Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Plumb Loco

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Newlyweds, Ricky Joe and Darlene Stump, of Centerburg, OH were staying at a Columbus area Holiday Inn Express this past weekend when they were caught off guard by the shower controls. When Ricky Joe stepped into the tepid spray on Saturday morning, he said he wanted the water just a tad hotter. What came next was quite a shock for the twenty-four-year-old part-time Autozone employee and father of “six or so.”

“I reached down and turned that knob toward the HOT to warm the water up a bit, and man! It shot down ice cold on me! It was a real shriveler if you know what I’m sayin’. I damn near fell outta the tub.”

Ricky Joe explained to this reporter that he had absolutely no idea that almost every hotel shower control knob in America is plumbed backward.

“Over the years, customers have just come to expect it,” explained Holiday Inn Express manager Doug Stevenson. “There was an industry push in the early ‘90s to try to correct the issue, but the major U.S. hotel chains got more complaints about the controls being right than we ever did about them being backward. Our guests had apparently gotten used to it. Our goal,” he added, “is a minimum of ninety-six percent backward throughout our family of hotels.”

We interviewed another Holiday Inn Express guest in the lobby for her thoughts. “Oh, sure, of course the shower knob is backward. They always are,” said Sharon Matson, a pharmaceutical sales representative from White Plains, NY. “I don’t make the mistake much, but just the other day I ice-bathed myself for a split second at a Comfort Suites. I think that one might have been plumbed correctly. I had to laugh at myself. I should know better by now.”

Darlene Stump, Ricky Joe’s new bride, was amused by the incident. “I’ll tell you what,” said the twenty-two-year-old Arby’s employee and mother of three, chuckling, “he screamed like a twelve-year-old girl at a sleepover.”

“I don’t think it’s very funny at all, Darlene,” said Ricky Joe. “And you know what else?” he told us. “They’re damn lucky I’m a reasonable guy, because this being Darlene and me’s honeymoon and all, that ice bath really killed the mood, if you know what I’m sayin’. Not cool man. Not cool.”

When asked if the hotel had offered any sort of apology, Ricky Joe grinned. “They did better than a sorry, that’s for sure. I drive a hard bargain,” the cold and shriveled newlywed told us. “I got them to give us free breakfast for the whole two days we’re here in the big city.”

Manager Doug Stevenson confirmed Mr. Stump’s story. “I tried more than once to tell him the continental breakfast served in our lobby from 6:00 to 9:30 AM each day is complimentary to all guests, but he kept calling it a ‘freebie to make up for the shrivelidge.’ I finally just gave up and told him I would be happy to ‘comp’ their breakfasts for the entire stay.”

“I’ll tell you what,” said Darlene. “That waffle station is somethin’ else, isn’t it?”

“Sure is,” agreed Ricky Joe. “First class all the way on this honeymoon, baby. I even had them throw in unlimited ice for my Monster Energy drinks and Darlene’s Red Bulls. We can use that machine at the end of the hall whenever we want, for free.”

Mr. Stevenson confirmed the ice machine conversation. “Yes, we are ‘comping’ their ice as well,” he told us, using finger quotes with an exasperated expression.

“My man sure it somethin’ else, isn’t he?” Darlene inquired to us.

This reporter would certainly have to agree.

See you soon,


Copyright © 2019 Marc Schmatjen

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