DEAR ABBY: I am a bed-and-breakfast owner. I have a strict two-week cancellation policy for reservations. I have just had a terrible experience with a guest who canceled five days before he was scheduled to arrive. Abby, I have only four guest rooms. When someone cancels on short notice, I am unable to resell the room in time, and I'm out one-quarter of my revenue for that night.
This particular guest had reserved a room for two nights. I told him he was responsible and tried to run the credit card he held the reservation with. It didn't work. (Big surprise!)
I am not out to make people's lives difficult, but if they don't want a reservation at an independent B&B, they shouldn't make one. Please spread the word about how this affects small-business people like me and many others. -- STIFFED IN ST. PAUL
DEAR STIFFED: I'll spread the word as requested, but perhaps you should count your blessings. If the card was no good, how would you have felt after feeding and lodging this boor for two days? In the future, you'd be wise to verify the credit-card number as soon as a reservation is made. It will save you a lot of grief.