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How do you handle hoarders?

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The Farmers Daughter

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I wonder what other Inns do when faced with hoarders? I often have guests who will help themselves (sometimes by the handfuls!) to individually wrapped tea bags like Twinings or to the single serving Post or Kellogg cereal boxes. Both of which are expen$ive. I have had a whole display of 12 cereal boxes disappear in one fell swoop. Sometimes people don't even eat them. They keep them in their room in a pile and pack em up and take them when they leave.
Is there a way to curb this loss or just suck it up as part of doing business?
 

EmptyNest

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DOn't put out so much. May be more work for you to keep things but if it is happening so much...I wouldn't hesitate to keep things out of site. If they are there, people will take...they think if they have paid...they are entitled..WRONG!!!!
 

Innkeeper To Go

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FD, as annoying as it is, I think you just have to consider it a cost of doing business.
It helps to limit supplies but it only helps so far. I've walked into the common area to catch the sweet little old ladies literally taking out the entire tray (inside a drawer) of tea bags and dumping it into purses.
Fortunately, most guests are respectful and only take what they need. Those that aren't, sadly, just have to be expected as well.
 

paulavery

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i use to work at a gas station and people would steal the toilet rolls. Oddly enough, I imagine, the majority of these people would return a found wallet (with the money) to the owner. Part of human nature!
 

JBloggs

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Suck it up as part of business, for every greedy guest there are a dozen who don't use or take anything. It keeps stuff fresh, doesn't it, keeps the flow.
If you put it out THEY ARE ENTITLED TO IT. (I say as DH says that to me!)
 

The Farmers Daughter

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Limiting the variety sure effects the visual impact of the display.
I just had a thought.
I can heavily display all the cereal boxes that most adults don't eat like the fruit loops and the coco puffs since I have an over abundance of them. Then I can just limit the more popular ones like the corn flakes and raisin bran.
Why didn't I think of that before.
Thanks! You guys are the best sounding board for this kind of stuff!
 

white pine

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Limiting the variety sure effects the visual impact of the display.
I just had a thought.
I can heavily display all the cereal boxes that most adults don't eat like the fruit loops and the coco puffs since I have an over abundance of them. Then I can just limit the more popular ones like the corn flakes and raisin bran.
Why didn't I think of that before.
Thanks! You guys are the best sounding board for this kind of stuff!
.
How about making a suggestive display (no not THAT kind). Perhaps putting out cereal bowls w/ a small napkin inside with a cereal box on that (eg suggesting visually one box per bowl eat it here?). Ditto some pretty cups and saucers w/different tea bags on the side. You could put just a few more choices in a pretty bowl or box on the side to broaden the selection? Lining out the bowls and cups could fill an area and not leave the skimpy look?
 

Country Girl

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Usually most guests take what they need and leave the rest but there are, occasionally, those who help themselves to everything they see. Last weekend I had one guest who used 12 coffee pods in two days, took all the cookies that I put out for all the guests, took a whole bowl of lifesavers, and left with an armful of bottled water and snacks. It's frustrating but it doesn't happen often enough to make me rethink how much I offer.
 

Morticia

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Limiting the variety sure effects the visual impact of the display.
I just had a thought.
I can heavily display all the cereal boxes that most adults don't eat like the fruit loops and the coco puffs since I have an over abundance of them. Then I can just limit the more popular ones like the corn flakes and raisin bran.
Why didn't I think of that before.
Thanks! You guys are the best sounding board for this kind of stuff!
.
I'll keep that in mind...perfect way to get rid of those cereals that hang around! Wonder if they will take the 'kid' cereals too?
 

Proud Texan

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Since we have individual guest cottages, we stock a mini-fridge inside in out with what we deem "goes with the room." At breakfast, the guests are presented an assortment of teas. After they make their selection, we put in their individual teapot for steeping. The only thing they could possibly get that they shouldn't is the extra roll of TP we put in their rooms.
 
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I was at a local winery 2 yrs ago and picked up a box of wine chocolates but it seemed light(hardy 1/2 a lb).The clerk said all display items are empty as guest steal. It was a lovely display on shelves and table, dark cherry wood, grapes, flowers, wine,nuts in cans, chocolates but all empty ! Sure cut down on theft but I wont be trying it here...Mary in Bwater.
 

