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April 7, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Marriott Monterey linen change card


At the Marriott Monterey...


... the only way I can finagle new sheets every day, in this $200+/night hotel, is to

(a) read the card and
(b) remember to put the card on my pillow every morning.

Otherwise they reserve the right to give me the same sheets each day.

(If they're saving water as a result, shouldn't they give me a price break?)


"reduce energy by choosing to use your sheets during your stay." i choose not to use my sheets during my stay. ill use the sheets from the room next door.

Posted by: gmangw at April 7, 2006 12:23 AM

This isn't broken, it's good. Please, Mark, a smidgen of environmental consciousness? More here.

Posted by: Felix at April 7, 2006 01:11 AM

The text may be broken... perhaps it should say "reuse your sheets" but the idea is not broken. Conservation is good.

Do you change your sheets every day at home?

Posted by: Tom at April 7, 2006 01:48 AM

So, how *should* they ask if you want new sheets? Surely new sheets should not be the default, since most of the time they aren't necessary, but most people won't bother to do anything special to *stop* them from using new sheets.

Sorry, but this complaint is totally backwards. It's very good that they force people to conciously request new sheets.

Posted by: Kenton at April 7, 2006 02:06 AM

The wording on this seems to be contradictory, they want you to use your sheets so as to save energy, either this means staying warm at night and not needing the heater or something along those lines.

But they say, that if you "dont want to participate" i.e. if you dont want to use your sheets, please leave this card here so that we know to change out the sheets that you havent used and are therefore not dirty. basically its saying that they only want to change out clean, unused sheets..

Posted by: Dragon at April 7, 2006 06:12 AM

Reduce... energy? How do you reduce energy?

Posted by: Fuzzy at April 7, 2006 07:07 AM

what's broken is that you're in Monterey, and I'm stuck here in the rainy, craptacular midwest.

Posted by: sir_flexalot at April 7, 2006 07:45 AM

The environmental argument is sound, though I think what is 'broken' is them charging the same rate while providing a reduced service.

Maybe there could be a new rate type, 'environmentally conscious', where they don't change sheets during your stay (how long on average do people stay anyway?) as well as not giving you disposible freebies like shampoo or shower caps.

Everybody wins.

Posted by: dreamfish at April 7, 2006 08:39 AM

If a hotel offers to clean your shoes for free, do you ask for a price reduction if you *don't* need to have your shoes cleaned? Of course not.

The same goes for the sheets: They offer to change your sheets any day you want. Take it or leave it. But it's ridiculous to expect a reduction if you don't need that kind of service.

The original post is the most ridiculous thing I have read in months.

Posted by: Ben at April 7, 2006 08:46 AM

Price break for reduced service? What reduced service?

These sorts of efforts don't go nearly far enough.

Posted by: David at April 7, 2006 08:48 AM

That's pretty cheapskate right there...Well, if I paid $200 I'd be trying to get back every cent I could. That wasn't a very good deal, you should use Priceline or something.

Posted by: T-1000 at April 7, 2006 10:19 AM

Who stays in a $200+ a night hotel these days?

Does it come with a girl?

Posted by: nyackjazz at April 7, 2006 10:20 AM

dreamfish gets it.

Posted by: Mark Hurst at April 7, 2006 10:46 AM

If any of you think that most hotels change their sheets on a daily basis you're mistaken. Not changing you sheets is not a "reduced service" that they should charge you less for, it's their normal process.

Next time you go to a hotel bring a black light and see how clean those sheets really are.

If you really want your money's worth, soil 'em every night and request a change.

Personally, I sleep better knowing I'm sleeping in other people's messes.

Posted by: Tug at April 7, 2006 11:15 AM

The wording on the card is very poor. It should say something like "Reduce energy *usage* by choosing to *re*-use your sheets ..." And that's pretty much unforgivable for a company the size of Marriott; they should hire a proofreader before sending copy to the printers.

But the concept itself is hardly broken. I don't know anybody who washes their bedsheets at home every single day; why should it be different in a hotel?

And no, you shouldn't get a price break for it. If anything, the hotel should be charging extra for those who demand the service.

