The Dick Move Inn, Ashland

Posted on
Aug 1, 2012

It’s taken me a while to get around to writing this post. First, I needed to wait until my rage subsided.

That took longer than I thought it would.

Before then, I was running around, sputtering obscenities and leaving a path of destruction in my wake. I was not unlike a human version of the Tasmanian Devil: slobbering, unintelligible, and desperately hungry for rabbit.

It did not help that I had a ridiculous amount of steroids coursing through me – the remnants of the medication I had to take for my brain surgery, which had been a scant 2 weeks prior.

I had hoped, that in addition to a kicky new bald spot and a graveyard of orchids in my living room, my surgery would have provided me with a new perspective on life. That I would realize what was important, and that I wouldn’t stress out over the small stuff. That I would be kind and generous and caring and … wait. This sounds like someone I know.

Yeah. I had hoped my surgery would make me more like Rand.

I’ve seen him wronged, and watched him shrug it off. I’ve seen people say and do heinous and unforgivable things to him, and I’ve seen him hug them afterwards. It isn’t for show. It’s not some sort of Machiavellian master plan. For a guy who isn’t religious, he really knows to turn the other cheek.

And sometimes, people take advantage of this fact.

It began all the way back in March. Rand was stressed out with work, and did what he often does when present obligations weigh down too heavily upon him: he started planning for a future trip. In this case, it was our annual pilgrimage to Ashland. We’d had to move it up this year and were going to go in mid-July as opposed to September.

Rand went online and booked a week’s stay at … well, I can’t tell you where. That was part of my agreement with him in writing this post. He didn’t want me to skewer their online reputation. He didn’t want to burn that bridge.

Me, I’m all for burning bridges. I toss the match over my shoulder and don’t think twice. I watch the flames rise – flames of nasty tweets and Dick Move blog posts and scathing Yelp reviews. I have no problem cutting people off if I think they’ve wronged me (and god help them if they’ve wronged Rand). I’ve been called heartless and unforgiving more than once.

But in this instance, he’s asked me to not reveal the hotel, so I won’t.  Let’s just call it the Dick Move Inn.

Rand went online, and booked us a week at the Inn. He was excited – and may have even done the happy dance that occasionally comes with preparing for a trip to Ashland. The happiness lasted for the better part of ten minutes, when we promptly received a phone call from the Inn.

They explained that his ability to book online had been an error on their part – they didn’t actually have any rooms available for that week. They cancelled the reservation, and Rand took it in stride. In fact, he commended them for telling him about the error so promptly. I was in the same room for the entire call, and remember being impressed: even when he’s stressed, Rand doesn’t get flustered.

He immediately went back online to book other accommodations.

Months passed, and by the time our Ashland trip was actually on the horizon, we weren’t sure if I could go. My brain surgery had been two weeks before, and while my doctor had cleared me for travel, I wasn’t anywhere near fighting form. I was sleeping a lot, incredibly groggy when I was up, and my face and stomach were round from the steroids. My head still hurt, and my bald spot itched. I felt awful.

But Rand really wanted to go to Ashland. And I really wanted to go with him. I felt like, in the wake of everything that had happened, I owed it to him. I owed it to us. So, without any awareness of what I was putting in my suitcase (I took three sweaters for 90 degree weather and had barely enough underwear), we headed down. Things went swimmingly for about 24 hours. Then, the morning after the first night of our vacation, we received a call from the Dick Move Inn. They had expected us the night before, and wanted to know where we were.

Rand explained that someone had called us and cancelled our reservation immediately after we had made it.

“I have no record of that,” the woman on the phone said. She asked if we had proof of the cancellation.

“Proof of the cancellation? No. It was a phone call. It happened months ago,” Rand replied.

She asked if we had received a reservation reminder  – they send them out to folks a month prior to their stay.

“No,” Rand said. “If we’d have received that, we’d have known about the reservation – and cancelled it.”

She then asked if we’d be honoring the rest of our reservation. Rand explained that we couldn’t – that prior to now, we had no idea that we even had a reservation.

And then the woman on the line earned her title as the reigning Queen of the Dick Move Inn (yes, it’s a monarchy). She explained that since we had no proof that our reservation had been cancelled, she was going to charge us for the full length of our stay. It was a staggering amount – $1,400.00.

She was going to charge us, even though Rand had received a phone call cancelling the reservation. She was charging us, even though I could bear witness to the fact that the call had taken place. She was charging us, even though they hadn’t sent us a reservation reminder (which was clear evidence that WE DIDN’T HAVE A RESERVATION) a month before our stay.

And, perhaps most significantly, she was charging us even though she didn’t have the legal grounds to do so. Rand and I never signed for the charges. We entered into an agreement with them that they cancelled.

The Dick Move Inn had screwed up. And they were making us pay for it.

Upon overhearing this, I almost immediately began doing my very best impression of a broken blender (In that I made mostly whirring noises and unintelligible sounds, and if you got too close, you might lose a finger. Not in the sense that I was preparing anyone delicious drinks. Which was unfortunate).

Rand though, remained calm. He said that he was disappointed in what had happened. He never raised his voice. He never got angry. He even blamed himself.

In the end, Rand made a compromise with the Inn. They wouldn’t charge us for the nights that they could rent out the room. Of course, the first night had already passed. We’d be charged for that. And let’s not forget, we were taking them at their word. We’d done that before and gotten burned.

“They are terrible people, ” I raged. “They deserve to go out of business. I hope their Inn gets infested with bed bugs. Bed bugs that are in turn infested with crabs.”

And while I cast all manner of hexes on them (“I hope they get eyelash lice!” and “May their favorite contestant on American Idol come in fourth!), Rand merely sighed.

