Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Piss Scam

Our recent trip to Orlando was a last-minute decision. Money's tight.

So, when we were considering lodging, we were lookin' at the low end of the spectrum. I figured, if, upon inspection, they turned out to be "roach motels," we could just move on to the next place.

While checking out the first place on the list, in Kissimmee, Florida - just outside of Orlando's city limits - what started out as a pretty good day took a severe nosedive.

Let's see if I can keep this one short.

I asked the Indian manager(s) for and received a key to check out a room. My girlfriend is the one with the higher standards, so I just sit back and let her decide if the bathroom, for instance, is up to snuff. While waiting, I used the restroom.

Shortly thereafter, one of the managers showed up at the door. I told her the bathtub was dirty, so we weren't impressed. She claimed it wasn't dirt, just their (sad & sorry) attempts at renovation.

While in there, she realized I'd used the restroom (#1, btw) and developed the beginnings of a 'tude. When we said we didn't want the place because of the tub, that attitude blossomed into a full-blown case of "the ass."

She started yelling (yes, yelling), saying that we owe her ten dollars for using the restroom. She claimed this was the law, so I just informed her that this was news to me. She said, "Well, for the future, you will know that is the law."

Fine. As far as I was concerned, she didn't expect and I had no plans to give ten dollars for taking a piss. I hung around just to get her to calm down - just because it was important to me that this woman knew that weren't running a pissing scam.

When we got back to the front desk, her peers joined in, lecturing us at high volume and at great length. I told them that, as a grown man, I don't need to be lectured to and I don't appreciate being yelled at - especially when I'm going well out of my way to respond diplomatically and civilly.

I asked to speak to the manager who was much more calm. She said the other woman wasn't yelling - that that's just how she speaks. I called bullshit on that because the other woman was fairly civil at the door of the hotel room. She got loud when she got pissed.

Anyway, to keep this long story from getting longer, let me just say that I offered to get the room, if only to assure them that this wasn't a pissin' scam.

She refused - at first saying there were no vacancies (a lie for obvious reasons), then saying they just don't want customers who cause trouble (which we apparently had revealed ourselves to be).

Earlier they claimed they'd call the cops on us for refusing to pay the ten bucks. By the time we were getting ready to leave, they were walking by my vehicle, taking down my license number, and saying, "You'll see what happens, now."

So, I kinda felt trapped. I felt like, if this supposed law was real and I left, the cops would be lookin' for piss n run con artist. If I stayed, I was on their property after having had my business refused.

I resolved the matter by calling the cops, myself. They showed up about an hour later, informing us of the following:

1) There's no law that says I owe them $10.
2) There IS a law that states that, once I've given them money, if they decide that they want me to leave, I'm obligated to leave... but they are not obligated to return that money. My only recourse would've been small claims court.
3) And finally, that we, as out-of-towners were unaware that we were in a crime-ridden area of town. The officer advised that we drive several miles away to secure a room.

He advised the manager who was left (the women I'd spoken to had driven away) that I didn't owe them a dime and he wished us a good day.

After all was said and done, we were a bit frazzled by this bit of drama and inconvenience, but I convinced my girlfriend (who'd been very concerned that I might be mistreated by the police) that we'd come out ahead, overall.

1) We learned that we would've been dealing with some pain-in-the-ass proprietors if we'd gotten that room - a fact we could've found out an even harder way. Actually, while waiting on the cops, we heard a guest ask one of the managers for to come up there and turn on her heater. "Low rent."

2) We learned that we were in a bad area of town - a fact that eluded us in the bright light of that fine North Florida day.

3) And finally, we learned a bit about the law, our rights, and the rights of hotels and motels. If we should ever find ourselves in a similar situation, that knowledge would come in very handy.

After that, we drove down the road, checked into a nice lil hotel, then went to my favorite restaurant on the PLANET and had what's probably the best meal we'd ever eaten in life. More on that last part, later.

All-in-all, it was a wonderful day - despite a few dark clouds.


Michael May said...

Good story. And well played by you.

Ten bucks for using the restroom. Geez.

And there's actually a name for a scam involving people who trick hotel employees into letting them use the restroom? Double geez.

Looking forward to the restaurant post. I love food stories. :)

B. Good said...

I'm with Michael...geez!

They really thought yall were running a scam on them?? Meanwhile, they were gonna run a scam on you???

LOL. I bet they didn't expect YOU to call the cops first, hehe.

But ummm, yeah. Lets hear about the food!

West said...

It was important to me that I "represent" Black folks to help offset any negative impressions they'd gotten in the past, but they were determined to believe what they wanted to believe and have their way. Period.

So much for living in harmony.

Michael: Thanks.

But nah, there's no name for such a scam, that I know of. I just made up a name that reflects the absurdity of the scenario.

B.: Exactly. She said that the restroom would have to be cleaned and that anyone who works for them is going to want to get paid. I actually felt them on that, but making up a lie about the law was, indeed, a scam on their part.

Alan Scott said...

It's pathetic how people try to intimidate others by saying 'it's the law' and hoping that there is a universal ignorance of local laws. I had that pulled on me once by Budget Rental Car Co in Saint Louis. It's a "state law" was an excuse I got once after being ignored on the curb. I told them Bullshit, because Kansas City International Airport is in the same state and they don't have that law.
I'm glad you got out of there!

Los Angelista said...

Wowzer! Crazy people! I'm so glad you thought of calling the cops yourself and putting a stop to that mess. Good for you that you stood up for yourself.

lou911 said...

Pwahahahahahaha...Pay ten bones to piss....pwahahahaha. I'm not sure I would have called the cops, but I agree with Mike that's well played.

Noah Brand said...

I'm looking forward to this food post, myself. Nothing like a good food story.

Incidentally, if you're ever in Newport, OR, find a restaurant called Local Ocean down by the dock where all the fishing boats are. I've eaten a lot of mussels in my life, but those were the absolute best.

Angie said...

I love it that you are so patient and don't get easily perturbed. I think I'd still be in jail for peeing on the "yeller's" shoes. : )

jameil1922 said...

i love that you called the cops. now i need you to tell me where and what you ate. IN DETAIL!!