Compliments ~ Free & Painless

Whining, complaining humans are all around us, every day. Heck, our kids and hubbies aren't the only ones guilty of being negative... we are too {sometimes}! It takes a different brain set to wake up every day and determine to find the good, the positive instead of the negative, in everything around us.

In this same vein, we often find things that merit a complaint to a company, e.g., my bedbug horror story at the Comfort Inn. I find the best way to balance these serious and real complaints is to find something to praise, something to be happy about, and someone who deserves a true compliment!

When I left the Comfort Inn that fateful night around 12:30 a.m., I went across the street to the Baymont but was not satisfied that it would be any better than the Comfort Inn. I drove back across the street to check out a few other hotels... and finally decided to stay at the Homewood Suites by Hilton.

Homewood Suites by Hilton, Plainfield, IN

The young man at the front desk was very presentable - a white shirt, tie, respectable hair, no tattoos or visible piercings. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against tattoos or piercings (I have both!) but I think the facial variety has a time and place, and it's not when you're greeting guests to your establishment! Not only was he presentable, he was affable, smiling, even laughing and joking around with me. The first room he gave me, a king suite, was alas, locked from the inside. Me, being the tired puppy I was at 1:00 a.m., left my luggage at the door of the suite and went back downstairs to tell him I could not get in... he was very apologetic and gave me a queen suite right around the corner from the first room, at a discounted rate.

Homewood Suites lobby, Plainfield, IN

When I returned home from my trip, not only did Choice Hotels get my complaint letter about the bedbugs, but I also went to Homewood Suites website and submitted a very nice compliment for this young man. The proof is in the puddin', as I received a lovely email from him this morning:

Dear Ms. Garten

I just wanted to thank you for the message you sent to the Homewood Suites in Plainfield Indiana regarding your experience at check-in on the night of 1-5-10, or around that time. Working the shift that I do I rarely see comments that praise me as you did. It really made my day.

Thank you!

Matthew Wheeler

Note ~ it really made his day. And guess what? It was free, and it only took me a few minutes to wing that compliment to corporate on his behalf. AND it made me feel as good as he did!

Try it sometime... it could be the gal around the corner at the convenience store that's always smiling and helpful. Maybe it's a retail clerk at your favorite store at the mall. Perhaps it's a waiter or waitress at your favorite restaurant. Whoever that always cheerful, ever-helpful person might be, let the-powers-that-be know what a great employee they have! It won't cost you a cent, just a few minutes of your time, whether you comment on the company website or type out a letter and mail it to them. And it will, in all likelihood, make that person's day!

Think how much happier this world would be if everyone tried to send a big compliment to someone who deserves it, at least once a week! :-)

P.S. The bedbug saga ended quickly. Choice Hotels sent me a form letter, yep, I kid you not. Here's an excerpt:

Your feedback is important to us and has been noted by our office. We are also forwarding your concerns to the hotel's management. Each Choice Hotel property is independently owned and operated, and due to the issues you have raised we must defer to the hotel and request that they respond to you directly. ... We hope you will view this matter as an isolated incident, an exception to the high standards of service and hospitality that our hotels are known to offer.

When I read that letter, all I thought was "WHA??????!" I think it's quite obvious that my feedback is NOT important to them. I have reviewed the Plainfield Comfort Inn on Travel Advisor and at the same time, I also left a great review for the Homewood Suites.

And I will never stay at a Choice Hotel brand.EVER.AGAIN.

In fact, I'm going to donate my Choice points to the Haiti help effort.


  1. Good post.. I've staid at both and found them only ok and have not had the problem you did. Last month Linda and I staid in Baymont in Toledo, Ohio and I wasn't really happy, had deteriorated since previous visits. I'll just keep looking. Hope all is well with you and keep on giving out those compliments when diserved.

  2. The code worked for the button... Thanks

  3. I love that you did that. Complaints are the name of the game in customer service and compliments are so rare.

  4. I've been on the receiving end of this kind of compliment, for my friendly phone voice when I was a receptionist, and for my handling of a pet when I worked at a vet's office - both times to my face and to my boss, who in turn praised me for a job well done. And you're right, it takes such a small amount of time!

  5. That was really nice of you to put in a good word for the night clerk at Homewood Suites. You're right, it only takes a minute to make a difference in someone's life. Sorry about your form letter reply from Choice. Sounds about right.

  6. I think you're right on the money with this one. We're always quick to complain but I think if everyone took your advice, well...I think things would be a lot different. I promise to try it!


  7. good for is nice to get good feed back on services....I really enjoy it when we have someone call and say what a nice job our service tech did....

