Red Carpet Inn and Suites Plymouth
2 nights in Plymouth, New Hampshire
Sept 6 - Sept 8
When we arrived at the motel two staff were loading a vehicle near the office. The look we got from them was not very welcoming. In fact, it seemed suspicious and unfriendly.
We went into the office where we received a similar reception from the elderly clerk. It was almost as if they didn't cotton to strangers in their neck of the woods, which seems odd for hoteliers. The clerk seemed to know only a few words of English but seemed to be able to identify our booking and gave us a key-card.
About a half hour or so later there was loud urgent banging at our door. I almost jumped out of my seat. My first thought was of a possible ICE raid and that we would be deported back to Canada for not being diverse enough. He was all panicky. There was a problem with the credit card.
Boy. What a great way to relax after a long drive.
Back at the office one of the other guys who "welcomed" us and seemed to have more authority than the elderly guy, though equivalent competence in English, told me I had to pay in advance with my credit card. It was my impression that the bill was to be paid through booking.com as it was at the first motel we stayed at (and the next one after this.) An "argument" ensued if you can call a heated conversation devoid of a common language an argument.
After I checked my booking on my smartphone I noticed the line that stated the bill was to be paid at the location so perhaps this dramatic imbroglio was just a misunderstanding - which leads me to question the validity of the "diverstiy is our strength" mantra. It certainly wasn't in this case.
I was still suspicious though. I tried to ask the guy why, if the bill had to be paid at the property, why the clerk did not ask for my credit card immediately upon checking in? I say, "tried to ask" because the answer was impossible to comprehend due to the afforementioned language barrier.
Okay, so I calmed down a bit and tried to tell myself this was all just an honest misunderstanding. Maybe Booking.com processes some of the bills through their system while others are paid at the property as it said on the confirmation email.
So I took out my credit card and prepared to pay the bill. The guy punched in some numbers and handed me the machine. The chord was too short so I had to stretch over to read the display. It wanted me to enter my PIN number. I could not see an amount.
I knew from my own use of debit machines in my cab that the clerk is supposed to punch in the amount and then hand the machine to the customer. The customer presses the "OK" button and THEN enters the PIN. He could have entered any amount and if I had foolishly entered my PIN I would have been completely on the hook for any amount.
This was where I really started yelling at the guy. "THIS IS NOT HOW YOU PROCESS DEBIT MACHINE PAYMENTS! WHAT KIND OF SCAM ARE YOU RUNNING HERE?"
So I insisted he do it over again and hand me the machine while the amount was still showing. Interestingly, I noticed that when he handed me the machine a second time with the amount showing, the screen also included the instruction, "now pass the machine to the customer." Maybe he couldn't read that part.
I still can't shake the feeling that I may have been scammed somehow so I will have to waste MORE time investigating my credit card bills. This is not a great way to experience a motel stay.
One more thing. We were booked for two nights. On the second day we decided to go fishing. I saw one of the maids outside our room and politely asked her if she would make the beds while we were out. She nodded as if to say "yes" and then said one of the four English words she apparently knew, "towels?"
"No, we don't need towels." Of course, when we got back the beds were not made.
Other than that, the place was well kept, clean, and quiet. Unfortunately that is NOT what I will remember most about my stay at the Red Carpet Inn and Suites in Plymouth, New Hampshire.
But I guess that's what you have to expect when you're a Canadian visiting a foreign country.
Oh! And one more thing. Early in our "discussion" I decided I didn't want to stay in this unfriendly place for two nights so I asked the guy if I could change the booking to just a one night stay. He beamed at the suggestion and said "yes," I could. Something about his enthusiasm for this idea triggered me into half-asking my second question, "but you're still going to charge me for both nights, right?" He was. That struck me as a bit sleazy.