Private Hell

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Generic's picture
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There should be a private hell for people who go into places marked PRIVATE.

Guest went through my private cupboard and took and used towels. A single... with two sets in their own room... but they had to go through my private cupboard marked "PRIVATE" and worse, there is a sign right over the towels that says that items taken from the cupboard will be considered STOLEN! And yet, used them and acted as if it was normal.

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There are always a couple scenarios, when people feel right at home, which is our goal, isn't it? They wander around in a bathrobe or pjs.  Like being in your home, they think they can do whatever they want.

Then those with no boundaries, and the snoopers, they will get into anything and everything just because.

Then the law breakers, you say NO and that means DO IT!

Then those who just simply think they can sneak something and not get caught, as they are paying to stay there.

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Madeleine's picture
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Joey Bloggs wrote:

There are always a couple scenarios, when people feel right at home, which is our goal, isn't it?

I was 'closing up shop' one night and came out into the living room to turn off the computer. A guest had rearranged the living room to suit herself. She had moved some decorative items because they blocked her view. She had changed the furniture as well. What did she say to me?

'I moved those things because they were in my way.'

In the morning I just put them all back the way I wanted them. But, yes, people settle in and decide this or that would look better here or there. I can see moving a lamp so you can see better but taking down the decorative items and moving the furniture?

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I have a heavy antique floor lamp in the guest living room that has special memories for me because I rescued it from a basement with my father before he died.  It is very top heavy with a lovely glass shade that is tenuously perched on the top of the tall narrow base.  So I just about croaked last week when I walked into the guest living room to find one of our guests had decided to move the lamp rather than turn on the bright sconces near the chair he was reading in. I'm afraid I was not very gracious about it and requested that he leave the lamp there so we could safely move it back.

He was nonplussed....and had basically rearranged the bedroom furniture as well. Usually, when folks rearrange things something gets scratched or broken.  But I suppose they figure that  they can do whatever they want with the space while they are paying for it.   I would be really ticked off if any one started to rearrange pictures on the walls.

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Generic's picture
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Had a guest move a chair from one room to another. As we cleaned up, we moved it back. When the guest came back, she started yelling at us about it. It was apparently okay for her to move it from another room, but not for us to move our property back to where it belonged.

Madeleine's picture
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This is why I don't put out treasured mementos. We do have our oddball collections on display but if something got broken it wouldn't hurt too much.

Breakfast Diva's picture
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I had someone totally rearrange our cottage. Kitchen cupboards had everything moved around, pots and pans, etc. Furniture in the living room totally rearranged, books moved, art work on walls, etc. I was furious. Most of the time we put things where they are for a reason. These are people who had stayed with us before in other rooms. They were always a pain, but this was the straw. They are no longer able to book with us.

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Any "Newbies" reading this forum topic, take note:  

Innkeeper's quarters separate from guest's quarters =GOOD

Innkeeper's quarters not separated from guest's quarters=BAD

If you are building from scratch,  take this into account.   The only time guests are in our private home is during breakfast.

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PS

and we did put locks on the common linen/storage areas.  Oh, yes, they will pilfer!

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Here, here and double here!  our house is divided (no pun intended)  - yes,literally our house is divided so that guests have their own separate space - including the dining area.  This took some time to evolve, but in the end it saved our sanity, and our guests, too, I imagine!

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We are similar.  Actually two different houses joined in the middle.  Two staircases at opposite ends of the house.  Check in reception desk in the middle.  Guests have one side, we have the other.  Privacy for all. 

 

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Put a lock on the cupboard. 

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Generic's picture
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If I could find a way to have a hidden lock, then maybe. But it's a set of double doors that swing from the centre. 

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I have a cabinet like that in my butler's pantry. (Between my dining room & kitchen and behind a swinging door marked "Private".)  It became our liquor cabinet when opened the biz and we were able to put a keyed lock on it.  We didn't want anyone wandering into the kitchen and getting into that cabinet after we had gone to our quarters, or even if we were elsewhere in the house!  surprise  I also have a cabinet upstairs where I stored turndown chocolates and some other amenity things that I didn't want guests to get into that has a similar lock. 

I do have an upstairs linen closet with a bifold door that I hung a private sign on and never noticed that anything went missing.  I guess we were lucky...

gillumhouse's picture
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A hasp with a padlock; a padlock with a long loop (have one on my shed);a chain with lock

Generic's picture
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Let me ask you this... how would you feel if you saw that in the shared bathroom?

gillumhouse's picture
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Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

Let me ask you this... how would you feel if you saw that in the shared bathroom?

You did not say it was in the shared bathroom. You just said it was in a closet marked PRIVATE. In that instance, I think I would go to the hardware store and look for a different type handles (lockable) for the doors or else I would just accept that towels in a bathroom are considered towels FOR the bathroom. I have a market basket in the shared bathroom filled  with so many extra towels that they do not have to go looking for towels.

