Thomas Sowell

Since my bathrobe was a white, terry-cloth robe and the hotel's robes were a light tan and made of a different material, I thought there was no danger that one would be mistaken for the other. But I was wrong.

Just how wrong I discovered when, after a long delay, late at night when I wanted to get to sleep, a man appeared with a large bag containing two bathrobes. Apparently their search had also turned up another guest's bathrobe that the maids had taken. It looked even less like the hotel's bathrobe than mine did.

Something as simple as turning on a light can be a puzzle at some hotels. Again, the fatal allure of the fancy seems to be the problem with people who choose things to put in hotel rooms. Moreover, it is not uncommon for different lamps in the same hotel room to have different fancy ways of being turned on.

Years ago, at a hotel where I stayed for a week, it was only on the last day that I finally figured out, or stumbled on, the way to turn one of the floor lamps off and on.

Since I was very busy on that trip, I didn't feel like adding this to the list of things to phone the front desk about, especially late at night, when I was more interested in getting to sleep than in waiting for some technician to show up and unravel the mystery.

After my misadventures in Los Angeles, I was off to San Diego, where a hotel maid had to replace a light bulb in the bedroom and a technician had to fix a lamp in the living room. Later I had to fix a toilet that kept running after being flushed. I once had a toilet like that at home, so I knew what to do. But I replaced my malfunctioning toilet at home, unlike the hotel.

No amount of fancy things makes up for hassles.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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