No, I don't think dreamfish "gets it" -- I think pretty much everybody else who has commented that this isn't broken "gets it."

Posted by: E.T. at April 7, 2006 11:21 AM

Yeah I think dreamfish is pretty close.

Does Marriott support other environmental causes, or just the ones where they give someone else a choice that happens to save them money?

How conVEEnient.

This reminds me a lot of Republican doublespeak like:

"streamlining" environmental regs (read: make it easier for my oil buddies to make money)

and "tax cuts to stimulate the economy" (read: most of the cuts going to people who are already rich instead of putting them in the hands of people who will spend them)

and "reforming" Medicaid (read: take money away from sick or disabled people so I can spend it on a war)

and "reforming" Social Security (read: I have no idea how to fix this so I'll invent something else that doesn't cost anything and hope nobody notices when I shut it down)

and "freedom is on the march" (read: I simply do not care that over 100,000 Iraqi civilians died).

Posted by: pat at April 7, 2006 11:24 AM

Card reads: "Reduce (the) energy (expenditure, and hence the overhead operating costs of this hotel) by choosing to (re)use your sheets during your stay..."

I'm all for doing my part to save the environment, but if you think that's the primary aim of the hotel's policy you're quite mistaken. Suppose this policy, which also includes reminding the guest to turn off A/C, lighting, etc. during the most expensive peak hours, saves this hotel $100,000/year. Should some of these savings be passed on to the participating guest? I think so.

Posted by: Ron Mexico at April 7, 2006 11:27 AM

Funny coincidence. I've come here after visiting another 'this is broken' type site (focusing on broken customer service)... which had the EXACT OPPOSITE complaint to the one here - hotels still change towels/sheets even when you tell them not to!

Posted by: Simon at April 7, 2006 11:48 AM

High five to pat.

Posted by: JAC at April 7, 2006 12:14 PM

Dreamfish doesn't get it, Mark, and neither do you. The hotel provides a certain service at a certain price. If you don't want to pay that price for that service, then you don't have to. The choice is yours. But once you've agreed to pay a certain amount for your room, you have no right to kvetch about not getting a reduced rate because the service is less expensive than some hypothetical service which you've come to expect.

Think about it this way: Let's say a hotel doesn't change sheets every day, and charges extra if a guest wants them changed. This is functionally the same as giving a discount if the guest doesn't want the sheets changed. Would you be happy with that? Of course not.

Posted by: Felix at April 7, 2006 12:49 PM

I suppose you're also aware that the 'free' newspaper that appears under your hotel room door each morning is actually tabulated into your bill. Maybe you should ask for 50c a day to be knocked off the bill if you don't read it.

I think you're being a bit absurd to think that you should get a price break on linen service. You also seem to be missing the opportunity to praise a major corporation for making an effort - token or not- to reduce it's environmental impact. It's not just saving water, it's reducing the amount of wastewater created by the laundry system at the hotel. By posting those notes (which in all the Marriott's I've stayed is also posted as a laminated sign in the bathroom) they are also raising peoples awareness of the need for conservation to preserve our environment. Besides, who really likes the maid coming in and going through your room every single day?

Posted by: bafc23 at April 7, 2006 01:46 PM

I'm not sure what exactly we're talking about here. An environmental issue? Over- or undercharging by the hotel? The service policy? In the case of the latter, if I'm paying that much I expect all the amenities, and w/o jumping through hoops to get them. Crudely, for $200/night I want a little bell next to the comode calling a butler to come wipe your @%# for you.

Posted by: Corky at April 7, 2006 01:47 PM

First, not all Marriott's do this, mainly because there are other companies that own and/or manage the Marriott hotel you are staying at, and they set this policy. For instance, when I have seen these notes in my room, they stipulate that you have to put the note on your bed to have the staff NOT change the sheets.

The staff only have a short period of time to spend in each room. If they do not have to change the sheets, that gives them more time to vacuum or clean the tub.

I find it nice that they give us the option to be a conservationist.

