It’s been a rough few days. I just got back from a trip to the Midwest and you have no idea how glad I am to be back home. A nice quiet home where the only sounds are often the waves and occasionally a foghorn. Perhaps some birds in the morning, and in a few weeks the sound of grapes being harvested.
This trip was to resolve some difficult operational and personnel issues at a rapidly growing plant, and required considerable energy and focus. So much for that. Three nights of kids running around, banging doors, and screaming and yelling until well after 2am destroyed that dream. Literally. Unfortunately the location is a summer vacation spot, so options for different rooms or hotels are nonexistent, and the hotel management wasn’t exactly responsive. I made do with earplugs, white noise from leaving the fan on, and some decent wine. Three nights, about three hours of sleep a night. My only revenge was taking especially loud showers at 5:30 in the morning.
The five hour flight home just continued the hell. Thanks to a ridiculous amount of travel, United is nice enough to upgrade me on pretty much every flight. That usually puts me in a cabin of fellow business travelers and the occasional b-level movie star when going to or from LAX. Not this time… I was in an upgraded cabin with no fewer than six screaming kids. Apparently three different families had enough bucks or points to give three foot high munchkins an extra few inches of legroom and free drinks. My nerves were frayed to the very end, and I was scoping out tall guys in middle seats back in economy in the hopes they might want to switch seats.
How do kids do it? How do they know to tag team in order to provide five solid hours of non-stop screeching? How can their parents just sit there reading books and sipping cabernet? For god sakes give it to the kids… or break out the Benadryl!
No my wife and I don’t have kids, and I won’t go into the reasons why. So we haven’t experienced the “mystery and magic” that we’re told screeching rugrats somehow provide. My apologies to the good parents with great kids that I know are out there… I’ve even met a few. I have renewed respect for the job it must be.
I am willing to pay double for silence. Triple when my wife, who is even less tolerant of noise, is with me. A kids-free section of a hotel or cabin on a plane. I appreciate the wine and legroom, but I’d trade that for a quiet seat in coach any day. Just let me sleep, work, or watch a movie in peace.
That’s value from the perspective of a customer.