Stealing from Hotels

Jodi - posted on 02/06/2011 ( 60 moms have responded )

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I thought this article was interesting, and after reading it, the question comes to mind......what do YOU think is acceptable, and why?

There are some strange ones in this article that WERE deemed acceptable, so it looks like it is a matter of personal perception.

http://au.totaltravel.yahoo.com/experien...

Police stopped a small hatchback because it was being erratically driven - but didn't expect to find it crammed with stolen bed linen, towels and other hotel property.

The couple in the car were arrested - and police advised Melbourne's Novotel St Kilda that stolen property, some with the hotel's name, had been recovered. Here the story turned mysterious. Hotel staff rushed to check the room but reported nothing was missing. This seemed decidedly odd. Then other employees discovered depleted stock in several storage rooms, commonly left open while guest rooms are serviced. Storage rooms contain clean towels, fresh linen, toiletries and cleaning equipment. Rooms manager Jodie Bell stacked the stolen haul on a luggage trolley and returned it to storage.

Hotel staff report a surge in thefts.

Take hangers, for instance. These were regular wooden hangers, often with hotel logos, which would frequently disappear. But a clever inventor came up with an anti-theft design: hangers attached to rings fixed to the rail. Most hotels now use these - except roadside motels, which prefer wire hangers like those given away by dry cleaners.

Over the past 15 years hotels have taken "regrettable" moves to stop thieves, said David Perry, chief executive officer and general manager at Melbourne's Windsor Hotel.

"Fortunately, guests dislike being treated as potential thieves. Hotels resisting such penny-pinching are rewarded with additional patronage," he said.

"If you send out a message 'We don't trust you with a coat hanger' how on earth can you expect brand loyalty?"

According to Perry, "souvenirs" taken by guests include ashtrays, towels and bathrobes. However, hotel executives say taking a few toiletries is acceptable - soaps, shampoos or conditioners (particularly if partly used). Movie star Jackie Chan illustrated his frugality in an interview by boasting he always takes partly-used toiletries.

Some general managers say it's acceptable to take notepads and pens. But others have replaced pens with pencils. Trying to curb theft has pitfalls. One general manager told me his crackdown almost cost him his job. Towels disappeared whenever groups sent by a particular travel agency stayed. Finally, he demanded guests open bags in the lobby - retrieving dozens of towels. A few days later, his boss at head office angrily complained he'd received a protest from the travel company. "Don't ever do that again," he warned. "They supply a lot of business."

The Perth manager of an old-fashioned hotel using keys instead of key cards was annoyed that `grey nomad' coach groups often souvenired keys. So he told them not to return keys to reception but to keep them for a lucky draw. Once everyone was on the coach, he boarded with a bottle of sparkling wine. Guests put their keys in a hat - for a chance to win the bubbly. "I beat the problem with cheap wine," he revealed.

A Holiday Inn senior executive in the US bragged to me that "every bathroom in America has a Holiday Inn towel". He saw this as effective advertising. But a policy change saw removal of logos and policing of thefts. Thefts sparked several major hotel chains' decisions to switch to towels with no logos.

Light bulbs are often stolen - so much so that some hotels include replacements on chambermaids' trolleys. One North American chain loses 140,000 bulbs a year to theft. Aside from towels and light bulbs, commonly stolen items include kettles, irons and hair dryers (the latter, increasingly, are fixed into place) along with room service crockery and cutlery.

Not just city hotels suffer. A rural Queensland motel owner watched two men park their ute outside their room - and later discovered they'd made off during the night with a large plasma TV.

Sometimes stolen items are decidedly oddball. Phillip Boniface, manager of Sydney's Travelscene Carlingford, heard about a guest whose home wallpaper design was inspired by hotel art. He helped himself to the art, to show his interior designer, but replaced it with something from his briefcase. A month later he found himself staying in the same room of the same hotel - where his replacement art was still in place. No-one had noticed.

"I heard of one guest going to the hotel's lost property desk 'to see what was on offer'," recalled Helen Demetriou, travel.com.au executive general manager.

"He started choosing items that took his fancy. The hotel let it slide the first time - but the third time he wasn't so lucky when a staff member cottoned on to what he was up to."

Another phenomenon involves swapping. Guests bring old appliances, swapping them for later-model kettles or whatever.

Hotels in China and Malaysia prevent theft by displaying price lists saying everything is for sale: pens, informational compendiums, plasma TVs and artwork. A hotel in Kunming, China, even lists metal window frames.

Australia's first anti-theft notices related to bathrobes, advising "these can be purchased from housekeeping".

Even carpets aren't safe. At one Australian hotel a bed was moved during the night so a square of carpet could be cut to be folded and placed in a suitcase.

