Although I had to leave early and missed today’s keynotes, I unfortunately didn’t miss some major hassles trying to depart. Let this serve as a warning for those of you who haven’t checked out yet. And I mean checked out of your hotels – there are certainly plenty of people who have checked out already and we saw lots of them working the booths.
My hotel bill this morning didn’t show the deposit I paid last September and they wouldn’t believe the printout I had with me. The staff tried to use a calculator to figure out what I would pay but couldn’t get it to add up, so they adjusted the bill manually and charged it through (after they also adjusted off the bag of Fritos that I certainly didn’t pay $5 for on the day I checked in). While I was at the desk trying to resolve the issue, at least five other people tried to check out and the hotel didn’t have them on record as leaving until tomorrow, which was causing problems.
At least I got good story material – while waiting I witnessed what had to be the winning performance in the “Worst Behavior by an Exhibitor” category. A woman (again trying to check out early according to the hotel computers) was trying to settle her bill to two different credit cards, one of which did not belong to her. The very patient clerk split it exactly as she asked, then she turned around and asked to have it split a different way and went into a very long diatribe about her company’s expense policies and how they fired a VP last year for expensing something that wasn’t real, even dropping the company’s name in front of the 20-odd people who were now in line trying to check out while the two available clerks were dealing with increasingly aggravated customers.
Folks in line were grumbling about the hotel staff generally not knowing there was a convention in town and not staffing accordingly. I had been having a pretty pleasant stay until now, but I returned to the room and checked my credit card online, finding they had charged all kinds of different amounts that made no sense, including the $5 Fritos as a separate line item. I was tired of dealing with the desk and will call their accounting department and On Peak tomorrow to get it resolved. I’m sure I’ll also be dealing with our internal expense auditors who will no doubt see the excessive charges coming through the corporate credit card and flag me for interrogation.
I headed for the airport with a smile because a very sweet vendor friend offered me a ride, for which I am grateful. Thanks for taking pity on a non-profit hospital staffer and sharing your car service. Flights were being delayed due to the snow in the north east, so be sure to check your status before you leave. At least with the computers thinking everyone is staying a day longer than they actually are, you shouldn’t have a problem getting a room if your flight is canceled.
The airport was packed with people trying to depart and the limited restaurants in our terminal couldn’t keep up. Seating was at a premium and the empty gate area with no seats whatsoever was a nice touch. I returned home safely (and with my magnificent chocolate shoe unscathed) despite the weather. I know that the rest of HIMSS is in good hands with Inga and Mr. H covering the remaining events.
In honor of all the Shoe Divas out there, I offer a picture from my home town airport. She’s definitely working it with the sneakers complimenting her full-length mink.