May 21, 2006
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A Bad Hotel, and a Worse Apartment

Cathy Marshall had a lousy hotel in New York:

By the way, I wouldn't stay at the Park Central New York if I were you. Even if you aren't paying a premium because you didn't make reservations 'til the last minute. The place'll just bum you out. Better to sleep on the cot in the Ladies Room of some nice office building.

and this leads, naturally, into her experiences living in the Most Depressing Apartment in the World.

The Coughing Man was dying. You could tell. You don't cough like that if you're going to survive. The young black woman next door to me had just moved to LA from the South, and after spending a week at the YWCA, she'd moved into the Leon Capri Apartments. You could tell that her earnestness and shining-through goodness would just lead to stunning disappointments. You could tell. The fact that she'd rented an apartment in the Leon Capri was an omen: nothing good was going to happen for her in LA.

Useful business tip (attention Guy Kawasaki readers!): the Paramount may be too hip for you and I, but they have someone ready to amuse you when you're waiting in line to pay the bill.

I had a friendly conversation with a beautiful hotel staff member whose only job seemed to be to chat with the hotel guests waiting in line. To keep 'em happy. She and I speculated on which movie or TV series was being filmed on 46th Street the night before, right outside the hotel entrance. She even went to check on this for me to resolve the mystery. She never found out, but not knowing made my trip even better...

Labor is expensive, yes, but annoyed customers are expensive, too. A helpful floater, ready to grab a bag or tell a story, can probably make you a lot of money in the long run -- especially if they're fixing stuff and prepping whenever nobody's around.