We Don’t Wash the Sheets and Other Confessions of a Hostel Worker

Are any of these really that surprising? My first trip to Europe I stayed in free rooms booked on points and in hostels. Boy have times changed thanks to a continued accumulation of points! I don’t think I could every go back…especially after reading some of these from “John” an American hostel worker in Paris:

1. They don’t wash the sheets. John admits that his boss would tell him to just shake the sheets out the window, spray some disinfectant on the mattress and make up the bed like everything had been freshly washed and dried. “Turn-around time was sometimes too fast for us to get linens into the laundry. There have been plenty of times I was told to ‘quick-change’ a room.” John says the comforters were never washed. Ever.

2. It’s cheap for a reason. Guests complain to John about everything, like scratchy towels the size of washcloths, instant coffee, and lack of water pressure in the shower. John says his favorite story is when he overheard one girl complaining she couldn’t get the conditioner out of her hair because the water pressure was too low. “You’re paying 10 bucks a night. You’re getting 10 bucks a night … of plumbing,” John says.

3. Most hostels double-book. Think you and your friends are about to settle into a quaint, private room where you can walk around in your undies and relax in peace and quiet after a long day of sightseeing? Think again. “We welcomed drop-ins and we pack them in, so you should be prepared to share a room with strangers,” says John. Sometimes they even welcome travelers to “just crash on the floor” for a discounted price. “Watch your step!”

4. Most tours are scams. “It’s an easy way for the hostel to make more money,” says John. “You stick a local with a bunch of kids and take them on a walk around the city.” John says that when travelers check in they are often wheeled and dealed into signing on to at least one tour before they get the keys to their rooms.

5. You’re not special. The bartender gives all the girls free wine. “We had a guy working the bar that always wooed the girls with stories of himself making his way through Paris with a little change in his pocket and a big dream of becoming a screenwriter in his head,” says John. “He was full of it, and the staff made bets on whether or not he’d get the girl to actually make out with him.

As always, thanks to Mark from Yahoo! for passing this on and check out the complete list of confessions here.

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