I knew a lady from church once who used to collect the little perfume samples that nice department stores give out sometimes. She would purposefully walk over to the cosmetics counter and ask, “Do you have any perfume samples available today?” She would stash them in her purse and continue with her day. The real “punch” to this story comes when you find out what she did with all of those little bottles… she put them into a nice wicker basket, tied a fancy ribbon on it, and gave it to her mother for Christmas, every year. While it might seem like a cheap gift to be sure, her mother had survived the depression you see, and she was as impressed with the thrifty nature she had imparted to her daughter as she was with enough designer perfume to last her for another year. It was a perfect gift!
I thought about her once when I opened yet another small shampoo bottle in my hotel. It seemed odd to me that even though I only used one fourth of the bottle, they always gave me a new bottle at the end of the day. By the end of the week, I was facing 5 little shampoo bottles, four of which were still usually full. The same was true of the little soaps, lotions, conditioners, and even the baby ketchup and mustard bottles I got with my room-service trays. Perhaps it was the genetic code passed on to me by my depression era grandmother, I don’t know, but for some strange reason I started bringing them all home.
Yep, if you came to my house and needed honey for your biscuit, I had it. In fact, I had lots of it, pre-portioned in little glass containers! My wife gathered all of the nicer soaps and shampoos from the nicer resort hotels I’d been in and arranged them all in a nice basket and placed it in the guest bathroom… another great idea!
I’m sure lots of you have great aunties, grandmothers, church ladies, bingo partners, den mothers, or other residential association presidents who would be impressed with a basket full of Oriental soaps, Hawaiian coffee packets, or French lotions, right?
By the way, I am in no way endorsing any type of thievery or malfeasance… an abandoned maid’s cart in the hallway does not justify the mindless pilfering that some people are tempted to engage in! However, if they bring it to your room and give it to you, it’s yours, right? OH, the little mouthwash bottles are handy to stash in your carry-on bag for those late flights when your breath starts to smell like an old hunting sock, too!
EXTRA: If you have questions for Ken regarding business travel, hotels, airplanes, etc, please send an email! Your questions will be recorded and Ken will answer the best ones in his Ask the Expert podcast show.