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Is There An Anime Character Called “Moochie”?

This happened about 4 years ago in my last year of university, and I’m pretty sure I was in the right, though I probably wasn’t as ‘polite’ as I could have been.

I joined an Anime Society while at university, and ended up getting brought into a group of friends. Most of them had known each other for years but I was welcomed in. The group wasn’t very large, but due to schedules and just general life, it was odd to have everyone together at the same time. As such, certain people were naturally closer to others, a few that considered each other more ‘acquaintances’ and a few clashing personalities that tried never to be in the same room together – but never anything too problematic.

I got on great with the majority, especially a girl, Jane, and this guy Adam. However, Jane and Adam were quite friendly with another guy, Tony, who I very rarely saw. And when we did finally meet, I didn’t really like him all that much. I can’t actually put my finger on why – we had plenty in common and there was nothing particularly unlikeable about him – he just rubbed me the wrong way.

Anyway, not long after joining this group, I introduced them to anime conventions, and desperate to keep our money down, we’d often pool together and share rooms. One year, I shared with Jane and Tony (the first time I actually spent quite a bit of time around him), and found he could be a quite irritating roommate – he was loud, spilled food, invited other people to our room who would crash there, and barely slept. After that, I made a point to always share with other friends.

The year, I was going to a convention with Adam. We had chosen to fly, while Jane, Jill and the rest of the group had all made their way down by train or by bus the night before. They all had far more luggage than we did, and neither of us really like long train trips if we can avoid them – as a rule, so long as nobody is travelling alone, everyone just makes their way however they prefer or can afford.

This had actually been a bad year/time for conventions. A lot of the group were getting ready to graduate, or preparing for exams and generally been quite broke. And this was by far the most expensive one every year, just due to the city it was held in (hotel rates were almost twice what they were for other cons).

Plus there had been 2 other conventions in the last month, so some had just gone to one of them and sat this one out, or planned to go only to back out last minute. I’d booked a room to share with Adam and another friend originally, only to have other friend cancel about a week before. This was a little upsetting, since the city the convention was being held was expensive, and not having an extra roommate meant the rooms were a lot pricier than planned. However, said friend really couldn’t afford to go and was genuinely upset about it, and we could cover the cost, so we didn’t make a big deal about it. We did try to get another roommate, but by that point everyone who could afford to go had already booked rooms.

Fast forward to us arriving and heading to the hotel, when Adam got a phone call from Jane saying they’d met up with everyone, and that Tony, who had told everyone he couldn’t afford to go, had actually got on a bus and made his way there. Of course, he didn’t have a place to stay…and asked Adam if he could crash in our room for the weekend for free?

I just stared at him and asked if he was serious. Adam just shrugged, and I put my foot down. No. He wanted to stay; he had to at least cover some of the cost of the rooms. Adam relayed the message, and then told me that Tony only had £10 on him for the full weekend.

My jaw just dropped. £10 to get you through 2 days and 3 nights? In this area that would get you maybe a meal and a drink – technically not even that, as you needed to get public transport to get to and from the convention from our hotel.

I got a little more of the story. Turns out he’d found a really cheap bus and hopped on hoping Jane would let him crash in their room. Problem was Jane (who had really stretched herself financially to afford to come) had already invited 4 other people to stay in her room to reduce its cost (not that the hotel knew!) and there was just no space.

I know part of me should have felt guilty, but I kept my foot down and said no. Tony knew full well just how much people had to spend to come to this convention – he couldn’t just come last minute and expect other people to let him freeload. If he had maybe come to Adam before the convention and asked if there was any way we could take him in, even for one night, I might have been more lenient. As it was, I found it extremely rude and ridiculous that he’d come all this way when he clearly couldn’t afford it.

I never actually saw him during the entire con (I later found out he was so broke, he hadn’t even bought registration, so just hung outside the convention all weekend), but found out through Jane that he’d ended up staying with them on the floor anyway, and generally mooched off them for food and drink. Can’t say I felt too guilty after that, though did feel bad that Jane ended up supporting him instead. 1012-12

{ 87 comments… add one }
  • Kate October 22, 2012, 10:02 pm

    Ah yes, I think this is a rite of passage for con-goers…the overcrowded room of people you vaguely know. Mine was my first anime con. Well-intentioned but overenthusiastic friend (WIBOF) of my sister organized a room for five people, the only people of who I knew were her and my sister. I was by and far the oldest there, by about five years. Other than insisting I had a spot in a bed, I was game.

    Problems started on Saturday when one of the other girls brought two outside friends into the room, one of who had just been accused of trying to steal a video game from the dealers’ room and had run for it! He maintained his innocence, but mentioned the police were looking for him, so he was going to “lay low” with us for a few hours. First, if the police had thought to come to our room looking for him, I can see a very good chance that we would have all been kicked out for hiding him, willing or not. Second, no one wants a stranger openly accused of thievery in their room; I made sure to take my valuables with me when we had to leave before they did. Fortunately, no incident arose, but my sister and I were not happy campers.

    That night, another girl had two friends who were sisters come to us with an issue; they were supposed to go home that night, but because of a problem with their mom’s car, she couldn’t pick them up. Could they stay with us? So now, our room count was up to SEVEN. You could barely move anywhere in the room without stepping on someone, and one of the girls, to make room for herself, pushed the furniture around and crushed one of the posters I had bought at the con; she apologized, but never offered to replace it. I knew at that point if we got found out, we would be kicked out. I moved from “not happy camper” to “pretty steamed.” Especially as with all those people in the room, the chatter kept everyone up well until the wee hours.

