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A Not-So-Funny Thing Happened After the OSU-UA Game

By admin Published: September 9, 2007

I said in the previous post that I planned to add more notes about our foray into Buckeye Central. I have now added those notes to the "Booing Big Ten Network" post. But here's why they were long delayed.

At about 6:15 Saturday, the bride and I were finishing up dinner in a Bob Evans on Olentangy River Road in Columbus -- when the power went out. The waitress was apologetic, but we were done, paid cash for our bill and walked down to the University Plaza Hotel, where we were staying.

University Plaza Hotel

Here ended the fun part of the day ...

The power was also out at the hotel and, we later discovered, in other parts of the area, with even traffic lights knocked out over by North Broadway. (It wasn't out everywhere in the area, but a number of places.) A tractor-trailer had apparently knocked out a power pole; the woman at the University Plaza front desk said that she thought it would be out about an hour, since a crew was already making repairs.

While they had lights and A/C in the lobby, the rooms had no lights, no A/C, no TV. Because the bride is, as I like to say, hardy pioneer stock, we briefly considered heading home but figured we could tough it out -- especially after we went down to a Kroger's where the power was on and bought a flashlight and some fresh batteries for the flashlight in the car. Also some magazines, so I'd have something to pass the time with once the power came back. (The bride had a book already.)

Now, usually when you drop a few bucks to prepare for something like this, the power comes back on -- so you feel stupid about spending the money. No such luck here. We went back to the hotel and the power was still off. So we camped on a couch in the lobby with our reading matter.

The hotel staff seemed only marginally concerned, even when the estimated repair time was changed to 9:15/9:30 and more people were gathering in the lobby. The rooms on the upper floors had gotten quite warm, and one family had their two small children bundled in blankets and sitting on the lobby floor, since the room was unusable. The bride and I, meanwhile chatted with Ted and Tom, two brothers from Elyria, who had made their way down the darkened stairs from their room (the elevators were also out). As gentlemen of vintage years, they did not want to try the trip back up. Besides, NOTHING WAS WORKING IN THE ROOMS.

The lobby grew more crowded. People, especially those arriving soaked from the heavy rains outside, grew more restive. The hotel remained woefully unprepared or unwilling to help people cope. The front desk apparently had one flashlight to lend to people wanting to get in their rooms; we had thought to go buy a flashlight, but it apparently never occurred to the hotel to get a bunch. One family ended up borrowing ours, since the front desk's flashlight was out on loan. Nor did the hotel make any attempt that we saw to ease the situation for the people in the lobby -- no coffee or snacks put out, no putting out cots for the children, basically no offering of help that we saw, unless you asked at the desk. And even then not much to be had.

9:30 arrived. The repair time now, we were told, was between midnight and 1 a.m. I checked our room, which was still relatively cool, and the bride and I went up to try to sleep, if only for a few hours, before heading home. We dozed off and on until 12:45 a.m., when the lights and A/C came on and we were further awakened by the screech of the smoke alarm powering up.

We slept off and on after that, certain that we were ready to check out as soon as energy and daylight allowed. Of course, it turned out that the daylight was filtered through a heavy rain. Still, by 9 a.m., we were checking out -- though not before telling the guy at the front desk that we felt the power outage merited a reduction in our rate.

He offered us breakfast coupons.

We declined. I pointed out that we had lost services we were paying for, for 6 1/2 hours. (I had already calculated that we should get at least $37.70 back, based on a per-hour breakdown of our room rate. I am, after all, the son of two math-friendly people.) The clerk then offered $20 off. I indicated displeasure. He held firm. I accepted the $20 (which proved to be slightly more, since it reduced the room taxes) but also indicated we would be pursuing the issue.

In any case, we were out. It rained all the way home, but it was still nice to be heading home, where the lights all work and the TV right now is carrying NFL pregame shows.

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