Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Get That Thing Outa Here!

I am fortunate in the extreme not to have to travel very much for my job. I used to travel quite a bit more and I consider myself a seasoned traveller. I do still occasionally have to spend the odd night away from home and my current job seems destined to send me to China once a year.

One aspect of travel that I struggle with is the hotel television. Oh, to be sure it's not as bad here in the U.S. as it is in, say, Sweden, where they pipe free, unrestricted hardcore porn into your room every night. It was there that I adopted a habit I have maintained ever since: every time I check into a hotel I ask them to get the TV out of the room. I had only once to say that it was "a religious conviction" and even in ultra-liberal Sweden, in excellent Old World style, the hotel staff began greeting me with, "Welcome again, Mr. Palm, the television has been removed from your room" before I had said a word. Now that's what I call service.

In the U.S. things are generally better, but far from ideal. There may be many Catholic guys out there who can easily avoid the not-quite-hardcore-but-still-awful stuff that is aired on HBO and
Cinemax. Good for you. I can't.

Men, if you have to travel it's very easy to get the hotel to remove the television. I have taken to faxing ahead, rather than springing it on the desk clerk who may be in a difficult position to respond to my demand on short notice. Rather, a few days ahead of my stay I fax the following letter. I have yet to have anything but 100% compliance with this reasonable request. Be prepared with a good answer for the curious desk clerk who asks about your request; be sure to say that you're a Catholic (not just a generic "Christian") and give a good reason. It's an excellent opportunity for a bit of evangelism. Here's a letter that you can adapt for your own use:

General Manager
Your Hotel

1234 Etc. St.
Homebody, YM 12345

Dear Sir/Maam,

I am scheduled to stay at your hotel next week, checking in on Monday, 10 December and checking out Friday, 14 December.

Due to religious convictions I would like to have the television removed from my room. Most hotels do not have difficulty complying with this request but I find that it is helpful to alert them ahead of time, to avoid any confusion or complication at check-in. If this request presents any difficulties please let me know and I can make other arrangements. Thank you very much for your assistance and I'll look forward to staying with you next week.

Best regards,


The now almost ubiquitous wireless Internet connection poses a new difficulty, but that is fodder for a future posting.

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