Sunday, August 9, 2009

Would You Like a Bed With That?


I'm not exactly a fan of the gimmick-y promotions that some businesses will offer (a la the carrot on a stick) as a way of hopefully getting more people to try whatever it is that their hawking. Why does there have to be a gimmick? What's wrong with just making it cheap? Is it so that you're more apt to want to tell your friends about the gimmick because it will sound cool, but you're not so apt to want to tell your friends that you got a great deal because they'll think you're a cheapskate? Look, there's a difference between getting a good price and getting something that's cheap. And there's nothing wrong with cheap pricing! It doesn't mean someone is (necessarily) a cheapskate! It's financially sensible, for cryin' out loud!

But there's a hotel in San Diego which has managed to combine cheap pricing (sort of) with gimmicky (totally). The
Rancho Bernardo Inn is currently taking reservations for their Survivor Package which is available August 16 through August 31. The Survivor Package includes Deluxe Accommodations and breakfast for two for only $219. But wait! There's more! Or less, as the case may be. See, That $219 includes everything that you would expect a hotel room to have. The question here is do you NEED to have all of those things? If there are certain things that you can go without, you can get the price down as low as 19 bucks! But that 19 bucks is for just the room. JUST the ROOM. As in four walls and a ceiling. As in nothing else. Not even a bed! Wait. No bed?

No bed. No lights either. Not to mention no toilet paper, pillows, air conditioning and/or heat either. The general manager is a one John Gates and according to
CNN, Mr. Gates said that he and his staff "...wanted to come up with something different than the same promotions and discounts" while at the same time "We wanted to do something fun and clever." He claims that this Survivor Package is "a way of making the best of these bad economic times and trying to give customers an experience." So, you're taking the opportunity during "bad economic times" to show people what REALLY bad economic times would look like? No bed. No toilet paper. And there you are, crammed in a hot, dark, stuffy room and trying to sleep during these "bad economic times". Sounds sort of like the capitalist version of "If you don't stop crying I'll really give you something to cry about!" (No bed would make me cry.)

Now there are things I could absolutely do without. And I almost appreciated this deal for a minute there. But it's not quite so simple. See, they have the "amenities" on sort of a tiered pricing scale. If you could just pick and choose which things you could do without and have that amount deducted from the original cost, that could be very appealing. But the way they have it? Not so much. It kind of reminds me of a game on The Price is Right, but I'm not sure which one. Maybe the Grocery Game. (NOT Plinko! That I'm positive of.)

Here's how they have it priced out:

$199 without breakfast
$179 without honor bar
$159 without A/C or heat
$139 without pillows
$109 without sheets
$89 without lights
$59 without linens
$39 without toiletries
$19 without bed

I could go as low as no breakfast and no honor bar. (Is there a dishonor bar?) After all, I'm usually too drunk to eat breakfast, so there's not really a point in paying for those. No A/C? In the middle of August in San Diego? No way. But I could also go without the toiletries (like I can't pack my own toothpaste and little shampoos that I've lifted from other hotels?) and probably the pillows (if I'm packing my own toilet paper, I'll just chuck a pillow in there also). What are linens? Towels? See, I would have thought sheets were linens, but sheets have their own category, so I guess they're not. Regardless, I'll bring a towel just in case I feel like hosing off after my night of roughing it.

They don't specify as to whether or not "lights" is synonymous with "power". "Lights" I'm fine with not having. The light emulating from the TV will be plenty, thanks. "Power" I am not so fine with not having. It's really hard to get your laptop online without any power. Also, it doesn't say if "sheets" includes "blankets". Maybe blankets are linens? Who knows? But they really should specify. Again, I'd be fine without sheets, but I do prefer some sort of textile material draped over my body as I slumber. It's comfortable.

And while they were doing all right towing the gimmicky line for a while, they seemed to get a little bit carried away and went just a tad too far in my opinion. Mr. Gates explains the situation should you get down to the point where you're willing to for go a bed by saying, "For $19 a night, a customer gets a shell with a tent inside." Behold!


This is quite possibly one of the more ridiculous things that I've ever seen and/or heard of. I'm guessing that management or whomever is responsible for decisions such as this one, are unclear as to the purpose of a tent. See, one uses a tent when there is no roof from which to protect them from that which is overhead. Tents are commonly used out of doors where there is NO ceiling. But when one is indoors, there is little use for a tent as you already have the main component that the tent serves to provide. The CEILING! The ROOF! Both of them? Overhead? Both of them? In a hotel! What in the hell good is a tent going to do me? Seriously! What is the purpose of the tent? Unless you're shoving me out onto the balcony and then locking the door behind me, I'm not so sure that I have ANY use for a tent if I am actually INSIDE of the room.

I think that if it weren't for the tent thing, it might not be such a bad idea. But the tent? Too much. Toooooo much. Unless they're going to expand this promotion and take it to the next level by going down to ten bucks, but for that price, you're in your room with nothing but a tent...and some other lodger with his own tent! It'd be like your own little indoor KOA. THEN the tent would be appropriate. (Of course, the whole idea overall seems somewhat inappropriate, but they started it! I'm just throwing ideas out there.)

I do kind of like the idea of paying just for what you want to use. It's sort of like a lifestyle version of a vending machine. Look at the selection, see what you'd like, and choose accordingly. I'll be interested to know how much repeat business they get from folks who tried the $19 room and then thought, "You know, this wouldn't be half bad with a bed. We should come back some time and give that a try." Actually, I'm more interested in how many folks go for the $19 room and then after about an hour show up at the front desk wanting to upgrade to a room with a bed in it! I mean, a deal is a deal and all, but this is a hotel room floor we're talking about!


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