Zhangjiagang, China


Well, here’s where I am right now. I’m staying at the Guomao Hotel; if you ever come to ZJG, try to avoid this hotel. Not to say that there are better options (maybe the Jinling is better), because you won’t find American service in a Chinese hotel. There may be exceptions in some of the multinational chains in Shanghai or Beijing, but that would be atypical.

An example:


My room is too hot. The windows face south and the sun had warmed the room considerably. I have already complained two days ago that the AC isn’t working and the room is too hot. I was assured it would be fixed, no problem. I got back to my room yesterday around noon and it was very hot. The air conditioning is set to the lowest possible setting, but is not working. I call the front desk and am told someone will be up immediately to check it out. The girl from housekeeping did arrive after 3 more calls. Argh!

Our conversation (slightly edited for brevity and effect):

Me: My room is boiling hot! Please fix the AC!
Housekeeper: No, it feels great.
Me: No, really it is too hot. Why doesn’t the AC work?
Housekeeper: (Fiddles with thermostat) It really is fine. See, the thermostat is set to cold – so it is cold. See?
Me: The thermostat has been set to cold all day and the room is still hot.
Housekeeper: (Calls front desk) OK, it will be on in 5 minutes. Then it will be nice and cool.
Me: You PROMISE it will be on in 5 minutes?
Housekeeper: Oh yes, it will be cold as an igloo in winter!
Me: We’ll see.

Several minutes pass and nothing changes. I need to leave and decide to talk to the assistant manager on the way out.

Me: Hi, my room is too hot, and despite several calls, nothing has been done.
Manager: I’m sure the AC will be working soon. Besides, it is very cool outside. Why do you need AC?
Me: My room is NOT cool! I feel like a turkey on Thanksgiving morning!
Manager: I’m sorry, I don’t understand your American holiday reference.
Me: Whatever! When will my AC be fixed?
Manager: Umm, well, actually, we don’t turn the AC on because it’s sooooo nice and cool outside. Gee whiz, why don’t you know that.
Me: Why did you tell me it would soon be fixed then?
Manager: Well, it’s a company policy.
Me: To tell me that the AC will be fixed when you have no intention of fixing it?
Manager: Actually, it’s a government policy.
Me: It’s a government policy to tell me that the AC will be fixed when you have no intention of fixing it?
Manager: Well, ummm. (Hoping the annoying American will leave) That’s that. Sorry. Enjoy your stay at the Guomao!
Me: Grumble, grumble.


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