He pleaded with me to be calm. He reminded me of how lucky we were. How fortunate that we’d been able to go on this vacation in the first place. And how damn charmed our existence was, that even though we were getting fleeced by the Dick Move Inn, we could actually afford it without going into debt. He reminded me of all the times I’d been angry about something and then had it turn out okay. Every Dick Move! that had made me cringe with rage that I’d now forgotten. He was right. After enough time, very little matters. Even your first love is forgiven for breaking your heart.

The perspective that I had hoped to glean after brain surgery, my husband already had in spades.

And I realized that while the last few weeks had been rough on me, they’d been worse for him. He’s the one who’d been making me meals and feeding me pills and checking the staples in my head for sign of infection. All I did was sleep and eat chocolate pudding. He’d needed a vacation far more than I did. And he didn’t want to spend it worrying about the miserable managerial staff at a mediocre inn.

So for him, I tried to calm down. To keep things in perspective. I made a few casual jokes. I teased him about going to visit our other hotel room. I’m not saying I succeeded entirely. I still occasionally released a trail of expletives that I can’t really repeat. The sort of thing that would make Lenny Bruce proud.

But I tried.

In the end, the Inn was able to rent out the room for a few nights. They did charge us $525 – still a lot, but by no means what they had planned to originally. I’m still infuriated at them, but I’m trying not to dwell on it. I’m not posting their name online. I’m not leaving a nasty review.

I let this battle go because Rand asked me to. Because there are bigger things to worry about. And he’s right: in the end, so much of the enraging stuff sorts itself out. He told me to keep that in mind. To be grateful for all that I have.

I did my best to listen to him. Because while brain surgery didn’t make me a better person, my husband just might.

Leave a Comment

  • You are a far bigger person than I am! I so wish you’d gotten justice via Twitter and Yelp! It’s worked for me in the most dire of situations. And that you’d pulled the “brain cancer card” when doing so, just to make them feel absolutely horrible.


    We had a similar occurrence in Flagstaff–oh hey wait, I’m not a big person like Rand, so I’ll just say it: THE HOTEL MONTE VISTA, I’m looking at you–in which we arrived to them making us pay for the room out of our pocket (even though I DID have a confirmation number and I was on magazine assignment so the company had prepaid) and the rudest of rude hotel staffers. Then immediately after getting to our room to find three inches of dust on the fan, mold and mildew all over the carpet and terrible street noise from below, we decided we might venture elsewhere. I decided to use the loo before going only to find it had POO in it! Or rather, skidmarks, but just as bad. That was it: We were checking out. We went downstairs, told them we were leaving, they didn’t even ask why and I confirmed that we wouldn’t be charged. No you won’t, they said, as we don’t charge cards until 24 hours after checking in. We went down the street to the HoJo instead; you know it’s bad when Howard Johnson is suddenly luxurious.

    A month later, the statement shows up for my credit card; Monte Vista has charged me $350. I am livid. The hotel won’t call me back. I Tweet once more. The CVB gal sees it and DMs me, prompting the GM to call me that night. He was a rude SOB; after all that, he blamed ME for the mix-up given that I had booked with a different credit card (my company’s) than I had paid with (mine). No sh*t, Sherlock, that was your rude a$$ employee’s fault!

    Needless to say, exactly a year later and I am still teeming with rage!

    • Everywhereist

      I always feel a bit like the emperor from Star Wars when I read stories like this …

      “Yes! Let your hate flow through you!”

  • I dunno, I believe i’m pretty good but that’d squeeze a few expletives out of me. Perhaps a letter to an ombudsman or two… Then again, I have learnt from your post to always ask for cancellation confirmation! He’s a good-un.

  • Wow what a hotel! You’re a saint for not calling them out, but it sounds like you and Rand are a lovely couple (I’m new to your blog).
    I wonder though if the hotel rang you on purpose, so they could charge you and then have extra guests stay there anyway so they get paid twice. hotel management makes me shake my head in despair sometimes.

  • kitty

    But the point of leaving (truthful) nasty reviews is really not to get revenge, it’s to warn OTHER people. You guys might be lucky that a thing like that didn’t really affect you, but there are other people for whom having to pay the extra $525 would have been devastating. So what’s really fair is that you guys take off your saint hats (Now what would those look like anyway? We can pretend they’re little tophats, or something.) for a moment and give other people the chance to avoid going through what you did. It’s not about you.

    And because I feel terrible criticising people that I like, I must also say I love reading your blog although I have no idea how I ended up finding it. And congrats for recovering well! High fives and unicorns!

    • Everywhereist

      Actually, in this case it is about me. And Rand. He had a really rough few weeks, and he asked me to let this go, and I did.

      I never claimed to wear a saint hat. I never claimed that it wasn’t a huge amount of money to pay and that I’m not upset. But he asked me to not pursue it. And after all he’s had to deal with lately, I’m honoring that request.

  • Ermel

    Excellent post. Excellent attitude.

    A question: Isn’t there anything legal that can be done? You cannot prove you received the cancellation call, but can they prove they received the reservation call? Can they prove they sent out the reservation reminder? Can they even legally charge you for time you reserved in the case that you have to leave early? I don’t know about your country, but in mine I’m fairly sure they can’t, at least not the full amount.

    Maybe you should still talk to a lawyer about this.

    Anyway, great reading, great food for thought. Thank you.

    • Everywhereist

      There are plenty of legal stances that we could take, but Rand asked me not to. He really wanted to just let the issue go. I could have obviously contacted a lawyer, but the hotel is in another state and a 9-hour drive away from us … the whole issue could have gotten really, really ugly and complicated and drawn out.

      In the end, with legal fees and the time spent, it just doesn’t make sense to try and pursue it. Even if I had filed in small claims court, I had no evidence that they called. It likely would have been thrown out. (And let’s not forget – I’d have to file in their county, which means taking another trip down, getting another hotel, etc.)

  • Love the opening photo!

    When I’m wronged, I tend to get a quick burst of anger, shout some curses and maybe stomp my foot a few times, then can usually let it go. I’m too lazy to take action anyway. Once I got so mad at UPS that I actually typed up a complaint letter. It’s still saved on my desktop unsent.

