Guests who steal towels!

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Audrey Forrest's picture
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So sometimes we get European visitors who steal towel sets.  We write and ask if they packed them accidentally but when they

don't reply we charge their credit card.  Has any other Innkeeper had this experience and if so, what do you do?

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Silverspoon's picture
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We lose a wash cloth now and then but recently some one took a brand new beach umbrella.  That is a rare occurrence, fortunately. Had to run out yesterday to by 2 new ones for incoming guests.  That makes me sad....keep hoping that they just forgot it was in the trunk of their car.  But how do you miss an umbrella?

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seashanty's picture
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Kathleen, your mugs are gorgeous! I love mine. heart That is an amazing price he is giving you.

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seashanty's picture
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 was on the road on the way to the end of the peninsula. Not the fancy potter who has been featured at the smithsonian and with martha stewart but a local small potter. I would buy 4 at a time. But I don't recall the potter's name ... it was an artist's co-op. 

Back to Audrey - I never had people steal, borrow, lose, or accidentally pack! sets of towels. If it's stated in your policy that you are charging if they go missing, are you covered or will this prompt a charge back? 

Generic's picture
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You have to call the client for permission to charge or they can easily charge back. Of course, you can also call the cops instead, which usually means that they prefer the CC charge.

But how expensive do the towels need to be that people would actually steal them? Maybe a better solution is to start to buy the ugliest colour of towels, so they don't want to steal them... like ORANGE.

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OnTheShore's picture
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Wendy is a potter so we make our own logo'd mugs "in house" (so to speak), but they cost a lot more than 65 cents! We actually don't put them out in the cottages for fear that they will go missing, or get broken, rather we sell them -- and many returning guests will bring their mugs back with them when they come back to stay!

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seashanty's picture
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My mugs were $8 to $12+ each, pottery, and were not logo mugs or give aways. They were made by a potter in Maine with blueberries on them and it was obvious they were not mass produced. I had bought some much less expensive as part of a dinner set and went in search of similar, fell in love with the hand made version.  Expensive to me to keep two dozen on hand ... But I loved them and was happy to have folks use them. I would also give folks directions to the potter to buy them if they wished. I don't think people should just take a mug or any item, branded or not, without being invited to do so

 

Morticia's picture
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Edgecomb or Georgetown pottery? I don't think the place we got ours is open any longer, they've never returned my calls and their website was hacked.

Our plates are pretty beat up after 13 years!

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seashanty's picture
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Georgetown pottery mugs are gorgeous! like paintings or small sculptures. But cost about $25 each.  And Edgecomb potters is $39 and up. 

gillumhouse's picture
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Up to now, my potter has charged me $10 each, but I think it will be $15 with the next order (he has been undercharging me, I know). I sell them for $20. each one is thrown individually.

PhineasSwann's picture
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I give them mugs. 

I have traditional coffee mugs with our logo that I buy at $.65 each. It's my parting gift to each guest (along with their bill, a pen and a little chocolate candy). 

The mug goes home with them, stays in their cabinet or on their desk at work, gets drunk from every day, and reminds them they need to schedule a return visit to get away from their oppressive workaday world. 

Marketing that costs less than a single Google pay-per-click.

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Morticia's picture
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We give them away, too. But they're more like $3/each with shipping. Thanks for the info on discount mug!

Generic's picture
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Who's making your mugs at 65c a piece. That's a steal!

PhineasSwann's picture
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DiscountMugs.com

 

Generic's picture
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They want like double that just to ship them to me.

Morticia's picture
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Ship them to Phin and pick them up. Or, ship them to me, but that's a bit of a trek.

Generic's picture
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I can't get out of the house until November. I'll think about it Smiling

Breakfast Diva's picture
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That's where I get mine from also. You must buy a very large quantity for $.65! Like you, I give a lot of them away. Good will and good marketing

Flower's picture
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You bet ya. A review is just that!  also management response counts also . Let face it stealing is just that.

STEALING taking some thing that doesnot belong to you.!!! Peroid!

We also had a list of cost of towels bedding blankets and said very close to your  wording. We had a few take our sheets and pillow cases towels ,sweater, house coats. Clear the basket out  LOL  Oh yes a few decorations also.Moved our prices up and that change the type of people a bit too.

But people from every walk of life will steal, if they really think they can get away with it.

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seashanty's picture
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Morticia ... those mugs! How many times did I go rushing outside with to go cups and take my mugs out of hands or off car hoods and pour the contents into a to go cup saying 'Whoops, these are breakable!' or 'Oops, I'm sure you didn't mean to carry this out with you.' haha. Yes, they did. devil  But I didn't lose any! 

Those coasters of yours were STOLEN. Plain and simple. Sad

 

Morticia's picture
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My mugs go out in the suitcase.

Lee2014's picture
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Morticia wrote:

My mugs go out in the suitcase.

   Hmm.  X-ray machine by the door? wink  I just saw a box in the kitchen from the mug company so I think our SR inn got more mugs.

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TheBeachHouse's picture
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As far as I know, we've never had a guest steal anything.   We did have a housekeeper who stole and lied about tips.

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seashanty's picture
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Are you sure they arent taking them outside or to the beach? I bought a sweater and a small throw in scotland and then could hardly close my suitcase so I had to wear the sweater. You need to pack quite a bit for international travel   ... I can't imagine trying to pack away a towel set. 