    Finally, the next morning, Sunday, WIBOF woke everyone up at six AM because we needed to be ready for the con! Con activities didn’t start until nine. And there was nothing I wanted to go to until eleven at the earliest. I continued to lie in bed while everyone around me begrudgingly got ready. When WIBOF had the nerve to shake me and tell me to get up “now now now,” I shot her the glare of death. My sister, recognizing that I was about to go from “pretty steamed” to “Super Saiyen,” told her to back off. To her credit, she did. Still didn’t get any sleep, though, with everyone else up and about.

    After that, the only person I ever shared a room with was my sister, or one or two friends I knew well and I could trust. And now I just generally get a room to myself, because I am an old and cranky con-goer and go to bed early because I can’t keep up with all of them young whippersnappers.

  • NostalgicGal October 22, 2012, 10:32 pm

    I did a round of conventions for quite a few years; all sorts of themed ones… almost always as a ‘dealer’. This means you have to have a room. A few places I ended up doing things like art room guard (you too can sleep on the concrete floor in front of the only door into the room but at least it meant I had a place… guy that was supposed to do it had company show up suddenly) but overall, most are good about things, you share rooms, you sort out the rules, and those that are supermooches usually find themselves out of anyone that’ll listen…

    I did my share of show up at a con with enough bus fare to get there, a suitcase with tablecloth and merchandise, and enough $ to open my cashbox and hope I made enough to get home on. At some cons I would join a local fanclub; then I would have friends when I went to their area con; and get some help in various ways. I might not have cash until after the event, but I often paid in merchandise to those that were nice to me.

    Tony is one of those that should and often do end up as total ‘unfriended’ and I applaud the OP about having a spine.

    Some hotels that are booked for major cons KNOW there are room shenanigans, but in case of fire, knowing how many people are actually there to be accounted for, one should fink about how many in the room. A lot of conventions would be booked at a flat price topping at 4 and if you wanted more towels you had to pay the extra per person and they would usually put a foot down over 50% more than the room was supposed to hold (2 queen beds = 4 bodies, and max 6).

    @Ellen, too bad you couldn’t have clued in earlier and expressed to mother about was it going to be her treat or dutch or what, at the time of the invitation. I have had the brass to ask first at the time such an invite was issued… nicely worded but.

  • DannysGirl October 22, 2012, 11:22 pm

    I re-read the OP, and yes, Jane snuck in extra people. I did say that if that was the case, Jane was wrong in my first post, though. I wasn’t implying that anyone else was wrong; I just missed that part in my first read through, and I got confused. Jane’s behavior is wrong in the US, too. (As is Tony’s for that matter! You dodged a bullet, OP!)

  • acr October 22, 2012, 11:41 pm

    I have noticed that Cons – Anime, Sci Fi, etc etc, are just full of these folks. I think it must somehow tie into the Geek social fallacies:


    I think not sharing with the moocher falls under #1 – making you the Evil Ostracizer.

    Also, a lot of these cons have a con suite that’s stocked with food, etc. I have known people who plan to eat at the con suite all weekend. And if the food runs out, they are OUTRAGED. “What do I do now?!?!” I never had anyone as bad as Moochie. We were lucky! But we did have random people help themselves to our snacks. I opted out of buying stuff “for the group” and brought what I wanted and kept it in my bag.

  • The Elf October 23, 2012, 9:18 am

    Okay, Bint. I was speaking from an American point of view, where the hotels know full well about the hotel situation during cons and either prepare for it or overlook it. If the UK does things differently, that’s just something I was ignorant about. Thanks for the additional information.

  • The Elf October 23, 2012, 9:24 am

    Shalamar, if the hotel is 100% booked even with higher than usual occupancy in rooms, how are they losing out on additional hotel rooms? There are none. I’m not too worried about the additional wear and tear, utilities, and breakfasts. I think the upcharge the hotels do during con time (which is not only well within their rights but basic capitalism) covers the difference. I’d be more worried about fire codes and the like.

    I mean, I paid a bit under $300 a night for a basic hotel room in Indianapolis for GenCon. Somehow I doubt that Indy is such a tourist attraction that they usually charge that much on a Wednesday night! They can afford the extra bagel.

  • Elizabeth October 23, 2012, 9:27 am

    I am very surprised to hear these posters rationalizing their bad behavior … over-filling the hotel room and stating it is expected? Um, no.

  • Tracy October 23, 2012, 10:14 am

    To those of you who think it’s perfectly fine to put 6 people in a room meant to hold 4… why not simply tell the hotel you’re doing it? Call the front desk and explain that, since the hotel is full, and of course they expect this type of activity at conventions, you have extra people in your room. If there’s nothing wrong, there’s no reason for you to tell the hotel.

    But of course, you won’t do that, because you know that even if you manage to find it morally acceptable, you KNOW the hotel will not approve, and will ask the extras to leave. You KNOW they are using extra electricity and water that isn’t being paid for. You KNOW they are putting an extra burden on the already-crowded elevators. You KNOW that in case of an emergency, the ability for everyone to safely evacuate will be hampered by the fact that it’s now over it’s safe capacity. You KNOW that when you made that room reservation, the hotel asked how many people would be staying in the room (whether it’s in the UK, US, or elsewhere), and you KNOW you lied about it. So don’t try to tell yourself it’s no big deal, because you KNOW it is, and if it wasn’t, you’d have no problem being honest with the hotel.

