Food from home

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Country Girl's picture
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Do you allow guests to bring in food from home for their dinner? I have a family of 5 coming in this Saturday and they just informed me (didn't ask, mind you) that they will be bringing their own dinner and they will need me to heat it up for them in our oven. Of course this means dirty dishes, silverware, napkins, etc. and taking over the dining room until who knows when. We don't mind if guests order take-out and eat it here but this is taking things to a whole new level. On top of that my DH and I have dinner plans ourselves that evening (just at our neighbors home) and we don't want to come home to a huge mess.

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Country Girl's picture
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Ah, all is well. They are gone. Turns out 4 out of the 5 were great. Just one bad apple, and he tried to ruin it for the rest of them, but they wouldn't let him. They were happy as clams and told me so. No guests now for 2 days. I am taking a deep, deep breath. I may even take a hike or go for a bike ride. Thanks everyone.

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we were warned about taking groups.  We didn't listen.  Wedding group this past weekend.   Cigarettes put out in my little ceramic table centerpieces (on the porch).   then there were the butts that didn't stay in the ceramics and made it to the mahogany deck.   And of course, the beer cans on the lawn.   Bet the neighbors loved it.   I wouldn't know.  I was in Roanoke.   Nephew was in charge.   He brought them a better ashtray.  A one night stay and one time only.   Probably the best thing.

Roanoke was lovely.   Smiling   It was a whirlwind.  

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Sorry, groups can be a pain in the patootie! 

People will be people and some are great, others not so much, it is in the odds that you will get some doozies in every crowd. 

What the big problem with groups is the fact that usually there is only one person who were given the policies when they booked.  They either read them then forgot about them or did not read them at all.  In neither case do they share them with the masses so it is like there are no rules.  They are on vacation without rules. 

It is time we put our heads together and think how we can all have less issues when we have groups. 

 

Madeleine's picture
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We all get warned about each area's bugaboos. Here, for us, it was camp parents. People who come to see their kids on visiting day.

We were in a sweat the first year. Everyone wanted to rebook on the way or the door. We told them we would contact them in Jan when we had the new pricing schedule in place.

They all groaned.

As it was, the same four families, unrelated, stayed with us for five years.

But, as a whole, it was a 'group'. Like-minded, here for the same purpose.

After the first year we never had a bit of trouble (now we understood them) and we were sorry when all the kids graduated camp the same year.

We really never had the problem families some places did.

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Watch out for those black flies!

 

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Madeleine's picture
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Yippee! Go for a hike! Great idea!

Highlands John's picture
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Over the years I've gone out of my way to accommodate people like this. I've taken in couples with babies when they've got turned away at other places, allowed people to heat food in MY kitchen, moved furniture around to accommodate peoples wishes, got special items in for breakfast for special requirements. 

And do you know what I've got from those people in the way of tips, return visits, glowing reviews of how I went out of my way, recommendations......

a big fat ZERO.

 

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Ditto..nada, zip, nothing

Arks's picture
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Highlands John wrote:

And do you know what I've got from those people in the way of tips, return visits, glowing reviews of how I went out of my way, recommendations......

Maybe you make it look too easy to get it done. I wonder if there's some way to make it sound like it wasn't easy to make the special request happen for them. Perhaps that would occasionally make some difference in expressions of appreciation.

Not rolling your eyes and making it sound like you're really inconvenienced to do it, but maybe say, "I can't make any promises but I will make an extra effort to try to make this happen for you." Or something like that. Then if you can't do it, at least you tried. And if you come through, they might appreciate it!

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Arks wrote:

Highlands John wrote:

And do you know what I've got from those people in the way of tips, return visits, glowing reviews of how I went out of my way, recommendations......

Maybe you make it look too easy to get it done. I wonder if there's some way to make it sound like it wasn't easy to make the special request happen for them. Perhaps that would occasionally make some difference in expressions of appreciation.

Not rolling your eyes and making it sound like you're really inconvenienced to do it, but maybe say, "I can't make any promises but I will make an extra effort to try to make this happen for you." Or something like that. Then if you can't do it, at least you tried. And if you come through, they might appreciate it!

Corporations are filled with people who do this. I used to tell dh all the time to stop making it look so easy. Sure it IS easy, but don't make it look that way.

