Thursday, April 16, 2015

We'll Leave the Flashing Police Lights On for You

If I added up all the motels I've stayed at over the years I'd have to say the majority (perhaps the vast majority) were at Motel 6. Usually that was simply because they tend to be the cheapest option. Why pay a lot more if you don't have to? Also, it wasn't only the cost of a room, but the fact that as a national chain you could expect a decent, clean room. A very basic, clean room, but still good enough to rest and get a good nights sleep.

The only time I or we chose a different motel was when there was no Motel 6 in the immediate area or it was already full (no vacancy). There was even a time when we were driving late, coming back from Eastern Washington and the Idaho panhandle, and we went a different route so we could pass through Salt Lake City where I'd never been and visit the Temple Square there in the middle of the city (it pretty much failed as a fun and interesting place, but there was a cute girl that was our tour guide through the complex). We should have stopped earlier for a motel, and as the night dragged on every town we went through and every motel we passed by had No Vacancy prominently lit up. We arrived in Salt Lake without sleep or showers. I'm sure my body odor and dirty hair were a sight for our fellow tourists as we toured the Mormon Temple area.

One time we did find a motel but no Motel 6. This was on a trip to Texas from California to help my sister who had recently moved there. She was traveling with us, along with her young son, Casey. So it was them and my dad and I. We finally stopped in Ozona, Texas (Interstate 10 passes right through it). We found a motel, the price was right, and we asked for two beds I guess, but when we went to our room, it was discovered to our surprise that there were 3 beds! The room was strange, though, and the beds were old and mismatched, as if the motel owners had purchased them randomly at various thrift stores, or even just picked them up from off the street after someone had discarded them. The mattresses were sagging as well. The beds weren't even lined up, but just placed around the main room, in different positions. There also wasn't enough light in the place, so it was kind of spooky. The small bathroom was very old, something out of the 1930s that had never been remodeled. There was no bathtub just a shower, which was also quite frightening to use, small and dark inside, claustrophobic and eerie. Again, another reason we normally sought out a Motel 6.

The most recent time I stayed at a motel it was also a Motel 6. This was in Payson, AZ, where I went to get my Dad's stuff out of his house just two days after he passed away. It's a long story that I will write more about later, as part of the worst and saddest few days of my life. Anyway, a friend drove me up there so I could pick up a U-Haul truck I'd reserved before my dad died. We stayed that Saturday night in Payson, and we stopped that evening to eat at Dennys, which is right next to a Budget Inn. I remember my dad and I had stayed there once on one of our trips together to the charming small town. But my friend wanted to ask the waitress about it, as she thought it looked shady. "Would you stay there?" she asked. The waitress said no, and that in fact there had been incidents involving drug dealers and such. So we went down the road to the Motel 6 instead.

But after learning of the parent company's policy on giving the names of guests to the local cops, I think I'd prefer even a drug dealer motel, or that scary, surely haunted motel in Ozona. Ghosts, after all, don't carry guns or work for the state.

The names of Motel 6 guests, which police then check for outstanding warrants, is one of five steps Motel 6 corporate managers agreed to take in response to a string of high-profile incidents and concerns the establishment was becoming a haven for passing criminals.


Alerting motel guests that local police know their whereabouts “is not a normal process of our check-in,” said Victor Glover, a vice president of safety and security for G6 Hospitality, the parent company for Motel 6. “I don’t know that we have any plans of instituting that as we move forward.” Glover said that, generally, if a local police department wants a property’s guest list, Motel 6 makes it available.-Motel 6, has recently decided to partner with the police to violate the rights of their guests.

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