  • Abby October 23, 2012, 10:46 am

    That is an interesting point about the difference between UK hotels (layout wise, I mean, not policy), as opposed to American hotels. Every hotel I’ve ever been to in America charges extra if you admit to having more than 2 people in your room (and most don’t admit it), but I always thought that was to cover incidentals- ie, more water, more towels, more linens, a bigger mess to clean up, and possibly lost revenue. The whole fire hazard thing did not occur to me.

    I don’t know what would happen if Jane had been caught smuggling extra people in a UK hotel (as I am completely unfamiliar with non American hotels). I don’t think any American hotel would kick her out- they would probably just count the number of extras in the room and charge her credit card accordingly. Still, it would be an awkward situation. Anyways, yes, technically Jane was stealing from the hotel, but if they cleaned up after themselves really well and brought their own towels, no one individual was actually hurt by what she did.

  • Stepmomster October 23, 2012, 11:12 am

    Thank you for having a spine. Often in these situations people are crippled by their friend group’s expectations. I am incredibly fussy when I travel, I am a very light sleeper and have major insomnia. The first time I shared with another person it was totally miserable, I ended up wearing headphones all night to drown out her snoring. She was just fine as a roommate; I am just a delicate, whiny little snowflake. When I realized I require no snoring/noise to enjoy conventions, I just simply don’t go if i can’t afford a room of my own.

    Unfortunately people think it is necessary to beg their way into my single person room every time we go, with the pretense of “oh but they looked forward to this for so long! can’t you open your heart!” and my personal favorite “But everyone else is sharing, why are you so special? my cousin/friend/brother/strange guy you have never met dressed like a fairy princess needs a place to stay! why are you so selfish”

    My answer is always “Because I have paid for this room by myself, on purpose. I don’t sleep well, and this event is too expensive to walk around trying to enjoy it like a coma patient. Please understand that I took time off of work, arraigned babysitting, and made sure I had the money to go to this event, I have no intention of making your emergency my priority.”

    The one time I relented was when a couple had made plans, arrived, and then were told by the hotel they were accidentally overbooked and could they stay at a different hotel. The couple was so crushed that they wouldn’t be with the whole group I happily let them in my room and bought earplugs. They had done their due diligence, but the hotel let them down. I am not a monster, but I am absolutely finished with pandering to rude people who don’t know how to plan.

  • Ellen October 23, 2012, 1:16 pm

    Dear Lo & Gramma Dishes,

    Knowing my friend, and having spent two evenings in conversation with her mother, I am of the belief that my Friend conveyed the invitation she was instructed to convey….and was blushing in embarassment that her mother had put her in such a terrible position. I think the Mother was accustomed to bullying and “gaslighting” everyone around her into getting her own way. I have dealt with that type of person on many occasions, and when confronted with a Polite Spine, their behavior is compelely different than someone who was truly confused or misunderstood. Her act of being offended was obviously contrived and false. Not all habitual liars become convincing liars.

    There is a reason my Friend moved to the Big City, as far away from her Mother as she could get without a passport. Fortunately I had a lot of canned goods and leftovers till payday.

  • Akili October 23, 2012, 2:08 pm

    On the sneaking people into hotel room things, my family has never had a lot of money and whenever we’ve been forced to get a hotel room we find the cheapest place we can find, and then cram all six people into the one tiny room. We could never afford to pay the extra charge for more then 2-4 people, and so I’ve never really seen what the giant deal is myself.

  • Rap October 23, 2012, 2:21 pm

    Tracy – honestly, some hotels, in con situations, really don’t care. I go to DragonCon every year and and on one occasion stayed at the Hilton where we straight up asked for 5 room keys, and got them with no fuss and no extra charges because it was a double bed room and one extra person sleeping on the floor wasn’t a fire code violation. We actually were offering to pay and were told it wasn’t necessary as long as we weren’t violating the fire code (apparently six people would violate).

    Also – while I don’t personally use this justification, the hotel is also responsible to protect itself just a little bit. When people “lose” all four room keys or ask for extra keys because they “lose” them a lot, odds are they’re room stuffing. Likewise there’s no way the cleaning staff doesn’t know who is room stuffing. I don’t approve – I personally am at a stage in my life where I don’t like sharing and I do like having the bed to myself, but the hotel has a duty to enforce it’s own rules and fire codes.

  • XH October 23, 2012, 4:36 pm

    I just wanted to add that the above comments about hotels charging per person aren’t valid in the situation of a convention. Convention hotel room pricing is (at every con I’ve attended anyway) a flat rate instead of per person, sometimes lower than usual because they know they’ll be completely booked during the event. They assume 4 adults in the room rather than 2 as stated above, and 5 wouldn’t be enough over-crowding for the hotel to actually kick guests out.

    And a relevant horror story from a con of many years ago:

    The second year in a row we attended our favorite con, my husband and I went with a couple friends. These friends are Costumer, Mopey, and Bigfoot. Bigfoot was presumably Mopey’s boyfriend at the time, but after the con, not any more. We were all college students, and affording the room was only going to work in a group of more than three. Costumer and Mopey were close friends of ours who we’d roomed with the previous year, and this year Mopey didn’t want to attend without his boyfriend. DH and I had a blast at the con – Costumer and I worked in the artist’s alley by day and partied in costume by night, while still leaving room for sleep. DH attended all the panels, and Mopey alternated between the LAN room and sleeping the whole time. Bigfoot was a whole different story.

