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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Commentary: To steal or not to steal … that is the question.

Recently, I read an article by Michael Forest Jones, who works for a sizeable hotel chain. He asks the question, “When is it stealing to take things from your hotel room?” As it turns out, there are some gray areas. 

First, the no-no’s. Hair dryers, lamps, televisions, alarm clock radios, comforters, coffee makers, bedspreads, and … furniture … are verboten.  Oddly, it seems TV remotes disappear from hotel rooms quite often. The take-home green light goes to consumables: soap, shampoos, lotion …well, most of those items you find for your hygienic use at the hotel.
And now to the gray areas. What about those bathrobes?? According to Jones, some upscale hotels are not only okay with them going home with you, they consider them good for marketing. And in some rare cases, even hotel comforters can be sent home with patrons as a gift. Who knew? And if the hotel has ceramic coffee mugs? Jones says his company actually plans on losing one out of every five or six mugs placed in rooms. Not a big issue, apparently.

Does the Bible give any clear indication on what to take or not take from a hotel? Sure it does. The eighth of those ten commandment clearly says, Thou Shalt Not Steal! Ahhh … but what is stealing? How about this: taking something that someone else owns and does not want you to take. A simple solution with your favorite hotel is to ask … if you really have questions.  With permission, it isn’t stealing.

The really interesting twist in this article on what is stealing during your hotel stay, was … ready? Those Gideon Bibles. Jones says it’s a gray area.  But not to the Gideons! Apparently, those Gideons get, well, “giddy” knowing that people are in need of a Bible and care enough to take one from the hotel. It’s an item the Gideon’s will happily replace. Again, who knew?

During my last hotel stay, I not only found a Bible, but a Book of Mormon.  I wonder if the Mormons mind if you take THEIR book. I was tempted … but probably not for the right reasons.

This reminded me of how simple a gift a Bible is to pass along. You can buy Bibles in bulk for a nominal price. A few years ago, I sent out a devotional I had written to all 115 people who received my Christmas cards. It was a hit.  Maybe this year I’ll send out Bibles. Now my friends won’t have to worry about stealing one from a hotel. Well, some of my friends.

One last questionable item to take with you on your hotel departure: the bathtub ducky. Michael Jones says … “fine by him.”  So … ducky down is okay. But leave the down comforter in the hotel room!

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