The Standoff

Cars & Bars is a storytelling series compiling specific moments, mundane and exotic, from my work as a valet and bartender.

One night not so long ago, Darren Witherspoon [not his real name] simply could not resist informing the authorities at a mid-luxury hotel that he and his wife had plotted to stir up something other than coffee with a coffee stir stick that wasn't even theirs.

Naturally, this plot demanded an incredible energy output from Witherspoon and his wife, but thankfully he was able to make time to comment succinctly in the Comments section of Medallia. With shock and dismay he wrote:

There was a coffee stir stick that was there on the bedside table when we arrived and remained there during our entire stay.

Even a simple-man valet like myself can tell when a hotel guest is consciously provoking a standoff. And this one was a real beauty.


Which is more humorous: a coffee stir stick resting on a nightstand for several days while housekeepers stubbornly clean all around it; or an otherwise normal husband-and-wife duo refusing to throw away said coffee stir stick that is, well, not theirs, dammit?

Which is more disturbing: the obliviousness or neglect of not-one-but-several housekeepers, whose job it is to keep the house (in this case, the house known as the hotel guest's room); or the all-consuming nature of these guests' desire to put one over on the hotel?

Finally, which is more telling: the daily conversations about men, children, wages and the bus schedule taking place between housekeepers in the presence of a single coffee stir stick; or guests paying $179/night, fixing up their daily $5 lattes to exact specifications inside the Starbucks just off the hotel lobby (for their maximum convenience), glancing over at the coffee stir sticks, looking at each other knowingly, then nodding with that perfect mixture of privilege and disdain?

Shaking Hands and Lifting Boats

Shaking Hands and Lifting Boats