In Henry Miller’s 1950s deeply scabrous play Death of a Salesman the dying Wily Loman represents the loser side of capitalism and remains the warning for every man who doesn’t make the most of his chances in his career.
It’s a nightmare that no man wants to happen to him, but it’s a nightmare in the same way that the hotels Wily Loman frequented were probably very similar to the succubus aka the Premier Inn hotel in Hammersmith that I *had* to stay in last night.
I won’t go into the reasons except to say the message to my brother-in-law didn’t get through, nobody answered the door when I got to his place, it was midnight and pouring with rain, I had an infected blister on my heel and I needed somewhere to stay. Cue violins.
So the Premier Inn it was. Lurid of livery and plastered with marketing messages from lobby to ceiling I knew exactly what I was getting into. Just like a ingenue to London renting a basement flat from a Rackmanite, I approached reception.
It was the uniforms in the same branding as the lurid livery and their ‘scuplted’ beards (they were men I think) that began this awful nine hours in my life. I knew I was with the sub-humans, the ones who sell shit to people who have no choice but to buy and are themselves shit because they do that.
It took 20 minutes to get an electronic card to my cell, sorry, room after a series of data capture questions about my address, mobile number and email. For one f*cking minute I thought they were going to ask for my Twitter handle and Google + ?rel=author tag.
Naturally I gave them as little information as possible because the LAST THING I want is to be spammed by the Premier Inn. Actually, the last thing I would want to be is to stay at a Premier Inn in Aleppo, but you get my drift.
Then the price. £147! What makes matters worse is that it didn’t include breakfast. That would be an extra twenty quid and I knew then that my table would be filled with cardboard and paper with Premier Inn lurid livery as I tried to turn my stomach to swill.
I tried to sleep, the TV had Freeview, no fridge, over-heated air conditioning. It was effectively a bail hostel. If I had smoked ten cigarettes it would have improved the smell and they wasn’t even a direct number to call reception.
I left in the morning, the manager asked me what I thought of my Premier Inn experience as if I’d just spend a luxury spa break in Aspen. I told him (politely) all the things I’ve just described and promised I would never stay in such a place again.
Furthermore when I alluded to this on Twitter and having the ‘displeasure’ at staying in the Premier Inn Hammersmith, they sent me the following message:
@montymunford Hi Monty, please e-mail us at email@example.com and tell us about your experience. Thank you.
Mmm, perhaps they were interested in my opinion, but then I went to their Twitter page and the tweet that I’d been sent had been replicated to many others with no personalisation of the message.
And that means they’re failing on social as well as actual because they have on idea how to treat customers other than anonymous bundles of physical data that they treat as Easy Currency.
Nobody should have to put up with it, £147 can buy a lot of good things, but I left that ‘hotel’ this morning thinking I would have been a lot more comfortable outside in the rain and in the gutter.
Fuck you, Premier Inn.