    • Everywhereist

      This sounds exactly like me! After I write a blog post about something, I’m usually able to let it go. It’s off my chest at that point. 🙂

  • Nadia

    Wait but didn’t this already happen to you?

    Come on Ashland, surely you can do better?

    • Jen

      Oooh, you’re right! That post is eerily similar (read: exactly similar) to this one! Ashland seems to have sketchy hotels in abundance. If I’m ever out that way, I may just use chain hotels. Which is totally backwards from how you expect hotel service to be….

      • Everywhereist


        Gah. This is what happens when Rand answers the phone instead of me. 🙂

        • Andi

          I thought this sounded really familiar! Sorry this happened again, at least last time they didn’t make you pay anything.

    • RagingSnowMonster

      So, isn’t it reasonably safe to assume this instance was also at the hands of the Stratford Inn?

      • Everywhereist

        Wait, are you trying to narrow it down? 🙂

  • Dylan

    Kudos on getting the initial amount reduced. I’d still call your credit card and have them do a charge back for the $525. If they get away with it now, they may continue doing it and perhaps the next people it happens to aren’t as able to shrug it off financially.

    • Eric

      Charge Back. The whole reason we put up with credit card companies skimming 3-6% off the top of every transaction is that they can adjudicate bad charges. This is a cut and dried case of services not rendered (let alone this being obviously the merchant’s error). No need to get mad, just get the charges reversed. If this is a systemic scam, it will eventually show up on the credit card companies’ radar. (I am of course assuming it was a credit card and not a debit card, where reversals might be more challenging).

      • karen

        Agree with this. I’ve done it I n the past. No need for lawyers. Just fill in a form and the credit card people do the rest. The vendor has a certain number of days to provide proof of purchase (which they won’t be able to). It isn’t about being nice or not, it is about not paying to something you didn’t receive. They have no right to any of your money.

      • I 100% agree with Eric and Dylan, and also the person who said the purpose of reviews is to warn & protect future customers.

        The first mistake (letting you make the reservation and then having to cancel it on you) is forgiveable. I’d just let that one go.

        The second mistake (somehow leaving the reservation in place despite having cancelled it) is forgiveable, too. I wouldn’t even write a negative review about either of these. This is normal human error stuff.

        The third mistake, however, is accusing you of being in the wrong and wanting to charge you anyway, despite you having several bits of evidence that your story was correct. If the hotel doesn’t have good enough record-keeping to be able to see that (a) you didn’t get sent the reservation reminder email, and (b) that someone there called you to cancel and “fix” the 1st problem, then they don’t really have a leg to stand on here.

        But I agree with Rand that you shouldn’t waste much energy on it. If it were me, I’d do the chargeback, write the letter to the credit card company outlining what happened (this will be required to back up the chargeback), and then copy & paste the details of that letter into a Google review, and call it a day.

        • These commenters are spot on. I use TripAdvisor for trip planning all the time. I usually find that if I factor out the outlier reviews (way good and way bad), I can get a pretty good impression of a hotel or restaurant. Because I find Tripadvisor so helpful, I feel it’s my “duty” to post helpful reviews for other travelers.

          I wouldn’t have negotiated with the hotel which they could try to use as an admission of “guilt” on Rand’s part. I would have challenged the charge with my credit card company—one huge benefit of using a credit card. (I have challenged very few charges—just so you know I’m not just a whiner).

          But (and it’s a huge BUT), you and Rand deserve each other. You were right to listen to his request and honor it. There are times (but not for the amount of money involved here) that I will conclude that not having to spend the time and aggravation “fighting city hall” or it’s equivalent, is worth paying whatever the charge is.

          Next time(, i.e. when you’re not recovering from brain surgery0, maybe you should do the trip bookings. Just sayin’.

    • jenny

      Agreed with the 2 themes of this thread: charge back to your credit card company and also, that reviews warn future people. You don’t HAVE to be an ass or super mean in your review, or namecall. Just state that they cancelled the reservation and then charged you for it. I use trip advisor and yelp and even in a sea of 5 star reviews, a negative review that is not crazy or personal will sway me away from just going to another place.

  • SO … if you share the name of the Inn …. say … ummm … shall we say … privately…. and say THAT person goes after them woudl that be ok? No seriously – your husband might well be a Saint – yes with a caiptal S. Just sayin.

    • Everywhereist

      So here’s the deal: if anyone is planning on going to Ashland and is sincerely worried they might end up at the Inn, they can email me and I will tell them whether or not I would recommend the accomodations they’ve picked. Okay? 🙂

  • Hmmmm…I don’t think I could have let that one go. I am not even remotely a confrontational person, so it would not have been handled via the person being a dick, but I surely would have had my credit card company work on it. Charmed existence or not…….the Dick Move Inn didn’t deserve your money!

    • Everywhereist

      Oh, I totally agree. And I’m never staying there again. But taking legal action would have been a big hassle. So I’m letting this one go. 🙂

      I did consider calling them and saying, “You don’t realize deserve to keep our money, so I hope you donate it.” Then at least it would be for a good cause. But I figured they’d say no.

  • I would’ve told them I would be contacting my lawyer to get in touch with them. I would’ve stayed calm, but I wouldn’t have given them a damn cent. But 1400 dollars would put me in to grave debt, so maybe that’s why.

    • Everywhereist

      $1400 would have been seriously problematic. I really don’t know what I’d have done if they wanted to keep that much money. I really don’t.

  • Jashshea

    One thing you DON’T need to worry about: the surgery had no impact on your (new word) hysterical-ness.

    Your husband sounds amazing. And if he can ask you to not pursue negative press and you agree to it? Well, you’re probably pretty neato yourself.

  • Your husband is a saint, holy cow!

    I’m usually the one asking my husband to relax, let it go, it won’t matter in 6 months… But this, I’d have been up in flames over this!

