Tuesday, August 12, 2008

She's back from vacation...

Emily Grace is back from visiting her Grandma and Grandpa in beautiful Ashtabula, Ohio: the home of covered bridges and not much else. They are on Lake Erie, but you can't really get down to it. The Amish communities are interesting, but they don't watch The Daily Show so what is there to talk to them about.

What was, for me, most interesting is the fact that Ashtabula is trying so hard to attract tourist dollars. They're building these covered bridges, which have to be the least cost effective bridges, in the poorest county in the state of Ohio to attract tourists. Yet, the one thing they could do for free is completely neglected. Customer service. How much would it cost to have the employees of the hotels, restaurants and stores at least pretend that they're glad to see you. It was pretty clear that my arrival on their doorstep was a major annoyance for them. The three employees at Alamo Rent-A-Car could not have been any more un-happy/annoyed when I walked up to claim my reservation. It's not like there was a line. I was the only person there. When I went back in to ask a question they were downright hostile. That will be the last time I rent from them.

The Holiday Inn Express in Ashtabula is another good example. When I made the reservation I called the hotel directly. I asked for a non-smoking room, Emily Grace hasn't acquired the habit yet, although she would like to start so she can get some of that great tobacco money. Anyway, the young lady I spoke to said she would put us on the first floor, away from the smoke. When we checked in they gave us room 325. When we got off the elevator on the third floor and took one breath, we should have gotten right back on the elevator and returned to the lobby. A non-smoking room on the smoking floor is like having a window room on the Titanic, "Look I see fish."

Trying to change rooms was a nightmare. The staff and management could not have made it any more difficult or unpleasant. I highly recommend staying anywhere that's not the Holiday Inn Express.


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