BTW, the folks who worked like everything was a chore? Still there. Folks who did the work without the grandstanding? Own a b&b. Eye-wink

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My last 3 out of 5 review... bunch of allergies and umpteen emails back and forth. Oh and they were FoD as well. Brought down my TA as well....

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Highlands John wrote:

Over the years I've gone out of my way to accommodate people like this. I've taken in couples with babies when they've got turned away at other places, allowed people to heat food in MY kitchen, moved furniture around to accommodate peoples wishes, got special items in for breakfast for special requirements. 

And do you know what I've got from those people in the way of tips, return visits, glowing reviews of how I went out of my way, recommendations......

a big fat ZERO.

 

Yep.

Then those you least expect who you do not do anything extra for, leave a nice gratuity and or a card, or review. Amazing isn't it.

Maddie, your rocking chair story is like my footstool story "She must have a footstool for a chair" what-the heck ever. They came back to check out at 4pm and expected not to pay for THAT day. The weasels.

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Madeleine's picture
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We had a guest request a rocking chair in their room. We had gotten rid of all the rocking chairs but I dragged one out of the attic in the middle of July just for them.

When I pointed out the rocking chair and said we'd moved it into the room specially at their request they looked dumb. Maybe it was a translation error on their part when they asked for it. Who knows.

Their review, which I had to translate, was not good. They said it was very rustic but not in a good way.

I'm not sure what they were expecting. It's pretty clear on the website and from the address that we are not in the middle of nowhere.

I would never expect a  b&b located on High St in your neck of the woods to be on a quiet side street! Or out in a field.

So, one of my newer mantras is to offer those services and amenities and perks and discounts and upgrades that I want to offer when I want to offer them because I want to offer them and for no other reason.

Thanks are nice but that's not the reason. Reviews are nice but not the reason. Tips are nice but not the reason.

 

 

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So sorry countrygirl. angry "They stay they pay they go away" is hitting the airwaves for you!

A non innkeeper or new innkeeper would say to the start of this thread "you are customer service, this will make happy guests, they will tell all their friends...do it!" and the experienced innkeepers say "Groups" (and 5 people are officially a group) are always demanding and will squeeze blood from a turnip. You knew in advance they would consume your time and energy and not be grateful, but feel entitled to it because they paid for a room.

When you book "a room" you don't book the innkeeper, her time, her kitchen, and her dish washing and cleaning up. People will always push the boundaries. Always. I have had this Friday and I am here to say "NEVER AGAIN!" Being nice, you know when nice is good and nice is bad. Yes NICE CAN BE BAD.

My honeymooners just left with a pre 7am breakfast, stopped at the door thanked me so appreciative, have an early flight. They got in really late. No hassle. The other breaching my boundaries we had this weekend, ugh. sad

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I was thinking the same thing JB. A lot of new innkeepers or aspiring innkeepers would think we're a bunch of grouchy old innkeepers who don't recognize hospitality because we wouldn't go the extra 50 yards for these people. Now that Country Girl has described how bad the situation was, it just goes to show that experience trumps all.

So sorry Country Girl that you had to go through all that. Glad it's over and you deserve that break!

Country Girl's picture
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This is EXACTLY what I needed to read this morning. Thank you all for your great support and advice. I learned a lot from this situation and I won't make the same mistake next time.

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Kid, LIFE is a learning curve - when we stop leanrning, we are dead! And one CAN be dead and still vertical.

Country Girl's picture
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So, this is what's happening as I write this. The husband won't even speak to me or make eye contact. They told me that they would bring food that didn't need to be heated. Low and behold they showed up with a very large hotplate that they plugged into the wall in the dining room and heated all their food themselves. That's fine. I let them use  my dishes, silverware, glasses, etc. and they left the a huge mess for me to clean up. They also ate every single complimentary snack that was left out. They just asked for more dishes so they can have dessert later on, and candles and another knife. I gave them paper plates. When I asked about breakfast tomorrow the wife was happy to eat early, 8 a.m. Then the husband asked what is the absolute latest they can eat and then picks that time; 9:30. I can literally feel my hackles getting up. I know he will be demanding and rude tomorrow morning. In hindsight I should've just said no to any outside food being brought in for 5 people. It's just too much. Dreading the morning.sad

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Oh brother!  Well you knew they were going to be a pain before they even got there.  As Gillum said they will be gone soon and just be a for ever memory why you have new policies. 

