June 18, 2010 in Features

No poetry can ward off guests with sticky fingers

Judith Martin The Spokesman-Review
 

DEAR MISS MANNERS – We built a beautiful vacation rental home and spent a lot of time and money to furnish it with quality items so that our rental guests can feel that they have their “home away.” Many people expressed delight, saying that how much they enjoy the provisions.

We run a substantial financial deficit on the home and don’t know if we’ll break-even – ever. We opened our home for others to enjoy. Several items are already “disappearing,” and we decided not to replace them. Our home is individually owned – we are not part of a larger business (not that this is appropriate, either) that might be able to absorb the losses.

Some time ago, I saw a little poem that politely reminded people that these items are here for them to use at our home and to please leave them behind for the next person to use; and also, please treat the home with respect so that it remains nice in the years to come when they return.

Can you provide me a few polite reminders that I can frame and place in a few rooms?

GENTLE READER – If Miss Manners knew a little poem or a cute saying that would reform thieves on the spot, she would be in conference with the police department right now.

You do not say whether it is your shampoo bottle or your television set that keeps getting stolen. Hotels give away the former, which has gotten people used to believing that they are owed a souvenir, but it has not prevented the theft of larger items.

At any rate, a warning, however coyly worded, would insult your honest guests.

Miss Manners suggests you limit your guest list to them.

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