But, sometimes, taking nothing is itself a problem. At Dubai's Burj Al Arab, describing itself as one of the world's most expensive hotels, a silk-clad butler ran after me as I left. He thrust at me a stylish hotel carrier bag containing a box of Arabic pastries and a bottle of Australian red.
"You forgot something in your room, sir - the management's gifts to guests," he explained.

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Jenn - posted on 02/06/2011

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They are Stephanie. It's NOT stealing to those things: shampoo, soap, pen, notepad, shower cap, etc. They WANT you to use/take these things.

Krista - posted on 02/06/2011

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I take the soaps and shampoos if they're nice, but a friend of mine works for a hotel management company and says that they expect everybody to take those things, and have absolutely no problem with it. The hotel we stayed in for our honeymoon had all Aveda toiletries, so I definitely scooped those into our bag at the end of the trip.

But towels or robes or anything else? Um, no. Definitely not.

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Tia Melissa - posted on 02/08/2011

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Hotels are like hospitals. There are use items that you are paying for even if you don't use them. Complimentary shampoo, soap, mouthwash, toothbrushes, toothpaste and coffee are there for you to use. They throw them away if they are opened - they have to. I have no issue taking those as they end up in a landfill otherwise. Towels, hangers, ashtrays, coffee pots, hair dryers, etc. that can be used by another guest (once it's been cleaned) are not OK to take with you. If I want a robe that badly, I'll buy one in the gift shop.

Isobel - posted on 02/08/2011

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I'd being lying if I said I didn't have some bar glasses in my cupboard ;)

[deleted account]

Some of the things i have never heard of!! wall paper light bulbs carpets?! haha thats just crazy. But yea ive been to a lot of hotels cuz ive traveled all over the worlds and i take the usuals pens and paper. Lotions, shampoos and conditioners to put in the guest bathroom but also the lotions to take on the go. Ive taken the shower cap but thats about it. I wanted to take an awesome pillow one time but didnt. My fiance did take a pot one time that i would consider stealing. I didnt want him to but he said he really liked i dont kno :/ i dont think we were charged for it either. Buts that it. I didnt kno that the bibles were meant to be taken. . . interesting. And yes i havent been to a hotel that had a price list at least one that i can remember. But i do know like others have said that they take your credit card and if something is missing they charge. Just not worth it.

[deleted account]

I just take the shampoo and soaps etc, and the sample tea and coffee bags =p oh and a pair of slippers once but im pretty sure we were ment to take them! I cant imagine having to share slippers...

Sharon - posted on 02/07/2011

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Stealing a bible is technically not worse than stealing anything else in this world, unless you steal a child or sperm.

BUT if you're religiously inclined, and you steal a book PREACHING the good life and morality - well..... its fucking ironic as all hell! and makes me giggle.

[deleted account]

I do not steal anything. Shampoo bottles at a motel are either complimentary or included in the cost, but I don't take those either. So basically if its included in the room and I'll use it I'll take it but if I won't use it I just leave it.

Bonnie - posted on 02/07/2011

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I use to work at a hotel and one of the main reasons a credit card is taken is not just to hold the room, but even at check in an imprint of the credit was taken as liability. This way if anything was stolen or there was smoking in the room when there shouldn't have been or damage to the room, card would be charged. Things like soap, shampoo and conditioner, coffee, sugar packets, pads of paper, pens, those things are always fine because people assumed they are usually gone because they had been used up during your stay.

[deleted account]

In reference to the bibles... In the US, the company that supplies hotel bibles is the Gideon company or something like that. They actually WANT people to take them. We once had a speaker form the company at my church and you would not believe how many people have come frward with life changing events stemming from stealing a Giddeon bible and then reading it! It's crazy!



I take the partialy used (and unopened) shampoos, soaps, etc. I also take a notepad with the logo on it if there is one. When my hubby and I went to Hawaii for our honeymoon, we got a free room upgrade when we showed them our marriage certificate and they also said the robes were complimentary to any honeymooning guests :) We still have those robes - they're comfy.



Other than that, I won't take it.



The carpet? Really? Huh...

Lady Heather - posted on 02/06/2011

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I'm thinking that as far as Bible theft goes, it's cool if you are going to read it and not cool if you are going to burn it. That is based on my basic knowledge of things God-like.

Lady Heather - posted on 02/06/2011

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We once stole a remote accidentally. It must have fallen in my husband's suitcase. We mailed it back.

I have never stayed in a hotel that had towels I would want to steal. I've stayed in some pretty awesome hotels. Maybe my towel standards are too high.

