Warning: Bitchy Columnist Ahead


It's been a weird week on the road. I've been bouncing around like a pinball along the East Coast and Midwest. I miss my kids. I miss my wife. I miss my bed. I have to blow off a little steam and you're in the line of fire. So be it.

First of all, why the hell do they call it the Midwest anyway? If you draw a line down the middle of the continental United States dividing east and west, it bisects North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. Everything west of that should be west, and everything east of that should be east. The Midwest, according to my reckoning, would be somewhere around Idaho and possibly Arizona. It sure as hell ain't Chicago. That would actually be the Mideast, or Middle East if you prefer. Confused? Me, too.

Secondly, where do hotels get off charging exorbitant rates for WiFi access and then give you a thin dribble of bandwidth that shuts on and off like a bad neon light? Multiply 13 bucks a night by 200 or 300 rooms for an average-sized hotel. That's about $3,000 every day, or a million dollars a year. This isn't rocket science, people. For that money, I should have a data pipe the size of a Volvo plugged into my laptop. And don't even get me started on the connectivity you find at most digital conferences.

Perhaps you could take some of that windfall WiFi revenue and put it toward something extravagant, like an extra power receptacle in a hotel room that doesn't already have fourteen lamps, a TV set, a coffee maker and a radio plugged into it. Did the designers of the average hotel room not think that electricity might fall into the category of a "nice to have?"

While I'm on the travel theme, why can't seats be reclined when you take off or land? Does it throw the delicate aerodynamic balance of the plane off, sending it doing cartwheels down the runway? Is there some drastic physiological effect on your body if you're not at a 90-degree angle, like your eyelids inverting or your nasal passages spontaneously combusting? Just wondering.

And what, exactly, will happen if I don't power my electronic device "all the way down"? Does some residual power leakage cause the plane's navigation system to think east is west or up is down? If so, that's something we should crack down even harder on -- perhaps if we just connected a simple cell activity detector to an ejection seat system. It would save the flight attendants a lot of time and grief.

By the way Mr/Ms Airline CFO, if I spend $600 on a ticket to fly from Toronto to Chicago, will giving me a full can of pop, rather that a 2-ounce thimble already jammed with ice, really send you into bankruptcy? If the edge of profitability is really that narrow, perhaps a better place to save money would be the hundreds of pounds of fuel you burn circling O'Hare for 45 minutes before you get the OK to land. It's worth checking out, anyway.

One last thing. On behalf of all the office workers who work in high-rises across North America, please remember that as you prance around your hotel room in various states of undress, you can see in those windows as well as see out of them. That's not one-way glass separating your room from the office across the street. There may be occasions where the view is agreeable, but I suspect they're few and far between, based on the people I usually share a hotel elevator with.

OK, I feel better. Thanks for the therapy. Feel free to go back to your work now.

20 comments about "Warning: Bitchy Columnist Ahead".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Terry Heaton from Reinvent21, September 30, 2010 at 10:31 a.m.

    1. It's about population. East, Mid, West.
    2. Air card.
    3. Extension cord.
    4. Just because.
    5. Mythbusters proved it has zero effect.
    6. First Class.
    7. Sunglasses.

    There, I feel better, too.

  2. Jo Lundy, September 30, 2010 at 11:01 a.m.

    BRAVO for capturing in words what we all feel when we travel! This column should be required reading for every airline & hotel CEO.

    Thank you!

  3. Monica Bower from TERiX Computer Service, September 30, 2010 at 11:12 a.m.

    *Cheers wildly*

  4. Seth Dotterer from Conductor, September 30, 2010 at 11:24 a.m.

    Well done, Gord.

    Of course, you do know that only folks from the midwest say 'pop'. (and Canada apparently, too!)

  5. Gary Slack from Slack Barshinger, September 30, 2010 at 11:39 a.m.

    Gord, I feel and share your pain. While in the Phoenix airport recently, I did appreciate the free Wifi, but after 30 minutes spent searching for an available power outlet, I had a hard time agreeing with the every-five-minute loud speaker message proclaiming the airport as "the friendliest airport in America." I doubt the "squatters" on the floor near the few available outlets would agree, either. Hotels, don't get me started, but you said it all.

