Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Motel 6 Bait and Switch

It has been a nearly a week since I headed on the road and had no internet access. Well, I could have accessed the Web at the Hampton Inn, but I changed so many of my passwords I had no idea which sites and passwords matched up anymore.
Before I do much of writing I need to document and fact check what occurred Sunday night. I vividly remember the few episodes I viewed of “Pee Wee’s Playhouse” from too many years ago. Pee Wee had pissed off “Miss Yvonne” who came storming up to him exclaiming, “I’ve got a bone to pick with you, PEE WEE HERMAN!!!”
This is Jamie saying, “I’ve got a bone to pick with you… MOTEL SIX!!”
I’ve been doing road trips since the 1970’s and know how things work. If there has been one constant over the years it is: when you stay at Motel 6, the price emblazoned on the outside sign is the room rate for one person with an add on for each additional person.
Many motel chains will have teaser rates with asterisks on their billboards along the highway or add “and up” after the low teaser rates so they don’t have to honor the low advertised price. I believe the proper term for this is “Bait and switch”. In all the years I’ve travelled and stayed at Motel Six, the price on the outside sign is the price I’ve paid for the room. That is until this past Sunday night.
Billy and I packed up and left the phonograph show at just about 3:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon. The construction and traffic on the I-90 west of Chicago was horrible. Last year we took I-90 through Chicago to see if that would be any easier from all the toll pull-offs etc on the by-pass. Let me just say it was a disaster. Never again! This year we by-passed Chicago by taking our usual route of: 290 to 294 to 80 to 65 south.
We lost an hour going back to the Eastern time zone.
Our stop for the night is usually the Motel Six in Lafayette, IN. This location is perfect for us timewise. It is some 500 miles to Tuscaloosa from here. We have stayed here for many years without incident…that is until now.
When Billy and I checked in Billy put the charge on his American Express, and showed his AARP card for the senior discount. We were both numb from the drive. On top of the horrendous Chicago traffic, there were a couple downpours and accidents to contend with. Every year my road trips to and from Chicago get to be more draining!
Anyway… the desk clerk at the Motel Six was not that competent. There were shady characters in and out of the lobby the entire time we checked in. We were given a room with two beds located in the back of the building. Bill left his vehicle packed with valuable show merchandise parked in front. We drove to the room in my truck. My stomach knotted up. It was like being “in the hood”. All these room doors were open, trash was everywhere, beer coolers, questionable people strolling around-hanging out and smoking. They always say to go with your gut instinct. Billy went to change rooms before we headed to the Outback for supper. This one guy was sprawled out on one of the Lobby chairs chatting up the desk clerk while another lady was crying and weeping with her drama. Bill said he needed to change rooms and would check back after we ate.
At the Outback we went over the bill. The final total was some $62.00. That seemed kind of high with a base rate of $39.99. On the bill we were charged $55.99 for two adults, and the AARP discount was never applied!
We returned to the Motel Six to change rooms. We had not used anything in the old “ghetto room”. I made sure all was in order and moved out my bags back to my truck. I parked in front next to Billy and waited for the outcome.
We were changed to front second story room. Billy was given a number of reasons as to why the $39.99 posted price was not honored:
  1. The motel was booked solid. This was hard to believe as the parking lot was pretty empty. The number of available rooms signaled by half open curtains was pretty high.
  2. Only the “old style” rooms with carpets were at that price. We were paying extra to stay in a “Euro Vision” room.
A new key was made up for the different room. Billy went up and it would not work. Returning to the office this clerk cut another key and went with Billy to check things out. She had the old key and said, “You have to shake these things to get them to work.” The old door key would not work for her. The new one did. This poor clerk was upset when Billy said we were going to contact corporate headquarters. I felt sorry for her as she was only trying to do her job as best she could in a miserable place.
Monday morning we were awakened at 5:30 by construction work going on in the next room. What a nightmare this ordeal turned out to be.
I did a quick survey of the grounds to get pictures for document of the signage, and empty parking lot. Two “questionable guys” were hovering in the stairwells doing God knows what.
We go to check out. The stench of incense was overpowering in the lobby. I’m assuming the Motel manager is now on duty. This woman was not very friendly. I’m guessing she got an earful from the night clerk.
She questioned about what was wrong with our first room. Billy replied, “We did not want to stay in the ghetto.” The look on this woman’s face was priceless. I don’t think she was accustomed to such bluntness. I’m assuming the state might be paying Motel Six to house homeless people here. There is an attitude I’ve witnessed in major cities of the homeless and what we witnessed the night before fit the stereotype perfectly. When asked about the bill she pointed to the sign on the wall showing the base rate was $49.99 for one person, $55.99 for two. I took a photograph of this sign to compare and contrast to the outside sign.
I questioned her as to why the outside sign had $39.99 posted as the room rate. She replied, “That is only for walk-in’s.” When I said, “That is what we were…we were “walk-in’s.” She then pointed to the sign and said, “$55.99 is the rate for two people.” It was evident there was no reasoning. This woman said she was a franchisee of Motel Six so she was pretty much in charge. That might be true, but to pull people in with a fraudulent posted rate is crooked in my book. If the sign was $49.99 I would have no gripe.
It is not the money; it is the “bait and switch” practice. Motel Six Corporate will be hearing from me, as will the attorney generals office of Indiana.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Second Floor Do-Over / Spring Brick Swap

