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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

At a dead end called 3:48 AM

I'm in a hotel room somewhere south of Tacoma. This was not my destination.

Things started out well enough. After work, I loaded up the car and hit the freeway to Seattle to see my daughter's significant other's daughter at the hospital and to catch an Ms game.

We pulled into Children's Hospital about 8:30 pm, and it being after hours the security person demanded that we undergo special security measures before seeing the kid. I was a bit punchy after the 3 hour drive so I told him my name was Ernie Pooks Comiks. He dutifully recorded it on my name tag and passed me through security.

The little girl was doing fine considering she had undergone her second surgery in a week only hours earlier. She was up and about like it was just another day. We sat, chatted, and ate ice cream for about an hour then headed over to the Ronald McDonald house to drop off some clothes and food for my daughter and her guy. Another hour there and then we were off to find our hotel, stopping off for the finest cuisine Dennys has to offer aong the way.

We had booked a room in Seatac the night before. I don't particularly like SeaTac. It's about as ugly a place as I've seen in Washington (and hey, I've been to Asotin), but Expedia had told me that the SeaTac La Quinta had the only available room within a 50 mile radius of Seattle when I booked it through them.

We arrived at about 11 and were immediately told there was a mixup and our room had been rented. The desk clerk helpfully gave us Expedia's number. I called it and got a recording that there was special information that would be text messaged to me if I hit the pound key. I did, and immediately received a text message saying I would receive the special information if I agreed to be charged $9.99. I declined.

I returned to the desk and, after a 20 minute discussion about whether the number they originally given me was wrong or not, I persuaded them to trade a 7 for a 1 at a certain point in the dialing sequence and I was back in business.

I called Expedia. They expressed their apologies and put me on hold while they searched for another room. twenty-seven minutes later, I was disconnected.

I called again. They put my on hold again--for 68 minutes, yes, 1 hour and 8 minutes, before telling me they couldn't find a room but would gladly refund my money. I replied that refunding my money was hardly compensation for a 3 hour trip back home, a 3 hour trip back to Seattle for the game, and another three hour trip home again. I suggested that they pay my gas (about $100) and compensate me for the baseball tickets I'd never use (another $120) because I couldn't afford to drive back. They gave me a coupon worth $100 .

By then, the LaQuinta desk clerk had left from home (presumably the 1 for 7 trade had exhausted her) and a real human had taken her place. She took pity on us and found us and found us a welcome shithole somewhere south of Tacoma.

I tried to write a post, but dammit I'm too tired (and I guess I just wrote one anyway). So that's my excuse.

Please write something in the comments.

And when traveling, please remember:
  • La Quinta is mostly staffed by imbeciles
  • Expedia has no soul
  • Shitholes south of Tacoma are sometimes actually a kind of paradise.

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We'll try dumping haloscan and see how it works.