I know this is a humor website, but all joking aside, I steal food. Please allow me to explain. I live alone in the middle of nowhere, and work out of my house, so occasionally I feel the need to get out of my place, very often to buy alcohol or hit on women, but mostly to keep myself sane by interacting with real people rather than the voices in my head. Every now and then, I enjoy the finer things in life, which is why I have recently been spending most of my mornings eating breakfast in local hotel lobbies.
Is it morally reprehensible to walk into a hotel lobby pretending to be a guest, and walk out with a belly full of powdered eggs? Who gives a shit? It all started a year ago. I was driving to a client’s office when I had a sudden, extreme intestinal predicament, forcing me to find a place to take care of business. I have spent many years of travelling for my job, living out of suitcases, so I have developed a keen instinct for knowing where the best bathrooms are. For instance, the C terminal of the Denver International Airport has a very private restroom on the third floor. Trust me. I know what I’m doing.
But if you don’t happen to find yourself in the Denver airport when you have a gastro-emergency, I would suggest that you use any random hotel lobby. They are clean, easily accessible, and the Springhill Suites in Wheeling, West Virginia offer up an extraordinary level of additional service that I wasn’t expecting.
All I wanted to do was to use the facilities and get back on the road, but a lovely woman working the breakfast station approached me as I was ready to leave and said, "Come grab a bite. We have bacon, eggs, coffee…" Sure, I thought. I hadn’t eaten yet. I could certainly go for some bacon and eggs, and I was running early anyway. I might as well indulge. Since I didn’t look like a person who would consciously spend even two seconds in Wheeling, West Virginia unless it constituted an underwear/car seat emergency, I figured that I might as well take advantage of the woman’s lack of observational skills and grab a USA Today while I was at it. It then dawned on me that I should do this more often at home.
When I am on the road three weeks a month, I hate it. The long days without the comforts of my house are dreadful, but for some reason, free breakfast was the one perk that I always looked forward to. Since work has slowed down, I haven’t been travelling as much. I had to somehow get that feeling back, and there was only one way to do it: steal.
There is an area near my home where three major hotel chains all reside in the same small space. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not proud of what I’m about to say, but I can’t live with this embarrassing secret any longer: when the mood strikes, I will head on out and steal a nice cup of coffee, lousy sausage patties, and free business center facilities from the hotel chains that I once called home.
Is it morally reprehensible to walk into a hotel lobby pretending to be a guest, and walk out with a belly full of powdered eggs? Who gives a shit? On the other hand, is it borderline illegal? At my Holiday Inn Express it kind of is. On a recent jaunt to the hotel, I noticed a sign in the lobby stating, "Breakfast is complimentary for guests staying at the hotel. Those not staying can purchase food. Please see front desk for details."
Guess what I did? First, I enjoyed a very hearty breakfast. Then I went to the front desk to inquire about what the disgusting things I just ate would have cost me. As a shit-hole hotel aficionado, I am well aware of which hotels have good breakfasts, and which ones are simply kidding themselves. I’ve always said that the closest I’ve ever come to camping is staying at a Holiday Inn Express, predominately because of the food. The one near my house may have the worst spread of them all, so I had to find out what kind of conceited number they could arbitrarily throw at something that I wouldn’t serve to a dog.
At this particular hotel, the number was staggering: $14. That’s right, I said $14. I’ve had better food crashing homeless shelters, and they don’t charge anything. What a rip-off. There is no way in hell I’m dropping $14 on a fancy-schmancy Red Lobster dinner much less on day-old gruel oozing out of a dumpy hotel’s overheated steam trays. I needed to make a statement and head on back to continue to prove my point.
The next morning, I showered, shaved, and dressed like any Holiday Inn Express customer would–tank top, no shoes–and decided to give it another shot, just to see if I could get away with it again. I confidently nodded to the woman at the front desk and proceeded to the dining area to see what was on the menu for the day. Substandard biscuits and gravy awaited my arrival as I helped myself to a free crappy meal. I even brought a Ziploc bag to take home leftovers of the stolen $14 garbage that I force-fed myself.
I am in a zone and have yet to be caught. Please don’t tell anyone that you read this.