Just came back from 3 weeks in Italy. We followed Rick Steves recommendation of wearing money belts and we stayed at his recommended hotels or B&Bs. We only had one incident but unfortunately it happened at the pensione where Rick Steves uses for his tour groups in Venice (2 minutes from the fish and fruits and vegetables markets). One of the cleaning persons took a hair clip from our room. We checked out in the morning and asked the front desk to hold our bags for few hours. When we returned to pick our bags, my wife noticed that a cleaning person had her hair clip on the uniform. My wife frantically searched all bags and couldn't find the clip. She asked the front desk if the cleaning staff found hair clip in the room. Everyone said no. She mentioned that a cleaning person had her hair clip on her uniform. That person came out and didn't wear the hair clip. Wife insisted on seeing her hair clip on that person uniform. The hair clip was easily identifiable. It has unique design. We didn't see something similar in Italy and that particular clip was made in France. It is marked made in France. In short, the cleaning person went to back room and return the hair clip. So, be careful in Italy although you stay at Rick Steves recommended hotel and I hope that particular pensione in Venice does better job in background check on their staff. In this case, the monetary value is minimal but stealing is still stealing.
ww, just because someone recommends a place dosnt mean its perfect/safe and such. People are people no matter where you are. Even if we were live on a different planet/galaxy, they would still be the same. If you value something, take care of it no matter where you are. happy trails.
WW, thank you for your report. I'm afraid I have a couple of issues with your report, starting with the title. You say in your report that you had checked out and left your bags. So where do you think you left or lost that item? Was it left behind in the room or was it in the luggage? Your story is not clear. If it was in the room and had, as you say, minimal value, isn't it likely that a person who was cleaning the room and came upon items of minimal value like hair clips, toothpaste, comb, brush, etc., left behind by guests would usually put it in the trash? After all, how many foreign tourists who had checked out would return looking for minimal value items they left behind? Or are you saying that she went though your bags while they were being held for you after you checked out and, bypassing all the valuable things I'm sure were in your bags and what she took was ... a hair clip? And then displayed it on her uniform, like a trophy? I'm pretty sure that I know which place you are trying to drag down, (and I will admit that it is one of my favourite places to stay in Italy), and I am aware of the large number of stairs in the place. Is there a chance that the hairclip might have been dropped on one of the stairs or in the breakfast room? And that the the cleaner wouldn't have any idea who might have dropped it? The bit that seems so strange is the putting the hair clip not in her hair but wearing the hair clip ... on her uniform? Don't most thieves hide their booty? Maybe you could clarify? WW, when you go back and reread your post do you think it sounds like a storm in a teacup? I think it is a shame that you have chosen to focus on a hair clip in your trip report and haven't reported on all the other things which you experienced on your trip. Can you tell us some of the other highlights?
Nigel, thank you for the questions. I was trying to be brief when I wrote the initial report because I read that other people have reported that long post is broken up to 2 or 3 postings. So, I was trying to be short. We stayed at the pensione for 2 nights. I remember seeing the hair clip at the first night in the room. I didn't see it again on the second night and didn't think of it because I thought my wife already packed it. After seeing that clip on the cleaning person, wife told me that she didn't see it on the second night when we were packing. But we were so exhausted from sightseeing and didn't think too much of it until that morning when we tried to retrieve our bags. The front desk person took us to the back room to let us retrieve our own bags. At the same time, 3 cleaning persons were working at the back room area as well. They were working at the laundry and kitchen. One of them was wearing the clip on the uniform. Perhaps she was wearing as a trophy. I don't know. But for sure, she was not expecting to see us in the back room. After getting the bags, I was using the restroom behind the curtain next to the front desk. When I came out, I bumped into that particular cleaning person again. She didn't have the clip at that time. My posting was meant to caution other travelers not to let their guards down even when they're at a nice hotel.
WW, I also found your post a bit confusing. Although I read it a couple of times, I wasn't clear on whether you eventually got the hair clip back? I did however get the point of your message. Even in nicer hotels, I usually keep my main Pack locked when I'm out for the day. I've found that cleaning staff often open several rooms and then work on them one at a time. That means some rooms are left unattended for various periods of time. I also think I know which place you're referring to. Cheers!
PS- If you have trouble writing a long text in one post, you can reply to your own thread to continue the narrative.
So, you are implying that the maid stole the clip BEFORE you checked out.. well I don't beleive it as I doubt someone would steal something from their place of employment and then WEAR it there before you even checked out.
I think it may have fallen off a peice of furniture or a bathroom ledge , the maid found it on the floor as they were doing your check out cleaning.. and assumed like most people would that a little hair clip found on the floor was safe to keep( you didn't mention it being jeweled or made of silver etc) .
I think when cornered the maid may have panicked and lied, and then put the clip back so it could be "found".
I think its a hair clip and hardly something to make a big deal about ( unless it was silver , gold or had jewels in it) and that you likely LOST it .. I don't think the maid stole it but if that is what you prefer to think then fine.
On Fodars about 2 months ago a lady swore her iphone was stolen out of her bag, a man bumped her etc.. . reported to the police etc.. but the next day she found her 2 yr old playing with it in the hotel room.. Things are not always as dastardly as they appear.