All those dishes & clean up angry, now you can sit back and if this were ever to come up again tell them use of dining room & dishes for an evening get together will be $$, as the work is more than what you charge for the room. 

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We should start a new thread entitled "why I don't like groups".

I think we all kind of figured there would be a mess. And that they would want more than their fair share.

Don't worry about the morning, it's another day.

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Soon it will be a memory that will keep it from EVER happening again.  Bringing food? Oh, here is the number of a self-catering cottage.

And the man will not make eye contact because he KNOWS he is being an ass.

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Oh no...I am so sorry you are dealing with this.  It is so important to remember our boundaries. They have gone WAAAAAY past them.

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omy, yes! what about laundry? will she be going to the laundromat or hanging her wet clothes rinsed in the tub on the light fixtures  a la maddie's place?  wink  

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seashanty wrote:

omy, yes! what about laundry? will she be going to the laundromat or hanging her wet clothes rinsed in the tub on the light fixtures  a la maddie's place?  wink  

or out on my balcony railing for the whole world to see!  crying

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Here's another example of 'Give an inch, they want a mile'.

I am in the beginning of our slow season.  During this season we do get the occasional call for a long term stay.  This one was an 18yo girl doing internship at a nearby gov. facility. 

Mother called today after staying with DD at the place originally booked.  She wanted something safer for her DD.  I offered a deep discounted offer for the 8wk stay.  They came in oooing and awwing.  I pointed out the guest fridge and microwave for her use and the room. 
THEN she said 'where can she cook?'   Sorry, only microwave.  Well what about a grill on the balcony.  Sorry (but HELL no! ) 

I doubt I will hear from her again but if so, there will be a contract to be signed with policies - break any policy and out you go, no refunds. 
 

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Last year I had an intern at a local TV station for 11 weeks. His parents booked him here for same reason - safer. He used guest fridge & nuker - period. So far, all my long terms have been very quiet and very neat. Jut had 2 brothers from Bald Knob (you know where that is Arks?) who were so quiet we had to see if the truck was here to know they were in.

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gillumhouse wrote:

Jut had 2 brothers from Bald Knob (you know where that is Arks?) who were so quiet we had to see if the truck was here to know they were in.

Bald Knob is just south of here. It's where we always get our first strawberries of the season. They likely passed by my place on their way there!

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One of many reasons I don't like long term calls.

Others are how comfortable the person will get, wandering adding in pjs on days off, wanting to use the laundry, me never having the house to myself.

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OR undies!  Long term stay and the dude got too settled in!

Long story but the dude was told that ain't happenin' here!

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I wanna wear my PJs on a day off.... of course, I would also like to have a day off....

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ah, copperhead, this is too bad

for eight weeks, she probably belongs in a place with a kitchenette

i lived in a studio apartment for a year, and did bad things like cooking all manner of things in an electric frying pan, hot plate or crockpot and washing dishes in the bathroom (there was no kitchen).  my landlord didn't know but i might have been thrown out if he found out.

for an extended stay - i would probably try to work out some kind of arrangement for her. and microwaves can do so much more these days!  but sometimes it just can't work.  and a grill on the balcony scenario is responsible for so many fires!

 

Copperhead wrote:

Here's another example of 'Give an inch, they want a mile'.

I am in the beginning of our slow season.  During this season we do get the occasional call for a long term stay.  This one was an 18yo girl doing internship at a nearby gov. facility. 

Mother called today after staying with DD at the place originally booked.  She wanted something safer for her DD.  I offered a deep discounted offer for the 8wk stay.  They came in oooing and awwing.  I pointed out the guest fridge and microwave for her use and the room. 
THEN she said 'where can she cook?'   Sorry, only microwave.  Well what about a grill on the balcony.  Sorry (but HELL no! ) 

I doubt I will hear from her again but if so, there will be a contract to be signed with policies - break any policy and out you go, no refunds. 
 

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seashanty wrote:

ah, copperhead, this is too bad

for eight weeks, she probably belongs in a place with a kitchenette

Exactly.  But I think Mom is paying and the price for that is steep here.  Frankly the summer program organizer should set up housing options for these young (barely) adults. 

