it had been this way for some time and that there was no intention of rectifying this situation.  I pointedly asked why THAT was not explained on the sign.  Basically, at this point, I was duped into locking myself out because, as you might recall, the door told me to make SURE I shut it completely.  He did not answer but looked at me quizzically.  I posed the question to him, in an attempt to get him to put himself in my shoes, how would he feel if he were in my shoes….would he expect there to be a sign?  He said, and I quote (if I heard him correctly), “No I would not.  This is perfectly normal.”  At this point I realized the concept of customer service was completely foreign to this gentleman and I would be getting no where.  I asked him why he could not take 5 seconds out of his life to prevent what just happened to me from happening to anyone else by simply putting it ON THE SIGN?  Again….quizzical look.  I relayed to him that his manager should call me this time (unlike the last 3 messages I left for her over the past 3 weeks of my stay) as I was/am finally fed up.  At that point, I contacted Manchester police to report the theft of money I had left in my room by a maid (only after contacting Vernon police only to have them tell me that the hotel sat in BOTH districts– apparently neither district wanted responsibility for policing the entire property).  I had given the manager 2 days to contact me and felt I had been patient, but after this, my patience was nowhere to be found.  Trust me, I looked long and hard and, try as I might, I could not dig up an ounce of patience.  Just prior to writing this, I finished my conversation with the police who had some very interesting information for me and our 5 minute conversation was only interrupted twice….by radio calls dispatching more police to….wait for it…..THIS LOCATION.  As for the theft that took place, over the 2 days, I pressed different front desk people for the name of the maid and an apology from the individual.  They never gave me the name but they did refund my money and simply left me with the excuse that “she thought it was a tip”.  Who leaves a tip in a cup?  My change made it into a cup because a very different maid thought I would appreciate that as opposed to the change being scattered across my desk (which I did).  The subsequent maid appreciated the gesture so much that she took the cup of change… her tip.  To make this worse, I had been holding back quarters to do laundry with as, for some strange reason, no business in Connecticut wants to give away their scarce quarters.  I was set to do laundry that night.  Laundry did not happen as I chose to go to work the next day commando style in lieu of buying a pack of gum at 10 different convenience stores to reacquire the needed quarters.  And before you ask, no, the front desk didn’t have enough quarters either…..and why you may have thought that after reading this far might be a sign of gullibility…or wishful thinking.
I digress.  Day 1.  Move in day.  Unpack.  Lay down on bed.  Get up to find remote placed ON the TV as opposed to the night stand.  Hit the power button.  Nothing.  Nada.  Check the batteries.  Replace them with some of mine.  Still nothing.  Go to call the front desk.  Phone is dead.  Check plug on phone.  Check plug to wall.  Phone still dead.  Head to the front desk after wondering if the ball of wires I found not so neatly tucked under the edge of my bed (some of them being exposed) may have something to do with the issue.  I will be glad to send you pictures (assuming this email lands in the hands of someone who cares).  I do know that the health department, the fire department, and the building code department care…..and they will all receive the pictures.  Front desk says no maintenance man is there but it will be taken care of before I get home from work the next day.  He lied.  Upon my arrival, I did not call the front desk….because the phone was still inoperable.  I headed there again.  This time was my first request to have the manager call me.  At this point I’m wondering why I’m paying full price when I’m not getting what I’m paying for.  The desk guy said he’d come to my room and see what he could do.  He messed with the phone (basically repeating what I’d tried) and then told me he would make sure maintenance would get to it tomorrow.  He messed with the TV remote for about 5 minutes when he finally pulled out a code sheet and commenced to inputting codes one at a time.  My patience ran out at 7 attempts.  I was not about to stay up all night with him until he lucked into the right code.  I asked him if he would simply make sure it was done before I got home the next night.  He promised.  He lied too.  In his defense, I came home early around 3 to grab a quick 1 hour nap and go back at it again.  Maintenance knocked on my door at 3:30pm, damn the luck.  I informed them I’d be leaving soon and if they would just come back in an hour, they could handle it then.  He agreed to come back.  At this point, he is the third person to lie to me from this establishment in less than 3 days.  When I arrived later, I called the front desk….because they did replace the phone.  They did not, however, do anything to the TV.  The 3rd different desk employee showed up with about 8 remotes in his hands.  Brilliant, I thought, one of them has to have the right code.  Turns out the first one did.  He explained that for some reason he did not know, sometimes the maids take the remotes out of the rooms and think they are all interchangeable.  Problem solved.  I thanked him and he went on his way.  Before he could arrive back at the front desk, his phone was ringing.  The channel was some sort of test channel and the little box beside the TV reset the signal and the channels would not come on.  He assured me that he had no idea what that was but that he would have maintenance look at it tomorrow.  He was the first person who did not lie to me.  Day 4, we have achieved television.  Not quite on par with achievements in the book of Genesis, but it’ll do.
