Monday, June 27, 2005

"I got my backbone back"

That was the message I called and left on the answering machine Tuesday night upon arriving in Chicago. Wouldn't make sense to anyone but my husband who when he called back simply asked "so who pissed you off?".

So here is the story. Before leaving for Chicago I was in tears, crying to my husband that since the accident 2 months early I feel like a completely different person, that I do everything I can to avoid confrontation and that I just want other people to take care of everything. This coming from someone who is always opnionated, outspoken and doesn't mind confrontation. I NEVER cry, it isn't me (well at least not until 2 months ago). It was as if I lost my backbone.

Upon arriving in Chicago and arriving at the hotel (that I had called an confirmed our reservation at the day before) we were told the hotel was OVERBOOKED and we didn't have a room. The manager told us they had made alternate arrangements for us and for us to go to this other hotel about 10 minutes away. I pressed him for details, but he wouldn't say anything, only that I would find out when I got to the other hotel and if I had any problems that he would do whatever it took to make it right.

I was STEAMING. I had gotten everyone out of the van, the little ones were crabby, when had sat in traffic around Chicago for hours and I was at the end of my rope. We went down the road, I was mumbling and ranting the whole way. When we got to the other hotel I explained that I was sent from TownePlace and the woman at the desk, Diane, cheerfully checked us in. She then commented that TownePlace was paying for one night of our stay and then tells me that I owe is over $400 for the other 3 nights. WAIT A MINUTE....the rate I was quoted when I booked my reservation was $89 a night, why was it so much? She answers their room rate is $129 a night! I tell her "no, I am only paying $89 a night, that was what I was promised". Surprisingly she AGREES and adjusts the rate. Then as we finish up and she hands me the keys, I asks about breakfast (TownePlace had a free breakfast) and she tells me breakfast is $9.95 PER PERSON! I just about lost it. Knowing she had no control over what was going on, I called TownePlace back and asked to talk to the manager, Ron Shelton.

The first 2 times I called Ron couldn't come to the phone. The third time I called I refused to hang up until he talked to me. When he got on the phone I asked him what he was planning to do to "make this right", since I hadn't planned on buying breakfast each day. His solution was for us to drive the 10 minutes to his hotel to eat. I told him it wouldn't work, that I wasn't dragging two toddlers and the other girls to his hotel and that he needed to provide and pay for our breakfast at the new hotel since he had sent us there. He hemmed and hawed for a few minutes and I then asked if I needed to call corporate because I would be happy to. He then said they would pay for it but I told him I would not hang up with him until he spoke with the manager at the new hotel. He did and it was taken care of.

As the other displaced families arrived I made sure they were aware that they needed to contact him to have him take care of thier room rate and breakfast (they were all charged the higher rate and not given breakfast). Ironically once the 5 families called and demanded the same deal, he didn't send ANYONE else to that property but to another hotel.

I still am not happy about the whole thing. The point of the trip was "TEAM" building and because my girls weren't with their teammates it didn't happen. The rooms didn't have the kitchen like we were supposed to, adding to my food bill. There was no fridge to keep our drinks cold. The rooms at the original hotel were nice, new, remodeled with new beds, spacious bathrooms and living space, ours was OLD with uncomfortable beds and had peeling wallpaper in the bathrooms. The hotel was noisy and unfortunately we were directly across for the icemachine that was LOUD. We were also 10 minutes further from the competition. Figures I have to drive a gas guzzler, doesn't it?

The only pluses...we had the pool to ourselves and the buffet breakfast with cooked to order omlets and waffles far surpassed the "cold" complimentary breakfast the other hotel offered.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Okay, well I'm glad you stood up for yourself, but I'm sorry I didn't know you were coming to town! Turns out I met up with Sarah from Poppins Classical academy this weekend so wouldn't it have been cool to have a homeschool blogger convention of just us three? Well,you sound pretty busy though! Hope you get relax a bit.

Kim
relaxed homeskool bradley.chicago.il.us/kim/

Laura said...

Oh it sounds like SO MUCH FUN! I wish I would have thought to post before I left....somedays I would forget my head if it wasn't attached!