    Love your blog btw. 🙂

  • Dr. Pete

    I think they’re 100% wrong, but given the amount of pure, unfiltered shit you had been through that few weeks, it almost doesn’t matter. Some days, it’s just not worth even one more ounce of grief.

    • Everywhereist

      Thanks, Dr. Pete. 🙂 This is exactly how Rand felt. The poor guy had had enough, and I wasn’t going to give him any stress. He needed a vacation. He got one.

      It cost us $500 more than it should have, but he got one.

  • kokopuff

    I’m rather surprised you haven’t heard of this. This scam has been going on for a couple of years at least. It’s not actually a dick move, it’s fraud. Just google it. I agree your husband is a saint, but this isn’t the byproduct of a mistake or miscommunication, you two have been the victims of a crime.

    Always get a cancellation number or at the very least, an email confirming the reservation has been cancelled.

    • Everywhereist

      Holy crap. I don’t want to accuse them of that, since it *could* have been an innocent mistake, but you are totally right – getting a confirmation of your cancellation is key.

  • Del

    Simple solution: Dispute the charge with your credit card. If they don’t have a signed reg card then you probably have a case. I know your man said not to pursue, but this way you’re not dealing with the Inn, you’re dealing with your bank. You shouldn’t pay for their mistake.

  • I would have probably just called my credit card company, explained the issue, and let THEM take on the hotel. We use our Amex for travel and frankly I find most places, the instant they hear that Amex is going to get involved become very reasonable all of a sudden.

    Sorry you had this happen, it stinks. Rand is WAY nicer than I would have been. And definitely nicer than their business practices deserved. If it is any consolation places that treat their customers like crap don’t tend to stay in business too long. (OK some of them do, drat.)

  • Lemia

    Two things:

    “…a graveyard of orchids in my living room,….”

    This stood out to me, because, funny enough, I have a graveyard of orchids around my apartment. There is an orchid plant that was given to me (it’s dead now) and I can’t bring myself to throw it out for sentimental value. I thought I was the only one. This is a funny detail.

    “Me, I’m all for burning bridges. I toss the match over my shoulder and don’t think twice. I watch the flames rise – flames of nasty tweets and Dick Move blog posts and scathing Yelp reviews. I have no problem cutting people off if I think they’ve wronged me (and god help them if they’ve wronged Rand). I’ve been called heartless and unforgiving more than once.”

    You just described me. I have recently cut out a lot of people for some crazy dick moves as of late. I understand this motivation completely. Sometimes I perceive forgiveness as a license for the wrongdoer to do it AGAIN, worried that they will take advantage of my kindness and some sense of my compassion.

    Also, I get angry a lot as well for the bullshit that I encounter and what my friends and family encounter too. It’s good to be angry…but at healthy levels, of course.

    It sounds like you and Rand balance each other out, which seems lovely!

    • Everywhereist

      Thanks! We really do. He gets angry at nothing, I get angry at everything. There’s balance there. 🙂

  • Amy

    “Because while brain surgery didn’t make me a better person, my husband just might.” Beautiful. I love that you ended a frustrating post with an uplifting sentiment.

    Also, not only do you keep making me fall more in love with travel…but you also keep making me fall more in love with your husband. I adore your relationship. 🙂

  • Angie

    Why don’t you just dispute it on your credit card? You don’t need to trash the company on your blog, but you certainly shouldn’t allow them to behave like this. Or report them to the BBB?

    While it is nice that you can afford this, you also have the power to serve all the people who can’t afford a random charge of $525 or $1400 or whatever.

    • Everywhereist

      Oh, don’t get me wrong, I still think it’s a lot of money. I still am angry. But Rand asked me to let it go and enjoy the trip. He earned that much.

  • This mirrors an experience that just happened to me earlier this week. I pummeled a local business online that upset my wife via extremely poor customer service. I felt totally justified in doing so — I mean, there was my wife! In tears! No one does that! — and so I trashed them in every online review site I could find, got contacts to spread the word via Facebook and Twitter, etc.

    I was one step away from picketing their location when my wife asked me to stop. In short: I used my Internet marketing powers for personal revenge. And. That. Was… Wrong. It was a dick move by me. And I’ve long resolved not to be a dick. And yet it felt oh so right (and oh so good).

    But you’re showing me the other side here: erring on the side of generosity. It’s non-intuitive and takes a hell of a lot of character, but it also seems like a valid response. One that’s far more challenging to pull off, but one that also reduces negativity and, well, the entropy caused by negativity.

    You’ve given me a lot to think about here. Thanks for that. 🙂

    • Everywhereist

      Aw, thanks Jonathon. I’ll admit – being this calm is NOT my style. But it is Rand’s, and I’m trying to respect that.

  • Rand sounds just like my husband: nothing flusters him and everything goes under the bridge. I, too, would’ve been a broken blender at that phone call. And brownie points for respecting his wish and not unleashing a bomb of WTFery on that inn. Though I would be totally pissed, you never know what the story is on the other side.

  • Dear lord how does he do it??!! I called a parking company, for multiple days in a row, spent multiple hours on the phone each day to dispute a $10 ticket…10 dollars!!!! I think I would’ve burned the place down with my eyeballs had it been $545! Hats off! I can’t help but think of the Waterboy movie…looks like we’re just endowed with larger medulla oblongatas than others…

    • Everywhereist

      I am totally the same way, Mandy, over any amount of money. I wave my finger and scream, “IT’S THE PRINCIPLE!” 🙂

      But years ago, when we were swimming in debt, Rand was still exactly the way he is now. It’s kind of amazing.

  • Great post! I’m going stay the hell away from Ashland from now on. (Which is easy enough since I had no plans to go there.) I’m with the people who say that you really ought to vent on tripadvisor, to protect the rest of us from having to go through this, or at the very least to get your credit card to refuse to pay. I don’t care what Rand says.

