Yours is a Very Bad Hotel — or At Least You Have a Very Bad Desk Clerk

Probably the most famous hotel complaint ever is the 2001 Powerpoint Yours is a Very Bad Hotel created by Tom Farmer and Shane Atchison from Seattle who showed up at what was then the Doubletree in Houston. Though they had guaranteed reservations they were being walked and the desk clerk couldn’t have cared less.

I was reminded of that complaint when I saw this video of a front desk clerk losing it at the Country Inn & Suites in Newport News, Virginia last week.

I don’t post a lot, but my mom came down for my son’s birthday and was placed in a non smoking room that was obviously smoked in. The guy obviously had a problem with us, listen when he turns to go back in his office.

The hotel’s general manager apologized. The front desk clerk — just like the one at the DoubleTree in 2001 — lost his job. That’s a sad ending but not everyone is well-suited for a customer service role, and he’s probably better off finding a better fit than waiting around until the next guest pulled out their cell phone to videotape him.

(HT: One Mile at a Time)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I’m not sure that last bit is true. Per, the epilogue from “Yours is a very bad hotel” runs:

    “If you’re wondering what happened to the hotel, they offered to refund our money and give us a free stay. Instead, we asked them to donate $1,000 to a charity, which they did. Night Clerk Mike kept his job, though he and the rest of the staff had to go through sensitivity training. And we never stayed at a DoubleTree Club again.”

    Looks like their career path for Mike didn’t pan out as they had anticipated.

  2. While the clerk is obviously a blatant racist, the problem I always have with these videos is the lack of evidence of events leading up to the video being shown. Who knows what transpired and what was said by the guy recording prior to the blow up that ensued. Customers are not always right and often big jerks that push someone having a bad day over the edge.

  3. Seeing this post today floored me. A poorly handled customer complaint 17 years ago is still causing this hotel bad press.

    Reminds me about a very recent complaint that I have with Costco Travel. After spending over $6,500 for a travel package, I had several problems happen. In responding to Costco Travel’s after trip survey, I outlined them. I received no response. I tried three additional times to get their attention. All told, it took them a month to respond to me. And it still isn’t resolved. When you don’t acknowledge a systemic problem, you are on the slippery glide path to trouble.

    If you are in the business of offering a service, then you will be judged by your customer service, or lack thereof!

  4. @Alan

    Don’t book travel with Costco. If it is anything complicated, you will get no support. What happens if one of your flights are cancelled? You are on your own after hours with Costco. The savings you receive are not worth the grief. I’m guessing it was a vacation. Something that upset your vacation. Next time try to push travel suppliers (tour operators) for a better price. Many will match. In this way, you get a company who cares about getting your business again. I belong to Costco. I have only booked rental cars thru Costco. The Costco hotel packages have way to may restrictions. I used to be travel agent. Everyone wants the lowest price. But that lowest price may be the worst value.

  5. I don’t see how, per an earlier comment, the clerk is a blatant racist. Nothing in the video showed explicit racism. I didn’t know the guy filming is black until he said so. Not enough context…what if the customer was being a jerk? Or didn’t actually have a reservation? Or booked a smoking room by accident? No idea what the background is or if the firing was deserved.

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