August 09, 2003

The Power of Inconvenience

I've just discovered a nifty technique hotels can use to make sure their guests do not wander off with all of the unused toiletries--little soaps, small bottles of shampoo, and so on--while at the same time maintaining an upscale, welcoming atmosphere. It's simple. Just make the articles in question both fancy and unpleasant to use.

Take the shampoo I used this morning. It's a conditioning shampoo in an elegant little tube--the kind that's designed to stand on its cap. But the shampoo itself is so runny that if you put the tube down on its side with the cap removed, the shampoo runs out. Consequently, you must unscrew the cap, squeeze (pour) some shampoo on your hand, and somehow recap the tube with a handful of shampoo.

The soap is an even better example. It's not just soap--it's an "Essence of Vanilla Bar". (I wasn't planning on eating it.) The package says "Soothing Vanilla fragranced exfoliating soap enriched with Poppy Seeds provides an invigorating cleansing experience." What this really means is that it doesn't lather very well, and it has little prickly things in it that scratch your skin. Oh, and it smells funny.

There are bathrobes in the closet; there's a little sign that you'll be charged $90 for taking one home. I think they can do better than that. If they wanted to be consistent, they'd provide "Elegant bathrobes, lovingly hand-made out of the finest Eqyptian cotton, and delicately scented with lavender," that are cut like hospital robes. I can guarantee that no one would walk off with those....

Posted by Will Duquette at August 9, 2003 09:28 AM

Craig Clarke said:

Terrific! I forgot you were funny.