Generic's picture
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They are on a shelf, piled 6 high, put in so that the only way to remove one is to remove them all. That tightly. The sign is taped in front of them. And the door is marked private. We didn't want to put a lock on it in the bathroom because of the look. Today they are now taped into the shelf in green tape with the sign in front of that tape.

There are towels in their bedrooms. We don't store towels in the bathroom for guests. Since it is shared between two rooms, we worried about towels strolling away in luggage.

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I know what you mean about the look of locks vs a small 'private' sign. I will hazard a guess that the guest was in deshabille and discovered she did not have a towel with her so she looked in the cupboard. (Benefit of the doubt is much easier at a remove!)

I am probably more curious about something that is locked vs something that isn't. A doorway in a hall with no signage? Does not even attract attention. One with any kind of sign screams 'read the sign'! And then piques the interest.

 

Generic's picture
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I figured that they look in, because people love to snoop. But the sign normally is enough to keep people out. And if they open it, realize how organized it is and that we would know if anything is missing. Especially considering that you have to stretch so high and use two hands (if not a step stool) to get at these towels. And then pull them OVER the sign.

Well, now they have tape in front of them as well. So now it will be a royal mess if they try to take one

PS: I ignore the fact that they look in, for the sake of my sanity. I want to imagine that they don't. It's only the realization of them breaking the unspoken rule of actually taking something that bothers me. Maybe I should talk to a contractor and have them replace the shelves with actual locking cabinets. That way, if they look it, all they see are the cabinets that they can't get into anyway. (Or maybe hang a rubber bat in front of the door... it might be cheaper and funnier, because they can't really complain to us about it, can they?)

Madeleine's picture
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How about a little bell? Like the ones that used to be inside a shop door? They only ring when the door is opened. I have decorative bells on all the outside doors because I can't see the doors  and I need to know if someone is coming in from my deck or my house door. I also have one on the inn door because guests don't always close the door all the way.

You could mount a bell on the inside of the door. It might be enough to make someone realize that you may be able to hear them rootling around.

Or, get a small lock.

Oh, hey, do what we did for the cupboards in the kitchen...baby locks. You can't see them from the outside but the door doesn't open when you pull on it. Leave the 'private' sign and install the baby locks. You get 2 magnets in the kit. Very simple installation. We did the whole kitchen in a few hours.

Baby locks

Really restored our sanity!

Generic's picture
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Might be an idea. I still like the idea of a camera that posts their picture on the web. Of course, being a bathroom, eventually, I would get some X rated ones.

On the other hand, if you open a cupboard and see a camera pointed right at you, that has GOT to be one embarrassing situation to live down. Maybe a dummy camera? 

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Once upon a time there was a B&B nearby that did that. They got shut down when a guest went looking for the innkeeper, found him in his office and realized the picture on his computer screen was of her bathroom. All her stuff in plain view. He SAID it was a security camera.

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In 16 years I have never had a towel take a walk. Now my keys travel more than I do, but they USUALLY find their way home again.

Generic's picture
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I have beautiful silverware that I never use. I don't know how many sets of cutlery that I have bought. I try to buy them plain, so I can get "matching" pieces, because they just seem to melt away; teaspoons especially, but lately it has been forks. We've lost the rodent attached to the shared computer once. The travel book for the city, in which one was our first time in the book! I don't bother counting umbrellas that have walked. And yes, every once in a while a towel. Though, I also have one that clearly had the tag from the hotel where they stole it, stay here after they left. It must have been the name, they saw it says "Sher..." and though, oh, they want to share it with me. 

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What is it with the spoons anyway? We've bought 3 different sets of silverware since we've been here. Mostly because the dishwasher really messed up the 2 plain sets we bought. We have now gone to a set with a pattern that doesn't show the water marks as badly as quickly.

Anyhoo, the last set we had we were down about 6 teaspoons at the end. I would have to wash spoons to reset the tables on very busy mornings!

Coffee mugs. I keep trying to buy the ones without legs so they'll stay put but they grow legs after putting them out on the shelf! Sure they make great advertising, but please buy one! DH obsesses about missing mugs. He'll look all over the house and then go outside to find them.

When we got the new mugs (different color) we put out 12 of the one color and 12 of the other. Well, I know which color guests like best because we are now working on 18 of one color and 6 of the other!

I thought if we had a little sign on the bulletin board that said the mugs were for sale then the theft would slow down. Nope. Got worse.

When we are cleaning I cannot leave the room until DH has found all the towels. I have to look under the beds, in the closet, in the beds, everywhere. I will not look in a guest's suitcase and I have to tell DH to 'let it go' or he would go thru everything.

Most of the time we get them all back at the end of the stay. No idea where the guest was hiding them, but they're all on the floor the last morning. We do have a whole basket of 'beach' towels right by the front door so I don't think the bath towels are leaving to go swimming. But where they hide them, I don't know!

