Busy restaurants and stale pastries: What rich people complain about when they travel

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In the New York Times’ latest “Wealth Matters” column, writer Paul Sullivan shares tips on what to do if your luxury vacation isn’t living up to your expectations. Essentially, his advice boils down to this: complain to the manager of the hotel or restaurant– politely — as soon as you notice a problem, and you will find that the staff are more than willing to accommodate you.

Simple enough, really. But the interesting part of the article is what minute problems rich people complain about in the first place.

For instance, one woman’s vacation in Italy at a $2,000-a-night hotel was “nearly [ruined]” after a series of unforgivable misdeeds: the check-in staff refused to answer her in Italian and spoke English to her instead; the pastry she had sent to her room was stale and the coffee was “lukewarm, brown water”; the printer was being fixed so they couldn’t print her boarding pass (“A printer costs, like, $80,” she said. “Who sends it out to be fixed?”); and — worst of all — when her friend asked for an iPhone charger to charge her phone on the roof, the waiter told her the charger was at the front desk. “I said: ‘Excuse me, we’re on the terrace. I’m not going to get one at the front desk.’”

Sullivan says that this woman’s problems “struck a chord with” him and reminded him of similar travel nightmares he has experienced, like the time he had to wait an hour for ice water to be sent to his room; or when he had to wait on line for brunch in the hotel restaurant; or when he and his wife were staying in a beachfront room on a high floor that was next to a room with “small, stampeding children.” When they asked to be moved, the hotel said the only available room was on “a low floor overlooking noisy Collins Avenue.”

Somehow, Sullivan made it through all of that, and bravely notes that “none of these mishaps ruined our trips, but they were frustrating — and remain memorable.”

What a survivor.

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