At this point, the manager lady still has not seen fit to contact me so I left another message.  I have begun to realize that the maids were not cleaning later and later in the day, but rather, earlier and earlier.  The day after I moved in, the maids knocked on my door at 10AM.  I informed them that I was a weekly guest and to please make sure my room was handled as such.  I contacted the front desk and made that clear as well (via cell phone as, at that point, the phone still had not been replaced).  Chalk this up as another promise that went unfulfilled for 2 weeks.  By this 4th day, the time they knocked moved into the 8 AM hour and I was livid.  You may be asking why I did not put out a do not disturb sign.  I would reply with, “I would if I had one”.  In all my days spent in hotels, I would have never thought I would have needed one to thwart off an over achieving maid at 8:30AM, but apparently, I was mistaken.  After contacting the desk, he personally delivered the tag and placed it on my door.  An hour later I left for work and there was still no tag on my door.  I walked by the desk and asked him if he had gotten too busy to deliver it.  He looked baffled and said that he had went down right after our call.  At this point it dawned on me why I had seen several do not disturb signs in the hallway floor.  Somebody had been taking them down.  I suggested he check the cameras and bring it to the culprit’s attention.  He said he’d tell his manager as only she had access to the security cameras.  I told him I hope he had more luck contacting her than I did and away to work I went.  That night, I picked up 2 tags from the front desk (just in case).  I placed one on my door and turned in for the night…until chocolate started calling to me from the vending machines about 1 AM.  That’s when I noticed my tag was already gone.  I grinned, knowing I had the backup tag.  What I did not know, however, was that this malcontent had OCD and insomnia, for my wake up call came in the form of a maid opening my door at 9 AM after I failed to wake to the knocking.  Luckily for me, the manager was in.  I called her on my way out, as I did not have time to stick around.  I let her know who I was and told her that I had an issue.  She said, “I know, I know, you have problems with your TV” to which I replied, “Yes, about a week ago, but let’s not talk about that.” I went on to explain to her the current issue and she promised she would talk to the head of housekeeping and see to it that I was not bothered again.  I promised her I had a tried and true back up plan that consisted of leaving the security lock off the door and remaining naked, thus answering the maid’s unwanted surprise with my own unsolicited surprise.  I assured her that if her actions didn’t work, mine would.  The only problem with my plan is that it would likely have worked TOO well and my room may have remained dirty the entirety of my stay so I really hoped she’d get it right.  But, in an attempt to not have to resort to such measures (and given that I had many reasons to believe she would not achieve this, I later got the front desk guy to give me a dozen “do not disturb” tags so that I could remain undisturbed while baiting and hunting the inconsiderate prick who was stealing all the tags.  At this point, we are at 3 weeks and 2 days and he has continued to stay one step ahead of me, leaving a trail of tags on the floor to memorialize his presence.  Apparently the manager doesn’t know how to use the security cameras or she would have caught him/her within 24 hours.  I never brought this up to her again as I felt that she did not need one more thing to not care about as it was obvious that there were already so many things she did not care about to begin with….and who am I to pile on?
Day 14.  We’ve achieved TV, a working remote, a working phone, and uninterrupted sleep by ninja maids.  The electrical spider nest under the edge of my bed with exposed wires still has not been addressed but hey, one thing at a time, right?  This time, I come home to my hat being sat right side up on the nightstand.  Understanding that I am in a part of the country where wearing a cowboy hat is not common place, I did not bring this up to anyone.  BUT, I would advise a policy of not touching anything that belongs to a guest as you never know what their customs are.  Funny enough, I think Motel 6 already has this policy as many times, areas of my room haven’t been cleaned and my bed hasn’t been made up because my belongings were in the way (at most other locations….but not this one).  For your personal edification, cowboy hats are set upside down to prevent their weight from deforming the shape of the hat.  To set them right side up is to allow them to slowly but surely lose their shape…..almost like slow torture.  Luckily enough (for the maid staff), this has only happened once.  I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t like it if, while cleaning their room, I were to damage the sheet of little red dots they like to wear on their foreheads.  In fact, I’m betting they would find it quite offensive… do I that they felt a close enough personal connection to me that touching my hat AT ALL was considered ok.  Now that I think about it, I wonder how they would feel if I took their LAST dot and they did not find out until late at night.  I’m betting they would feel exactly the way I felt when I discovered they had stolen my laundry money and that I was going underwearless the next day.  And, yes, I am aware that is not a word.  I doubt there has ever been a time in human history where this word was necessary.  Normally, I would say “I was going without underwear” but that would imply that I had some sort of choice in the matter.  I sincerely believe that a Motel 6 employee should get credit with Merriam Webster for helping to create a new word.   I can see the spelling bee now….”Please use it in a sentence…”.  “The maid stole his laundry money, thus rendering him underwearless until he could wash or purchase more.”  Underwearless – Adjective – describing a person who has been lessed his underwear through circumstances not of his control.
