Hotel Ethics

Speaking of ethics – the Internet certainly isn’t the only place we’re faced with such decisions.

For instance, what about when visiting a hotel? Many hotels – though not some of those at the beach, or perhaps some of your higher-priced all-inclusive resorts – seem to have at least a small sampling of toiletries. You know, the miniature bars or soap, or tiny bottles of shampoo. Some even have sewing kits or shoe polishing supplies.

So what’s the deal? If you don’t use the supplies, can you take the rest home with you for use later? It would seem so – if the place was full every night with guests who stayed only one night, then surely they’d be aware that they might have to replace all the supplies every night. You wouldn’t want to leave a used bar of soap in the shower for the next guest.

Of course, it also seems to make sense that the facility would not want to replace every single piece every night. Surely there is some formula – much like room occupancy – that says some will be used each night, and some will remain and can be used again. In that world, taking unused supplies would be cutting into profit and thereby make the room more expensive to maintain, perhaps eventually resulting in a higher price for your stay.

Still, it seems apparent that if you’re there for a night, you have full use of those supplies – so pocketing a bar of soap or shampoo is a privilege easily claimed. But what about stays of multiple nights? If you don’t need the bar of soap at first, should you take it and save it for later, knowing that it will be replaced the next day? Or should you leave it on the counter unopened so that when it’s needed two days later, it’s already there and doesn’t need to be replaced?

Many people (myself included) don’t generally see a problem with this. These “disposables” are designed to be used in such a manner. But where does the privilege end? Can you take extra rolls of toilet paper, as surely if you were in the middle of a bout of Montezuma’s Revenge you wouldn’t be asked to pony up for the extra rolls used? And couldn’t every guest conceivably be in such a position every night? If you believe that, then perhaps the extra rolls are there for the taking.

What about pens, or those little tablets of paper? Surely they are designed for use by the guests and not just decoration. Since everyone might use them, I’d suppose they are available for your collection as well. But does it stop there? Are the sheets and the towels free for the taking? I mean they will wear out, you know – and since they have to be replaced sometime, isn’t now as good a time as any? With that logic, maybe the pillows are disposable, too? And surely that lamp isn’t a permanent fixture. Where does it end? Where is the line drawn?

2 Replies to “Hotel Ethics”

  1. 500 words of meaningless tripe, excuse my sceptisism but what is the paper posted above aimimg to achieve, whether you take a bar of soap or not is harldy an issue that warrants concern.
    if we are aiming to ascertain as to why those items are supplied, part of the answer is branding
    The products are designed to be removed and used elsewhere to enhance the brands image, from a control point of view the toiletries included in the room costing can be costed down to the last penny making projection possible regardless of waste.;
    the guest is not pocketing anything.
    we are not weighing caviar in and out of the restaurant and in essence i doubt that much analysis has been done into the average number of sheets of toilet paper used regardless of the size of hotel. work into this field would out cost reward
    so rest assured from an ethical stance and sleep at night in the understanding those extra sheets of toilet paper are realy not a big deal in the scheme of things
    maybe concentrate your efforts on world famine.

  2. I have read someplace that those soaps etc, are placed there for people to take because it tends to dissuade them from taking towels and other more expensive souvenirs.

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