It's JULY....another NY, NY doozy! Advice Please!

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Silverspoon's picture
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This is a bit of venting....I have to let off some steam and I know that YOU all will understand.  AndAs you may know, we lost power for a night and part of yesterday due to the hurricane.  Our Com cast land-line telephone service did not work after the first few hours with no power so all messages were picked up by the Com cast server, remotely, rather than by our answering machine.  This morning I finally got around to checking those messages only to find that our 5-night,  single woman was planning to arrive with her 12 year old daughter in tow.  We are clear in our policies that we do not take children and I specifically asked when taking the reservation if she was coming alone. The addition of the child is a total surprise.

I delivered the bad news to her via her cell phone as she was in the car headed our way planning to stop at a friends house in the area.  She was incredulous that we would not take her daughter.  Now mind you, Mom is scheduled to be at a conference from 9-12 every day...she was planning to leave the child here, unattended.  Still she could not believe that we would turn her away.   I'm standing my ground. 

She asked me for suggestions on what in the world she was supposed to do....I suggested she leave the child with her friends but once I hung up I really began to dread ever seeing her.  I know she would be a miserable guests after this fiasco.  So I checked a local inn that is family friendly and found that they have a vacancy in a suite for the same dates she has booked with us.  I have spoken to her and e-mailed the info to her in the hopes that she will book the other inn.  At this point, I have indicated that she can either keep her reservation, alone, here with us or she can cancel and I will try to rebook, refunding accordingly.  We took a 50% deposit for the 5 nights so I am not anxious to refund unless we can recoup our 5-room-night $$$.  On the other hand, I really don't want a nasty review and I am not anxious to have her stay after all this tension.

What do you think?  Should I buy her off, give her back her deposit and take the hit?  Or stand my ground and risk a nasty review?

 

 

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Generic's picture
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Under our laws, when the parent is absent, I legally become responsible for the child. That's NOT happening. 

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Silverspoon's picture
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AMEN!!! yes It's not happening here either.  

TheBeachHouse's picture
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We had a bunch of kids here over the weekend.   It worked out, but I prefer not to have them at all.   One couple brought two boys, ages 6 - 10, not sure.  They talked DH out of the extra $25 per person by saying they were not going to have breakfast, only sleep here.  And they did.  They were up and out early, didn't even respond to my 'good morning.'   They came back late, we didn't even see them and the same the next day.  They were visiting family and only needed beds.

The second was a 4 year old precocious little darling who was very well behaved.  And her mother was very strict with our house.   She actually prevented Precious from throwing rocks into the pond.   I really appreciated that.

The third arrived last night for one night.  A 2 year old boy.   I don't believe we knew about it until we heard his little child voice.  

Since we have a pond, and a lot of art and semi-good furniture and, of course, two flights of stairs, I really prefer no kids.   I did talk someone out of it on the phone by emphasizing the pond and that we didn't really cater to children.

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happykeeper's picture
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We absolutely do not allow unattended minors on our property. You are right to stand firm about that.

I think re-booking her somewhere else  is a helpful gesture and will help avoid a bad review.

 

 

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Madeleine's picture
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We had an email awhile ago for a similar situation. The parent is here for a week long seminar and wanted a second room for the babysitter.

The kid she is bringing was surprise enough as the company she is working with booked the room for one.

We didn't have the room available for the whole week for the sitter. So the sitter is staying elsewhere and coming over here everyday. I hope. Or, rather, I hope the two of them are going somewhere else each day.

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You had better make 100% sure on that one. I can hear the excuses now.

Madeleine's picture
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EmptyNest wrote:

You had better make 100% sure on that one. I can hear the excuses now.

Me, too. The kid is definitely too young to be alone. 7 i think. Ok if she's in her own house, but not here while we're running around cleaning & shopping & just living!

I'm also hoping the sitter isn't 15 or so.

Silverspoon's picture
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We market to the "adults only" crowd and often turn away people who want to bring a minor.  In my dotage laugh I find that sticking to our policies is much easier than trying to please every Tom, Dick and Mary!  Of course, the fact that this is the first year that we are cutting back a bit on the B+B helps to easy my worry about lost revenue.  But I am done letting the general public rent space in my head.   

This woman reluctantly cancelled and I have issued her a cancellation confirmation...stating that, as a gesture of good will, we will give her a partial refund if we can recoup the total 5 nights of her original reservation.  With such short notice there is no way we would be able to book all nights of her reservation and give her a total refund. 

Madeleine's picture
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Love that 'renting space in my head'. We need a T-shirt!

I will try that this week. No renting space in my head!

Madeleine's picture
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OTOH, if it had been me at 12 left alone? Give me cookies and a book and no one would have known I was there. Unless there were boys...

Silverspoon's picture
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I bet you were a cutie at 12.  I also was an angel at 12 and very responsible.  But not all children of that age are. And this woman knew our policy.  She only called to let us know that she was planning to visit friends on her way here and would be arriving very late.   Otherwise, she would have just shown up here with her daughter and assumed that we would take her.  angry

I'll tell you Maddie, whenever the NY, NY zip code comes up I begin to shutter.  We have had a string of doozies over the years from that location. I know it's not fair to generalize, but give me the New England crowd any day!  You get the same type of guests in-season...only way more of them.  I don't know how you do it day after day.

Madeleine's picture
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Yes, one of our worst guests was a drug-using, towel-thieving, late-leaving Potty Mouth (auto filter) from that zip code. Whose bf asked, at 1pm when they finally checked out, if I had offered them breakfast to go.

However, being from that general zip code myself, my peeve zip codes are mostly in SoCal and MD. There's a subset of DC in MD that is not pleasant at all.

