I’m not sure where USA tax monies are spent. I didn’t get the vibe that they were spent or invested in healthcare, or siphoned into welfare and addressing the great wealth disparity…. in fact, I never really thought about it until I visited the country. Then it dawned on me, or should I say, hit me really hard in the face – psychological trickery. That’s where they invest their taxes!! Only in America can a shop convince you that you need to pay THEM for access to their store instead of them offering you advantages for being loyal. It’s the ultimate psychological trick. Get people to invest money to shop there ensures people will shop there to receive a perceived benefit on their investment. Yes Costco I’m talking about you. Whilst on paper I am vehemently opposed to Costco and all it represents, I have been known to sometimes go there on account of the product range, which is incomparable to the restrictive product range we have in Australia.
Then there is the Temple Grandin psychological trickery that she developed in order to keep cows calm as they are sent off to be slaughtered. I LOVE Dr Temple Grandin (honestly, Claire Danes should have won an academy award for her performance in a movie based on Temples life) but I have serious doubts about whether she was adequately compensated for tourist attractions all over the US using the very principles she developed, that was supposed to assist in humanely slaughtering cattle, to herd us tourists around every darned attraction wherever herding is necessary, basically – everywhere. I was simultaneously insulted, in awe and mad that they are stealing Dr Grandin’s principles. To give you an example of how they trick us, you’ll notice that they will keep opening and closing lanes, so that the queue is constantly moving. Always in a circular motion. Then there are the subtle inclines and declines that make you feel like you are going somewhere even though you are seriously just spending more time shuffling around an ever expanding circle. In reality you have moved no further in the queue and are simply walking further. If you do one thing this week high tail it out and watch the movie “Temple Grandin”. One of the most underrated movies of the previous decade. https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/temple_grandin/
Anywho. Enough about the psychological trickery that USA projects on to us unsuspecting, innocent tourists. If left to my own devices I’d probably go on and on all night (honestly, part of me thinks Trump’s progression to the top job is no more than a psychological trick US citizens are playing on the rest of the world – can’t quite figure out their motive though – comedy???). It was in LA that I encountered the CLEVEREST psychological trickery I have ever happened across, or been aware of when I did happen across it.
Let me set the image. After staying four nights in the beautiful accommodation at Residence by Marriot Inn located a stones throw from Disney Land, Anaheim, I was excited to see what The Hilton at Universal Studios would be like. In Australia, the Hilton is one of our top, luxury hotels so my expectations were high. There was mum, myself and two of my girls in 1 room then in the room next to us was another mum, her daughter, 1 of my daughters and another dancer. Jazzy was the daughter of mine, who volunteered to stay in the room next to ours, as she was sharing with friends.
Upon check-in we were sent up to a dirty, dingy room that absolutely wreaked of cigarette smoke. Stale cigarette smoke smell, not the pleasant “George Clooney has just been puffing on a cigar in this area” type smell. Immediately upon entering the room Kylah began having an allergic reaction to the vile smell. Her eyes started watering and she was coughing and spluttering every which way. Doubting my own (and my daughters) olfactory system I ventured in to the room next door to see if perhaps this was just the smell of the whole hotel. Next door was happily unpacking in a bright airy room that did not smell like someone had filled the (non-existent) bathtub with 6 million old cigarette butts and left them to stew in some luke warm water for a whole week.
I invited 3 other adults into my room without letting them know why (so it was a blind test you see, not pre-planting ideas in their head) and they ALL reacted in the same way I did. Absolute repulsion to the smell.
I got straight on the phone to the Bellman/concierge (honestly does anyone know the difference or in fact care what that difference is?) and began to calmly explain our situation.
The Bellman/concierge bustled up to the 5th floor where we were located, swanned in to the room reminiscent of Hugh Jackman swanning on to stage in the Greatest Showman. He took a HUGE inhale and then looked me in the eye and said “I smell nothing” without even a tiny trace of deception crossing his face. I was confused. “You smell NOTHING???” I asked incredulously. “NOTHING??? Do you have issues with your sense of smell? Are you a smoker and are completely desensitised to rooms that smell like a chain smoker has lived in them for a good 8 years?” “No” was his patronising reply. “But here at Hilton Universal City it doesn’t matter what we think. We are here to keep you happy so I will speak to the manager.” What the flying duck??? How did this dickhead just get me to question my own sense of smell, and that of about 6 other people – 1 of whom was in the midst of a physiological reaction to his “non-smell”, and also feel incredibly grateful that even though he was essentially calling me a liar, I should be pleased he was going to do something to appease me. This was a WHOLE other level of psychological deception that I had not been privy to or prepared for.