The Tipsy Butler

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Generally we are lucky ... most guests don't even clean out our bathroom amenities. The bath salts get taken most often and to be honest - it was put out for them to use so I really don't mind if they help themselves. If anything it works the other way here - guests who fill up our wine rack, leave me extra good wooden hangers ......
Most recently I had a guest who forgot her "bed time" socks and slippers. I gave her a couple of clean pairs of socks to borrow and a new pair of flip flops to keep (another guest was given them when she had a pedicure but because she had her own with her she gave the sealed, unused ones to me). That guest left a me a "six pack" of new flip flops to keep on hand for other guests .... it just seems to steamroll from there.
 

JBloggs

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People are more likely to steal the turn down chocolates if found than something expensive. It is the same who think taking all the scotch tape in the office at Christmas time is not stealing. Have I got news for you on that one! Stealing is stealing. It is against the law to steal, anything, pilfering or not.
But IF YOU PUT IT OUT FOR GUESTS then it is theirs to take, if you put out more, then there is more for them to take.
Not sure why innkeepers put stuff out and then get angry when guests take it. Every soap and shampoo IN THEIR ROOM is for them. If they take them from your cleaning cupboard, then they are stealing. Obv we teach our children to "take one and leave the rest for others" greed is a natural instinct, just like lying. We have to be taught it is wrong or we will do it willingly. People lie all the time and try to justify it. They lie on this forum. Don't believe everything someone tells you.
 

Morticia

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Generally we are lucky ... most guests don't even clean out our bathroom amenities. The bath salts get taken most often and to be honest - it was put out for them to use so I really don't mind if they help themselves. If anything it works the other way here - guests who fill up our wine rack, leave me extra good wooden hangers ......
Most recently I had a guest who forgot her "bed time" socks and slippers. I gave her a couple of clean pairs of socks to borrow and a new pair of flip flops to keep (another guest was given them when she had a pedicure but because she had her own with her she gave the sealed, unused ones to me). That guest left a me a "six pack" of new flip flops to keep on hand for other guests .... it just seems to steamroll from there..
Ours are more of the 'National Parks' crowd...leave nothing behind but footprints; take only photos.

 

The Tipsy Butler

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People are more likely to steal the turn down chocolates if found than something expensive. It is the same who think taking all the scotch tape in the office at Christmas time is not stealing. Have I got news for you on that one! Stealing is stealing. It is against the law to steal, anything, pilfering or not.
But IF YOU PUT IT OUT FOR GUESTS then it is theirs to take, if you put out more, then there is more for them to take.
Not sure why innkeepers put stuff out and then get angry when guests take it. Every soap and shampoo IN THEIR ROOM is for them. If they take them from your cleaning cupboard, then they are stealing. Obv we teach our children to "take one and leave the rest for others" greed is a natural instinct, just like lying. We have to be taught it is wrong or we will do it willingly. People lie all the time and try to justify it. They lie on this forum. Don't believe everything someone tells you..
I agree .... I also sometimes think that the more I put out, the less likely they are to simply "take" everything, even though they are more than entitled to it.
.... and don't get me wrong - I've had my share of bad eggs, but I refuse to change what I do and punish my great guests simply because of some IDIOT. While the good outweighs the bad I'll continue to what I do. If that changes, so will I.
 

Morticia

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People are more likely to steal the turn down chocolates if found than something expensive. It is the same who think taking all the scotch tape in the office at Christmas time is not stealing. Have I got news for you on that one! Stealing is stealing. It is against the law to steal, anything, pilfering or not.
But IF YOU PUT IT OUT FOR GUESTS then it is theirs to take, if you put out more, then there is more for them to take.
Not sure why innkeepers put stuff out and then get angry when guests take it. Every soap and shampoo IN THEIR ROOM is for them. If they take them from your cleaning cupboard, then they are stealing. Obv we teach our children to "take one and leave the rest for others" greed is a natural instinct, just like lying. We have to be taught it is wrong or we will do it willingly. People lie all the time and try to justify it. They lie on this forum. Don't believe everything someone tells you..
I think the difficult part is the lone guest who thinks everything that is put out for ALL the guests is put out solely for THEM. In the rooms, yes, take the soaps and enjoy them. Take the make up wipes and use them at home. (I've given them away to guests who loved them. 'Here, take these.' They are appreciative.)
In the guest pantry? No, all 40 tea bags are not for you, they are for everyone. Someone cleaned me out of granola bars the other day. I refilled and the next day all of those were gone. So, 10-12 granola bars and probably one guest took them all. It's odd when that happens. And it is so infrequent that it really isn't a big deal. But there's always that feeling that someone probably knows they shouldn't take all of them, but they do anyway.
 