I also like the soaps and shampoos (sp?) - I take them home and give them to a friend who donates them to sheltors (women's or homeless).

While the grammer and language on the note may be broken, the message is not.

Posted by: Tim at April 7, 2006 02:33 PM

My dad worked for Marriott for almost 30 years, and is the guy who started Marriott off on their "green" path. I'm proud of him.

Posted by: Natalie at April 7, 2006 02:37 PM

Bargled syntax aside, Marriott is doing the right thing.

Your bed still gets made, so what do you care? Unless you've done something unpleasant to the sheets they should be just fine. As another commentor mentioned, you probably don't change your sheets at home every night.

At some hotels in which I've stayed the system works in the opposite way -- you put the card on the bed if you don't want the linens changed. That's broken, since I frequently forget to do it in my haste to get to a meeting.

A lot of hotels will also not change your towels if you hang them up. Leave them on the floor and they get changed (which has always seemed to be an imposition on the poor maids, who have to stoop down to pick them up), otherwise they just fold them and hang them neatly.

I frankly don't care why Marriott is choosing to do this -- whether it's to save money (or make more, which may very well be the same thing) or that they've seen the environmental light. It's still a good thing.

By the way, the headline on this item is broken. It's "Marriott", not "Mariott", as is clear from the photo of the card.

Posted by: Steve at April 7, 2006 02:49 PM

I also agree with dreamfish. Guests can decide when they check in if they want, say $5 off on the second night if they re-use the same sheet. the card they provide is tacky, and the wording is awkward. Anyway, when most hotel stays are only one night, then this program doesn't even come into play. I would wonder, when I first got into my room and saw that card, did the maids change the sheets from the last guest? Maybe the last guest wanted to save water so I get their used sheet? Ugghh!

Posted by: American Idiot at April 7, 2006 03:52 PM

Cards of this nature in hotel rooms have been around for quite a while now; you have to read them carefully to see if you put the card on the bed, or *not* put the card on the bed to either get clean sheets or *not* get clean sheets. What's newer, in my experience, is the same type of card, but, if you want clean sheets, you have to pro-actively *call* the housekeeping dept. to tell them that yes, you want clean sheets.

I like the idea of having a choice; I think making the customer call to get the service is going a bit too far for the money I'm spending.

Posted by: BobbieBoi at April 7, 2006 04:35 PM

*SO* not broken. This is good for the environment, and good for business. (Oh, and you want a price break? You're getting it in the form of prices not rising as drastically in the future as they might otherwise.)

And really, those of you who want a discount for not getting clean sheets daily, consider this analogy: I eat dinner in a restaurant. I neither ask for a glass of water, nor do I use any of the salt, ketchup, or cream for my coffee that was offered. Oh, and I don't use the wet naps either (had the yummy ribs). Should I be able to deduct those from my dinner bill?

Thought so. :)

Posted by: karen at April 7, 2006 08:34 PM

When I stayed at a Hilton there was a thing to put on the pillow so that they would _not_ change the sheets, which doesn't reduce the bill. The morning paper was added to the bill unless you returned it.

Posted by: AK at April 7, 2006 09:20 PM

Who doesn't want to save the environment? I bet you all hate puppies and dolphins, too! Just kidding. Even if the hotel's motive may not be wholly altruistic, the end result of the program is laudable.

I think it all comes back to expectations. We've all been programmed to expect certain things when staying at a hotel, and the knee-jerk reflex is to call any deviation from those expectations broken. This spoiled line of thinking shouldn't be the standard, since anyone who's ever worked in retail will tell you, the customer is not always right! So it's a bit tasteless to expect a reward for something we should all be doing anyway, and more than a little lazy to complain about reading a little card or remembering to put it on your pillow in the morning. And unless you're staying a month, you probably wouldn't notice the difference anyway (they still make the bed I believe).