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If they are young (barely) adults, they won't do much cooking in eight weeks anyway. Her Mom could buy a George Foreman grill (the sandwich/meat press kind), and a toaster to help out with the microwave.  But surely they understand that you can't allow open flame.  And they are renting a room in a B&B, for crying out loud.  It's not an apartment.

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A Geo. F. grill will not cook the type of food she wants to cook.  She has a wok and she knows how to use it.  lol

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Because we're in a rural area with limited restaurants, I ask guests on arrival if they need any help with figuring out their dinner plans. Often, they will say they they're going to stay in and brought cheese, bread, etc. I then always offer to give them plates. utensils, cutting board, etc. I've got no problem with the extra dishes because I'd rather give them the appropriate dishes rather than have the food strewn everywhere.

Kitchen priviledges? Not on your life!

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We are not near restaurants so I tell guests they are welcome to bring take-out to eat in the guest lounge or al fresco. In my confirmation email, I state there is a microwave and small fridge available for guests but no cooking facilities so any food they bring should be ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat.

In the case of your guests, I would tell them I won't be able to heat their dinner for them and suggest as alternatives that they either bring picnic-style food to eat cold; or for a hot meal, they can bring take-out or pizza from a local restaurant. 

On the topic of guests bringing food... On the registration form guests sign upon arrival, I added a "self-catering" policy which is similar to the smoking policy (states they are responsible for any damage, replacement, out-of-service, etc. due to food they bring into their room or common areas).

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nope for me as well - we aren't allowed food we don't now the origins of in our kitchen its that simple.

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This is when my "I'm sorry, but the Health Department does not allow outside food or people into the kitchen". 

Utterly ridiculous that they would expect this.  Ridiculous, I say!

 

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Tell them there is a $100 charge for that service and see how fast they will change their plans for dinner.

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We had a whole house rental for a 50th birthday party.  All of the ladies brought a dish for the first night's dinner as they were going out the second night for a really expensive, fancy dinner and wanted to relax as they were all arriving at different times.  They all brought their food in crock pots and set them on the dining tables they pushed against the wall to get to the plugs.  I never touched any of the food and they were really great about not being messy.  I did have a couple forget large serving spoons so I lent them mine.  But I would not heat up anyone's food in my oven.  Maybe you can suggest this if your comfortable with it so they don't need your kitchen.

Now that being said, I've had guests that I have used their own food.  One guest brought along some quinoa and spinach that she made up and I heated that up for her in the morning and served her dish warmed up along with her husbands -- she was having problems digesting after a surgery.  Guests have brought non-dairy milks or gluten free breads and have asked that I make their french toast with those.  So it all depends on what you want to do.

For me, the worst was the guest who came to the door during breakfast and hands my husband her warm bottles of breast milk and says "can you please put these in your refrigerator, and I'll be needing you to do that all four days each time I pump."  Well a quick trip to Walmart got me a mini fridge that I setup in her room and had waiting for her later that day with her bottles in it so she could do this all her own.  I now use that fridge for any guests who arrive who are diabetic - I surprise them and have the fridge setup in their room and tell them that I know they'd feel more comfortable keeping their insulin close by.  The $60 was so worth it.

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We will cook up foods for breakfast that guests bring. But we're talking their special bread not a full meal for five.

I think it's really pushy of the guest to tell the innkeeper they are bringing a meal they expect her to heat up and serve and clean up after. Drinks? Will they expect her to provide coffee service, too?

And this doesn't even get into the other guests who are wondering why they have to go out for a meal when obviously dinner is included.

I'm just grumpy we are put into these situations.

Yes, some guests are very respectful but we've just had too many show up expecting to use the kitchen for all of their lunches and dinners.

One group refused to get out of my kitchen. I had to stand there until they gave up. They told dh they would clean up in the morning. He asked who was getting up at 5am so the kitchen was ready for him to start their breakfast?

They were so sarcastic with us it was unbelievable. When I repeatedly told them no access to the kitchen one stood just outside the kitchen and put her toe in the kitchen and smirked at me.

This is what I remember when another innkeeper gets this sort of demand.

Because I wouldn't let them use the kitchen they shoved all their food at me and said, "then YOU cook it for us!" It was a terrible situation for us to be put in.

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Wow!  I cannot imagine that level of self centered, unaware, entitlement.   You are a saint for not tossing them out of the house.

