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
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
* The hotel is overbooked and needs to turn over rooms.
But there is another factor I
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.