Stifler's - posted on 02/06/2011

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The Gideons put them there hoping people will steal them and read them if you ask me.

[deleted account]

Stolen a Bible?! That's just WRONG! I'm nt really a religious type but it's just wrong! Funny story though-my son is named Matthew and he recently found his name in a hotel Bible! So....then next hotel room he went to was with Grama/Grandpa & cousins for a weekend,. And he promptly showed his cousins the book that had his name in it. And then asked Grandpa to read from Matthew's Book! Grandpa declined....but I would neve rthink of stealing a Bible!

[deleted account]

I have honestly never seen a hotel with a price list for stuff in the room! but I would assume that my card would be charged for stuff I took...I think I would be offended if I found a price list in the room...

[deleted account]

I don't think I've ever actually "stolen" something from a hotel room. I took a robe once, it is the comfiest, most fabulous robe that has ever graced my wet butt, but I told the reception clerk that I took it and to charge my card for it when I checked out. I think it ended up being something like $130 and worth every penny.

The rule of thumb is one-time use items--coffee/tea packs, shampoos & such, and note pads--are okay. If it can be washed and reused, then leave it.
I don't usually take stuff though, because every hotel supplies them, so I'll never need them, and they'll just leak all over if they are opened.

I do always take the gift basket though if we don't eat and drink it during our stay.

Jenny - posted on 02/06/2011

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I have been known to write "There is no god, so relax and just be a good person" in the front covers of the bibles. Hey, if they can advertise, so can I.

Becky - posted on 02/06/2011

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I've never taken a Bible from a hotel, but the hotels don't pay for them, they're donated by the Gideons. They want them to be used, so I don't think they'd care if you take them.
We only take the consumable stuff like shampoos and whatnot. -And I throw the little lotions in my purse. We have a whole drawerful in my bathroom. Once in while we'll take the tea or coffee, but hotel coffee is usually gross. Sometimes the kleenex.
We stayed in a hotel this summer that had a price list for the usually stolen things too. But yeah, I'm not going to go taking stuff from people who have my credit card on file!

Stifler's - posted on 02/06/2011

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Mantra 1770 is my favourite place to go on holidays. We went last year and the year before and Damo is like... we should do this every year!

Jodi - posted on 02/06/2011

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Hmmm, Joy, you just gave me an idea for a new thread, but I don't have time right now.....what is it ok to take from a workplace?? If anyone else wants to start one......otherwise I may in several hours when I get back to my computer.

Jodi - posted on 02/06/2011

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Emma, my brother is the GM at one of the Mantra hotels - I can tell you they expect the toiletries to disappear :P

Stifler's - posted on 02/06/2011

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Also, we have a lot of stolen headmaster glasses at our house from pubs. NOT my idea.

Stifler's - posted on 02/06/2011

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They take my credit card everywhere. Mantra has things to buy with Mantra printed on them at the desk, but none of the towels and stuff has it on them. They don't give you bathrobes either but you can buy them. I always take the shower cap and shampoo even though I bring my own toiletries.

[deleted account]

I've never stolen a Bible from a hotel room...or anywhere for that matter lol I did once have an awesome set of steak knives though. But that was me stealing from my work at a steak house, not from a hotel lol

Jodi - posted on 02/06/2011

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You know, every hotel I've ever stayed at, they have taken a credit card imprint. No-one knows if there is actually any money on the card :P

Anyway, I sometimes take the toiletries, but not always. That's pretty much it.

However, I do remember, YEARS ago, a few friends and I were drunk and at a pub for dinner, and we really liked the ash trays...... I just remembered that when Jenny admitted to the steak knives :D

Jodi - posted on 02/06/2011

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"Who would steal the art from a hotel room? They must have cheap, shitty taste. "



Actually, Dana, I have been in a couple of hotels with really beautiful local original artwork themed for the region in which I am staying. Some of the artwork in some hotels is quite lovely. Off the top of my head, I can't recall where, but there have been a couple of places where I have really quite admired the artwork.



Edited to Add: The place we just stayed in NZ had some lovely watercolours of Cathedral Cove and other areas of the coast. They were gorgeous. Those of you who are my FB friends may have seen the photos of that area - the watercolours were superb.

[deleted account]

I always take the pens and note pads with the hotel / casino logo on it. I thought they were complimentery like soap.

[deleted account]

Any hotel i ever stayed in either made me pay a deposit that i got back when leaving, or would allow my cc to be billed in the case anything went missing or was broken. So if i took carpet, appliances or anything else, i would actually be paying for it. The bathrobe in one said, if it were missing then so much would be charged to me.

