The Late Debate

When I checked into the hotel, I requested a late, 2 pm checkout. The woman behind the desk said, "The latest you can check out is Noon." (Regular check out was 11 am).

I explained my senior mother was with me and my university talk would go until 1:30 PM. "Noon is the best I can do," said the woman firmly.

My frequent guest status allowed for a later checkout. She looked it up, then said dismissively, "You'll to have to talk to someone tomorrow."

The next day, before going to my talk, I stopped by the front desk to request a 2 pm checkout. The man behind the desk said, "Sure. What room are you in?"

I didn't have to say anything. Then he said, "That was 2:30 pm, wasn't it?" Half an hour later wasn't even a problem.

You might be pondering extenuating factors explaining the change:
* Different front desk managers, different customer service
* The first front desk manager might have had a bad day.
* Women are thinking, "Sometimes women are not well-treated in business by other women."
* The hotel is overbooked and needs to turn over rooms.

But there is another factor I held back.

When I checked in, after a long car drive, I was wearing light pink jeans and a sweat-shirty, gray t-shirt. In the morning, I was wearing a suit.

Do people treat you differently when you are dressed better? Yes, they do. Anyone who has ever shopped retail can tell you there is a different level of customer service, based on your attire.

So too, when you interview or are selling a product or working with co-workers.

The solution is not to be suited up at all times, but to be aware that, rightly or wrongly, what we wear impacts how others respond.


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Culture and Manners Institute at www.cultureandmanners.com