Please don't sue us!
Please don't sue us!

This last weekend I stayed overnight at a hotel in Chico.  In the planters next to the parking lot they had placed these disclaimers/warning labels that read, “OXFORD SUITE HOTEL NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR WATER SPOTTING DUE TO SPRINKLERS.”1

This brought to mind any number of responses:

  • “Oxford Suite Hotel not responsible for water”
  • “Oxfor Suite Hotel not responsible for H2O on your H2”
  • “Oxford Suite Hotel:  You failed physics in high school, didn’t you?”
  • “Oxford Suite Hotel:  Newton and Einstein – what bastards!”
  • “Oxford Suite Hotel:  Life’s tough.  Buy a helmet.”
  • “Oxford Suite Hotel not responsible for the administration of midnight beating for people who complain about water spotting due to sprinklers.  You brought that on yourself.”

I’m sure some idiot called their management to complain about how the sprinklers had left spots on their car.  When you think about it, Oxford Suite Hotel should be responsible for the installation, functioning, and maintenance of their own sprinklers, just as people who own vehicles should be responsible for the care and maintenance of their own vehicles.

There’s no making some people happy.  If they are going to complain about thier vehicle getting wet, while it’s outside, they’re going to complain about the lighting, the room, the service, the sheets, the ice being too cold, the A.C. being too loud, and the TV being too dry.

Here’s a decent business model: sprinklers automatically spray a customer’s car as soon as they pull up.  If they moan about spotting, send them on their way.  If they thank you for washing their car, offer them a complimentary breakfast with their stay.

In any case, I blame the huge evil sign industry that has purchased our elected officials.

  1. Sign, parking lot, shrubbery, and wood chips are the sole responsibility of Oxford Suite Hotel – no matter what disclaimers they put up.  Photo by Jay Shergill, all rights reserved. []

Kitchen Nightmares
Kitchen Nightmares

Gordon Ramsey, the super duper chef and Fox network star, has a show called, “Kitchen Nightmares.” I watched an episode last night. Its about what you’d expect from a Fox reality show – a slow motion train wreck from which your eyes cannot be pried away.

Nevertheless, I watched it.

It featured a pizzeria owner who had a failing and tragically flawed restaurant which was entirely supported by his wife’s income. The owner prided himself on his stubbornness and his ability to do anything he set his mind to. He had dreams of turning his establishment’s business model into a global franchise.

He kept running this restaurant for two and a half years. Some might admire his persistence. I think he probably would have learned a lot more about building a successful business by failing spectacularly, rather than throwing time and money at a losing proposition. As best as I can tell, successful people take risks. Throwing good money after a bad proposition just doesn’t seem risky or brave.

My thought: When your business doesn’t make money, its just a hobby. An expensive and time consuming hobby. A friend once referred to this as “feeding the beast,” when your business turns from a money making proposition to something that will eat your savings, free time, mortgage, second mortgage, and marriage. (Thanks anonymous!)

This may seem contradictory to my prior post where I quoted, “do what you love and the money will follow.” Now, I may be a victim of Fox’s incredible ability to edit footage, but that guy didn’t seem to love what he was doing. He seemed to love the idea of what he was doing – playing at being a chef and restaurateur. The reality of his situation seemed to be escaping him.

I’m rather lucky with this little hobby/business of mine. There is no beast to feed. I have no office, no staff, no programmers, no graphic design team, and no ad department.1 Of course, I did have a significant upfront time investment. But, I said I didn’t want to talk about that. :)

Perhaps that trite phrase is better stated as, “do what you love and the money won’t matter.”

Look at me waxing all philosophic!

  1. Reminds me of the song “Turning Japanese” by “The Vapors.” []