November 14, 2006

TERRY HEATON'S BLOG has a new URL. And he reports this horrifying tale of greed at Hilton:

I just got back from a series of meetings in a conference room at a Hilton hotel here in Dallas, during which the hotel wanted us to pay for wireless internet access on a per-user basis. Here’s the scenario:

There were 11 of us in a small conference room with a table that seated 12. Naturally, we all wanted access to the net, but the charge for that was $175 per person! That’s $1,925 for internet access for the group. We (I) pitched a fit, and they agreed to cut it significantly, but it was still far more than what we were willing to pay.

Access in a room at the hotel is $12, but $175 for the same access in one of the conference rooms. “It’s standard in the industry,” I was told by the frightened girl I confronted in Conference Services (this challenges the meaning of that word). Can anybody say rip-off?

I think a lot of people can.

UPDATE: Whenever I post criticisms like the above, I get email like this:

I'm surprised to see you use the term greed to describe Hilton's paractice of charging $175 for wireless internet accesss.

What do you suggest, that the government regulate it? The wirless is Hilton's property and they have the right to charge whatever they want. If the customer doesn't want to pay it, they should go somewhere else where it's cheaper, which I suspect they will do next time.

What Hilton did was not greed. It was bad business practice, for which Hilton will end up paying.

It was a bad business practice motivated by greed. And now a lot more people know about it, and can take their business elsewhere without facing the problems Terry describes. And did I call for government regulation? No. If it helps you, think of criticism of stupid business practices as my InstaPundit business practice, which by the logic above puts my posts beyond any criticism, apparently. . . .

Meanwhile, reader Fred Boness emails:

I've heard that same "industry standard" line. Where I come from - manufacturing - there are true industry standards and they are written out in excruciating detail. What these service/support people mean by industry standard is no more than "the other kids are doing it."

If it wasn't so heavy, I'd carry a copy of Machinery's Handbook or the National Electrical Code just so I could drop four pounds of book on their desk and say in my best Paul Hogan, "You think that's an industry standard? THIS is an industry standard."