A few years ago, when I was at a party thrown by a major luxury supplier, I found myself in conversation with the company’s vice president of sales. Talk turned to the new brand of toiletries the company was using, and it was on the tip of my tounge to say that I liked the scent so much that I asked the housekeeper for a few take-home bottles, when the exec said, with indignation: Guests steal the shampoo! (And he felt quite strongly about it.)
Whoa there. Isn’t the shampoo there to be, er, stolen? As a momento of your trip? As a chance not to buy new shampoo, for, oh, three days? Even luxury guests love a free vial of body wash from Crabtree and Evelyn, even if it is the lavender-lilac scent.
Why this is coming up today? A Bankrate column (via the New York Times' Bucks blog) had an unlikely reference to the old souvenir-or-just-stealing debate: A column on whether you’re “taking frugality too far.” Case in point: Making off with the toiletries. According to the personal-finance consultant quoted in the report, hotels do expect you to take the shampoo, build it into the cost of the room, even.
But don’t take the toilet paper, please. A rule of thumb: If you have doubts, ask someone at the property. If you don’t want to ask somebody, that should set off the internal alarm bell, so to speak, and you should leave that bathrobe/picture frame/settee where you found it.
So do you agree that toiletries are made to be tucked away in your checked bag? If so, what’s your favorite stolen shampoo? I liked the Lili Bermuda stuff from the Tucker’s Point Hotel in Bermuda so much that I later convinced my cousin, on the island on a cruise, to pick up more for me. At the Lili Bermuda store, people!