    We’re pretty sure that Bigfoot had fun. We so rarely saw him, however, that we could only console Mopey that we hadn’t actually seen his boyfriend, so we couldn’t confirm that he was cheating. Bigfoot didn’t spend even one night sleeping in the room with us, but did shower there. On the ride back, it was confirmed that he didn’t sleep in the room because he didn’t sleep – until he snored the whole way home across a whole state.

    Now we were peeved about his abandoning Mopey for the event, and completely unsurprised when Mopey dumped him after getting home. But we did still expect to be paid for his share of the room, even if all he did was bathe in it and store his things there. Everyone else paid up in the parking lot before we split into vehicles to caravan our way home. Bigfoot went and turned fairytale on us. He ignored every request to pay his share until precisely a year and a day later. He finally paid his share of the room in the parking lot as DH and I were packing the car to go home from the same con the following year. He mutely shoved the cash into DH’s hands and vanished, and we haven’t seen him since.

  • Drawberry October 23, 2012, 7:38 pm

    I’ve gone to my fair share of conventions and have been lucky to room with good friends or my Boyfriend for all but ONE convention.

    For some background, the two guys we shared with (and one gal, but she was a little angle and this doesn’t involve her at all) where in their mid 20s and one was the brother of a friend of the group. He was known to be a bit odd, very quiet to the point of just refusing to respond to a single word I said (and I have social anxiety disorder, I KNOW being awkward and quiet like the back of my hand) and the other guy was his boyfriend. This one convention was my first time selling the artist alley and Boyfriends 10th or so, so I was already agitated at having to lug an enormous rolling bin full of my products (which included heavy wood pieces for crafts I do) up to the floor of the hotel room and back down every morning since the artist alley was just in an open hallway with no security.

    Coming up to the room the first day for some lunch, we hadn’t yet met the two. Boyfriend knew the younger brother already but not his boyfriend. They where in and gone by the time we got up to the room for lunch but left behind some gross mess! The boyfriend didn’t seem to fit on the toilet seat and as such left an enormous smearing of feces on the back of the toilet seat, as well as clogging up the toilet so that a huge wad of waste covered toilet paper was jammed in the pipe of the toilet. We had to call maintenance to unclog the toilet and we had to clean up the ‘skid mark’ before the repair man came and saw!

    I was furious, boyfriend was too, and that night told the two that this cannot happen again and got their half of the hotel payment that night in case they bailed.

    The younger brother of our friend didn’t shower once the whole weekend, or at least he smelled like he didn’t. We walked into the room on the second night and when we opened the door it was like walking into a wall of horrible B.O stink that was so bad it LINGERED ON OUR CLOTHES the rest of the night. we knew it wasn’t his boyfriend because we heard him shower before bed. By the second day at the convention the younger brothers hair was so slick with grease it looked like it was dripping down his forehead, but he still didn’t shower.

    The rest of the weekend with them was awkward but on the final day we arrived at the table to set up and found that the younger brother had LEFT HIS ENTIRE SUITCASE at our table with a note telling he’d pick it up when he left. No asking us if it was okay, nope. He just dumped his enormous suitcase at our table and disappeared all day. For those not familiar with the artist alley at conventions they are extremely limited on space, this convention especially. The tables are about 6ft wide and spaced very narrowly together. The whole rest of the day we had to spend crawling over this guy’s suitcase to get out from behind the table! At one point he came back, didn’t say a word to us, took out something and left the rest of the stuff there. Not a word. Not a thank you. Not even Hello. He just grabbed something and left quickly. We where swamped with customers and couldn’t pull away to say anything to the guy, he was just gone as quickly as he came.

    At one point the boyfriend came around and asked if we saw him because he’d even bailed out on his own boyfriend! We told him we had no idea, but he just dumped his junk at our table and asked that when he finds him to please tell him to get rid of his things because we never said he could ditch his things at the table.

    Finally, a few hours before the convention closed, he came and got his things. Said a brief thank you and left.

    We told our friend that his brother can never stay in our room again.

    Keep in mind these where MEN. As in, adults. With bank accounts and drivers licenses and everything! ADULTS!

    Since then I try to just keep it me and my Boyfriend only when we go to hotels.

  • hakayama October 23, 2012, 7:52 pm

    Please accept my abject apologies for not having included the word “some” when I alluded to disharmony caused by obsessing with certain hobbies. I’ve never had the dubious pleasure of meeting such individuals, but I certainly have come across references to their hobbies that rule their lives.
    I did not mean to disparage the activities at all. What I find unsettling is the “Tonyism” in pursuit of that activity.

  • Cat Whisperer October 24, 2012, 3:50 pm

    “Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.”

    That pretty much covers Tony’s situation.

    You know why people like Tony seem to go from crisis to crisis, always on the knife-edge of perdition and one misstep away from disaster?

    *Because it gets them what they want.*

    Kudos to OP for having the spine to tell Tony “No way!” to his attempt to crash in on OP’s arrangements. If everyone was this firm with Tony, he’d stop getting what he wanted, and he just might change his behavior.

  • Cat Whisperer October 24, 2012, 6:04 pm

    Carrie said: “…Bint….at convensions such as this, it’s actually the norm to share a room with 3 or 4 friends. The ones I’ve attended, you have no choice but to because the hotel sells out quickly for convension weekend, and you can’t book your own room. If the hotel is completely booked, they aren’t missing any revenue….”

    And this seems to be a feeling that a lot of people who responded to OP’s story shared.

