My name’s Aasma, and I’m a kleptomaniac

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I’m not a thief and I baulk at the idea of taking something that doesn’t belong to me.

But I don’t know what it is about the being in the comfort of a hotel room that turns me into a kleptomaniac.

Who can honestly say they have never checked out of a hotel room without slightly more baggage than they checked in with?

I don’t know if it’s because those dinky miniature bottles of shampoo and conditioner look so cute, or the fact that you feel that you have paid for your room so you may as well squeeze every penny’s worth out of it.

But common sense seems to go out of the window as to whether you actually NEED any of the hotel goodies you are pocketing, and I often get home and gaze in bewilderment at my stash and ask myself: “What on earth am I going to do with seven mini sewing kits and three shoe shiners?”

And when I have a fully stocked cupboard of tea, coffee and sugar at home, what possesses me to compulsively fill my pockets with sachets of Nescafe, Twining’s herbal tea and brown sugar, like some sort of refugee?

I have to confess I’ve even pocketed the odd disposable shower cap or two, even though you would think that no one under the age of 60 actually uses them. I find they come in useful for a home hair dyeing job.

However, I’m not as bad as some people, who confess to taking everything, from toilet rolls to towels and bathrobes, and I would certainly never do a smash and grab at an unattended housekeeper’s trolley – even if it does present a treasure trove of freebies.

There is definitely a fine line between what is is morally acceptable to take from a hotel room, and what is a definite no-no.

Who can forget that memorable episode of Friends when Chandler books a romantic hotel break for him and Monica, but when she can’t go, the hotel refuses to refund it so Chandler and Ross decide to go instead?

Feeling fed up at being ripped off, Chandler decides to make the most of Ross’s plan to take home as much “free stuff” from the room as they can get their hands on.

Ross, who is high on maple candy, solemnly instructs Chandler as to what is right and wrong and the fine line between what the hotel owes you and what is stealing.

Hair driers are a no-no, but the bottles of shampoo and conditioner are a yes. Taking the television or even the remote control is definitely off limits.

But if you’re talking about taking the batteries from the remote control, Ross says it’s all systems go and he is also in favour of taking the light bulbs.

He even advocates leaving the salt shaker – but taking the salt contained inside.

Hilariously, Ross even take’s the hotel room’s Bible despite being Jewish.

The pair’s antics results in them taking so much stuff that Ross’s suitcase embarrassingly spills open in the hotel lobby.

Although I’m not averse to taking the miniature shower gels or the odd teabag from a hotel, at least I’m not as light-fingered as some guests.

A survey recently revealed that some people have admitted pilfering items such as a coffee maker, DVD player and even the clock off the wall.

A few years ago, myself, hubby and the children went to London for a short break and were baffled to see the marks on the wall where the pictures should have been hanging but had obviously been pinched by some previous guests.

Some things hotels are actually in favour of you taking – especially those monogrammed with the hotel’s branding such as pens and notepaper.

For me, the most disappointing thing is when you enter a hotel room only to find there are no “pinchable” toiletries and instead, there’s a dispenser on the wall.

Where’s the fun in that?

Given the eternal allure of the freebie, I think hotels are fighting a losing battle when it comes to guests filling their bags with complimentary sachets of hot chocolate, the little bars of soap and maybe even the odd Corby trouser press.

But I suspect they are more shocked by the items guests leave behind than the ones they take. But that’s another story altogether...