Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pay Per View


While on our recent trip to San Francisco, my wife and I spent several nights at the Hyatt Hotel located beside Fisherman’s Warf. The room was comfortable, the location was ideal, and the staff was infinitely courteous. I would later test the boundaries of this courtesy and discover that nothing fazes the front desk employees.

One afternoon we decided to stop back by the hotel in order to freshen up and change clothes after our morning tour of the city. Toying with the idea of calling it an early night and watching a movie in the room, I turned on the TV and looked through some of the tittles. As expected, they were outrageously expensive and we remained unconvinced that the convenience was worth the fee.

Like all reputable hotel chains, they also offered adult film choices which they coyly advertised by showing a woman in a robe drawing the curtains to her bedroom (presumably for some carnal pursuit or a homicide). This scene was accompanied by spoken instructions on accessing said films and the assurance that no movie titles would appear on your final bill.

My wife snickered and wondered aloud if that was really true or if they just told you that because you were more likely to pay if they could embarrass you with the titles later. I half-kiddingly suggested that I should go to the front desk and clarify this promise of viewing anonymity. My wife bet me that I would never be able to carry out such a mission and we set about finding the most awkwardly-titled adult film they offered.

There were several worthy contenders that I will not mention here (as I already get enough questionable Google search referrals from my Why Are Drug Reps Hot? article) but we unanimously decided on a promising motion picture called “Tits Ahoy!” both due to its clever word-play and its implied nautical theme.

As my wife suspected, I lacked the fortitude to actually go to the front desk in person so we decided on a compromise: I would call the front desk from the room and put the employee on speakerphone so my wife could hear the exchange. After one ring, I was greeted by a matronly voice that I knew belonged to one of the women (who I will refer to as Rosacea) that was manning the front desk when we checked in the previous day. After she greeted me as Mrs. Taylor (the room was in my wife’s name) I calmly asked if movie titles appeared on the bill.

She soothingly replied that no movie titles would appear on the final bill as per the hotel’s policy. Our conversation continued as follows:

Me:  Rosacea, let me lay out a completely hypothetical scenario for you.
Rosacea: Sure thing Mr. Taylor
Me: Let’s suppose, for argument’s sake, that I wish to view some of your adult titles…
Rosacea: Go on……
Me: …And it is imperative that my purchase of these films remains undocumented in any way. Is that something that you can help me with?
Rosacea: Absolutely Mr. Taylor!
Me: Now I wish to be completely clear on this. If I were to order, say, “Tits Ahoy!” from the pay-per-view service only the term “In-Room Entertainment” would appear on the bill because I am really leaning toward that one.
Rosacea: I can assure you that after you purchase and enjoy Tits Ahoy there will be nothing on the bill to suggest the nature of the film.
Me: Rosacea, it is refreshing to discover such wonderful customer service.
Rosacea: In fact, Mr. Taylor, we can even remove the charge from your bill completely and you can come downstairs and pay for Tits Ahoy in cash so that no extraneous charges will be billed to your employer….
Me: Oh sure, I can’t have my “employer” finding out about this. What if I come down later and pay for it after my “employer” has gone to sleep?
Rosacea: That will not be a problem Mr. Taylor. Enjoy your stay!

We were so impressed with her professionalism that I almost filled out a comment card demanding a pay raise for Rosacea but I was unable to decide how I would describe our conversation. In the end we did stay in and decided to order “Limitless” and after it was over I found myself grateful that no one at the front desk would know I paid $12 to watch it.

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