Friday, September 16, 2016

Almost Stiffed

“This is one time the hotel will not be able to charge the bill,” reported the manager one evening when he called about a Middle-Eastern family.

Since I usually collect from the guest, I assured him that that was not a problem.

He connected me to the room where I spoke to someone whose English was not good. The speaker or perhaps someone else had an allergy or maybe a rash that needed a cream. Did I know the proper cream?.... After much to and fro they decided I should come at 11 a.m. the following day.

The guest who answered the door showed me a rash on her neck. It was a simple contact dermatitis. I explained and handed her a tube of cortisone cream. That, of course, was the easy part.

The room was a luxurious suite. The patient was Philippine, so I knew she was a servant. It was disturbing to notice that she was alone. I suspected she did not expect to pay; sure enough, she looked puzzled when I presented my invoice and more puzzled when I explained that the hotel would not pay.

I passed an uncomfortable ten minutes as she noodled with her cell phone, trying to reach her employers. Had they deliberately absented themselves to avoid paying? It might not have been deliberate; sometimes extremely rich people never concern themselves with paying for stuff because it’s always taken care of.

She asked if she could call the hotel. I shrugged, resigned to being stiffed. But it turned out the current manager had no objection to charging the bill.

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