  8. Thanks for sharing this great story! I'm the PR director for the Homewood Suites brand and I can assure you that we "walk the talk"!

  9. What a nice contrast between two very impactful events. Your handling of both is worth writing about, and you did a terrific job here. I am inspired - again! EFH

  10. I think it's really fabulous that you took the time to write the note of compliment. It's easy to make someone else's day a little brighter!

  11. Ms. Garten:

    Thank you for choosing the Homewood Suites -Plainfield.

    I shared your wonderful comments with our team during our morning huddle. The smiles were priceless! And as you can see with Matt's email response, he was very excited and appreciative of hearing your feedback.

    We know that first impressions are lasting and I'm pleased to know that our professional standards are valued by our guest. Thank you for taking the time to express your satisfaction; it is my hope that when making your travels plans in the future that you choose to come back to your "home away from home."

    Making everyday a Good day!

    Eugene Hilliard, CRDE
    General Manager - Homewood Suites Plainfield

  12. I work retail, and believe me, a compliment is a wonderful thing to hear. Especially when you work the front lines.

    Oh, and if you really think someone did a great job, tell their upper management, don't just tell the supervisor. Upper management rarely hears how well their employees are doing, and sometimes supervisors don't pass it on.

    We do need to compliment those that work just a little harder to help out. Just as we need to point out those that don't bother.

    Great post.

    Jen Muddy Boot Dreams

  13. After working in the service industry for 18 years I also know that almost no one ever gives compliments and that complaints seem to be free and easy. I always tried to do my best, regardless.
    I think what is a sad thing with a lot of businesses, hotel or otherwise, is that they just don't care.
    More businesses need to operate by the mantra a manager of mine used to use:
    If you do something good for someone they will tell their three closest friends about it.
    If you do something wrong by someone they will tell EVERYONE who will listen, repeatedly and often, and eventually they will exaggerate to make it an even worse story.

  14. So true... i love telling calling my plumber's office after a good visit, or complimenting the paper boy.. Everyone remembers the bad.. but it is so nice to tell the good people do!!

  15. I'll boycott Choice Hotels too since it's obvious it's not about customer comfort. It was nice that you sent the letter of praise and that he appreciated it so much. We SHOULD all do that more often. Thanks for the reminder.

  16. Excellent post. Wow, the high standards of Choice, huh?! (Does that include bedbugs??)

    On the positive, there is truly no greater feeling than making someone's day, which you certainly did for that nice young man. What a nice reminder for us all!-Tammy

  17. When J had surgery at the University of Tenn. Medical Hospital in Knoxville 2 years ago, I stayed at Homewood Suites. They were awesome. They gave me a discount since he was a patient at UT,they were kind, and they even packed me a little goodie bag each day with snacks because I had made the comment that I hated to leave his room to go to the cafe to eat!
    From both of our experiences, this really must be a tribute to the kind of people oriented business Homewwod Suites is!

  18. I totally agree with making someone's day. It is the little things we do to that really matter. It does not hurt to be nice. I think more parents should instill that feeling in their partenting skills. Kudos to you!! Thanks for stopping by my blog and the nice comment.
    smiles, alice

  19. That was very nice of you! I bet the fact you took the time to write a letter of praise for that man will make him more likely to do the same thing for someone else someday.

  20. Oh My Goodness!! Bedbugs?!?! And that's all they had to say?! It is most likely NOT an isolated incident beings it's in the hotel LOL!!

    That is so awesome that you found such great service at Homewood Suites! And that is SO awesome how much feedback they are giving! I think it's great that you made this young mans day by doing such a simple but great gesture!!

    I cannot believe we really only live an hour apart?! LOL!!

  21. Compliments and kindness make everyone richer: both the receiver and the giver.

  22. Once, I complained to a hotel we stayed in as well - they actually sent us a coupon for a free nights stay! Needless to say we never used it! LOL!

  23. Well Done! And I'll bet that young man will always remember your kindness and pass it on.


  24. I do this! I try to give credit to someone who does an outstanding job. Good luck on the Comfort thing, I have filed complaints and not even gotten a grunt of a response. I guess they just don't appreciate our business. We swore off the CI several years ago.

    You have yourself a wonderful weekend!

  25. Good post. Sorry that your ordeal with Choice Hotels didn't have a better resolution, though.

  26. Hello there from Oz... popped over from Kate at Chronicles of a Country Girl thinking I may have found my twin! Heh. Apparently Oz has other connotations in the US!

    No matter, I loved this post - despite the geographical differences, you are a girl after my own heart. You may not look for all you seek with a complaint (but at least they have been made aware, right?) but a compliment... they get results every time.
    BB (from the Down Under Land of Oz!)