Monday, February 28, 2022

People vs. Sherlock Holmes

 As background, although many of you readers probably are already aware, we've had two cabins on our property since 2014.  One has always been for short term guests, either paying or otherwise. The other started life as my sister's home.  

Always been a guest cabin on your left. Now a guest cabin on your right.

Once Mrs. J and I completed the build of our new home, She moved into our old house.  It had a very large master bedroom which she converted into her quilting room.  She's very talented at that and the size of the room works to her benefit, so she's happy.  We then refreshed her old cabin and turned it into a second guest cabin.

Which we promptly used for a gathering of the extended clan for a late Christmas

The good news? We're pretty well booked every weekend and quite a few weekdays through June.  So...We got that going for us.  Additional good news? We make it a point to meet our guests as soon as possible after arrival.  Answer any questions, see if they need anything and make a quick assessment of them. One, we like to meet new people and two we like to see if they're likely to tear the place up.  It doesn't happen often, but...

So, a couple of weeks ago, Mrs J and I were on a wine cruise she had put together for a local winery.  This was complicated by the fact that the first weekend and the last weekend of the cruise, both cabins were reserved.  We have a cleaning service to clean the cabins, change linens and towels etc.  Little J and DIL were staying at our house to handle any routine (e.g. "Need more toilet paper") emergencies. So, we thought we had everything covered.

Speaking of TP, after every stay, we put a new roll on the spindle, another roll on the tank and a third under the sink. Folks, short of an outbreak of dysentery, two people in a weekend don't go through 3 rolls of toilet paper.  We aren't stupid, you're taking it home.  Really?  You do know that part of the way we calculate our rates is based on our costs.  That, however, does not mean you own the TP.  It just means as our costs go up, the rate you pay to stay does also.  

Just sayin'

So, we're on the cruise and the folks that had checked in on the first weekend have checked out.  Little J repopulates the TP.  The next folks check in and that evening we get a message from them saying the TV doesn't work.  We're coming home that evening, so we stop by to take a look.  Everything looks right, but it still doesn't work. I ask Little J to come with me to help troubleshoot.  He takes a quarter second look and says, "Dad, the USB cable to the Amazon Fire Stick is missing."

I look under the TV stand and not only is the cable missing, but so is the adapter for electricity to USB.

They had to move the TV stand to get to the electric socket and in so doing, the bottom shelf (which stabilizes the legs) came apart.  They just shoved it back together and hoped for the best. 

ARRRGGGGHHHH! So I run to WallyWorld, spend $5.97 for a replacement USB cable and adapter and $3 for some wood glue.  Grabbed a long pipe clamp and fixed the stand. 

Folks, don't steal!  And, if something gets broken, at least let someone know.  If the legs had come undone, the TV would have fallen and gotten broken.  Much more expensive and billed to your account as well as a quite lousy rating for you as a guest.  You do know that both VRBO and AirBnB request owner evaluations of guests as well as guest evals of their stay, doncha?

A rating of Absolute Zero by us would negatively impact your ability to stay in either company's rentals for a long time to come.

As a song says, "God is great, Beer is good, people are crazy".





So, this past weekend, we've got a couple staying for two weeks.  They live in Wisconsin.  They came down last year for a stay and a couple of days into their stay, Winter Storm Uri hit.  When the electricity and water went out, they, wisely, elected to return to Wisconsin.  I believe they said, "We can be THIS cold in our own home."  We refunded their money.

They're back now, and, on arrival, I thanked them for bringing the warm Wisconsin weather with them this time.  But that evening, they called and said they couldn't get internet access.  So, I stopped by to see what was what.

Now, each guest house has it's own internet connection directly from the internet provider as well as its own network each named for the cabin they're in.  I arrive and pull out my trusty phone and look at available networks.  I see only one and it's for the other cabin. Do the usual tech support stuff (Check connections, turn it off, turn it on, unplug/replug). 

Nothing.

So I call Tech Support for our Internet Provider.  After a long time on hold, I get a very nice technician on the line who walks me through the same stuff I did two paragraphs previously.  Same result.  She then tries to access the network from her end.  She is successful and asks what the network is named.  I tell her, she pauses and says she's not seeing that and reads off the name of the other network, and asks me if it's a LinkSys router.  I go inside to check.  

Yes, it is.

She then reads of the SSID (Service Set Identifier, Beans, It's a Factory Set ID used in virtually all electronic equipment to ID all sorts of things.  Basically SSAN for electronics.).  The ID matches and she says that network is the name of the one in the other cabin.

She also says that there is no router on the other account (the cabin that this router should be in).  It's now getting late, I've been outside for most of this conversation as both cabins are occupied, and while the guests from WI brought warm WI weather, that doesn't mean it's warm TX weather.  And it's Saturday Evening.  Help won't be available til Monday.

I'm discussing the problem with Mrs. J while she's cooking dinner.  I'm having a medicinal glass of wine, or two.  We talk it over and get no further figuring out this conundrum. I'm stumped.  This just isn't possible.  