Sharon - posted on 02/06/2011

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I always take my own shampoo & soaps. BUT I take all the mini shampoo and soaps they stock in our bathrooms. Those little things are SO handy when we go camping or to the public pool. The tiny bottles are refillable too!

When we stayed at a disney hotel, we really enjoyed the coffee they stocked in our rooms. We asked if we could get additional for our rooms because we drink more than one cup each and they sent half a dozen for each of us. When we left we asked what kind of coffee it was and where we could buy it (I'd probably kill myself laughing if it was folgers or something) and they gave us a small box full, but didn't give us any information, lol.

OH and we took the disposable stuff, like coasters and napkins with the resort logos. I use those in displays and scrap books.

Hubby likes to take towels. I'm not happy about it but they're more than welcome to charge my credit card - which they usually do. I don't tell him but I do tell the kids that we bought the towels!

Barb - posted on 02/06/2011

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Taking the lightbulbs never crossed my mind, but what a bright idea!! hardy har har

In the hotels i've been in recently the toiletries have a paper seal on them to show they haven't been used. This tells me they are mine to use or take home and since they are consumable, there isn't a way to give it back after i'm finished using it.

Veronica - posted on 02/06/2011

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The toiletries that are opened and used - are probably being thrown out anyways - im sure they cannot reuse these items for obvious reasons - so i didnt feel i was stealing anything - the little things are probably figured into the room costs. Ive taken a pen once.

Veronica - posted on 02/06/2011

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Shampoos/soaps, and yes even the coffee --- what i cant fathom is a peice of carpet - and lightbulbs - no sense at all...

[deleted account]

Every hotel we have stayed has also just made us sign a release stating that I understand that if anything is missing they WILL bill my credit card.

Jenn - posted on 02/06/2011

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It's not stealing if you take the shampoos etc., those are meant to be used and/or taken by the guests - that's why they put them there.

Jenny - posted on 02/06/2011

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I will admit to one time scooping a pair of really nice steak knives from a restaurant. Other than that I've been a good girl.

[deleted account]

The only thing I've ever taken from a hotel room are the little shampoos & conditioners. I once WANTED to take a nice, fluffy robe but didn't because like Petra said...they have my credit card # and part of me signing in means I'll get charged for anything removed from the room. They don't care about the disposable stuff like soap, shampoo, coffee, even toilet paper. The other thing is, why would I steal a robe (for example) from a hotel when I know they're gonna overcharge me for the same robe I could just buy myself cheaper at the store?

Joanna - posted on 02/06/2011

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I will take the soaps and shampoos. I took a pen and paper from Caesers Palace in Vegas once. And that's it.

I took a little bowl from Dennys once, on accident. I just put the bowl of grapes in my to go box without thinking about it. Oops!

[deleted account]

i want to go to Dubai... @o@

i never take anything from hotels. i could probably count on one hand how many times i've stayed in a hotel, and i've never bothered with the shampoos and stuff. they aren't worth it to me, and i wouldn't want the bedsheets and towels for the same reason someone else has said, there's been a hundred or more people who have already used those things, why would i want them, eww...

[deleted account]

I've taken the shampoos, conditioners, soap, little sewing kits, toothbrush and toothpaste, pens, paper....

"Chandler you have to find the line between stealing and taking what the hotel owes you. Um for example, hair dryer no no no but shampoos and conditioners ah yes yes yes. "

[deleted account]

You know after I posted that is just what I was thinking "I bet it was Egyption cotton and in Vegas"!!! Hahaha!!! : p

[deleted account]

800 count Egyptian cotton at Luxor in Vegas! This was over 10 years ago now, so I bet the price went up OR they now make a higher count thread robe!

[deleted account]

My sister has been in the hotel industry for over 10 years and she tells me teh same thing: the toiletries, pen, pads, complimentaries are expected and put into the hotel's budget. But, towels do get charged to the credit card! I've only stayed in one upscale hotel where the bathroom was sooooooo plushy, but there was also a "Courtesy reminder" that the bathrobes are to remain in the hotel room but could be purchased in the gift shop for $250!!! Um, that would be enough of a reason to not steal it! A carpet swatch!? Weird! Fixtures? Bizarre!

~♥Little Miss - posted on 02/06/2011

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This cracks me up...yup I am gonna go steal a carpet from a hotel....better yet, a tacky picture they put on the wall.....or damn,,,,I really like that rocking wall paper...think I am gonna take a swatch...LOL

Isobel - posted on 02/06/2011

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I was all excited to post my solution to the problem but you guys beat me to it.

My Husband stocks up on all the acceptable stuff to take though...we have a drawer full of little shampoos and soaps in the basement for the guest bathroom ;P and half our pens and paper have hotel logos on them

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