  • Ken

    I can really respect Rand’s position on this. With great power comes great responsibility after all (has anyone ever compared Rand to Spidey before?) and all it would take is one tweet from either you or him to unleash an army of well-intentioned Moz-fans who could end up burning this hotel’s reputation and rankings to the ground.

    That said, if this is the same hotel in Ashland (I won’t name them on this post as the choice to name them or not is yours to make) that you wrote about 3 years ago and they’ve pulled the same scam on you a second time then it at least warrants a call to report them to the BBB because you can bet you won’t be the only people they’ve done this to in that time and they’ll be relying on people to just wave it off as an honest, one-off mistake and not want the hassle of pursuing it further.

    At the very least I agree with the other commenters about calling your credit card company to dispute the charge, especially in view of the mounting evidence of this being a commonly used fraud tactic.

    You and Rand are very lucky to be able to write this charge off without it putting a major dent in your life (and Yoda knows you guys have had enough dents to deal with recently) but the Dick Move Inn’s other victims might not be so fortunate.

    And it might be worth getting Rand to register just in case he changes his mind later 🙂

    • Everywhereist

      It is not the same hotel as in the past. Interestingly, Rand and I had something similar happen years ago, when we were swimming in debt, and his reaction was much the same. Bottom line: Rand’s reaction to this sort of thing is income-independent (perhaps because we were so deep in debt last time that it made no difference).

      I do think I will write about how this is a common scam, though, that people need to know about.

      • Ken

        Good call. If it’s not the same place then it’s better for you to let that side of it go. If it had been then I’d be strongly suggesting that it’s time to break out the pitchforks and torches.

        But spreading the word that this sort of thing is a commonly used scam and not just a genuine cock-up with one hotel’s reservation system would totally be using your superpowers for good rather than evil.

        • Everywhereist

          Ken – you are totally right. I’m thinking of writing a generic post about the scam itself and how often it happens, so people can protect themselves no matter where they stay. That seems like it would be way more useful, anyway. 🙂

    • Ermel

      OTOH, if you really got scammed by the same inn twice … “fool me once, shame on you — fool me twice, shame on me”, you know. But I don’t think it was the same inn this time. Brain surgery or no brain surgery, THAT you would have remembered, wouldn’t you?

  • Greg

    wow – the comments freakin’ awesome on this one! and i SOOO wanna see! Too funny…

  • Sheila

    Your willingness to let this go at your husband’s request is wonderful, especially if you are anything like me. I can hold a grudge. As a matter of fact there is still an airline I avoid because of their extreme rudeness to my nine year old son for pressing the call button to ask for a pillow while I tried to sleep, and then me when I became frustrated with behavior on New Year’s Day 2002. My guess is that someone on the crew had a bit too much fun on New Year’s Eve, if you know what I mean. I should have known better than to schedule a flight in the morning on New Year’s Day. I should have written the scathing letter I formulated in my head, but I never did. My son is now an adult, and every time I think about that flight, I get aggravated all over again. (By the way, I would have been the first person to scold my child had he been misbehaving–honest!)

    Lastly, I am glad you are recovering well from your surgery. I wish you good health for your future, and I enjoy your articles.

  • Simply wow! Reading the first half of your post made me feel so angry and every fibre of my body was urging you to name the inn. But reading how Rand responded to the entire situation, just gave me so much perspective on life and that our silly quarrelling over issues really isn’t worth it.

  • Janet T

    We had something like this happen to us when we booked a hotel online for a five nights in Laguna Beach. I had a confirmation number and thought we were good to go. When I called the hotel directly to add another night they said reservation? What reservation? I gave them the confirmation etc.. and they said “oh, you booked online you should have called us directly”. (It was booked through their own website, not a generic site) WTH? Why have a website to book reservations if it does not work? Why not just put up a website with their phone number and a sign that says “call us for reservations”
    They managed to accommodate us- but we had to change rooms three times.

    I know that Ashland has a special place in your hearts, but maybe you should try Brookings or somewhere on the Rogue. Lake Shasta maybe? This is two screw-ups now- and you are just one couple- imagine how often it must happen.

    Your husband is amazing. Mine is too, he does not get upset himself ever, but he does enjoy watching me fight the fight, in my quest for what I consider justice.

  • This is fantastic. Thank you for being so honest. That’s why it is so fun to read your blog. This is a perfect line – “Me, I’m all for burning bridges. I toss the match over my shoulder and don’t think twice” – I laughed out loud when I read this. That’s how I feel most of the time but I am doing my best to try and change.

  • Dylan

    I’m still not understanding how you couldn’t have “let it go” while still on vaction and had a good time and then dealt with it (on your own without any impact on Rand other than a $525 credit showing up on your credit card someday) when you got back.

  • Marina

    I understand why you’re not doing it, but I wish you would release their name, what if they try to do this to other people who can’t spare the money?

    • Everywhereist

      Instead, I think I’m going to write a post about this kind of scam in general. I think that would be a lot more helpful.

      • Beth

        I have never heard of this scam before, and I have just had to cancel a few hotels. I’ll be sure to keep the cancellation emails!

        Such a pain and I hope that you were able to enjoy your vacation as well!

  • Shauna

    I read your column without fail and your husband Rand sounds like a perfect gentleman and an absolute gem. More “Rands” would make the world a better place.

    Three thoughts here. 1) The Inn acted illegally and there is no basis in the law for their behavior. If they are doing it to you, they are doing it to others. I feel for the people who have saved months (or even years) to go to the Inn, for which $525 means sacrificing a great deal many things. Unfortunately, your silence perpetuates the Inn’s behavior. They will continue to take advantage of the less advantaged; 2) Dispute the amount on your credit card – for services never received. Rand never needs to know, and you will have a credit by day’s end; 3) You are a clever writer and drop many clues. People will piece the threads together and figure out pretty quickly the establishment responsible for this (Including the Inn — you know you are reading this!!).