Here's where Sherlock Holmes comes into the title.

“When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

Mrs. J, asks "Hey juvat, Do you remember the two couples that knew each other and stayed in each of the cabins for Super Bowl weekend?  They did mention that they'd had a connectivity problem in the cabin they wanted to watch the game in.  We were on a cruise, so couldn't help.  You don't supposed they swapped routers, do you?"

I hear Deerstalker hats are on sale at EBay.  I see one in her future.

Source

Unfortunately, all good things must pass and as you are reading this, Mrs. J and I are delivering Little J and DIL to the Austin Airport for their return flight to HK.  We've had a blast for the past two months and wish them good health and safe travels.  So, I may be a little slow answering comments today.

35 comments:

  1. Seriously? They walk off with the toilet paper? Some peoples' kids, man.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. jimc5499@yahoo.comMarch 1, 2022 at 6:46 AM

      I'm an officer for a small social club. On Saturday nights we have Bingo. That means that the club is open to the Public. We had to start locking the cupboard under the sink in the Women's restroom. We kept spare toilet paper, hand soap and paper towels in there. A few weeks after we locked it we went in to find the hasp pulled off the doors and the cupboard empty. So now we have a sign that states "Before using the restroom check to make sure there's adequate toilet paper and paper towels. If not please ask bartender."

      Delete
    2. JimE,
      We're going to add some locked storage closets for supplies and stuff. Guess I'll have to use industrial length screws. Otherwise, I'm the bar tender.

      Delete
  2. There are all sorts of idiots out there and some of them are thieves also. Too bad you couldn't be there to check out electronics before those "guests" checked out, ah well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An inspection prior to check out would show a lack of trust that isn’t required for virtually all our guests. But We will be more observant after checkout about the little things.

      Delete
  3. This is like looking into a different world. And having been exposed to their ideas, I'm not sure I want to live there. Fix or patch what isn't working, that I'll do, but I document what I did so my patch can be properly repaired.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Htom,
      Exactly, It took me about an hour to fix the shelf and most of that was glue drying time. If they'd have mentioned it, I'd have written it off as normal wear and tear. Similarly, if they'd have said "I forgot my phone charger so used yours and absentmindedly dropped it in my purse when leaving. Do you want me to mail it to you?" I'd have said don't bother. But, not to, conveys a sense of malice and intent. Which irked me.

      Delete
  4. Juvat, I will say that this is one place that the rental services beat general leasing: if a tenant is a bad one or destructive, there is no mechanism for reporting it to future landlords.

    I do take the soaps that I use in hotels after I have used them as they are going to get tossed anyway, and I do use the soap.

    The nuts and bolts of this are fascinating. Thank you sharing, and good luck to Little J and DIL on their way back. Hopefully quarantine is not too bothersome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THB, Well, there is a way of conveying that info. As I mentioned both VRBO and AirBnB ask that you rate the guest 1 to 5 stars. Mrs J checks that rating when a request comes in. We have yet to turn anyone down as most of the ratings are 5's with the occasional high 4. Which also is what we rate our guests. Unfortunately, a few slip through.

      As to soap, I agree, that product has been effectively consumed by the user. No problem there.

      Thanks,

      Delete
  5. I did know that about TP actually...have an ex who while we were still together had his job disappear...no reason to have film developers if no one is using film anymore,right? Anyways, he wound up going to work for his brother-in-law who was a manager at a janitorial service...worked nights, which was a major drag, but came home with all kinds of stories about what folks would steal from the work places. They had to LOCK UP the TP--and it was the big huge rolls, not the little household sized ones!!!

    And, no I didn't know that the hosts also rated the guests...I think that is a wonderful idea!! Especially in this case!!!
    So--did they steal the router, or just move it from one cabin to the other??

    Yes, I also take the soap--but again, I know folks are just going to throw it out, and yes, like TB I use them up.

    Some people's kids for sure!!

    Speaking of which, hope Lil J and DIL have a good flight, and everyone gets to the destination safely!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Suz,

      I don't think I'd have a problem if they took the partial roll. But it bugs me that they take all the rolls.

      No, they just swapped the routers. One of them must have had some IT experience as the cords were coiled and zip tied which also contributed to my confusion. Excellent camouflage.

      And again, I would have appreciated an explanation of their actions. We're not available to fix, Super Bowl on, Skill set available? Go for it.

      Thanks.

      Delete
  6. My wife, and I, consider our hotel stays as extensions of our home. We tidy up our room, don't need the coffee, or soap, we don't use, and turn the air conditioning to a temperature that doesn't add costs when we leave. Unfortunately, it doesn't change the cost, since too many other guests pilfer like Vikings on a binge.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In a lot of places, they are required to discard things between guests, so technically you are not saving anything. I did a contract job once where I lived in a hotel for four months. Since my work hours were odd, I quickly came to an agreement with the maid that I'd take care of my room and leave a note outside the door if I needed anything. She was free to check on things if necessary. It worked well.