    I’ve got a friend in the hotel business, and let me pin your ears back with a few realities about the “harmlessness” of sneaking in extra people, unregistered guests, to your hotel room and assuming that the hotel isn’t missing any revenue.

    First of all, as others have touched on: there are fire safety regulations that limit the occupancy of the individual rooms. If the hotel violates these rules, they can face penalties that include fines and loss of licensing. They can also face increased insurance premiums from their insurer. Seems to me that the safety issue of exceeding what the fire marshal deems the safe occupancy limits should be sufficient reason for sensible people to not sneak extra people in, but hey, I guess some people are willing to risk their own and other people’s safety on what they feel is a small chance of fire, earthquake, or other catastrophe. I personally think that’s imposing on other people who are staying in the hotel and are also put at risk, but I guess some people don’t think that’s outrageously rude as long as it gets them what they want.

    Second, and this is a BIG peeve with me: people say “the hotel isn’t losing money” as if “the hotel” is a sentient entity, a being of some sort.

    It isn’t. “The hotel” actually consists of employees, like the maid who services your room, and her supervisor; the maintenance guy who is on hand to deal with squawks about the facilities, and his supervisor; the administrative people who work the front desk, the telephones, the accounting, and other behind-the-scenes administrative tasks; and all the bell people, the restaurant and catering people, and all the miscellaneous people who work for the hotel.

    When you sneak people into your room, you are making these people exceed the amount of work that they are normally expected to do, and usually without any extra compensation. And please note: if people are so frickin’ broke or cheap that they’re cramming more people into the room than they’re supposed to, it’s unlikely they’ll be tipping the maid, which courtesy and custom mandates here in the USA. So it’s quite likely that the maid, in addition to having more than the usual amount of work to do to keep the room clean, is going to be stiffed by the group.

    Ditto for every other worker in the hotel who is dealing with the overload of people. Now I don’t know about the people who posted here and seem so cavalier about sneaking extra people in their room and declaring it’s no problem for the hotel, but in my world, it is just plain old ordinary rude and obnoxious to impose extra work without compensation on people who aren’t able to protest this. Since this is an etiquette website, I would say that imposing in this way on the people who work at the hotel is an etiquette felony. Man, I hate people who make me do extra work and cause me extra trouble, especially uncompensated extra work and extra trouble. It’s rude and speaks of entitlement.

    And let’s just for a minute give a little bit of consideration to the other guests at the hotel. Many of the people who posted here mention that in a lot of cases, the guests who they sneak into their rooms aren’t personally well-known to them, or vouched for in any way, and aren’t kept track of in any way. Doesn’t this strike anyone else as a potential security issue? That by allowing unknown people to stay with you, you may possibly be enabling someone who is a thief or worse to have access to other guests and the property of other guests who are staying in the hotel?

    Doesn’t this strike anyone else as WRONG?

    Put baldly, when you sneak unpaid guests into your hotel room, you are stealing from the hotel (yes, it is theft when you take something you haven’t paid for that doesn’t belong to you, but has tangible value). You are imposing incredible inconvenience without compensation on the staff of the hotel. You are potentially endangering other people who are staying at the hotel and people who work at the hotel.

    Now in my world, those are acts of incredible rudeness and entitlement, in no way justified because the hotel raises its rates for conventioneers.

    If you can’t afford to stay in a hotel and pay for everyone who is staying with you, find a cheaper hotel or motel or hostel. Or camp out somewhere, or find someone who will offer you hospitality. Or sleep in your car, or rent a camper. That’s what polite, ethical people who care about not imposing on others do.

  • acr October 24, 2012, 8:35 pm

    @ Cat Whisperer – In my experience at these cons, the vast majority of rooms have a Do Not Disturb sign all weekend.

    I went to a Con during it’s first year. Most attendees had stayed up until 4 am playing a live-action RPG. All of us (literally an entire floor of the hotel) put out Do Not Disturb signs. The maid comes by and tentatively knocks on each door, getting many cranky exclamations, “I put out the SIGN. You woke me UP.” (I was polite.) Just as I was starting to drift off to sleep….another knock. The poor maid is there, close to tears, with a clipboard in her hand. Apparently, the hotel manager didn’t believe her that all of these people were still asleep at 11 am and didn’t want their rooms cleaned. So we all had to sign the sheet! BTW, this was not the last day of the Con, so we had all rented the room for an additional day, so we were not stopping the room from being prepared for that night’s guests.

    I would honestly guess that the average roomful of con goers is less trouble than the average roomful of tourists. They don’t want their rooms clean…because their rooms are full of Con Swag. They don’t want towels. They don’t bother the concierge.

  • Joshua October 24, 2012, 10:22 pm

    I’d suggest to anyone in a room-sharing situation like the ones described in this thread and comments to tell the hotel not to allow any charges to the room. If you are dealing with a mooch/potential mooch/roommate you don’t know well, you wouldn’t want to find out at checkout that they ordered a lot of food through room service and charged it to the room. If any of the people in the room want room service or anything else one might be able to charge to the room, they should pay for it then and there.

  • Cat Whisperer October 25, 2012, 1:49 am

    acr, the maids usually have responsibility for cleaning a certain number of rooms by a certain time. They can get in trouble if they don’t complete the rooms by a certain time. That’s why the maid knocked on the door, that’s why she had the guests sign a sheet. (Did you know that cleanliness and sanitation of hotel rooms is covered by a myriad of local, county, state and federal regulations designed to address health and safety concerns? And that the hotel can be cited and fined or even closed if it fails to meet these standards?)

