Monday, September 5, 2011

Please don't give us business - we would have to work! : American edition

There are many problems with living in the first world.One of my major ones is that there is less quirky economic behaviour for me to blog about. So I am always happy when someone gives me the opportunity.

This weekend I went cycling in West Virginia. Being somewhere in Shenadoah and the Blue Ridge Mountains ensured that I had John Denver's Country Roads in my head for the entire time. And you should listen to it too whilst reading this blog.

Being a bit of a history buff, I was thrilled to stay in the Carriage Inn - a little B&B with plenty of history, mostly civil war, and to have the opportunity to wander around Charles Town and Harpers Ferry - beautiful little towns where most sites seem to be linked in some way to John Brown (including the site where he was hanged*). Anyway, I digress.

It was a long weekend and so difficult to find accommodation for a trip organised at the last minute. Finally, I stumbled upon this little B&B and went to book online. There were two rooms left out of seven. Instead of click 'reserve' I decided to phone. I was told that they were full for the night but I didn't mention that the booking system was allowing me to reserve. I remember a friend who used to work at a Youth Hostel telling me that they used to say that to people who phoned up if they sounded like arseholes. I can only assume I don't come across well on the phone.

Anyway, after trying a few other places and finding only a rather boring out-of-town motel, I decided to go ahead and book the B&B online anyway. Risky, but worth it, I figured. Arriving, the owner gave a nice little tour of the house including its role in the civil war and some of the history of the town. The owner's wife was 'delighted you could made it' despite it presumably being her who told me they were full.

On the lawn in front of the B&B was this sign:

Note the 'no vacancy' sign.At least it reassured me that it wasn't something I said on the phone - they didn't want any new guests at all.

So what is happening here? They had five full rooms but didn't want any more guests. Surely the marginal effort to filling one more room is minimal. It did remind me of the extreme efforts the ski slope in Lesotho goes to dissuade anyone from giving them business - lest they have to work.

So why didn't the owners of the B&B want any more guests? It's beyond me.

Speaking of why people do things, here is a photo of a post-naked-cycle-ride happy hour in Philly:

*Not 'hung' as the owner of the B&B said - using the wrong past participle for this verb always makes me grimace. 

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