Lee2014's picture
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  At the NE Inn we did colors and sets so we knew when one went missing.  The missing towels were usually found in a closet, under a bed, etc. I came up short with two make up towels for the three years there.... found them when the summer help left, in the washing machine with her sheets....  

  At the PA Inn we just had an issue when the one night guests left and said that their room didn't have any towels in it.  Unknown to them they said it to the front desk lady who checked the room prior to their arrival.  All three cleaning girls had checked that room, too.  The guests still took a shower though.  I wonder how they dried themselves off?  We are still talking...

Highlands John's picture
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In 14 years we've only ever lost 1 bath mat, so not an issue for us.

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Morticia's picture
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Coffee mugs. That's all anyone takes here. Towels are pretty bulky to fit in an overseas bag with all the new weight limits. You have to wonder what they're thinking.

Arks's picture
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Morticia wrote:

Coffee mugs. That's all anyone takes here.  You have to wonder what they're thinking.

My guess is, they're convincing themselves that since it has your logo on it, it must be free, like the logo pens and scratch pads. They know better, but that's their story and they're sticking to it!

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Morticia's picture
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Arks wrote:

Morticia wrote:

Coffee mugs. That's all anyone takes here.  You have to wonder what they're thinking.

My guess is, they're convincing themselves that since it has your logo on it, it must be free, like the logo pens and scratch pads. They know better, but that's their story and they're sticking to it!

Yeah. After they ask how much they cost. Eye-wink

But, I meant the towels. Who tries to stuff a set of puffy, fluffy B&B towels into overseas luggage? 

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they won't be taking them home - they will take them to the next stop over in case they don't provide them - they will never leave the country

also as a side bar we have lost more hairdryers than ever before - what;s that all about?

Morticia's picture
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Jcam wrote:

they won't be taking them home - they will take them to the next stop over in case they don't provide them - they will never leave the country

also as a side bar we have lost more hairdryers than ever before - what;s that all about?

Hadn't thought about the next stop. So, someone will get a set of towels they weren't expecting.

We had an entire set of coasters disappear last week.

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We had this with a neighbour theving gits - admired her place mats set of 6 wanted to know where from so could purchase a set - carol said sorry they don't make them any more - 4 were missing next day taken out of their breakfast room.

Generic's picture
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Coasters are standard things people take, they assume, like in restaurants, they are for the taking. They also take some of my signs, like the one on the water as souvenirs and even the tip envelopes as souvenirs... don't get it, but hey, it's small.

Morticia's picture
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Generic wrote:

Coasters are standard things people take, they assume, like in restaurants, they are for the taking. They also take some of my signs, like the one on the water as souvenirs and even the tip envelopes as souvenirs... don't get it, but hey, it's small.

My coasters were a matched set of 4. They were part of the room decor in a way. The painting in the room is by the same local artist. I'm still looking for replacement s.

Generic's picture
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Mine are attached to the wall.... a little harder to take Smiling

Happy Harpie's picture
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In 10 years we have had one Face Cloth go missing and the woman was so devastated that she sent a $6 face cloth back in the mail to us with a postage cost of $4.  Her note to us was "I was mortified that I took one of your face cloths by mistake."  She stated that it was already in the mail.  We had a good chuckle and offered her $20 off on her next stay for her honesty.

 

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notAgrandma's picture
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I've never had guests take anything, but I've had them break things. As Generic stated, charging the guests after the fact is against CC regulations. You might be covered if the guest signs some sort of "house rules" agreement at check-in, but I'm not sure. I had a guest break an ironing board and ruin 8 Ralph Lauren towels during her stay (4 bath towels, 2 hand towels, and 2 washcloths). When I charged her card $40 (the towels were older & I thought the full $80 was too much), the backlash was pretty bad. She sent me several nasty emails demanding to speak with the owner. I guess she didn't think the person cooking, cleaning, and emailing her was the owner. This guest gave me my first 1* review. Since she's only ever submitted 1 review, it appears she joined TA just to slam me. The substantial hit to my TA ranking was not worth $40.

I now have inexpensive Costco towels in my rooms. I fluff them using 1/4 c vinegar in the softener cycle & throw a Bounce sheet in the dryer. I use inexpensive Costco sheets. My rooms aren't $300 a night; I can't afford to replace expensive stuff when guests ruin things. If they want designer sheets and expensive towels, there's a Four Seasons nearby that I'm sure can oblige them.

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PhineasSwann's picture
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We have a little sentence in our room guidebook that says "All of our Phineas Swann items are for sale, and prices can be found here in our guestbook. If after you depart we find you decided to take one of our items, we'll assume you decided to purchase it and forgot to tell us, so we'll do you the courtesy of adding them to your final bill." 

Yes, a little sarcastic, but it covers me. No one's ever challenged a charge.

JimBoone's picture
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I don't really have that problem, of course everyone's guests are different, it may be that our towels aren't classy enough to tempt folks. Early on when we first started lost a few towels and learned to raise our prices and weed out the problem guests.

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Generic's picture
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Never had a guest steal towels as far as I know, but it's not something that I really follow.

You do know that it's against your CC merchant agreement right? If they contest it, they will reverse it instantly? And is it worth the review?

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