Thursday, May 18, 2006

Service fee for paying for the service

I've mapped out my major ports of call during my first two weeks in Ireland, working my way around the coast from Cork to Galway, essentially covering most of the territory to the west of the blue line shown above, with a likely stop-in at Nenagh in County Tipperary, which is the only Irish location that I can trace an ancestor to at present. After that it's across to Dublin for a short period and then on up to Northern Ireland.

This morning I called a B&B in Cork to confirm my reservation with a credit-card number. I had the details from the 2006 Hotels & Guesthouses Guide (book) which indicated they were pet-friendly. From their website, I emailed them with details of dates etc and checked that a room with Bondi would be OK. I got a long email back indicating this would be fine, and nominating a daily price about €25 euro over the maximum indicated price in the guidebook. I wasn't too happy about that, even with a single-supplement and it being shoulder-season, it was still 40% or so over the usual tariff. However the location in walking distance of central Cork was appealing.

As I was about to reel off my CC numbers, the proprietor said "..and just so you should be knowing up front, there's a 10% service fee." I gagged at this - I'm to pay a service fee on top of the service charge for staying at the B&B?? And - as I said to her - I'm not being told "up front" if you've neglected to put that information in your guidebook listing, website, or the email quoting room rates!! She insisted the information was in the guidebook listing (nothing of the kind: turn to p47 and check for yourself). Not wanting further unpleasant surprises, I booked elsewhere.

Yesterday evening I had a one-hour phone interview with a Google product manager from Mountainview. Nothing really stretching, so now I just wait to see what happens after they've put the interview transcript through their babble-o-meter.

I discovered another great coffee place, recently opened in Barnes, near the White Hart Hotel - Orange Pekoe. Read Francis Gilbert's I'm a Teacher, Get Me Out of Here! fairly quickly, a memoir of teaching in under-privileged schools in the vein of To Sir With Love. Posted by Picasa

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