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Every single innkeeper should be grumpy and boiling mad over this - because this isn't just being pushy, it's gone to being rude, demanding and having no value for the innkeeper as a person.  It's like you have become their maid because they are paying you for the room.  This is probably the #1 reason that innkeepers want to sell - they just can't take the ass*s anymore in their home.  I once had a wedding group who owned high-end hotels.  Someone sent the party some chocolate covered strawberries that arrived early and I had them in my refrigerator.  The mother of the bride knocked and the door and actually said "We'll have those strawberries served on the deck now."  Pompous witch, she got her strawberries delivered to the deck and then I disappeared, didn't give them time to ask for anything else.  When the daughter had a special egg white omelette request the next morning I said I was sorry, I couldn't accommodate her.  I was not bowing down to these people no matter what.

This is why we have a door into our space that we always try to keep locked and has a Private sign on the door.  It's especially always locked when I have one of those type check in that you just know is going to try to get into the kitchen because they just have to look around.  Yes I've had a few who knock as they are walking in.  One of us has no problem walking right over and directing them back into the dining room.  The kitchen is part of our private home and you aren't paying for entry into my home - this is where my family and kids are and it's off limits.  I would never have a property that I couldn't keep people out of my kitchen; it's bad enough my teenage son sometimes eats my fruit that I had planned for breakfast, no guest is getting that chance.

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Madeleine wrote:

Because I wouldn't let them use the kitchen they shoved all their food at me and said, "then YOU cook it for us!" It was a terrible situation for us to be put in.

And one none of us should be put in.  This all just makes my head boil!  If they wanted a kitchen, book a vacation rental or a hotel room with kitchen.  

I am reminded of our #1 ranking PITA guest of all time who went into our freezer sometime overnight and took out a ziplock container of large shrimp.  Took a hand full and placed them in the microwave (no plate).  Not sure if she ate any but the remaining - including the remaining in ziplock were still left out when I came down to start prepping breakfast.  The stinch! The mess!   (note that this was only ONE reason she ranks #1) 

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ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!! If they want to do pizza then fine..but you tell them it is against health dept. regulations for people to use your kitchen and that it is only licensed for breakfast for guests. Oh...so sorry...devil

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Tell them no right now. There is no available kitchen service and you are not allowed to cook food brought in. What if they've left it unchilled in the car all day and they all get sick???

Hope you can lock your kitchen.

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NO.

This is not a vacation rental. Is there a guest microwave, then they can heat up leftovers or whatever, not a whole meal for a whole house or family. 

Kitchen is off limits. No you do not heat up food for people, nor do you wash their underwear or iron their clothes.  cool

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

NO. This is not a vacation rental.

I've remained silent on this since I do have 2 guest rental apartments with full kitchens for guests, but it just occurred to be that you might consider what would happen if they were at a hotel and asked to use the hotel's kitchen to prepare their meal. It wouldn't even be considered.

That being said, if all they asked for is to use your oven to heat the stuff up, that's not a whole lot to ask. You'd just need to clarify that they need to use disposable plates, cups and silverware, and they need to clean up after themselves because you have plans and won't be able to do the cleanup.

I'm just trying to work with Anthony Melchiorri's encouragement to avoid giving an absolute "no" to guests, but instead to try to come up with a workaround that can avoid unhappy guests.

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Arks wrote:

Joey Bloggs wrote:

NO. This is not a vacation rental.

I'm just trying to work with Anthony Melchiorri's encouragement to avoid giving an absolute "no" to guests, but instead to try to come up with a workaround that can avoid unhappy guests.

My work around is to say we have a microwave in the guest area for guest use.  They can find the rest of the workaround!

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Copperhead wrote:

Arks wrote:

Joey Bloggs wrote:

NO. This is not a vacation rental.

I'm just trying to work with Anthony Melchiorri's encouragement to avoid giving an absolute "no" to guests, but instead to try to come up with a workaround that can avoid unhappy guests.

My work around is to say we have a microwave in the guest area for guest use.  They can find the rest of the workaround!

Yes. This is not an absolute no. It's a way for the guest to bring in food and the innkeeper not to suddenly be wait staff.

But. They then create either a pile of trash they don't deal with or a pile of dishes they can't deal with.

Somehow we're ending up on the short end of the stick every time.

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