The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Bumps in the road

Six Days on the Road. Heading south on Highway 79, 100 miles north of the Black Hills

About one week out of six I am on the road for five or six days. I help keep the world safe for several corporations by visiting franchise establishments and reviewing their customer service. During these trips I might visit car dealers, c-store/gas stations (always), cell-phone stores, tax-prep offices, employment agencies, fast-food joints and motels. Of course, I visit motels, but rarely on-the-job.

In March and April, though, I did some motel evaluations for a mystery shopping company called Freeman Group. They had contracted with Wyndham Rewards to have shoppers stay at hundreds, maybe thousands, of motels and hotels around the world and evaluate, mainly, whether the people who talked to us on the telephone when we made our reservations, and the desk clerks who served us when we were at the hotel, whether those people mentioned "Wyndham Rewards."

I planned road trips around eleven of these jobs, which were supposed to pay $20, plus reimbursement of the motel stay. The motels were a variety of common Interstate-exit places that charged between $75 and $100 a night. I usually pick $50 motels, but since these were supposed to be reimbursed....

One thing I was supposed to do was tell the desk I hadn't packed a razor, and what could they do for me? Every motel in this group of jobs gave me a razor. A couple made it a whole kit with shaving cream and after-shave.

Anyway, I got paid for just six of those jobs. I just learned that the Freeman Group went out of business. Wyndham Rewards knows nothing about any of this; according to a person I talked to at WR, "I'm sorry, we don't know anything about a 'mystery shopping' deal or a 'Feeman Group.'"

It would have been nice to to have gotten a check for $600 to reimburse those five jobs. On the other hand, I would have spent $300 of that staying somewhere anyway. Also, the jobs I did get paid for dilutes the hurt even further. That's something I can shrug off, while being aware that, like almost everyone, I am at the whims of fate when it comes to getting paid for work I've done.

Castle Rock, November 2012

Lord, forgive us.

Deer's Ears Buttes. We have heard other, maybe more visually correllative, descriptions of this landmark.

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