    • Everywhereist

      I agree that the world needs more Rands. And I’m afraid I’m not going to contest it behind his back – that sort of dishonesty would not be good for our relationship. The money in question is a lot – it’s a lot to us, too, make no mistake – but in the wake of everything that’s happened, pursuing it would cause us a lot more grief than letting it go. Obviously, if someone else were adversely impacted by the situation, I would do all I could to help them. And that’s why I’m going to write a post about the importance of getting a reservation cancellation. I think that would help a lot more people.

      • Shauna

        Your taking the high road is admirable and a life lesson to us all. I am excited to read your upcoming post. Be well.

      • Kevin

        And yet….

        Even with a cancellation number, what stops the business from saying, “Cancellation number? That’s not one of our cancellation numbers. Your ‘supposed’ cancellation number is ABC123, but our cancellation numbers are 1234ABCD.”

        Bottom line: get it in writing, either email or snail mail. Get the name and phone number of the person who is calling you. Best solution if you can manage it: Make them call you (or you call them) using skype or something similar and record the conversation. Of course, it’s easy to think of all these things after the fact.

        • Everywhereist

          I highly doubt (nor would I expect) anyone would actually record a Skype call about the issue, but I think an email should suffice (esp. if it included a cancellation number).

  • Bruce Werdschinski

    Struth, there’s now a 78% chance that reading your blog brings a tear to my eye. Having a manly reputation to uphold I’m going to have to stop reading it (until the next post).

    Having a wife that’s cuter than puppy tears while I have a personality that would make Genghis Kahn blush your story really hits home. Thinking of all the times I’ve ruined a fun night out or a holiday by channelling Darth Vader when the better option would be to shrug it off.

    Oh well, back to trying to be a better person, wish me luck….

    p.s. Wanted to say a quick hello in person last week during MozCon but didnt know you and Rand were at the Garage until after we’d left. Next year! hehe

  • Sarah

    Geraldine. I think this post really showed your strength of character. I fear that I’m actually much worse than you. I would have tornadoed down there, not only refusing to pay, but also demanding some sort of compensation for my annoyance. I would have then followed up with a furious letter, and maybe even included a little poo in the envelope. I probably would have cried at some point. Bad customer service brings out hopeless irrational RAGE in me. Yeah, compared to Rand I feel like a monster.

    I like your idea of writing a post about scams as opposed to naming and shaming. Reminds of something my dad used to say to me…. ‘In every situation in life you have a choice to be the villain, the victim or the hero”. I’d say you’re definitely taking the ‘hero’ route.

    Anyway, It’s great that you have somebody who is such a calming influence by your side. And it’s awesome to see how much crazy respect you have for him. It’s inspiring.

    • Sheila

      Sarah, what great advice your father gave you. I may use it with my son.

  • Monica

    I hope this isn’t the same place we stay here when we go to Ashland

    Lithia hot springs is the shit. You have the luxury of enjoying the hot springs but actually having to share it with a bunch of naked hippies. Hands down the best beds and bedding ever. Best night of sleep I’ve had a in a long time here. And the grounds are stunning with all times of flowers. Also have to say the breakfast (which is included) was surprisingly tasty. And my boyfriend loved the jar of peanut butter cookies in the reception area. He even made me go back there after we got to our room to grab him more cookies.

  • ZippyPam

    Oh dear. I feel so for you. I hope you are doing well after your surgery. I understand Rand’s wish to put the whole thing aside because of the stress lately. However, maybe your anger and concerns might create a larger problem for you. I think your wishes trump his right now (sorry Rand). At any rate, the easy way to resolve the whole thing has already been suggested – dispute it with the credit card company. Someone is a whole lot faster on the draw than I. Please do it just to assure that perhaps it won’t be so quickly tried on another poor soul. What kind of a place behaves like that? I think a lovely note on TripAdvisor is in order.

    Oh, and I don’t think being scammed by some nasty hotel and agreeing to it should grant anyone sainthood or knighthood. Sorry. I think it was just a matter of too much stress in your lives to deal with any more. They don’t deserve your money. They don’t deserve to be protected.

    • Everywhereist

      Well, he deserves sainthood for all the other times he’s handled tough things with grace and patience. And for dealing with me on a daily basis. 🙂 That alone should get him canonized.

  • I’ll try to explain my rationale in brief (on a phone during a biz trip in SF so typing may not be perfect).

    Basically, I love Ashland and I have long term plans/hopes to buildpositive ties with the community there. Thus, I don’t want to jeopardize over something trivial like this. For those who say the amount is non-trivial, I agree, but it depends. For most of my life, $500 would be outrageous. But recently, we’ve been very lucky to where we can afford it.

    Meanwhile, if the small hotelier is going to take it out of an employees paycheck or out of their own income (where margins may not be great), it may be far less “trivial” to that other party.

    This may seem privileged or entitled, and perhaps it is. But I really appreciate Geraldine’s empathy and disgression. If anyone’s to blame for the fact that we’re keeping identity anonymous, it’s me.

    Also, it’s a good lesson that having written/email communication confirming this stuff is important.

    G – I love you and I loved this post. I’ll be home really late tonight (flight from SF lands around 10:30pm

  • Celeste

    Ahhhh…the dick move post I’ve been waiting for! 🙂 (And as expected, it was worth every day I waited.) Rand is clearly a rockstar, but give yourself a little credit. Your patient, persistent, and respectful responses to so many of these dick post replies are what’s amazing me right now! 😉

  • Well, Sister, if you new me you couldn’t, but since you don’t you can take consolation in that YOU ARE A MUCH BIGGER PERSON THAN I AM! I may not be able to sleep tonight. Seriously. #$#$^%^&$^!