Days 15 through 21.  The constant smell of cigarette and pot smoke ebbs and flows from the entrance to my area and down the hallway.  It is abundantly clear that I am one of the few residing in the non smoking rooms who actually doesn’t smoke.  On one occasion, I was pleasantly surprised to find the corridor smoke free and actually smelled clean, but this was only a fleeting happenstance quickly ruined by new smoke… smoke being the only thing that could truly cover up the smell of stale smoke.  Until staying here, I had never looked forward to the smell of cheap cannabis smoke, but, of all the smells I’ve been introduced to at this fine establishment, cheap cannabis smoke has the least displeasing scent.  After 3 complaints to the front desk, I realized that this was an ongoing problem that would have to sort itself out as there would be no attempt by anyone paid to be here to remedy the situation.  Coming home on day 21, I prepared myself by taking my customary “fill your lungs” breath that you would take as a kid when you are about to challenge the neighbor boy to a contest at the local pool.  Only now, I’m allergic to the “water” and winning brings no sense of pride, it simply gets you to your room where there is fresh air….thanks to the new hepa filtered air processor I bought to help me make it through my stay here without dieing only to have the doctor in autopsy pontificate about how in hell I died of lung cancer having never smoked a single cigarette.  But on this day, I would not get the pleasure.  I say pleasure only because the smell of that putrid smoke would be pure nirvana compared to the rotting flesh smell emanating from the overflowing trash can at the entrance.  Another photo op.  This was one of only 3 things I have ever known my dog to avoid smelling.  Simply discussing the other two would make you vomit.  Again, I thought, why burden the staff with one more thing to not care about.
Day 21.  Underwerless due to prior day’s theft.  See above.
And now we’ve come full circle to day 23, or as I like to call it, the “Let’s trick our guests into locking themselves outside so we can see how mad they get when they find out we already knew it was going to happen and chose not to warn them with a sign it would take 5 seconds to make” day.  Needs a little work, I admit.  But, it just happened a few hours ago so I’m gonna need a little more time to polish the edges.  I can only imagine what new and exciting ways I am going to be surprised over the next 5 days I’ll be staying here as I have paid through 28 days and I do not intend on losing the weekly discount to leave here mid week.  However, I will fight back.  That is where this email comes in.  That is why I reported the theft.  That is why I will contact the building inspection department, the fire marshal’s office, and the city health department over the next 5 days.  If that doesn’t work, I’ll file freedom of information acts at Manchester and Vernon PDs and hand deliver enough call logs to the DEA to see a task force assigned to this hotel.   Hopefully I will get to see the fruits of my labor prior to shipping off as this hell hole deserves to be shut down if for no other reason than anyone who has a mother would NEVER wish a night here on her even if she were the meanest bitch in the country and had more money than Warren Buffet, while you were the only one in the will, and she were going to die tomorrow.
At this point,  I consider this location a lost cause.  But, I am merely “frustrated” with the Motel 6 brand at this point.  I would think you guys would do more to see that your name doesn’t get drug through the mud like this.  Therein lies the real reason for this email.  I feel that somehow, this location has slipped through the cracks.  I can’t imagine that if anyone at Motel 6 corporate were aware of this, that they’d simply ignore it.  That is why I’m giving you the opportunity to clean up this mess.  How you choose to handle it is your business.  Take your name off the sign.  Force them to get their ducks in a row.  I don’t care….as I won’t be staying here ever again.  But, choose to ignore this at your own peril.  For, if you prove through inaction that you do not care, I will shout it from the mountaintops, from my blog to social media to every single review site I can locate on the internet, from Maple Syrup to Sombreros, from sea to shining sea.    I’m sure “7 On Your Side” or “Eyes Wide 5” or any of a number of local news stations that are trying to stick out above the crowd by being the first to enlighten their audience to such miscarriages, would love to air my story and expose this ongoing catastrophe for the cluster-fuck that it is.
You are now aware of what is happening in your name.  Plausible deniability is off the table.  How will you respond/react/rectify?
I will be waiting impatiently while I periodically put a new “do not disturb” sign on the door.
FYI, I’d leave the light on for you, but with this wiring, it might just burn the place down.
Joe Burnes


As I began mowing lawns at the age of 12, this short story is something I can relate to.  It also conveys the level of customer service that all entrepreneurs should aspire to and defies the complete lack of customer service that often spawns one of my rants.  The bonus is that it will definitely put a smile on your face.  Check it out: Self-Appraisal.