Posted by: Kelley at April 7, 2006 09:28 PM

I think it should be the other way around, place this card on your bed if you dont want them changed. OR in this new fangled age of computers, tell the check in person your choice once and have the maids go by this computerized list. BTW if you want your $0.10 for the water not used to clean your sheets back steal a lightbulb or something

Posted by: Mike at April 7, 2006 11:48 PM

I travel pretty much every week for work, and stay at $200+ hotels on most trips. Every single one of them, without exception, does what's described here... if you want your sheets changed, you have to put a card on the bed. Some of them do a better job than others informing you about it, but they all do it.

Almost all of them play the same game with bath towels, too. If you want them replaced, leave them on the floor; if you want to re-use them, hange them up.

Sure, it benefits the hotel as much as it does the environment, but there's nothing wrong with that; it's called "enlightened self-interest".

Oh, and bafc23: many hotels will indeed credit you a small amount per day (around $0.60 or so) if you choose not to receive a daily newspaper. There's usually a checkbox on the sign-in form or the key folder that you get at the front desk.

Posted by: Larry at April 8, 2006 12:55 PM

I visited Chicago last weekend and due to a very long flight delay, we didn't get to our hotel until 12:30 AM.

When I got to me room, there was a card on the bed that read, "Per your request, the sheets were not changed....". I had just checked in.

I folded down the comforter with some disgust to check for dirty sheets. I did find a few hairs, but no other signs of use.

I was exhausted and needed to decide if I really wanted to wait to have someone come in to change the sheets.

Having just slept on the plane, I reasoned that the seats on the plane were likely far dirtier than the sheets in this classy hotel.

I put the "Please change my sheets" note on the bed the next morning.

Posted by: Poor_Statue at April 9, 2006 11:29 AM

What's broken is this post. This is an idea whose time has come.

-- regular reader...first time I've been moved to comment...

Posted by: ~bc at April 9, 2006 12:01 PM

Admittedly I tend to stay at cheaper hotels than this, but most of them you had to call the front desk to get your sheets changed during your stay. Also, as for the towels, almost all of the hotels asked that they be put in the bathtub and specifically indicated that they didn't want them left on the floor.

Posted by: Sean P at April 10, 2006 10:10 AM

The idea is great, who does not want to minimise their impact on the environment?

However the approach could be better. The problem here is at this price level consumers have come to expect certain things. A newspaper everyday, on demand movies, all night room service and fresh sheets everyday. It's fine to alter these, but *with* the customers *prior* consent.

I do not want to check into a room and then discover they do not change the sheets unless I remember to do something. That is not the service I was expecting. They may also stop supplying those little soaps, newspapers in the morning, air conditioning and fresh towels on the same premise.

I am quite happy to forego these things if I know I am doing so before I check in. Forced decisions will only result in customer dissatisfaction and ultimately they lose customers.

Posted by: Andrew at April 12, 2006 08:12 PM

Haven't read all the posts yet, but it's worth mentioning that nearly ALL hotels (at least in the US) do this.

What gets me is the pure reliance on the message about waste water. Indeed, few companies do something purely because they want to. Any cost-cutting measure is promoted.

While the core goal - using water and disposing of the waste - is a fantastic one, I'd greet the signs a bit more pleasantly if it ALSO said "Oh, and it keeps our costs down. WAY down."

I hadn't even thought about the extra time it takes "housekeeping" (spoken/sung EXACTLY the same way in every hotel in every city) to clean a room. Clever...


Posted by: Danielsan at April 12, 2006 10:24 PM

It's broken because the message is not clear.

It should say something along the lines of:

To help save energy and the environment we will not change your sheets during your stay. If you wish to have your sheets changed please leave this card on your pillow.

Posted by: Colin at April 13, 2006 03:29 AM

It looks like there's something wrong with that person's fingernail.

Posted by: joe at April 13, 2006 09:11 PM

Don't assume that the money saved by washing the sheets only once during a particular guest's stay is just going to go back into the company's coffers. The savings, however small, could translate into cheaper room rates, too, which would benefit the customer as well. That is, not exactly a direct discount, but as the cost of providing a service falls so can the price of said service.

Although, if that were the case I'm sure they would have touted "Helps us keep prices for you, our valued customer, lower" as a reason to "[help] in this effort".

Posted by: BACON at April 14, 2006 11:33 PM

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