  • Jay

    My husband never gets worked up… I always do. Sometimes I even get angry at him for not getting angry. Had this happened to me, I would have lost one night’s sleep as I composed a letter where they could feel my daggers stabbing them. My husband would have slept soundly, got up and went to work as if nothing happened.
    In the end, I think we’re both lucky to have someone keep us grounded… even if it is a bit annoying 😉

  • My dad and your husband must be cut from the same cloth. Once when I was upset about something pretty minor he stopped me and calmly said, “What were you upset about on this exactly day last year?”

    I don’t subscribe to the WWJD movement…mine is WWSD (What Would Stan Do?).

    • Everywhereist

      That’s SUCH a cool expression. I like the WWSD movement. 🙂

  • Angie

    ^ It was nice to see your husband’s actual point of view. Consideration for an employee’s well-being who may not be at fault is very noble. I also agree that, for your health, fighting battles and getting into a fit of rage is not in your best interest.

    I liked the above poster’s comment about being the victim, the villain or the hero, but I think that unless you are certain this won’t continue happening to other people and was an honest mistake, you are still just being victimized (not trying to incite you). While I can understand your point of view, do you both feel confident that this won’t happen to others?

    • Everywhereist

      I think the bigger issue is that I’m not certain it wasn’t an honest mistake. It seems wrong to tarnish someone’s reputation over my own speculation of their guilt. But more importantly, I don’t think that me revealing the name of the hotel will protect others from the same fate.

      How many people who visit Ashland read my blog?

      How many people who read my blog visit Ashland?

      The percentage is very small. We’d have to assume that someone would not only fall into category, but they’d have to pick my hotel, cancel their reservation, and also be subject to the same scenario that Rand and I are in. We’d also have to assume that because I didn’t reveal the hotel’s name, I’m somehow stopping future victims (if there even are any) from doing a charge back or doing something to get their money back (which I am not).

      By this estimation, anyone who has a bad experience and doesn’t write a negative review about it is somehow culpable for all future negative experiences at a place. And I just don’t think that’s true.

      • Angie

        Fair enough :-). I just meant following up with management. I’m not in the camp of actually outing them.

        I read your blog for entertainment value and because I enjoy travel. I don’t know that I ever gleaned any actual travel-advice from you (no offense!)… so I definitely understand your issue with that.

        Are you feeling better, by the way?

        • Everywhereist

          Hooray for even-handed and logical debate. You are awesome, Angie. Thanks for hearing my side of things. 🙂

          I might follow up with management, in light of your thoughts. 🙂

          And you are totally right – my blog isn’t about travel advice. It’s about my experiences with travel. So it’s kind of funny when I get called out as a bad travel journalist. I want to scream, “I never promised to do anything but eat cake!”

          I am feeling better. My head still hurts and my incision spot still hurts. But I’m really touched that you asked. This make my day. Thank you. 🙂

  • It’s a lot easier to rage in your comments about what you should do than to actually be in your shoes and have to do it. Now for my hypocrisy:

    I agree with other commenters that you should make the name of the hotel public. It’ll save other people from having a similar experience and will increase the amount of business that good hotels in Ashland receive. If anything, it’ll be good for the Ashland community.

    The behavior of the hotel indicates to me a systemic customer service issue: they maintain a broken website, don’t keep records of their reservations changes, and always err in their favor rather than the customer’s. I would hate to give this place my business over another Ashland hotel, and would hate even more to experience this firsthand.

    I also agree that doing a chargeback sounds very fair, though if I were in your shoes, I might just want to drop it like you.

    Rand would make a great Llama. He should consider converting and spreading enlightenment throughout the lands.

  • Melissa K

    I was just telling my mom about this post (more or less something to do with that I side with you, and my boyfriend would be like Rand) and she looks at me wide eyed. Apparently, just a week ago she had a bad runin with an Inn in Ashland (she’s not 100% of the name off the top of her head, so I won’t speculate here) – where my step dad made the reservation online, and while she was an hour away they called her to say they didn’t have any more pet-friendly rooms. She didn’t have a pet. The guy looked at her with an eye and said “you know its a $200 fine if you bring a pet” – she really didn’t have a pet. After 20 minutes or so of this back and forth and legal-jargon run-on they finally must’ve taken her word because they ended up giving her a room. I sincerely hope this company (or maybe even city?) figures this whole customer service thing out! Yikes!

    Just had a good chuckle though, cause I had no idea she even stayed in Ashland last week 😉

    • Everywhereist

      Oh, man. That IS hilarious. She should have picked up a stuffed toy dog on the way down. Just to screw with ’em. 😉

  • I really like Rand’s response to this. Because no-one was thinking about the employee that was at fault for this and how this could have come out of said employee’s paycheck. That said, the employee was a dick but I think about if I was in my twenties (not that this employee is…it’s completely my assumption) and if I had to pay $500 for my mistake with little income, I’d be devastated. So that’s a very kind gesture on Rand’s behalf.

    I don’t know if I would be able to withhold a grudge personally, but I think it’s a good lesson in getting everything in writing (if it’s one thing I learned in HR, it’s that). And I really do believe that this gesture will come back to you in good karma. I also think it’s really nice of you Geraldine to grant Rand’s requests at not disclosing the hotel and letting it go. A good lesson in compromise too. P.S. Can you clone Rand and ship him to Canada?

    I would be interested to hear what the Ombudsman at Conde Nast would say about this, however.

    • Everywhereist

      I think that he was really considering that. His take was, “I can afford this more than she can right now,” and he even said that to me. A lot of folks have noted that this makes us sound entitled, but I think it really shows that Rand cares about those around him, and has a profound empathy that guides a lot of his actions.

      • Janet T

        Not that it will change Rand one iota, but it is illegal In Oregon and many other states to take money out of employee’s paychecks for mistakes that are made on the job, even if it cost the company money. So no worries there.

  • RunnerJane

    Okay, here’s my take:

    I don’t think you have an obligation to publish the name of the inn. I do think it’s great to publish your experience in terms of warning travelers of a potential scam. Even if the Inn wasn’t involved in a larger scam, other places very well could be, and as such, a general warning does a service to all. If this Inn is involved in a scam, then I definitely would not give a thought to the hotel’s profit margin like Rand mentions above.