  6. Bruce Johnson from San Antonio SEO Services, September 30, 2010 at 11:45 a.m.

    Thanks for laugh.

  7. Rochelle Beverage from Dedicated Media, September 30, 2010 at 12:13 p.m.

    For the love of Zeus--thank you. Parallel to my shit morning, this bitchy post has put a smile on my face.

  8. Donna Gordon from Investment Resources, September 30, 2010 at 12:30 p.m.

    Thanks for the 'so you think YOU have it bad' laugh. But really as a KC area native, Chicago is NOT the midwest - at least not in my geography book

  9. Jo Guerra from Your Marketing Gal, September 30, 2010 at 12:58 p.m.

    Love it - especially the ending. I had to share it on Facebook.

  10. Donna DeClemente from DDC Marketing Group, September 30, 2010 at 2:34 p.m.

    You just might be the Andy Rooney of the digital generation.
    Thanks for putting a smile on myself which has otherwise been a dull, gray, very rainy day.

  11. Kaila Colbin from Boma Global, September 30, 2010 at 4:29 p.m.

    Just awesome, Gord. And Terry, great reply!

  12. Dave Kohl from First In Promotions, September 30, 2010 at 4:42 p.m.

    You nailed it! This is a good place to spread my idea for fighting the hotels and airlines that have no problem charging us for things which have been reasons for staying or using certain hotels or airlines. Name them.

    Within the past couple of months, I stayed at a Marriott which charged nearly $200 night for the room but wanted $12 per night for wired internet. And I flew on American which charged me $25 to check one bag (which I only checked because I couldn't take the entire contents on board - not my choice).

    Let those who determine business travel be aware of these. Then maybe these companies will compare the cost of having to advertise and market to combat the negative reaction with just giving us what they should because we are valued customers.

  13. Stephen Shearin from ionBurst Media, September 30, 2010 at 5:33 p.m.

    Always good to read a good rant. Since Dennis and Denis aren't doing it so much these days, you have to look to find a good one.
    With that said, seats have to be up at take off and landing because those are the most common times for accidents (and those occurring in midair are generally catastrophic.) Having people in recline mode means they may be sleeping, they may have stuff in their lap, and the chair may impede those behind them, all adding up to diminish the already abysmal odds on an orderly evac. Is it really any safer? Probably not. Is it one of those blanket rules that's necessary in public places? Probably.

  14. Anne Peterson from Idaho Public Televsion, September 30, 2010 at 5:38 p.m.

    Wonderful! Last hotel I was in, I decided I would do a 24 hour cycle for WiFi but then couldn't get the thing to work. Then, to my relieve, I found my pay-as-you-go wireless connector from a national company had a strong signal where I was -- should of tried that first.

  15. Mark Aronoff, September 30, 2010 at 7:13 p.m.


    Thank you for saying what most of us are thinking but don't say.

  16. Gordon Hotchkiss from Out of My Gord Consulting, September 30, 2010 at 8:43 p.m.

    Thanks all for the validation of my feelings!

  17. Marla Goldstein from Around The Bend Media, September 30, 2010 at 11 p.m.

    Hi-larious!! You need to go into bitchy mode more often. Makes me feel better about my rotten day by comparison.

  18. Bruce Kratofil from Northeast Ohio Media Group, October 1, 2010 at 7:56 a.m.

    "While I'm on the travel theme, why can't seats be reclined when you take off or land? "

    in case you need to rapidly evacuate the plane

  19. Gordon Hotchkiss from Out of My Gord Consulting, October 1, 2010 at 8:58 a.m. I understand the seat reclining part. I'm not saying it makes me feel any better about it.

  20. Mickey Lonchar from Quisenberry, October 1, 2010 at 7:52 p.m.

    Gord, your rant regarding the sorry state of hotel wifi seems to be universal. I swear every business traveler I know would agree with your assessment. So it's truly amazing that some business hotel somewhere hasn't figured out that this could be a bonanza for them: free, super-broadband, reliable wifi, all you want. Screw the mini-bar, we want our wifi!

    Such a proposition would not only win over the business traveler, word of it would spread like wildfire. No longer would we book our hotel based on who has the most rockin' waffle maker.

Next story loading loading..