Joey Camb

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I have a friend who is liscenced to serve alcohol and has an honesty bar and honesty fridges in the room but she makes them sign a thing on their registration card that says if you forget to pay for things they can charge your card. She says people forget they have taken anything from the fridge on check out (selective memory) then when the chamber maid checks the fridge for restocking etc they have to bill people all the time. She is thinking of taking them out. I fancy fridges in some of our larger rooms but would only put in things I had costed into the room rate ie a couple of bits of fruit etc and some cans of coke etc (we cannot serve alcohol) and Would assume they would all be taken/eaten. Otherwise it seems like a ton of paperwork and checking for very little profit.
 

Innkeeper To Go

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Generally we are lucky ... most guests don't even clean out our bathroom amenities. The bath salts get taken most often and to be honest - it was put out for them to use so I really don't mind if they help themselves. If anything it works the other way here - guests who fill up our wine rack, leave me extra good wooden hangers ......
Most recently I had a guest who forgot her "bed time" socks and slippers. I gave her a couple of clean pairs of socks to borrow and a new pair of flip flops to keep (another guest was given them when she had a pedicure but because she had her own with her she gave the sealed, unused ones to me). That guest left a me a "six pack" of new flip flops to keep on hand for other guests .... it just seems to steamroll from there..
Ours are more of the 'National Parks' crowd...leave nothing behind but footprints; take only photos.

.
I do love those "leave no trace" guests.
 

Morticia

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I have a friend who is liscenced to serve alcohol and has an honesty bar and honesty fridges in the room but she makes them sign a thing on their registration card that says if you forget to pay for things they can charge your card. She says people forget they have taken anything from the fridge on check out (selective memory) then when the chamber maid checks the fridge for restocking etc they have to bill people all the time. She is thinking of taking them out. I fancy fridges in some of our larger rooms but would only put in things I had costed into the room rate ie a couple of bits of fruit etc and some cans of coke etc (we cannot serve alcohol) and Would assume they would all be taken/eaten. Otherwise it seems like a ton of paperwork and checking for very little profit..
I agree with that. And quite a number of people are complaining that they are being charged enormous amounts for something they really didn't know wasn't included in the room as a 'welcome'. And, then there's the other, 'WE didn't use that, the maid must have taken it.' It's just bad feelings all around. Price it into the room and be done with it. If the guests take it, it's paid for, if they don't THERE'S your profit.
Horrid story along those lines...I was at my brother's wedding and we were all staying at a big chain hotel. I checked out and there was a massive charge on the bill for using the phone. It showed the phone call went thru around 2 PM. Well, we were all across the river, miles from the hotel at that time. I said, 'It must have been someone cleaning the rooms or they let someone in.' No, the mgmt insisted we must have left someone (my kids were eyeballed at this point) behind and they ran up the phone. I ended up having to have my cc fight the charges.
You don't want those kinds of hard feelings from the guests when they find 'extra' charges on their bills unless you're a major chain and have them lined up out the door to get in.
 

Copperhead

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I have a friend who is liscenced to serve alcohol and has an honesty bar and honesty fridges in the room but she makes them sign a thing on their registration card that says if you forget to pay for things they can charge your card. She says people forget they have taken anything from the fridge on check out (selective memory) then when the chamber maid checks the fridge for restocking etc they have to bill people all the time. She is thinking of taking them out. I fancy fridges in some of our larger rooms but would only put in things I had costed into the room rate ie a couple of bits of fruit etc and some cans of coke etc (we cannot serve alcohol) and Would assume they would all be taken/eaten. Otherwise it seems like a ton of paperwork and checking for very little profit..
I can not stand those stocked fridges with charges for each item...especially when they list the fridge and an amenity that I feel I can use, but can't because it has all that stuff in it. Grrr. These 'honor' fridges are common on cruise lines too.
 
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