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One night over a business trip dinner, I met the ‘Thrifty Hotel Bandit’. He was a very seasoned salesman. on the back half of his career. Seemly a regular road warrior, like myself. But as we continued talking and the night drew on, he shared his dirty little secret with me.  For years, his work took him on the road. Weekly, he would spend time away from home and in different hotels across the country. One of the main perks being the hotel toiletries and additional amenities.

Over the ‘years’ his obsession grew, and his haul of “free” hotel treasures reached epic proportions. He told me he hadn’t bought toiletries in years, and that his linen closet was overflowing with mini-shampoos, floss, and bars of soap.  His towel collection — you guessed it, a never-ending selection of white, fluffy, hotel-issued cotton.  As he laughed, he couldn’t quite put into words how embarrassed his adult children were of him. Now of course, he said that he only ever took what couldn’t be missed, and what would fit in his carry-on suitcase.

However, the thing that stuck with me the most was his comment that “all my guests love my closets!”  A weird comment I thought, until I dug a bit deeper. On every trip, he would take one single wooden hanger home, and with as much of a road-warrior as he was, every one of his closets was now fully stocked with shiny, wooden hotel hangers!

It was an unusually unique dinner conversation, and one that I will always remember!  The Thrifty Hotel Bandit was a clean-cut, healthy and happy man…but down deep, a crazy obsession drove his excitement for every new business trip!

Business travel is funny like that. You are put into situations you normally wouldn’t find yourself, talking to people you would otherwise never meet. I’m grateful for meeting the ‘Thrifty Hotel Bandit’, but think I will personally keep my hotel amenities shopping to a minimum.

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