October 14, 2007

Back from Baltimore

I have never been to Baltimore before.
I do not much feel like I have gone NOW. I was there for about 20 hours. Baltimore to me is mostly THE SHERATON HOTEL, but here is what I learned about this great and historic city as I cabbed through it and drank chocolate martinis in its fine lobby bar:

1) Baltimore has architecture.

2) Maryland’s idea of the rubber chicken hotel convention dinner = ENORMOUS CRABCAKE! (!!!!) The crab cake was not infested with BREADING, either, it was all CRAB. It had JUST enough other non-crab stuff to make the big chunks of delicious crab STICK into a cake. OH! YAY!

Apparently, Baltimore is LOUSY with crabs, and I mean that in the good way.

Hmm…That sounded less dirty in my head, but A LOT OF THINGS I have said have come out dirty and I think Baltimore architecture, what with all the old BRICKS and TILE INSETS and IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK-ISH HISTORY makes my mind feel more historical, and history is dirty.

3) The Sheraton has genuine pride in their crab cakes…and their MILK. For breakfast in the morning, I ordered a 4 dollar tiny box of Raisin Bran and a 5 dollar pot of coffee. +3 dollars for delivery and 18% included for delivery guy tip, which I have never understood how they can charge 3 dollars for him to deliver and 18% for him to deliver AND THEN there is a space for TIP on the thing you sign? Okay, FINE, that’s how room service is, I get that. BUT When the guy came, I took the bill to sign and saw they had charged me 4 more extra dollars on TOP of all that. Do you know why? You will never guess why. I looked and could figure it all out. CEREAL, 4 bucks. Coffee, 5 bucks…surcharge, fee, tip…and then four MYSTERY bucks. I asked what that charge was for…Wait for it…Wait for it…


Me: But I would think that cereal would just COME with Milk.
Delivery guy: Yes. It does. But you ordered milk separately.
Me: Wait, what? I didn’t order milk separately.
DG: Yes. On the phone you said, and can I have skim milk with that.
Me: Yes – I wasn’t ordering milk. I was specifying that the milk that came with the cereal should be skim.
DG: Oh. Well. I think it must be that it is supposed to come with whole milk, and then when you ordered skim they charged you for it.
Me: SO…but…. I only see one cup of skim milk. Where is the whole milk then that comes free with the cereal?
DG: I guess that they didn’t think you would want the milk that came with the cereal because you had ordered other milk separately.
Me: So I get free milk with cereal.
DG: Yes.
Me: But this particular milk here on the tray costs four dollars?
DG: Yes.
Me: So you kept the milk that came free with the cereal and substituted this four dollar milk?
DG: Seems like that is what must have happened.
Me: … Does that seem right to you? Mathematically?
DG: Well I can go get your free milk if you want it. The one that comes with the cereal.
Me: Which is NOT this milk here? This milk is the four dollar milk?
DG; Yes.
Me; And it doesn’t seem easier to you to KEEP the free milk and just not charge me for this milk? Like we could just TRADE milks?
DG: … You ordered milk.

Dear Grand Central Publishing,

I really try, when on the road, to spend YOUR money as if it were my own money. I don’t, for example, order nicer wine than I would pay for myself or try to get them to bill you for a Swedish Massage lady visit. I REALLY TRIED TO GET THE MILK SURCHARGE REMOVED HERE, but, alas, I was utterly defeated. MAYBE, if it HAD been my four bucks, I MIGHT have persevered. But it was YOUR four bucks, and HONESTLY by the time I got this guy to either BRING me the free milk or NOT CHARGE me for the milk I had, I would have missed my flight, and that would have cost you more in the long run.

SO! I hope I do not end up with a rep as a MILK PRIMA DONNA who prefers to substitute four dollar milk for FREE milk. What can I say. This is NOT just the beginning, and I swear this is not going to end with hookers and room services cocaine and all night Showtime on demand at 12 bucks a DEXTER episode on your dime. Alos? John? The super fab rep in Maryland? You might want to tell him to go by the Baltimore Sheraton with his own cereal for breakfast tomorrow. THEY FREAKING OWE GCP ONE CUP OF FREE MILK.


Posted by joshilyn at October 14, 2007 11:09 PM

the "help" with the cable company trains at the baltimore sheraton.....

Posted by: dramamama at October 15, 2007 12:23 AM

I can hear the "Oh, who? Joshilyn? Do you mean DAIRY QUEEN?" gossip spreading through the Grand Central hallways now...

Posted by: Cornelia Read at October 15, 2007 12:24 AM

Baltimore! That's my hometown-wish ya woulds told me you were coming- I! would have brought you less than 4 dollar milk ha ha.

But seriously its terrible reading after the fact that you were here sauntering on my fair soil and I didn't get too saunter with you.

Glad you had a good crab cake but you haven't really eaten crabs until you sit down with a pile of steamed crabs and pick them apart.

Lets do it next time you're here.

Posted by: Julie at October 15, 2007 6:56 AM

I got a big bag of crabs here! (sorry, STILL can't forget that song)

And . . . DAIRY QUEEN! That is too much!

Posted by: Brigitte at October 15, 2007 7:09 AM


Thanks, Brigitte. Really.

Four bucks for a cup of milk? Holy Guacamole, Batman...time to start ordering eggs for breakfast!

Posted by: Amy-Go at October 15, 2007 2:53 PM

I never understand that about the tip thing, either. I feel as if traveling is just an excuse for pretty much every person who stands in my wayfaring path to ask for a tip. So did you tip him any extra above his 18% and salary for that $4 milk? :)

Posted by: Laura F. at October 15, 2007 5:09 PM

But you don't mention, did you get to see the main number reason to go to Balto? A trip to Balto is not complete with out paying your respects at the grave of one Edgar Allen Poe.

Posted by: Heather at October 15, 2007 6:59 PM

AND,boy, am I glad I swore an oath never to go above the mason-dixon line! They gots 'spensive cows up there!

Posted by: Desi at October 15, 2007 9:03 PM