The Business Of Vacations
One reason I plan my vacations in September is to take advantage of reduced travel rates. Usually, hotels are cheaper, as well as gas. Of course that didn't happen THIS year thanks to that [insert your favorite expletive] Hurricane Ike. Gas spiked about 50 cents a gallon the week that I was on the road a couple weeks ago.
Wonderful. I assuaged my financial pain somewhat by visiting local brewpubs in the Upper Peninsula. Wendy and I have a pamphlet produced by http://www.michiganbrewersguild.org/findbeer.asp of all the microbreweries in Michigan and we've made a point of trying to visit as many as we can. Michigan businesses need our support, especially in the Upper Peninsula which relies so much on tourism. That's not going so well with today's economy. I'm doing my part to help.
When we dine and quaff at these establishments, I like to order the sampler tray of fresh brews. I included a couple pictures. Very pretty, yes? The food at these places is usually good too. At the Jasper Ridge Brewing Company in Ishpeming I ordered the Miner Burger, which included a quarter-pound beef patty as well as a quarter pound cudighi patty (yes, Big Dave got bigger on vacation unfortunately).
Didn't even know what a cudighi patty was until afterwards (a type of Italian sausage). But I was able to enjoy something new and now I know what type of burger the miners ate in the Upper Peninsula. I always thought it was a pastie-burger. So I got some education too.
Back to the business of vacations, I like to try to save a few bucks by picking up one of those hotel coupon booklets they stock at the welcome centers. I found a Holiday Inn coupon advertising a $69 room rate for a room that ordinarily runs over $100 a night. When I arrived at the Holiday Inn though, I found the lobby packed. Other people there for business meetings were checking in. Here I'm concentrating on taking care of the business of my vacation while they're there just taking care of business. Doesn't seem right.
So this white-haired nattily dressed may stood next to me trying to check in himself. He had reserved two rooms at the Inn. Or so he thought. The desk clerk could find nothing for him, even though the businessman said his wife had "pre-checked in" that morning before the businessman himself had arrived in town.
But the desk clerk could not find the reservation and the hotel was filling up fast. When I got my room, the clerk said there were only two left in the whole place. The business guy was clearly becoming frustrated.
"You think that a plan is coming together, and this happens," he groused.
The desk clerk checked the spelling of the man's name. Nothing close. Maybe the last name was put in as the first name? Nope. Maybe the wife checked in under her own name? Not that either. Could the man call his wife on her cell phone to verify that she had checked in at this hotel?
"She doesn't have a cell phone," the man sighed. He wore an increasingly pained expression, as did the desk clerk trying to help him. Good thing I didn't get in his line. They had already been trying to check him in for some time. She even tried looking for his credit card number in the reservation system. No luck there either.
As I was leaving, he was riffling through the papers in his briefcase. "I have a confirmation number somewhere," he said. "Let me try to find it. My secretary made the reservation."
Can anyone guess how this ended?
[ADDENDUM: The reservation was under the secretary's name. After the boss mentioned she made the reservation, the front desk clerk made the connection and asked for her name. Sure enough, two rooms under the name of C. Johnson.]