Archive for September, 2008

Stop Just Thinking About It

Time spent thinking about doing something is time spent not doing it.

Just DO it.

Hilarious Thai Commercial

This is a classic:

The Vanishing Shops

Vanishing Myth

Vanishing Identity?

A month ago, I could walk to any one of three Starbucks coffee shops within a 10-block radius of my house. Now, there is only one; the other two, just blank facades that still bore faint traces of the all-too-familiar logo.  This is part of the Seattle-based company’s decision to close 5% of its US Stores to help “boost the bottom line and its stock price.”

In a city like Portland, these closures will not likely be any hardship at all, what with the ubiquity of coffee shops from a variety of roasters seeming to mirror that of microbreweries.  But the two-tailed mermaid has been such a part of the Pacific Northwest’s identity that their disappearance — gradual or otherwise — would be felt.  One used to be able to say that, in the Pacific Northwest, there was a Starbucks “on every corner.”  That would not be true these days; at least, not in my neighborhood.

I enjoy other roasts — Stumptown, being another one I enjoy most — but Starbucks has been such a part of my own identity.  There was a time when you wouldn’t see me walking into work without a Starbucks cup in hand.  It became such a routine for me.  And even when I lived in PR, where the nearest Starbucks coffee shop was a twenty-minute walk from my condo, nothing would stop me from imbibing those tasty drinks.  (And, in PR, the drinks were “iced,” of course.)

Alas, there is nothing I can do with these changing times except to adapt.  At least there is still this one Starbucks location near my place that is very accessible.  And, since its location allows for mucho traffic, I don’t see them closing it any time soon.

Awkward Greetings Loop

I’m at a Starbucks when I witnessed this awkward greetings loop (or AGL, for short) between a female barista and a man whom it was clear she wasn’t too excited to see:

Man: “Hey!”

Barista: “Oh, hey…”

Man: “How are you?”

Barista: “Fine. Yourself?”

Man: “Doing good. You?”

Barista: “Uh, fine…”

I know that AGL’s are not uncommon.  Heck, I find myself in one all the time when my poor memory kicks in and I inadvertently inquire about a person’s well-being twice during the greeting (such as above).  And it shouldn’t be that awkward, but somehow it is.

Hate Me

Go Ahead, Punk. Make My Day.

Much like the airlines with their available seats, hotels generally sell more than their available inventory of rooms in order to ensure 100% occupancy.  This practice is industry-wide.  You would find even the swankiest of digs doing it.  And, why not?  Why would a hotelier want empty rooms?  “Heads in beds” is a mantra every hotelier is chanting, and overselling is one of the methods of achieving it.

How is this done? A hotel typically has cancellations or no-shows for their room reservations.  Hoteliers must look at historical data in order to “forecast” the number of expected cancellations and/or no-shows for any given date.  Then, the hotelier will “oversell” the hotel by or close to that number.  For example, if a 100 room hotel has shown an average cancellation of 10 rooms on the second Sunday of July, the hotelier will sell 110 rooms for that day, hoping that the same number of cancellations and/or no-shows occur.

What is the downside? Of course, this method can totally backfire if the forecast is wrong or the travel behavior suddenly changed for that year, which could end up with 10 people showing up at the hotel that is already fully booked.  This would generally result in those 10 people being “walked” to another hotel.  “Walking” or displacing a hotel guest is overall a discomforting experience both from the hotelier’s perspective and the guest’s.  There are plenty of reasons why hoteliers should never walk a guest inasmuch as there are reasons why they should.  And, if this experience is indeed bad for business, why hasn’t it ceased?

When is this not a good thing to you? “Walking” the guest often happens between midnight and 6am the following morning.  This means that you, the guest, have either been traveling all day or had to catch a red-eye flight to arrive where you did, which also means that you are already not in a great mood.  And, in spite of how beautifully that helpless third-shift Front Desk Agent or Manager describes the other hotel where you’ll be spending the night, all you want to do is get into bed.  This also does not benefit you if you were only in that city for that night and had to catch another early flight or make an early meeting at that hotel the following morning.  Being “walked” is also not a good thing to happen to guests who’ve saved up money and planned for months for their one night in a ultra phat joint.

How does this benefit you? If you happen to be one of those unlucky travelers who end up being walked, take heart.  Typically, you will be walked to another hotel of comparable value and it would often be for just one night.  Also, generally, the hotelier who has temporarily displaced you for that evening will pay for your accommodations at that other hotel, and would often include additional “bonuses” such as free breakfast, long-distance phone calls, etc.  They are, after all, trying to lessen the impact of the displacement.  Then, when you return to their hotel on the following day, you are often treated as royalty, sometimes given a room upgrade, welcome amenity, and other offerings.  After all, they are now trying to win you back.

Regardless of how may feel about it, “overselling” and “walking guests” will remain standard practices in the hotel industry.  If it happens to you, try not to view it too negatively and, instead, focus on the positives. 🙂

Showin’ Up LeBron