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We buy them at that Dutch store with a Swedish name and Chinese goods.... They sell a set (Dragon) where you can buy either a whole set or half a dozen spoons (or salad forks). We also buy the parfait spoons from them because they are very useful for us for making things like parfaits with the extra long ends. I guess I am going to have to pick up another set next time I go or we will be forkless.

I'm down to just enough forks and then entree forks (appetizer forks in the US). I also bought demi-tasse spoons that we leave in a jar on the table for jam and such so that people don't cross contaminate stuff.

But I wish I had NFC tags on those spoons and forks. Set up a detector at the door that rings louder and louder as you approach the door with them.

Madeleine's picture
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Once upon a time, I think the OO's had the linen stored in a guest room. They had a very small keyed lock with a hasp on the door. We reno'd that closet into a clothes closet for guests and I removed the lock because it was confusing guests (they thought they couldn't use the closet).

It was small and just screwed into the wooden, louvered doors. That might work.

Generic's picture
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Thanks. I will look for that. Might not be available here, but when I drive down south, I'll try HD or Lowes.

seashanty's picture
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 rude, rude, rude ...

like the person who used my bathroom off the kitchen which did serve as guest restroom if absolutely necessary.  it was not labeled as a restroom, you'd have to open the door to see what it was.  anywho ... person took ALL my feminine hygiene products and left me nada but empty boxes.   i was so upset, i came on here and went ballistic.  what else could i do?  yell at all the guests in the house?  then some angel on here sent me a chocolate goodie basket.  wow!!  i'll never forget that kindness.

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Madeleine's picture
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OK that one was bad, but the TP in the suitcase lady was a riot.

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Sorry that happened to you. Gets my dander up too!

I actually have a sign that says "What did you THINK was in here?" I won't say where, it is my secret.

Last night three rooms check-in and our dog is GROWLING in the kitchen. Someone is in the dining room, she has never and will never bark or growl like that, she knows the routine.  We were at the kitchen table at the time. Dh says "Why is she doing that? She never growls at guests?" I said "She thinks they are coming into the kitchen" she is very smart this way. She has growled and then barked when someone HAS GONE INTO THE KITCHEN (she is terrific!)

I go back in here, and sure enough my office door is ajar.

DANG IT! Forgot to lock it and someone came in here...

Generic's picture
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I really don't want to have to lock everything up. I want to have some trust that people are generally good honest people and that they can read a sign in English and French that says Private an honour it. Or at least look and don't touch, so I think they honoured it... not take towels from my stacks of perfect six, pushed in so tight that you need two hands to take one....

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Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

I really don't want to have to lock everything up. I want to have some trust that people are generally good honest people and that they can read a sign in English and French that says Private an honour it. Or at least look and don't touch, so I think they honoured it... not take towels from my stacks of perfect six, pushed in so tight that you need two hands to take one....

It's so infuriating, but this is my home and I don't want everything locked up like fort knox. We have a cupboard on the landing which contains all our room chang-over stuff. Had a group who sat on the landing between their rooms drinking tea, using the computer and chatting. Not a problem except after they left we discovered they'd gone into our cupboard and helped themselves to biscuits and sweets. That now has a lock on it.

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Joey Camb's picture
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i have a private sign on the door to the basement but most of the time I keep it locked anyway. I work on the principle that anything I don't want people touching - is locked its the only way to keep them out.

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Madeleine's picture
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Yes, there should be a special place in Hell for them and it should be marked 'Private' and everyone else in Hell should be able to march right thru.

I do not know what possesses people to think the 'other' is better. I don't know how it happened but there is a huge black stain on the carpet into our 'office' (which is also the bedroom) so I have to keep the door closed at all times now because even if guests think it's only the office, it looks horrendous. We'll have some down time in Nov to clean it!

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Madeleine wrote:

 I don't know how it happened but there is a huge black stain on the carpet into our 'office' ...

Sounds like someone tried to sneak a squid into your B&B and they had an accident.   Happens more than you think.

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I don't have any private signs on anything including my quarters.  I just keep everything locked including linen closets and storage rooms. Never had a problem.

gillumhouse's picture
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The sign gave them the tacit OK. If it were truly private there would not be a sign that said items taken will be considered stolen. Sometimes I think PRIVATE is considered an invitation to peek. I do not bother because they are going to do what they are going to do so unless I lock everything it is going to be considered "Open Season" anyway. Even then, if they are like my kids were, they will pick the locks.

Generic's picture
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I'm considering putting in a camera and a sign that says "Congrats on looking in this closet. Your photo has been posted on nosyf*cker.com for the whole Internet to see."

Reminds me of the old trick we used to set up in the medicine cabinet. We filled it will ping pong balls and waited for someone to be nosy and open it up.... once they started falling you couldn't stop them and everyone got a laugh. It cured a heck of a lot of people.

I have a drawer in that room that basically no guest should really open. Maybe I should put a rubber rat in it. If they tell anyone they saw it, everyone will know they were snooping where they shouldn't.

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Oh, I'm definitely doing the ping pong ball trick!  I can't wait yes

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