Will you accept the charges?

Posted On: Thursday - February 6th 2020 11:05PM MST
In Topics: 
  Curmudgeonry  Economics  Scams

They still have those land-line phones and the associated wiring in hotel rooms. Once in a while you may need to call the desk to find out about the free breakfast, or find out when or whether the folks having the fight in the next room will be kicked out, at the seedier joints. Also, people can call you.

Why people would have any reason to call you is, say, if you were having major cell-phone problems, for instance, with some complete POS* that won't even make or receive calls. That was my situation recently. The junker temporary mobile phone did let me send messages, but about no other functions worked. That helped me send out the hotel phone # and room # to enable loved ones to call me, as I was away for a bit.

It's still a thing with hotels/motels and phones that you'd better watch out about calling out with them, even just to order a pizza. As far back as I can remember, calling from a hotel phone was a big no-no, as they've always had these wacky outrageous charges. Back in the day, they were always double or more than the quarter (or dime, for way back) that the pay phones charged you for local calls. There were long distance charges - does anyone remember long-distance charges?** It was just an additional money-maker, like luggage charges for the airlines, so you'd really try to avoid it.

For the long-distance charges, it wasn't just a decent 50% surcharge though. Often it would be outrageous. Anyone who's been burned by this would have walked out in the freezing cold to the gas station payphone before making the mistake of dialing out from his room again... before the wonderful cell phones came about, that is.

My question is simply "What the fuck?" Why would you set prices so high that only newbies or completely desperate people would ever dial out from a motel/hotel? Peak Stupidity has been over this "price point" business before, regarding minor league baseball, in The Price Point at the Field of Dreams. It seems you would find a price point that got you the most revenue from these phones, meaning way the hell lower than now. The costs have gone way down too, as, judging from a lot of the terrible signals I get calling them, they are likely internet-based voice-over-IP.

I can see more nowadays, these hotels reaming anyone who is so backwards or unfortunate to not have his cell phone. However, I really wonder why they've been doing this since I can remember. This rip-off has always been unacceptable.

* It's back at the store now, where it belongs. I was going to bring it back anyway, but after it let me down completely, it felt good, man.

** Sung in the same manner as Robert Plant in Stairway to Heaven in the concert-movie The Song Remains the Same - "Does anyone remember laughter?"

Friday - February 7th 2020 10:17AM MST
PS: Great comment, BC. Some of that stuff was items I'd like to have put in this post. I didn't remember asking for ones' self, but I remember watching an "All in the Family" episode in which the Meathead is seen getting a few words in while he decline the collect call. The lack of computers involved in any aspect of it makes it seem so quaint, but nice.

Haha on the remarks to the wife and also about the hotel "foreign art films". "Yeah, just a foreign art film, Miss HR lady; don't let the bad words in the title fool you."
Friday - February 7th 2020 9:16AM MST
PS: Yes, I remember long-distance and collect (or reverse the charges) calls. You may recall the old dodge of calling collect, person-to-person and asking for yourself as a scam to let the other party know you made it home ok. Even today when I find my wife on the cell, I'll scowl and say, "That better not be long distance." Never fails to get a laugh (from me; I don't think she finds it that amusing anymore).

Those hotel phones were good for calling the front desk, calling other rooms or taking calls from home, as you say. Of course, if you had the company credit card it was no big deal. You just had to keep the pay per view movies off the card out of fear they would show the title of the movie. Didn't want HQ to get the wrong idea about those foreign art movies.
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