And I really wasnt an angel ever. Eye-wink But, given a book and your view, I would have been!

We've had kid guests just rummage thru the house because they're curious. One family has never come back because I told their curious kids to not go in my laundry room. They complained to mom that I yelled at them (they have NO idea what me yelling sounds like) and mom confronted me and said if I didn't want people in the laundry room I should post a sign. The kids were embarrassed! Good! They should have been. It won't kill them.

Madeleine's picture
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I would be beyond peeved if someone did this to us. We do accept children but we state they have to be with the parents at all times, they cannot be left alone on the property.

Do parents go off for dinner and leave the kids alone here? You bet they do. Because they do it at home all the time.

But you're not home! And I don't want your kids sprawled in the living room with the tv blasting and food everywhere. Like at home.

We had to call a dad to come back and get his kids after he left them to go out to get coffee. (And get away from them!)

Other times we haven't known until we saw the parents come back alone.

Different situation, but very similar... We had a couple leave their very unstable mom in the living room while they went out. Poor woman had no idea where she was or who we were.

Breakfast Diva's picture
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Generally speaking, I'm pretty hard nosed on our child policy. But I'm on the fence with this one!

When I was 12, I was babysitting, being left alone with other's children. Yes, it was a different time, but at 12, the 'child' would not be running around creating havoc and it's only 3-3 1/2 hours he/she would be left alone. You could make sure that the child would need to stay in the room during that time frame.

I would probably keep her and their reservation. If there was a problem on the first day or two, then take alternate action and move them out. And make her responsible for all room nights reserved.

Silverspoon's picture
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What if she slips and falls in the tub while mommy is in class? Unless I were to "babysit" her or lock her into her room how would I know if she just walked out the door and went to the ocean for a swim?  No, I do not think I could rest being responsible for a strangers child.  Maybe I was a teacher too long to not understand the weight of that responsibility.  I'll deal with the aftermath of holding to our policy but I know I am right about insisting the mother abides to our original contract to stay here.  I'll sleep well tonight.

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Glad you are standing your ground.  We ALL need to do more of that or we will ALL be walked over again and again.  

It is not just your policy, it is the fact she feels she can leave a 12yo alone.  CRAZY parent, IMHO.  And in some areas, like mine, strictly against the law.  She WAS expecting you to be responsible for her child consciously or unconsciously!!

A bad review can quickly be straightened out by a well written Mgt response.   Keep the deposit unless rebooked.  She will think twice before doing this again. 

Hillbilly's picture
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10/22/2011

I know she ignored your policies and that is wrong. On the other hand, it is just 2 people and a 12 year old girl will probably not be that much trouble. You need to ask yourself now at this point. "Is it really worth the hassle and the lost income of the room. You might offer a day or 2 trial period and see how it goes. Who knows, they might be the best guests ever.

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Silverspoon's picture
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It's not just that the 12 year old is outside our "adults only" policy, it's also that the child would be left unattended in the house from 9am-12pm.  I have no interest in acting as in loco parentis for a stranger's child for 5 nights. The liability is just too great.   Nope, I have decided to stand my ground.  She called the place I recommended and made a reservation there for the two of them.  So far she has not cancelled here but I am updating our calendar to show a vacancy and will give her some refund if we can get our 5 nights.  Otherwise, I'd rather leave the suite empty.  

Coincidentally, a couple arrived at our door an hour ago and said they had tried to make a reservation here for several nights but we were already booked.  They stopped by to take a look at the place for next year.  So I know I have turned away prospective guests to honor her reservation, which she made way back in March.

 

gillumhouse's picture
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I think you are correct re the kid being left alone. Yes, at 12 I was babysitting and watching my sibs - BUT that was a different time and place. We were brought up to stand on our own 2 feet then and were held responsible for our actions. Funny uncles were carefully watched and, for the most part, kept in check. Today kids are supposed to have a "happy childhood" and anything goes. Most kids at 12 today have no clue about anything other than what strikes their fancy at the moment. They have never known consequences. There is no way I would want a child left here alone of any age - in addition to what could happen to them, there is the problem of what the little beast might concoct in the beady little brain to SAY occurred. It is very difficult to prove a negative - as in what the kid says did not occur. No, ain't happening.

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she knew your policy going into this and SHE chose to ignore it. I would tell her absolutely no kid. book her in another place with her kid and if she gives you grief too bad you have a legitimate mgt response..no kids policy. 

that is my personal opinion

good luck

Silverspoon's picture
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Thanks Empty Nest....I'm doing just that!  

gillumhouse's picture
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Good for you!!! I promise to abide by my policies because to do otherwise hurts thr entire B & B industry.To do otherwise trains people that although HOTELS will stick to their policies, an innkeeper will cave - you can walk all over them. NO, never again!

Flower's picture
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06/19/2011

Jolly good for you . I have always said it is up to us in the industry to educate public what to expect for a B&B, We are not a hotel or motel. Besides we should never leave our children in a strange place EVER! Silly women. My god what If the kid left and got lost or picked up . No Sliver you did the right thing Good on You.

We make polices for people to abide by them. Not to change our minds on may this might work out. We have enough stress in other days with out worrying about some other parents child.

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Silverspoon's picture
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My sentiment EXACTLY, Flower!

Joey Camb's picture
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in the UK I would have to have a CRB check ie a background check - its against the law for my to look after anyone's child without, makes a very good excuse!

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Joey Camb's picture
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in the UK I would have to have a CRB check ie a background check - its against the law for my to look after anyone's child without, makes a very good excuse!

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