Mike Cope's blog

Monday, September 08, 2003

Here's a great piece from my buddy Rubel Shelly: Some travelers apparently think they are entitled to take more than the little bottles of shampoo and body lotion hotel chains provide in their rooms. Would you want some stranger's half-used bottle of either when you check into that room the next night? So take them. The cost has been factored into your room charge. But lots of those big, fluffy towels disappear too. For industry giant Holiday Inn and its 2,638 locations, that generates some pretty big numbers. According to a company spokesman, 500,000 towels disappear from their sites every year. That's half a million towels swiped annually. Can you believe it? Okay. Here's the deal. Holiday Inn has announced an amnesty program for all the folks who have picked up their big fluffies over the years. No jail time. No fines. Why, you don't even have to give the towels back! They just want to know your story — and might even give you a reward for the best one. One man who has already confessed said he took a towel from a Holiday Inn property in Monterey, Mexico. It was where he and his wife spent their honeymoon, and he took it as a memento. Incidentally, the relationship with the woman didn't last, but the towel is still holding up quite well. "This really is lighthearted," said Mark Snyder, senior vice president for the company's brand management department. "It's just a way for people to come on, tell us their story, and relieve any lingering guilt they might have about having a Holiday Inn towel in their linen closet." You know what's happening here. It's a gimmick. A way of getting the company name into news stories. A slick promotion. Guests provide their stories to the HI Web site through September. The twenty-five judged best of the lot will receive — you guessed it — a limited edition souvenir Holiday Inn towel. Aside from the creative gimmickery here, this is an illustration of a healthy principle about relationships. When you hurt someone, do something wrong, or know that a relationship is in jeopardy, be honest. Do the virtuous thing. Come clean about it. Ask forgiveness. Work at rebuilding the relationship. A co-worker, friend from church, neighbor, wife, boyfriend — maybe you have the person in mind already. It's worth the effort to clear the air. Maybe you could begin with a towel in hand. "I read this story about Holiday Inn towels, and it made me realize there's something I ought to say to you . . ."

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