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marciayudkin

An insanely practical business question about... laundry

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Hi everyone,

Could you all weigh in on this question, which may sound silly but actually has an impact on my vacation rental business?

In your household, do you use regular scented laundry detergent and scented dryer sheets?

The reason I'm asking is that we had a guest in our vacation rental who arrived around midnight and got herself into a frenzy because she decided that the linens had not been washed before her arrival.  She stripped the beds, slept in her winter coat and demanded her money back the next morning.

OF COURSE the linens had been washed before her arrival so what was going on?

I racked my brains trying to figure out what could have led her to believe so strongly (and so frantically) that the bedsheets hadn't been washed and realized that since my husband and I have skin sensitivities, we always use laundry detergent that has no dyes, no scents, and we do not use dryer sheets.  I think to this guest, the linens did not smell clean because they did not have a smell that to her signalled "clean."

From here on, we're going to use scented detergent and dryer sheets for our guests to give people that (corporate-manufactured) sensation of "clean" whenever we wash their linens.

I'm pretty sure this is the explanation.  Your comments?

Thanks,

Marcia

P.S. The problem was resolved easily.  I agreed to give her all her money back as long as she vacated the premises by 1 pm.  Turns out she didn't really want her money back and was satisfied when we re-washed all the linens for her.  She did not leave a bad review, either.

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51 minutes ago, marciayudkin said:

Hi everyone,

Could you all weigh in on this question, which may sound silly but actually has an impact on my vacation rental business?

In your household, do you use regular scented laundry detergent and scented dryer sheets?

The reason I'm asking is that we had a guest in our vacation rental who arrived around midnight and got herself into a frenzy because she decided that the linens had not been washed before her arrival.  She stripped the beds, slept in her winter coat and demanded her money back the next morning.

OF COURSE the linens had been washed before her arrival so what was going on?

I racked my brains trying to figure out what could have led her to believe so strongly (and so frantically) that the bedsheets hadn't been washed and realized that since my husband and I have skin sensitivities, we always use laundry detergent that has no dyes, no scents, and we do not use dryer sheets.  I think to this guest, the linens did not smell clean because they did not have a smell that to her signalled "clean."

From here on, we're going to use scented detergent and dryer sheets for our guests to give people that (corporate-manufactured) sensation of "clean" whenever we wash their linens.

I'm pretty sure this is the explanation.  Your comments?

Thanks,

Marcia

P.S. The problem was resolved easily.  I agreed to give her all her money back as long as she vacated the premises by 1 pm.  Turns out she didn't really want her money back and was satisfied when we re-washed all the linens for her.  She did not leave a bad review, either.

I have a simpler solution, keep your usual detergent and apply a liberal spray of Fabreze to your linen when you put it on the bed. Alternatively employ Claude Whitacre to roll around on your beds naked for that fresh summer scent.  Bet you'r glad I was here. 

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11 hours ago, Lanfear63 said:

I have a simpler solution, keep your usual detergent and apply a liberal spray of Fabreze to your linen when you put it on the bed. Alternatively employ Claude Whitacre to roll around on your beds naked for that fresh summer scent.  Bet you'r glad I was here. 

Yeah, great and the general area would have to be restricted again.

:o

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16 hours ago, Lanfear63 said:

I have a simpler solution, keep your usual detergent and apply a liberal spray of Fabreze to your linen when you put it on the bed. 

I would disagree. Everyone knows the Febreze smell and knows how it's applied. If I smelled that on the linens, I'd assume they *weren't* washed. 

Marcia, I don't think it matters what you do. If this has happened more than once, you've got an issue. If it's the first time, you just got a weirdo customer. By changing to scented, you just open your self up to someone with skin allergies. It's six of one, a half dozen of the other. 

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Put up a sign. "To protect our guests with skin sensitivities or allergies, we employ scent-free laundry detergents, only."

Or, you could inquire when folks book a room in advance, which they prefer. Of course that doesn't help with walk-ins, but I doubt that over the long-haul this is going to be a serious issue.

The first rule of business is not, "The customer is always, right." It's, "You can't please all of the people all of the time."

I know this from once owning a hotel/bar/restaurant combo. Probably the worst years of my life.  lol

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1 hour ago, The AMOL said:

Put up a sign. "To protect our guests with skin sensitivities or allergies, we employ scent-free laundry detergents, only."

Or, you could inquire when folks book a room in advance, which they prefer. Of course that doesn't help with walk-ins, but I doubt that over the long-haul this is going to be a serious issue.

The first rule of business is not, "The customer is always, right." It's, "You can't please all of the people all of the time."