      Delete
    2. Jess,
      We like your type of guest. C'mon down any time!

      Delete
    3. JimE,
      That sounds like a good working arrangement. I'm sure the maid appreciated it.

      Delete
  7. MB and I are great fans of VRBO and Air BandB.
    We have stayed both here and in Europe, and find it more accommodating than hotels for extended stays.
    I can’t understand anyone who feels such a sense of entitlement that they walk off with stuff that isn’t theirs.
    A pox upon them and I hope their mother bites them when they get home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We always, yes, always, try to leave everything as it was, or better, than when we arrived. Except for towels and linens, but we we’ll strip the bed and bundle the towels.

      Delete
    2. Since AirBnB (and I assume VRBO) gives owners a break when they stay at other rentals, we've started doing that also. There are a few that are not acceptable, but by and large, they're nicer than most hotels. Exceptions of course, but...

      Delete
    3. Skip 2,
      As mentioned above, C'mon Down! We love to have folks like you.

      Delete
    4. F’burg is on our list for the next time we’re down that way.
      I have a cousin in Boerne, and we’ve friends in Liberty Hill.
      We barely got to honk and wave this time through.

      Delete
    5. Sarge can give you my email if you decide to visit. Would look forward to meeting in person.

      Delete
  8. Being somewhat a believer in karma, I've always kept in mind the staff that sees my rental after I leave. For several years my job required frequent motel stays. The payback was the warm greeting when I returned on my next trip. One motel was sold out. After promising the manager I wouldn't make a mess, I was given their most expensive suite for the single price.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WSF,
      Having just completed 3 wine cruises to the same places on the same ship with the same crew, it really pays to be kind. On the last cruise, I walked in to our favorite pre-dinner bar and before I could get to "our" table, the waiter brought my Single Malt Scotch (GlenLivet) with a single ice cube. Just how I like it.
      Our momma's were right, always be kind.

      Delete
  9. Gee, I've treated cheap motel rooms better than that.

    Sounds like you need to use a good label-maker and label everything. And also you now have a new list of things to add to the check-list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beans,
      Agreed on Check-List Mods. Don't know about Labeling. Maybe a picture inventory.

      Delete
  10. Yep, treating the place like you would your own house, and I'd definitely give them a zero for stealing and breaking from you, in addition to a couple of hours labor for repairs at your actual rates! Grrr...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OldNFO,
      Yeah, unfortunately, that window closes very soon after the checkout and since we were still on the cruise...

      Delete
  11. (Don McCollor)...With the WI couple...I would have stuck it out (as long as I could) just to have the stories to tell of a winter vacation in sunny TX...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don, They stuck it out for a day or so, but it was flippin cold and no electricity or water. So the story satisfaction/physical comfort (not to mention safety) was tilting in the direction of good judgement.

      Delete
  12. We have a place on the Emerald Coast that we rent out as it would sit empty 90% of the time. People are interesting. We had a call from a guest late on a Wednesday night letting us know that their son had broken the toilet seat. After apologizing profusely they let us know that they would have the seat replaced in the morning. And they did. Some peoples kids are ok. Others have walked off with kitchen utensils, pots, pans and other accoutrements. It is usually friends of friends who are the roughest on our unit. For some reason acting like idiots is what you do when getting a deal from a friends friend. We no longer rent in this situation.

    Spin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Spin,
      Like I mentioned earlier, if they'd have said something, I'd have let it go. But they didn't...

      Delete
  13. I live in a beachside condo on the East Coast of Central Florida. I get to be the treasurer for the homeowner's association. About 70% of the owners here rent their units out during the winter months. As we rent for full months only, I get to know a lot of the folks who drop by for the winter, even a short month. Many have become family. There is a lot of satisfaction in being kind (as you say) and cheerful. You should see the response I get from "renters" when I say howdy and introduce myself as we ride the elevators together! It never ceases to amaze me that a little courtesy and kindness goes and long way in this world where it has apparently been misplaced as a common way to be. (That is not a simple sentence, please excuse me).
    Now for the other shoe to drop. Complaining, bitching, moaning seems to be a way of life for a select few of our guests. They have forgotten how to change a light bulb, the toweling is coarse, the TP thin. It never ceases, from some. I get their calls sometimes because I am listed as a resident board member. Always on the weekends when the office is closed. People have changed folks. And not for the better. As we observe the changes in our world view becoming more secularized, watch out and pray for generations to come. Oh, and my favorite for you all, "No Problem!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lt Fuzz,
      I agree, and it's going to take an effort to get me to respond to Guests in your latter category the way I'd like to. But the picture running in my brain is those strafing gun camera films from WWII. I agree with your latter statements, although we haven't run into too many of them...Yet.

      Delete
  14. You have recourse to charge them after they've checked out I hope. TP Thieves! USB cable? Cheap thing to steal, but it'll cost them I hope. Maybe put a card in the cabin listing the price of items, like a mini-bar- with a 200% markup if they aren't there when they check out!

    ReplyDelete

Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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