I’ve debated for thirty-three months whether or not vocalizing about shoddy service or facilities qualifies as the type of complaining that I long to disdain. This morning after checking out of a dirty, flea-bitten hotel at which persons who are seemingly regulars (friendly with and possibly friends of the counter employee) park in the disabled spots without tags or plates, I called the 800# and waded through three levels of disinterest (“You have to talk to Guest Relations and they only work Monday through Friday, 8:30 to 5:00”) before finding a supervisor willing to listen while I explained my issues.
She ended the call by stating that she would honor my request that she e-mail my concerns to guest relations. She had resisted that request quite vociferously but I calmly persisted. I wanted to believe that someone at the hotel chain cared about the rights of disabled customers. I had not focused on the run-down state of the property, the fleas that jumped from the carpet, or the dirty bathroom floor. I would not have told the desk clerk about those things; and I did not. I wanted her to address the handicapped parking both when I checked into the hotel and when I checked out. I would have overlooked the shabbiness of the place as being my fault for not vetting it. The clerk can’t help the disrepair; but she can monitor the use of the handicapped spaces.
Since she said, multiple times, that it was not her problem, I told the 800# lady all of it.
I did not get upset, raise my voice, or make any personal comments about anyone. When the reservations supervisor (the only one who would listen) said she would ask “guest relations” to open a complaint, I told her that I did not care about myself. I did not want a refund or an apology. I wanted her company to address the issue with the facility having no regard for the rights of their disabled customers.
She did not get that. She kept insisting they would “open a complaint for you”. That’s not the point. The point is to address the pervasive disinterest in providing accessible accommodations which I encountered at their location.
Therein lies the rub. We end up complaining about our little individual realities because no one will deal with the global issues. On the receiving end, the call-taker narrows the focus because they have grown accustomed to self-centeredness on the part of their customers. They figure I must have an angle. I want a future free room (good grief, no) or to have the woman reprimanded. I don’t want either. I want any disabled person brave enough to book at that hotel to be able to pull into the designated handicapped spot without having to fight the front desk. I want a curb cut by the ADA room (there was none) and a designated handicapped space by the ADA room (not one of those either). I want a disabled person who doesn’t happen to have a law degree and a big mouth to be treated courteously when they point out the remissions which present barriers to their stay.
If asking for those things to be accorded to the next person is complaining, count me in.
It’s the twenty-fifth day of the thirty-third month of My Year Without Complaining. From the Corner Coffeehouse in Ferguson, Missouri, I bid you good morning. Life continues