Column: Beware of freeloadersWith all those conventioneers staying in Twin Cities hotels last week, one thing came to mind: bed bugs. After an extended absence, the blood-sucking insects have returned with no holds barred.
By: Andrea Langworthy, Staff Columnist,
With all those conventioneers staying in Twin Cities hotels last week, one thing came to mind: bed bugs. After an extended absence, the blood-sucking insects have returned with no holds barred. According to an article on Reuters.com, “Frequent International travel and hotel stays have helped bed bugs to make a comeback after near extinction in the U.S.” Reuters reports they crawl into luggage and travel to the United States where they end up in our hotels and then, in our homes. They’re safe here now because the U.S. has banned DDT, the pesticide that eliminated them in the past. New repellants are no match for the pests.
Over the years, I’ve stayed in reputable hotels and motels that made my skin crawl. The sad tale I tell when people share their worst accommodation stories happened to my husband and me in a Wisconsin river town halfway to our final destination, Milwau-kee. Because we’d worked all day, we didn’t arrive until late Friday. We checked in, found our room, threw the suitcase inside the door and left in search of dinner. The dining room was closed and the bar served only peanuts so we drove downtown for cheeseburgers. After eating, we went back to the hotel, crawled into bed and fell asleep without even turning on the television. The next morning, as daylight began streaming through the window, I pulled back the covers and found dead bugs all over the sheet. I won’t tell you what I found in the shower. I was in the car in 10 minutes — unshowered, disheveled and still wearing the tee shirt and sweat pants I’d worn to bed.
Years later, my husband and I followed a bell captain to our room in a “Luxurious resort and spa” in Phoenix. I let out a shriek when I found blood in the bathroom. Remembering stories I’d heard about friends of a friend of a friend’s distant relatives who’d checked into Vegas hotels to find dead bodies under the bed or in the bath tub, I stood over the housekeeper as she scrubbed and polished. To this day, I wonder why I hadn’t insisted on different lodgings.
Many people would have made a bigger fuss. My youngest sister won’t accept the room reserved for her until she checks it out herself. Can she hear road noise? An elevator or ice machine? How clean is it? My sister isn’t alone. In a recent article in the “New York Times,” the president of the 3500-room Atlantis Hotel in Nassau says as many as 200 guests a day request to be moved.
My father never made reservations ahead. He looked for a blinking vacancy sign so he could haggle on the price. Finding a place that could accommodate seven of us was a feat in itself but Dad liked a deal. In Las Vegas one year, Mom and all of us kids waited in the station wagon in the parking lots of one motel after another. Finally, Dad found one further down the Strip than most. The grand opening was a week away and there was still some construction going on so Dad got a bargain. Cleanliness was part of Dad’s consideration, too, but all that mattered to me and my siblings was that the pool was full of water. Thank goodness, we didn’t have to worry about bed bugs. With seven of us, that would have been a lot of scratching.