I’m so far behind in my journal. In a way this is good as it is evidence that I have so many things to do the time to leisurely write is not there!
I have been going full speed ahead to get the worst of the upstairs done. There is a lot of fine tuning that is in the future, but I think I’m safe to say over 50% of this years redo is complete.
http://i293.photobucket.com/albums/mm80/brick1101/003-91.jpg http://i293.photobucket.com/albums/mm80/brick1101/004-59.jpg http://i293.photobucket.com/albums/mm80/brick1101/002-92.jpg
Last week I finished up the window rebuilding, drywall work and painting in the dormer. It was hot which made for uncomfortable working conditions. The space is so cramped I had to wear my kneepads pretty much the entire time. The sweating caused friction between my kneecaps and the gell pads. All I could say was “Ouch!” to the chaffed, raw skin. As I was washing up the floor I tried to remember the last time did up such a cleaning…. My mind was a blank! The one dark board is where I had to rip up a board from the floor to run the gas line across to the dining room!
Early Friday morning I took off for the brick swap in Emory, VA. I remembered it being a lot closer than it actually was. I kept reminding myself, “It’s just the other side of Knoxville, TN” just north of Bristol. Well, it was some 137 miles “north of Knoxville”!! 
Arrived at John’s open house right at 3:00. It was like old home week seeing all my friends from all over. In no time I was blocked in parking wise. There went my plans of getting to the Comfort Inn to get cleaned up before supper.
I’m always amazed when I see how other collectors display their bricks. John’s display collection is done pretty much by states of manufacture shelved under his front porch. This gave me some ideas for the next real brick project when I decide to rebuild the fence at the end of the driveway.http://i293.photobucket.com/albums/mm80/brick1101/003-92.jpg
Driving to Macado’s Restaurant for our super I noticed a Norfolk Western Whistle sign on the right of way. This is identical to the sign I acquired last September. I had to run down the Railroad Tracks to get a picture of it in use!
I was able to get a seat on the patio with Alan and Jackie. What great people. Alan’s dad was one of the original founding members of the club who recently passed away. Alan’s dad loved hearing my crazy stories about bricks and fire hydrants. I have him to thank for many rare bricks I treasure.
Alan was saying how at my swap last year he was amazed to be able to find store brand raspberry Kool Aid at Winn-Dixie. That rang a bell and I brought up “Rootin-Tooting Raspberry” from the “Funny Face Drinks” of my childhood. That got us going!!! I have a brick he would like to have. I’m lucky in I have a few left from last years “patio step reconfiguration”. Will get him some special drink mix and get a flat rate box out next week.
It was just a few weeks after my swap last year I acquired a hoard of bricks from a guy in Knoxville. The "fancy circle" bricks were picked up on my last trip. He only had some 30 of these which was just enough for the two steps with a couple left over.
Saturday morning was the actual brick swap. I brought some 45 bricks to the swap and I vowed to return with less than I arrived with. My “toe brick” was a Pyro-Granite brick; I picked up a Big Four block at the same time. I have a boundary marker for the “Big Four Railroad” the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago, and St Louis. I’m hoping this Big Four street paver might have a similar history! The Terre Haute Bricks I wanted were gone when I passed by that spot. I pretty much slowed down and just did sporadic brick picking up. I honestly have enough bricks for the future projects I have on hand and don’t want to deprive the newer collectors. Well into the swap as things were slowing down I was still able to get some good bricks without depriving anyone of their first choice bricks. There were also bricks added to my hoard from other members who did not want to carry the weight back! It has become a custom to put orphan bricks into my truck!! LOL!!!
There were a lot of great donations to the auction. It is amazing to get two people fighting over a rare/special brick and see the price get into the hundreds of dollars. I’ve got a real soft spot for the old ornamental terra cotta that used to adorn buildings. A great piece was here. It was the white fancy piece on the table behind the auctioneer and runner. It was one of the last things auctioned off. I was standing in the back and just held my bidding paddle up and nodded my head to the auction runner! That was the one piece I really wanted and I did get it!!
http://i293.photobucket.com/albums/mm80/brick1101/011-5.jpgI also got a new crafted brick made by one of our talented members with a banjo engraved into the frog! It goes perfect with the encore Banjo!
Banjo Brick:http://i293.photobucket.com/albums/mm80/brick1101/banjobrick.jpg With the Encore:http://i293.photobucket.com/albums/mm80/brick1101/encorebanjoandbrick.jpg
A member who gets into lots of scrap iron donated a wonderful cast iron water valve cover and ring. I threw up a bid to get the ball rolling and ended up being the lone bidder! I plan on putting this in my front yard to really annoy people!!! Here is my Toe Brick, Big Four Block and water ring and cover. Stumpy was investigating as I snapped this picture!
As usual it was a really fun time. I wish I had more time to spend in the area…but I have to be on the road Wednesday for the phonograph show in Union, Illinois. There is a chance to pick up a hundred or so bricks along the way…….


About Me

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Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States
Retired auto worker who can now spend too much time restoring his 1922 Bungalow Home. I'm involved in a number of varied activities from collecting bricks to rowing with a masters rowing group. This blog is to share different aspects of my life on my Facebook page. I've kept an on-line journal for eight years.