I know this from once owning a hotel/bar/restaurant combo. Probably the worst years of my life.  lol

So you met Gordon Ramsey when he came to try and save you. I remember that episode. most swearing ever.

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2 hours ago, Lanfear63 said:

So you met Gordon Ramsey when he came to try and save you. I remember that episode. most swearing ever.

As usual, I don't have a friggin' clue as to what the hell you are talking about and since I have never heard of Gordon Ramsey, I'm going to assume that knowing who he is would not improve my life, one iota.

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10 minutes ago, The AMOL said:

As usual, I don't have a friggin' clue as to what the hell you are talking about and since I have never heard of Gordon Ramsey, I'm going to assume that knowing who he is would not improve my life, one iota.

He's a British Master Chef who owns restaurants but has made a big name for himself doing TV reality cooking competitions and shows. He also did many programs, both in the UK, and in the states, where he goes into troubleshoot restaurants that are failing and facing bankruptcy.  He first samples their fair  (usually throwing is hands up in despair) And then sets about re-organizing the kitchen and food menu often getting outspoken alleged chef's fired, and having stand-up  rows with the stubborn owners who are often reluctant to change their ways. Much swearing, bleeped out. It often makes for hilarious viewing, cringe-worthy even. He's volatile, swears and is outspoken too which makes it fun.

I think you would enjoy watching a few of them. It's Called "Kitchen Nightmares" He did a lot of US ones.

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Marcia, I don't think it matters what you do. If this has happened more than once, you've got an issue. If it's the first time, you just got a weirdo customer. By changing to scented, you just open your self up to someone with skin allergies. It's six of one, a half dozen of the other. 

In this case, I think it does matter.  If the vast majority of people use scented laundry products and associate that with "clean," then I need to do so as well, unless I'm going after the remaining, minority of folks.

A friend of mine pointed out that things like smell are often below the threshhold of our conscious awareness, and therefore our reactions to smells are not necessarily conscious, either.

In addition, it seems it would be better to have people feel, "Ah, this place was definitely just cleaned" (even if they don't like the "clean" smell that much) than "Hmm, I'm not sure this place was cleaned, but I don't know exactly why."  Even better, to be right in the middle of those two possibilities, so they feel it is clean without paying any attention to that perception.  If the vast majority of North Americans (we actually get more Canadians than Americans and only a few non-North Americans) use scented laundry products, then that is how to land in that sweet spot.

We did once have guests who asked for no-scent cleaning products prior to their stay, and it was obviously clear to them that this was a minority preference.

Thanks to everyone else who commented!

Marcia

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2 hours ago, Lanfear63 said:

He's a British Master Chef

There is no such thing. Shortest book in the world: "British Culinary Delights."

I think you would enjoy watching a few of them. It's Called "Kitchen Nightmares" He did a lot of US ones.

Oh, him. I have caught his act. Someone needs to filet his ego.

 

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2 hours ago, marciayudkin said:

In this case, I think it does matter.  If the vast majority of people use scented laundry products and associate that with "clean," then I need to do so as well, unless I'm going after the remaining, minority of folks.

A friend of mine pointed out that things like smell are often below the threshhold of our conscious awareness, and therefore our reactions to smells are not necessarily conscious, either.

In addition, it seems it would be better to have people feel, "Ah, this place was definitely just cleaned" (even if they don't like the "clean" smell that much) than "Hmm, I'm not sure this place was cleaned, but I don't know exactly why."  Even better, to be right in the middle of those two possibilities, so they feel it is clean without paying any attention to that perception.  If the vast majority of North Americans (we actually get more Canadians than Americans and only a few non-North Americans) use scented laundry products, then that is how to land in that sweet spot.

We did once have guests who asked for no-scent cleaning products prior to their stay, and it was obviously clear to them that this was a minority preference.

Thanks to everyone else who commented!

Marcia

I have stayed in many hotels over the years and not once has the subject of the sheets being scented or not ever been an issue. 

I think you should just say, "Modum, I can assure you that clean sheets are put on each bed between each room occupancy. We do not use scented detergents because many people are allergic to the smell and complain. I can assure you though, the sheets are clean" Any reasonable person would accept that, and for the few who want to kick up a fuss, not worth bothering about. Now, if the mattress was dirty, the room was dirty or smelled musty or damp, that would be a different story.

There, I said it.

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12 hours ago, Lanfear63 said:

Pour tons of hot pepper sauce over it of course...Really ;)

There's not a food on the planet that can't be improved with that 'cooking technique.'

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1 hour ago, The AMOL said:

There's not a food on the planet that can't be improved with that 'cooking technique.'

Frank. As a culinary expert, what in your opinion is the best hot sauce or any spicy flavored sauce that you can pour over a range of food you have ever encountered. Not for cooking with, just a pour over.