    This gets back to the issue of courtesy: it is not courteous to do things that could result in someone losing their job, or a business being cited by regulatory authorities. It just isn’t good manners. If someone called in a complaint to the regulatory authorities that rooms weren’t being maintained in the required condition, or the hotel is allowing people in excess of the permitted maximum to sleep in the room and the hotel got cited and sanctioned, who do you think is going to get thrown under the bus? Most likely the lowest employee on the totem pole: the maid.

    It just isn’t good manners to put people who are caught between a rock (management) and a hard place (the customers) in the position of possibly getting reprimanded or even losing their jobs. That’s what I’m trying to get across. It isn’t “the hotel” that suffers when people do inconsiderate and illegal things like sneaking unregistered people into the rooms and exceeding the room’s maximum occupancy limit, or when people refuse to allow the maid access to the room to clean it. It’s a specific person or people who suffers: the maid who may get a reprimand because she didn’t finish all her rooms on time; the housekeeping supervisor who will be short-handed because the heavy workload imposed on the maids by too many people and has to scramble to get things done; the maintenance supervisor who can’t handle all the squawks caused by too many people using facilities; the security people or management people who may get in trouble because of problems caused by unregistered guests or complaints. Saying “the hotel doesn’t suffer” is just a way of deflecting your own responsibility for causing inconvenience, or extra work, or even material loss caused by a reprimand or loss of job, to someone who is a human being like you or me. You cannot rationalize that away, IMO. You certainly cannot say that it’s considerate behavior or shows good manners and courtesy.

    To me, this is an issue that is very clear: the rules a hotel has about requiring all guests to register, to observe the rules about maximum occupancy of the room, allowing the maid to access the room for cleaning, and so forth are rules to protect the health and safety of the guests and to try to provide comfort and fair value for all guests. If I break those rules, it will probably result in some employee of the hotel– some actual person– getting into trouble. Even if I don’t get caught, by my behavior I am disrespecting other guests by compromising their health, safety and comfort, since the rules I’m breaking are supposed to protect other guests. That just isn’t good manners or courteous behavior, no matter how I rationalize it. It’s self-indulgent at best and at worst it’s going to cause someone else harm. How on earth is that justifiable, defensible, or courteous?

  • GleanerGirl October 25, 2012, 3:53 am

    My convention story:

    The advertising clearly stated : Single occupancy room $A, Double room $B, Triple room $C, Quadruple room $D. You could choose your roommates in advance, or be assigned roommates by the people running the convention.

    I signed up for Quadruple occupancy, knowing that with 2 double beds, there would be room for four people. It would be crowded, but I was young, and had shared beds before on youth trips, so figured it would be no big deal.

    When I arrived, I was shown to my room, where there were already four people, and was told that another would be joining us, and as the late-comers, she and I would have to sleep on the floor. WHAAAAT!?

    What happened? Well the hotel had “accidentally” booked two conventions at the SAME TIME. And so they just crammed people into the rooms, willy-nilly, regardless of what occupancy they had paid for. The safety concerns of this just staggered me.

    I was young, and often stupid, and way too eager to please. However, I had PAID for a bed and I was NOT going to sleep on the floor. I had slept on the floor enough times to know that there would be no sleeping for me, if a floor was involved. They didn’t even offer a blow-up mattress, just a pillow and a couple of blankets. NO WAY!

    I demanded to speak to the manager, and while I was there, another woman from our convention was doing the same thing. Apparently, she and I were the only ones to complain, but we did, and the hotel manager decided to accept responsibility, and really bent over backwards for us. Not only did he arrange a DOUBLE room (two double beds, so we each had a big bed of our own! Yaay!) in another hotel, it was a swanky hotel, and the room was a suite, with a separate living room, and it was just reeeeaaaallllly nice. Also, he arranged transportation for my roomie and me, for the entire length of the convention, so that we never missed any of the activities! It was great! And never charged us a cent more than what we had already paid, up front, for our quadruple room.

    Yeah, having a polite spine really pays off.

    OP, good for you for keeping your spine. Do not feel guilty. Tony needs to learn his lesson, not to behave like that.

  • Rap October 25, 2012, 10:13 am

    Cat Whisperer, I get your point, I really do – but doesn’t the hotel have some obligation to do more than nothing? Look at the situation ACR is describing. You can’t tell me that the hotel wasn’t aware that their rooms were being overfilled. And what did they do? Send a manager to demand payment for the extra people and services? Or send the maid back to confirm no one wanted their rooms cleaned?

    That’s tacit condoning.

    Please don’t get me wrong – I actually agree with you on the point that there’s a line and a lot of people cross it, but I also think that hotels really have to step up and take control as well. There’s no way, for example, that the hotels involved with DragonCon aren’t aware that people are violating the fire codes.

  • The Elf October 25, 2012, 10:37 am

    Cat Whisperer, you make a good point, especially with regards to the tipping. Even if the Do Not Disturb sign is up, some level of tip is still customary for the maid staff who prepared the room for your use.

    That said, the hotel management *knows* this happens at con-time. And they should be either planning appropriately in terms of staffing or enforcing their own rules (if indeed there are rules being broken). Given the EXTREMELY HIGH RATES the hotels charge during con time, I’m not too worried about compensation. Really, I’m not. I’ve paid for extra staff required by paying triple the usual rate for a room. Triple. Surely that covers the extra costs. If not, then the hotel needs to up their rates. I bet they’d still sell every room.

    Violating fire codes are another thing altogether, though.

