My taste for luxury has evolved somewhat—I’m not nearly as taken with the M&Ms in the mini bar—but on entering a hotel room, I still immediately review the room-service menu, bask in the prospect of fresh, silky sheets, and inspect the bathroom to ensure I have fluffy, clean towels for every possible need. Then I spy one of those little placards, nestled among the tiny soaps or hanging from the towel rack, asking me to reuse my linens: “Save Our Planet … Every day millions of gallons of water are used to wash towels that have only been used once … Please decide for yourself.” And, like that, my hotel buzz fizzles.
I’ll admit that I sometimes choose not to participate in this program and request fresh towels and sheets every day. Before you write in scolding me for being a wasteful person, let me qualify that by saying it’s not the program, in theory, I’m against. I’m all for saving the environment. But I don’t want to be guilt-tripped into going green. It’s the two-facedness of it that gets me—save our planet! Conserve our resources! It’s up to you, hotel guest. Forsake that washcloth (or two!), or those crisp sheets that are your right when you pay for the room, and to what end—so the hotel can save money on laundry? How many natural resources are wasted printing all of these little signs? [Now that’s a rigorous and highly plausible cost-benefit analysis! –ed.] Here’s an idea: Instead of printing out a placard for every room in the hotel, wash my towel.
Well, it’s bad enough that hotels provide the option of not having their sheets and towels washed daily for people who don’t want the service. But to note (truthfully) that their interests happen to provide environmental benefits — I think we can all agree that the managers of luxury hotels are history’s greatest monsters.
I was going to ask why on earth Slate would publish such a thing, but, I dunno, it’s kind of nice to have a definitive example of “I wish the world was a better place as long as it doesn’t affect me in any way and I don’t have to do anything or even have my pristine mind troubled by any negative facts” fake-progressivism readily at hand.