DEAR ABBY: I was shocked and angered by the letter from "West Virginia Traveler" (April 16) on towel usage and tipping hotel housekeepers. His priorities and "knowledge" of hotel staff are seriously skewed. This man is taking his peevishness out on hotel employees who can least afford to take it.
The concierge is paid well to deal with disgruntled guests and make things right. The bellman gets tipped to carry a bag from the lobby to your room. If a doorman calls a cab for you, he gets tipped. If there is a restaurant, the servers are tipped.
The one person who is most critical to making your stay comfortable and pleasant is the maid/housekeeper. She is the one who makes sure you have a clean bathroom, fresh sheets and plenty of toilet paper. She does the grungiest job in the hotel, gets paid very little, is rarely thanked in person and is the last to be tipped. She needs these tips more than anyone else.
I make a point of tipping every single day of my stay, and I have always received the best room service imaginable. -- LUANN IN KEENE, N.H.
DEAR LUANN: Thank you for your letter. Housekeepers everywhere will be grateful for your support. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I am a housekeeper in a popular hotel chain. Our staff leaves cards in the bathrooms asking our guests to please conserve and hang towels for reuse if possible. Just because you can be wasteful, it doesn't mean you should. -- JENNIFER IN CANADA
DEAR ABBY: "Traveler" said not a single housekeeper has been "exceptional." What about the simple fact that housekeepers clean up his mess during his stay? They take out his trash, refresh his towels and replace used soaps and shampoos. Housekeepers vacuum anything tracked in, remake beds, wipe down the sink and bath/showers.
I can say from personal experience that many hotel guests wouldn't leave their homes in the condition they leave their hotel rooms, and sadly, they feel that it's acceptable. Housekeepers work hard to provide a clean and comfortable room prior to a guest's arrival, and strive to maintain that comfort throughout the guest's stay. In addition, they will fulfill any request within their abilities. I'd say this alone is pretty darn "exceptional." -- GUEST SERVICE REP IN UTAH
DEAR ABBY: Leaving a tip for housekeeping in a hotel is a matter of social responsibility/social justice. A striking majority of hotel maids are women -- many of color, invariably in a lower income bracket and, often, single mothers. They work extraordinarily hard for less than minimum wage in cities where the cost of living is much higher than their incomes. In other words, they are not paid a living wage. Consider it a "mitzvah" (a blessing) to leave a tip. It can make a difference between a family "getting by" and one that is drowning. This is about doing the right thing. -- AN M.D. IN MONTE SERENO, CALIF.