A new show on the Arts & Entertainment tv network (A&E) chronicles a a post-modern disorder that the pundits have seen fit to label as “Hoarding”. Seemingly “normal”, “everyday”, “folks-next-door” struggle with the overwhelming urge to save everything, always to their detriment, always in high dramatic fashion.
Now we’re not talking about hoarding a few dozen rubber-bands here. That’s just a “gateway” hoard. We are talking decades-old copies of the Reporter, washed-out bottles of Nescafe instant coffee, empty Cadbury chocolate wrappers and tens and tens of eyelashes: a road map to certain financial ruin and compromised hygiene.
Because of my obsession with hotel room amenities am I stricken with this disorder? Does the quantity of mini shampoo bottles littering my luggage and bathroom cabinet signal a deeper underlying issue? When I bum rush my hotel room’s WC to grab every free miniature offering in sight am I subconsciously attempting to cleanse myself of last night’s moment-of-weakness-Li Chee fry chicken? Stalking the housekeepers’ carts to grab bars of soap, match boxes and shower caps could be a silent scream for help, for the attention I never received because I was a Middle Child. Another syndrome I can add to my laundry list of syndromes.
Does my refusal to admit I even have a problem present an even bigger problem? Bliss Spa lotions, Radisson soaps, Hyatt conditioners (this stuff is seriously like liquid gold for your hair), Westin shampoos, Sheraton shoe horns (admittedly I’ve never used a single one), Hilton shower caps (if you use these regularly is it still considered hoarding?). My collection of miniature sewing kits is worthy of a Parisian couture house although my closet contains numerous unused garments because they are missing a single button.
No one loves staying in hotels more than the people who work in them. We turn a four day weekend at a sister property into an entire vacation, travelling from bathroom amenities to mini-bar price list, to chair-less balcony, to pool, which we have no intention of ever using, to lobby bar with the bad lighting and cheeky businessmen. We ooh, we aahh and we angle for that free upgrade to the Presidential Suite on our $49 a night employee rate (tax definitely not included). These all represent integral parts of our hotel experience. Even if we are grabbing 5 hours of shut-eye between back to back shifts we will engage in an immediate inventory of all bathroom amenities the minute we walk in the door, packing it all in the travel case and then calling the Front Desk to complain that we just checked in and our room is missing soap, shampoo and purple emery board. Hotel employees spend their working days surrounded by these items and yet 20 years in the business we still get excited about the new apple-scented soap or cucumber shampoo or organic mouthwash that our brand is about to roll out.
But it’s this excitement that turns us into “Hoarders”, keeps us in the business, makes us empathetic listeners and inspire us to that “Yes I can” level of service.
I hoard because I care.