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3 hours ago, Lanfear63 said:

Frank. As a culinary expert, what in your opinion is the best hot sauce or any spicy flavored sauce that you can pour over a range of food you have ever encountered. Not for cooking with, just a pour over.

I'm a proud American. Tabasco tops the list. Not so much a 'pour-over,' as much as a few shakes. If you find yourself pouring any sauce over any dish, the dish probably isn't worth eating. Anything else is a feeble attempt at unseating the champion. That said, I have at least 5 others on hand, but they are for specific concoctions and can't be used willy-nilly. I am not an animal.

BTW - I'm a masturbatory expert, not a culinary expert.

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3 hours ago, The AMOL said:

I'm a proud American. Tabasco tops the list. Not so much a 'pour-over,' as much as a few shakes. If you find yourself pouring any sauce over any dish, the dish probably isn't worth eating. Anything else is a feeble attempt at unseating the champion. That said, I have at least 5 others on hand, but they are for specific concoctions and can't be used willy-nilly. I am not an animal.

BTW - I'm a masturbatory expert, not a culinary expert.

Perhaps you could PM me with some tricks and tips on your other skill ;) Claude is only good with "tips"

Yes, I have used tabasco.

Now, years ago I actually found some obscure mustardy based pour/spread over sauce that made everything taste amazing. Thing is, it was part of of a multi sauce gift pack so was never able to track it down on it's own. Forgotten the name now. Will always regret that I did not pursue it vigilantly.

I dislike salad without some dressing. A local Japanese restaurant served salad with a ginger dressing. It was amazing and of course the story was that they made it themselves and would not divulge the recipe.  Yeah right. So we tried a couple of different brands. Eventually we found one that tasted exactly the same, will have to ask the wife what it was and relay it too you.

 

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12 hours ago, Lanfear63 said:

I dislike salad without some dressing.

I generally go with a drizzle of very high-quality Spanish olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon or a full-blown balsamic-vinaigrette.

If I'm out at a restaurant that will wake it table side with raw egg, I'll go with a Caesar salad, but won't make that dressing at home.

BTW - Ranch dressing is for culinary Philistines.

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On 4/3/2018 at 7:58 AM, The AMOL said:

Put up a sign. "To protect our guests with skin sensitivities or allergies, we employ scent-free laundry detergents, only."

Or, you could inquire when folks book a room in advance, which they prefer. Of course that doesn't help with walk-ins, but I doubt that over the long-haul this is going to be a serious issue.

The first rule of business is not, "The customer is always, right." It's, "You can't please all of the people all of the time."

I know this from once owning a hotel/bar/restaurant combo. Probably the worst years of my life.  lol

This. 

I have allergies and don't want linens to stink of chemicals.  I also use non-toxic soaps and cleaners and don't like to spend time anywhere that's a chemical storm. 

You might consider changing over to non-toxic cleaners for everything - then advertise your place as toxin-free cleaned.  You might find that there's a lot of people out there that will choose you first. 

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I think it does matter.

I wonder if - for every person who might think a sheet that "doesn't smell freshly washed" is a problem.....there is another person who will freak out over allergies to "detergents used on the sheets".

 

I like Sal's idea - but also one posted above.  I use an organic detergent that doesn't 'smell' - but when I make the bed I give a light spray of either Febreze or Lysol "Linen" scent on top of the top sheet - then add the rest of the covers..  Just did that this afternoon as a matter of fact.  When you turn down the bed you get a light fresh scent - just enough to smell 'clean'....and no chemicals.

 

 

 

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Seriously, Kay? 

BHT, Acetaldehyde in Frebreeze - and a few others
Lysol, containing benzalkonium chloride, is so toxic that it's classified as an insecticide.  

You spray something with these then advertise "cleaners used are toxin free" and you could get sued right out of your property.  

There are always essential oils that can be used to scent rooms or items organically. 

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2 hours ago, HeySal said:

Seriously, Kay? 

BHT, Acetaldehyde in Frebreeze - and a few others
Lysol, containing benzalkonium chloride, is so toxic that it's classified as an insecticide.  

You spray something with these then advertise "cleaners used are toxin free" and you could get sued right out of your property.  

There are always essential oils that can be used to scent rooms or items organically. 

We have something similar to Frebreeze in AU Sal, and it claims that it is scent free, and removes smoke, and other smells.

It does remove smells but only for a day, and it claims to not leave any residue, but it does tend to leave a very slightly stickyness to the surface you spray over.

 

Some say that it doesn't and others say it does, but either way l wouldn't touch that stuff.

 

B) PS l know perfect opening to a Claude joke...

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