The manager phoned the room and informed me that even though the Bellman/concierge found no foul and mysterious odor in the room she nonetheless wanted to make me happy by moving me 3 floors away from the rest of our group, and one of my daughters, to an inferior and smaller room. She seemed absolutely blindsided when I didn’t respond with intense appreciation. “I AM NOT HAPPY. My daughter needs to be near me” I retorted. The manager sighed before saying that she would organize to have a ‘cot’ delivered to our room so that Jazzy could stay with us. The Universal Hilton had strict occupancy limits on rooms so the fact that they were cramming more than the allowable number of people into a small, old room infuriated me. If there is one thing I hate more than polyester, cold nights and early mornings – it’s bad customer service. They messed with the WRONG woman.
What’s worse, my mum walked past the room being recleaned about 15 minutes after we had been moved and spoke to the lady who was cleaning it. She had a face mask on and told mum the smell was so bad they were going to have to get some special air filterer in to fix it and it would not be fit for humans to stay in for some time. Mum tipped the lady (it’s not her fault the Hiltons are arseholes) and merrily came to share her newly acquired knowledge with me.
That was just the beginning of the terrible service offered at Hilton Universal Hotel. The food was overpriced, was delivered cold (or not at all) and the staff were extremely rude and acted like the guests were an inconvenience. I still did all the right things and tipped everyone who needed tipping, if someone was going to be homeless it would not be because of my issue with the Hilton. I was going to go after the Hilton another way. A way that I think best serves me. With words. Within a day and a half of being at the Hilton I had written two strongly worded, but very polite (these two mediums are extremely hard to balance and took a lot of energy) feedback forms on the Hilton website. No response. By day three I took things to the next level and wrote a poor review on Trip Advisor about our stay there. Just to show people I am not a sour bitch (all of the time) I then invested time heaping praise on a lot of other places we stayed, where the service was excellent.
If I feel like I have been wronged I am like a dog with a bone and DO.NOT.GIVE.UP!! I am still whole heartedly pursuing Café De L’opera for their terrible treatment of my daughter. Currently my blog post (Link for full story: https://nobeladventures.com/2018/07/11/paris-day-2/#more-284) has amassed 48.7 THOUSAND views on Quora and achieved 385 upvotes. I will not rest until I have made that miserable Parisian manager rue the day he traumatised one of my children while they were toileting. Toileting is supposed to be a safe place. I know a great number of you are probably reading this on the loo right now.
When I left the Hilton Universal Hilton Hotel I looked the manager and the same Bellman/concierge in the eye and said “I am a well respected and successful travel blogger. You could do well to improve your customer service as I have not had a pleasant stay.” I managed to get the whole sentence out with an icy, stone cold look on my face with not a single trace that any of what I just uttered was an exaggeration of the grandest proportions.
This blog post was meant to be about so much more but my lack of writing preparation and ability to fly off on irrelevant tangents (think Temple Grandin) has only just scraped the surface of my time in LA. I haven’t even got to the best parts about how the Hilton does not have a guest laundry (they aren’t that kind of hotel) but instead would like you to spend $4 having a pair of socks laundered. This is of no use to you in the middle of the night when you have a child with gastro, requiring an expensive uber ride to a laundromat friggen miles away from anywhere. I’m going off on another tangent and there are so many other tales to tell!! Will write more tomorrow!
Thanks for reading!!
P.S. It has been bought to my attention that my ending sentence “thanks for reading” is slightly lame. I am okay with this as I also consider myself to be ‘slightly lame’ so I think it’s appropriate. Also, I’m trying really, really hard to become a famous travel blogger so I can avenge all my enemies like Café De L’Opera and Hilton Universal Hotel in LA so if you get to the bit where I say “Thanks for reading” I truly am grateful that you spent time wading through my finger dribble and actually got to that part.
P.P.S. If you want to help me become a successful travel blogger please spruik me wherever you go. I will promise I will share my perks upon all of you who help me achieve this dream.
Surprisingly I took very few photos at the Hilton so decided this one summed up my my post perfectly.