Posted On: Thursday - February 6th 2020 11:05PM MST
In Topics:   Curmudgeonry  Economics  Scams
They still have those land-line phones and the associated wiring in hotel rooms. Once in a while you may need to call the desk to find out about the free breakfast, or find out when or whether the folks having the fight in the next room will be kicked out, at the seedier joints. Also, people can call you.
Why people would have any reason to call you is, say, if you were having major cell-phone problems, for instance, with some complete POS* that won't even make or receive calls. That was my situation recently. The junker temporary mobile phone did let me send messages, but about no other functions worked. That helped me send out the hotel phone # and room # to enable loved ones to call me, as I was away for a bit.
It's still a thing with hotels/motels and phones that you'd better watch out about calling out with them, even just to order a pizza. As far back as I can remember, calling from a hotel phone was a big no-no, as they've always had these wacky outrageous charges. Back in the day, they were always double or more than the quarter (or dime, for way back) that the pay phones charged you for local calls. There were long distance charges - does anyone remember long-distance charges?** It was just an additional money-maker, like luggage charges for the airlines, so you'd really try to avoid it.
For the long-distance charges, it wasn't just a decent 50% surcharge though. Often it would be outrageous. Anyone who's been burned by this would have walked out in the freezing cold to the gas station payphone before making the mistake of dialing out from his room again... before the wonderful cell phones came about, that is.
My question is simply "What the fuck?" Why would you set prices so high that only newbies or completely desperate people would ever dial out from a motel/hotel? Peak Stupidity has been over this "price point" business before, regarding minor league baseball, in The Price Point at the Field of Dreams. It seems you would find a price point that got you the most revenue from these phones, meaning way the hell lower than now. The costs have gone way down too, as, judging from a lot of the terrible signals I get calling them, they are likely internet-based voice-over-IP.
I can see more nowadays, these hotels reaming anyone who is so backwards or unfortunate to not have his cell phone. However, I really wonder why they've been doing this since I can remember. This rip-off has always been unacceptable.
* It's back at the store now, where it belongs. I was going to bring it back anyway, but after it let me down completely, it felt good, man.
** Sung in the same manner as Robert Plant in Stairway to Heaven in the concert-movie The Song Remains the Same - "Does anyone remember laughter?"