    I think where some people take issue is not necessarily with your approach, but the tone of this post and Rand’s response. I totally get that you’ve had a lot going on, and often it’s just easier and less emotionally draining to let it go, especially if you can afford it. I’ve been there myself. It’s also great that you can part with $500 and attribute that to keeping peace in your marriage and life. You’ve worked hard to get to that point and you shouldn’t be ashamed of that. However, many people can’t afford not to lose that much on a vacation, and could very well be wondering “gosh, does the fact that I’d need to dispute this (especially in today’s economy), at least with my credit company, make me a bad, petty person, even given that I have my own other emotionally draining stuff to deal with?”

    So in sum, I don’t disagree with your methods or reasons, just a little bit with the tone in which they were presented.

    • Everywhereist

      Jane –

      Wow. Thank you.

      Yours is a totally fair and valid comment, and I’m really grateful for it. I was a little confused as to why folks hated this post as much as they did, and your insightful words shed light on that. My intention was never to suggest that someone who pursued action against this hotel was a bad person. Instead, I wanted to highlight how Rand dealt with the situation vs. how I did. I think that he had the right attitude – and I know that even if he had chosen to dispute the charges, he had the right attitude. He didn’t get angry, he didn’t yell, and he tried to see the hotel’s side of things, and how he might have been responsible. I think that in any disagreement, that’s what someone should do.

      And I think I had the wrong attitude – I wanted to yell, and scream, and pull my hair out and shout to high heavens. And even though we didn’t pursue the issue, that was the wrong attitude. In the end, I deferred to judgment and decided not to force the hotel to pay us back for lots of reasons, none of which were “I think $500 is not a lot of money.” Because I do think it is a profound amount. When I met Rand, it was my rent. When we moved into our first place together, $500 was a 2-week paycheck.

      I even told him that we should call the hotel and tell them to donate the money. Because I couldn’t stand the idea that they were keeping it. We both knew that wouldn’t work, though. Most small businesses don’t have the sort of resources that enable them to do that. So we let the issue go, and we realize how profoundly lucky we are to be able to do that.

      I noted that time and again – how frigging lucky Rand and I feel. It’s a recurring theme of my blog, too. How damn lucky I am to have the life that I do. But I think that message got confused in this post.

      If I have someone suggested that the financial woes of the world around me are not significant or not worth caring about, that was not my intention. Thank you for bringing light to how my words might have been misconstrued.

  • Michelle

    Wow, that really sucks, I feel mad on your behalf.

  • Rick

    So very glad the world has people like you and Rand in it. The Yin and Yang couple, through whom we can vicariously rant *and* experience Zen calm. Awesome!

    P.S. I’m moving to Seattle soon (sans job, so that oughta be fun). Every time I’ve visited, it’s been sunny. In for a surprise, aren’t I?

  • I am sad and embarrassed that not one, but TWO hotels in my usually sweet town of Ashland, Oregon have wronged you and Rand. On a different, but related note, I I saw Rand walking through town on the above mentioned visit, and wanted to say hello, but was worried that he might think I was some weird kind of stalker…..”you don’t know me, but I know all about you…..”

  • You have a wonderful husband.

    My husband is similarly nice, forgiving, and willing to let things go–unlike his psycho blood-letting (his words) wife. And nothing infuriates me more than when someone takes advantage of my husband’s kindness and willingness to let things go. I can definitely empathize with you in this scenario.

  • Lori

    My husband and I have a similar relationship and I do want to point out (without touching on the right/wrong of how you handled this situation) that the way you respond to these kinds of things is easy to explain: temperament.

    Rand is a phlegmatic, he is calm and rolls with the punches. You are a choleric, you are outspoken, value justice above all, and you are not afraid to take action against injustice. The choleric wife/phlegmatic husband is a very, very common pairing (I know, I’m in one of those marriages myself – just celebrated 18 years in June).

    It’s a very good pairing as long as both sides understand how the other works – Rand’s laid back nature can be good or bad, depending on the situation, just as your desire for justice can be as well. You do balance each other out, just as you said, but neither temperament is “better” than the other. The world needs both, and you can both learn from each other.

    So glad you are better, and thanks for the “cancellation number” tip!

  • jen

    if the call came in on one of your cell phones, you could prove it with your cell phone bill. cell phone bills show almost every number, whether it was incoming or outgoing call. i don’t know how landline phone bills work anymore (whether they show incoming numbers or not). i realize you are letting this go, but perhaps this tip could help you or some of your readers out should anyone find themselves in a similar situation. 😉

    love your blog, btw!

  • Siobhan

    I don’t understand. Did you pay with a credit card? Why not just dispute the charges? That is the beauty of paying with a credit card, especially Amex.

  • I would not have been able to stay calm during that kind of ordeal. The stupidity of others usually infuriates me anyways, but I just entered perimenopause and if this happened to me today I would probably actually morph into a black hole of “bitch”. I can’t believe they tried to charge you 1400 for a reservation that they had cancelled! Haha, see, my anger is already bubbling. Menopause makes it incredibly difficult to remain calm. Luckily, I recently watched a wonderful documentary called “Hot Flash Havoc” that really answered a lot of my questions and helped me to understand what I was going through, and figure out treatment. I would definitely recommend this film to anyone going through this, you can check it out here if you’re interested:

  • “There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot.” – Plato

    However, that is a major dick move. Rand seems to have incredible tolerance. I would have been with you in the angry corner.

  • As an Ashland local, I’d like to know what inn this was so I know not to direct out-of-town guests to them.

  • I can relate to the Tasmanian devil in you. Problem is, I don’t have a Rand to balance me. My partner is Tasmanian devil after 4 cans of RedBull if/when someone tries to take advantage of us.

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