  • Ellen October 25, 2012, 11:00 am

    @ acr, please re-read Cat Whisperer’s post, and then re-read your own.

    Then please imagine you were that maid. Do you really believe you and the other the con-goers (even the ones who spoke politely) were “less trouble” for her?

  • GleanerGirl October 25, 2012, 2:18 pm

    Hear! Hear! Cat Whisperer!

  • acr October 25, 2012, 3:47 pm

    I read Cat Whisperer’s posts. I’m not an expert in the hotel industry, so I don’t have the facts. I’m also some what confused…I don’t understand how not wanting my room cleaned inconvienences the maid. Does the hotel get in trouble if they don’t clean X rooms per day? The hotel had a whole floor of people who didn’t want their rooms cleaned. Not just not then – not at all. Those DND signs stayed up all day. When I’ve gone, the con floors have DND signs up and down the hallways – all day. I don’t see how four people who don’t want their room cleaned all weekend is somehow more trouble for a maid than 1 person who wants their room cleaned every day.

  • acr October 25, 2012, 3:50 pm

    Also, I’m sure it was a pain for the maid to have to knock on each door, get a “No thanks” or something rude, and then to have to come back around and get the signatures. But that falls squarely on the manager who didn’t believe her and didn’t bother to get up and check and see that yes, indeed, the entire floor is wall-to-wall Do Not Disturb signs at 11 am. The hotel guests held up their end by putting out the signs.

  • Jenni October 25, 2012, 7:06 pm

    My worst horror story was the only time I did not book, pay for, and arrange my own room-mates in, my own hotel room for a convention. I went last-minute to help bail out a friend of mine, we’ll call her T, who had someone bail on her last-minute and she would not have been able to afford her room. I had the cash to spare for the room cost, as well as food and some goodies for myself were I to attend, so I did. We arrived on Thursday, for early registration and pre-registration check-in.
    One of HER friends, (we’ll call him K) had a room with a few good friends, and one man he’d met and arranged with on the convention’s forum, J. They all also arrived on Thursday. Overall everyone was pleasant, except for J.
    J seemed to spend the whole convention in either K or T’s room, being in T’s room when K and his friends were there as well. At first no one minded his presence, slightly awkward as it was, since he spent the whole time staring at his laptop with headphones on. Friday night, however, he decided to share his entertainment with the room. He took his headphones out, turned his volume up, sat on a bed, and watched his anime show. Except it turned out that his anime show was pornography.. No one really spoke up as T and K were both out of the room, no one really knew his name, and no one felt comfortable acting as an authority.. so generally everyone sat around the room, pointedly ignoring him and his encouragements to “come watch with me!” until T finally returned to her room, and told him to go the hell back to K’s room. She also texted K and told him what J had done..
    It was super awkward and K left a little “room-mate review” on the convention forum stating what had happened, for future con-goers to be warned..

  • Tracy October 26, 2012, 12:52 pm

    The Elf said: “Shalamar, if the hotel is 100% booked even with higher than usual occupancy in rooms, how are they losing out on additional hotel rooms? There are none. I’m not too worried about the additional wear and tear, utilities, and breakfasts. ”

    Well. How kind of you not to worry. I’m sure that makes everything okay.

    Rap said: “Also – while I don’t personally use this justification, the hotel is also responsible to protect itself just a little bit. When people “lose” all four room keys or ask for extra keys because they “lose” them a lot, odds are they’re room stuffing. Likewise there’s no way the cleaning staff doesn’t know who is room stuffing. I don’t approve – I personally am at a stage in my life where I don’t like sharing and I do like having the bed to myself, but the hotel has a duty to enforce it’s own rules and fire codes.”

    How is the hotel supposed to enforce these rules? I mean, they could ask you how many people are staying in a room – oh, wait, they already do that, and people lie. I suppose they could knock on doors in the middle of the night and see how many people are actually in the room. That sounds like a realistic plan. 😉

    acr said: “I don’t understand how not wanting my room cleaned inconvienences the maid.”

    First, it means more trips to your room. Instead of showing up once to clean it, there’s one or two or three trips to attempt to clean it, and then perhaps a trip to get proof for the boss that you don’t want it cleaned. Second, all of those rooms have to be cleaned at some point. On the day the convention ends, the housekeeping staff will be cleaning 2, 3, or 4 days worth of filth instead of one day. I suppose someone will respond by saying the room doesn’t get any dirtier in 4 days than it does in 1, and that is the case with some guests, but with others it certainly is not. I think those people who are locked in their rooms playing RPG games all night are probably eating and drinking, are they not? And finally, as Cat Whisperer pointed out, people who sleep on the floor because they can’t afford a room probably are not going to leave a tip, which again means more work but less money.

  • Emmy October 26, 2012, 2:07 pm

    This story just reminds me of one the cons that came to my hotel when I was working there. Everytime we booked this particular con, it was a nightmare. First because our hotel was not designed be able to host cons at all. We only had two medium sized ballrooms, pefect for a meeting or a wedding, but a con? No way. Second, the people at the con we’re probably some of the worst people I had to deal with. Rude, bossy, self-entilited, I’d had nicer bridezillas. Plus they were all heavy drinkers who liked to destroy things. The first year they came that I worked there, I didn’t believe it was going to be that bad. I’d gone to cons with my friends, sure there were some crazies (aren’t there always?) but they way my co-workers acted it was going to be like Lord of the Flies. I should’ve taken the warnings. But I digress, the second year I worked there and the con came, I was ready for anything and everything. We upped security, got strict on room numbers (which con or not, we never cared, you never paid more, we only investigated when there were complaints/safety concerns), and prepared to do battle.