We saw another form of thievery in the same hotel lobby two days ago when an American woman from Seattle paid their 6 euro tourist tax with five $1 US bills with an excuse that she has no more euro. This is after she said that she and her daughter are on their way to Cinque Terre! By the way, there is an ATM just a few steps away. The man at the desk was dumfounded but let it go. As much as I wanted to say something, I kept my mouth shut as well but I was embarrassed.
Justtravel ... thats horrible, the desk clerk was very kind to let them go.. imagine here if you tried to pay some hotel bill with a foriegn currency and in a lesser amount to boot( 5 dollars is not equal to 6 euros!) ... Those type of tourists are the sterotypical "ugly" tourist.. how arrogant. ( they probably go home and complain the locals were not friendly enough, lol )
You can call them "ugly" tourist, but we really dont know the whole story. Im sure it happened as told, but i dont know if short changing the clerk was intentional. I would say that ignorance was more in play, but i am making an assumption there.
And i have seen the "UGLY" american tourist too.
When i was in Calais, France in a buffet style restaurant an elderly (UK) woman tried to pay for her lunch in British Pounds. The (french) clerk wouldnt take the British Pounds of course and the woman asked why her money wasnt good there. The clerk just pointed to the credit card machine. I thought it was odd that the UK women didnt have French Francs (thats how old this is), but who knows.
Ive made mistakes, by accident, in some of my trips by either pulling out the wrong money or forgetting to say "thank you" in their native language. I try to say at the least "thank you" in the native language when im traveling. I found out recently that i forget my manners if im in a rush. Either by omitting "hello", or "thank you".
On my recent trip, i was in Remagen, Germany getting something to eat before the train arrived. I bought some "to go" food and had some coffee and dessert at a table. After i had my coffee and dessert, i was about to leave for my train and the waitress stopped me. With her limited english she was trying to tell me that i payed for my "to go" items but not the sit down food. big ooops on my part. I figured since she rang me up for the "to go" items, the other sit down food was also rang up at the same time. In any case, i did pay for my sit down food and left a nice tip for her. She may have felt that i was trying to do the "dine and dash" on her but i didnt know how to tell her so other than to pay for my sit down meal.
A side and funny note, i found out what "Amerikaners" were. I saw them all over where i was in Germany. Its a large frosted cookie but i didnt know what was under the frosting. The baker came out and looked me straight in the eyes and said they were "soft and sweet". Of course i had a really good belly laugh for that answer. Im not sure what the baker was expecting, but i couldnt help but laugh.
I try to give EVERYONE a break when im on the road and when im here too. Sometimes there are the crooks that try and do short change people, but so far i havent come across them on my travels where they have made a score with me. knock on wood.
Ray just want to say .. I was very careful not to say "ugly American tourist" because I do believe that every country has its share of "ugly " travellers.
I agree in many cases ignorance may play a part.. and I think some tourists do jump to conclusions based on fear ie: I have heard people complain that the taxi driver inflated the cost of their taxi ride in france.. but what they don't know is that the metered fare does not include an additional 1 euro fee per suitcase and 3 euros extra per person over 3 passengers.. so when they get somewhere and the meter says 17 euros and the driver asks for 20 ,, they get mad. Stuff like that I do understand.. But jumping to conclusions about maids stealing worthless trinkets.. or assuming thefts because they may have lost or misplaced an item.. thats when people need to think first and accuse second.
Your mistake was innocent.. we all do stuff like that ( I got reamed out by a cashier in a grocery store in Paris because I did not pre weight and have my produce and have the lables on them correctly.. I ended up holding up a long line.. red face..
But I do know if I am in Japan I will pay with Yen.. and in europe I will pay with euros or GBPS or in Swiss its Swiss Francs.. I would not pull out Canadian ( or American ) money .
I think Pat's explanation is an alternate theory for what happened; you'd make a great defense attorney. But it sounds like the clip was in the room, and then it wasn't. WW wasn't off-base to conclude that it was stolen from the room prior to their check-out.
I always try and lock up valuables in my luggage, both from roving maid's hands and because the rooms are usually left open while they work on several rooms at a time. I always consider the greater chance of theft as coming from other guests passing an open room. But let's face it, who would think of locking up a hair clip?
And you'd make a great Prosecutor Douglas.. :)... Of all the things the maid could have stolen, you really think she would risk her job to steal a hair clip? Really??
We make a practice to leave nothing of value in our luggage. The only valuables we travel with are my wife's jewelry, and needless to say they remain on her.
My wife has a very bad back and arthritis. She travels with a number of prescribed "controlled substances". If the meds are stolen, it's virtually impossible to get replacements overseas. We've even had visitors in our house rifle through her closet looking to steal her medicine with the intention of selling them. It's her medicines that we literally have to guard against theft at all times; even at home.
David good point about meds. We used to travel with irreplaceable meds for one of our sons. I kept some in my purse ( inside a zippered inside pocket) and some in my suitcase.. and kept it in hotel safe too.. I never kept it all together knowing we could "stretch" half if we had to .. but that not having it ( because it was stolen) would end our trip. I would also slip a few in my money belt.. in a small baggie( since pill jars are obviously too bulky for money belt)
Such a palaver over a hair clip. Let us all hope WW never has anything of real value "stolen". His outrage will be boundless. I tremble to think of it.