    On the first night, as the con closed up, and people stumbled to their rooms, and secuirty chased half naked people out of the pool, this slimy little man child flopped on our couch in the lobby. At first we assumed he was just waiting for his friends. But then he stayed, and stayed, and stayed. Until we realized…he was asleep. People passing out in our lobby? We were actually used to that. He didn’t seem dangerous and security was busy so I went over to wake him and get him to his room. When I woke him up he informed me he didn’t have room with us (or with any hotel for that matter), so he was just gonna crash on the couch in the lobby. He then told me “It’s cool”, I informed him that no it was in fact not cool, he’d need to make other arrangements. He called me a nice list of names and said that cons were about people coming together. I explained to him that hotels were about making money, not people coming together. Then I told him to scram before I called the cops. He refused and told me he was staging a sit-in to protest me. So I contacted the cops and they arranged a lovely room for him at the local jail. The next morning his friends came to the front desk (I happen to be working again, the upside of the con was all the overtime) asking where he was, as he had told them he’d sleep in the lobby. I told them the cops had been called and he was arressted for trespassing. They called me a similar list of names at which point I said “I just had your friend arressted, do you want to be kicked out of the hotel too? I was here til 2am, went home, and came back here at 6am. I have dealt with 36 clogged toliets, 6 urinals torn off the wall, more vomit then I want to think of, and I had to do it all wearing this ugly polyester shirt. Do not test me, I will have you locked up for harressment” they backed off. My manager overheard me. He promoted me. After all, I said it all with a big smile.

  • Rap October 26, 2012, 2:29 pm

    ACR – the cost for the hotel is several fold. First, this means the maids hired to work for that weekend get paid for nothing. Second, those rooms have to be cleaned eventually and honestly, people in fandom talk a good game but they are no better than anyone else about picking up after themselves. Third, part of what people do is call down to the front desk for replacements on toiletries and towels but because the maide can never get into the room to retrieve the used towels, the hotel runs out of towels (yes this can and does happen). And trust me – con goers are no better than any other type of guest. I have seen some thrashed and trashed con roomns

    My issue is with the hotels tacitly approving of this. Like I said before, if a maid tells the boss that the majority of her floor has dnd signs up for the entire weekend, that should be a red flag that something is going on. And having been to a few cons (Dragoncon specifically) where crowds and crowding have gotten severe enough to make me geniunely question if the situation is safe, I’ve seriously questioned the hotels complacency in not dealing with the room stuffing.

  • Rap October 26, 2012, 5:37 pm

    ” I suppose they could knock on doors in the middle of the night and see how many people are actually in the room. That sounds like a realistic plan.”

    Because it would irritate the guests and they are probably making really good money off the convention and don’t want to lose those dollars so they turn a blind eye…. huh… isn’t that the exact arguement being made for hotels not really losing anything in room stuffing situations?

    More to the point, lets look at acr’s example. So apparently there’s a convention and significant number of guests have DND signs on the door, to the point that the hotel manager makes the maid get signatures to prove that all of these guests for this convention were declining room cleaning… You seriously think they don’t know they’re room stuffing?

    Or how about my example of hotel management handing out 7 active room keys to someone in a one bed room because “I lose my keys a lot” – really? Thats not a red flag?

    The hotel has a duty to enforce the fire codes at least and I know why they don’t enforce their own stated rules – because they would lose money. While I no longer engage in this practice, the hotel as an entity is partially to blame when it is taken advantage of when it gives tacit consent to people to cheat.

  • Baglady October 27, 2012, 9:45 am

    But the room stuffing and the late sleeping are apples and oranges. Room stuffing may be against hotel policy, violate health and safety violations, and force the staff to work harder for no extra money, but even if no rooms are over capacity, there could still be an event that keeps a lot of guests up late and results in a lot of “do not disturb” signs the next morning. Doesn’t even have to be a con; could be a wedding, an astronomers symposium or a tour group with jet lag.

    Yes, it inconveniences the housekeeping staff, but inconvenience happens in the hospitality business, and a good hotel should have contingency plans — maybe put the morning housekeeping staff to work in other areas, and beef up the afternoon crew?

  • Rap October 27, 2012, 7:44 pm

    Baglady – I suppose my question on the Do Not Disturb scenario is why did the hotel manager send the maid back up to get people to sign off on it if it wasn’t unusual?

    Particularly when you search various con forums and see this warning “Put up your do not disturb sign so the maid can’t come in and see how you have eight people in the room”.

    I don’t put all the blame on the hotel for condoning it, but neither do I put all the blame on the people who know they can get away with it because the hotel does nothing. It’s my responsibility to be a good guest, it’s the hotel’s responsibility to put enforcing their own rules above their profits.

  • Cher630 October 28, 2012, 8:56 pm

    You had every right to put your foot down. Tony is a free-loader, plain & simple. He figured someone would feel bad for him and would let him stay with them and give him food. He probably did this before and since no one ever called him on it like you did, he just continued to mooch and free-load.

    Good for you for having a backbone! Like you said, everyone was stretched thin and had lots of other expenses at the time, not just him. If he couldn’t afford it, then he should have stayed home, like some others had done. What he did was selfish.

  • Enna November 5, 2012, 1:58 pm

    If someone can’t afford to contribute their fair share then they can’t come/join in. Over-filling hotel rooms does sound unsafe to me.

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