Archive for February 27th, 2013
The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet — PART SIX: The Subtle Warning Signs of Impending Doom in YOUR Area
[ Click above to embiggen: Canaries in a Coal Mine, more relevant than ever today ]
NOTE to OUR READERS: This is PART SIX in a ten-part investigation into “The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet” and its true meaning in the bigger picture of what’s happening in our nation’s economy here in 2013. A recap of the investigation so far can be found HERE...and the complete collected Mystery is archived in our special “Mysteries” page in the HillBuzz.org archive, where mysteries such as this will continue to be solved in the spirit of our “political action, analysis, and adventure” mission around here. As always, there is an easy-to-use Search Box located just to the right in the sidebar (as well as an archive of articles by month)…should you have any desire to look up absolutely everything I’ve written on any topic in the entire existence of this site.
I need to take a moment to thank all of you out there who are assisting our mystery solving efforts either in comments or through private emails…because it’s been a lifelong goal of mine to tackle the most important issues of our time via epistolary investigations such as this…which reach out to the great experts of our age (and retired cast members of tee-vee shows I always liked) for their own input. We’re living in a time when the national media has become a true Ministry of Truth that protects all of the Left’s secrets…leaving only amateur sleuths and armchair detectives like ourselves to expose everything that the Obama Regime doesn’t want the public to know. Through prayer, hard work, and determination I believe we can get to the bottom of a great many things…one mystery and letter-to-whomever at a time.
It’s become clear that the Left has indeed won the Culture War and we’re faced with the reality that everything set in motion in the public school system and the media ranks in the 70s, 80s, and 90s has at last come to fruition in the here and now…but if you believe, as I do, that the very concept of an “America” as we know it is still important to the world, then we must endeavor to do a little bit each day to undermine the Left’s current stranglehold on power. That means tackling one mystery at a time in a thoughtful and determined way that turns a lot of the Left’s favored tactics against them.
I am proud and delighted to have your help with mystery-solving and thank you in advance for all the ideas, intel, and information you will hopefully continue to provide as this series continues as a daily feature here. Before you know it, we’ll all emerge as mystery-solvers unlike any who have ever existed in the political world…with no ready counter to our work on the Left and limitless potential for what next we can focus on.
KD for HB, Chicago — 2/27/2013
Today marks the stage in concerted mystery-solving where everything starts to really heat up and happen rapid-fire…with lots of emails, calls, and messages pouring in from all over the country offering insight into our new economic theory that “dirty carpets in a big law firm” is an idiomatic 21st Century update of the old canard “canaries in a coal mine”. Since it takes a hot, shirtless miner with an iPhone to make coal shafts or canaries relevant to a lot of people today (particularly the self-obsesssed and difficult-to-focus “Millennials”, or those who were taught in public school that “coal is evil”), I think addressing the observable warning signs of an impending economic collapse in more relatable terms is crucial to getting the word out that we’re all in much greater danger than the Ministry of Truth that is our national media would ever have us believe.
If you’ve been following our investigation, you’ll know that the germ for this new economic theory originated with my exposure to the filthy carpeting I found in the lobby of the purportedly prestigious law firm Hinshaw & Culbertson in downtown Chicago on 2/20/2013…where I additionally discovered a men’s washroom that appeared neglected and not-cleaned for some time (with standing water on the floor, severely clogged toilets, and feces bobbing in urine under flickering, creepshow lighting). The shock of walking into a shiny, steel-and-glass high rent skyscraper in the middle of the Loop and encountering filthy and unsanitary conditions more predictable in the Third World inspired me to think about the general shabbiness I’d noticed in other unexpected places in recent years. In fact, staring at that filthy carpet on the waiting room couch at the Hinshaw firm made me realize that myriad establishments I’d visited since 2008 were similarly coming apart at their seams.
It just all can’t be a big coincidence…and I know this is not just happening here in Chicago; it must be part of something bigger that the Ministry of Truth just doesn’t want us to talk about and the Obama Regime is desperate to keep hidden at all costs. Dirty carpeting in a big law firm is one piece in a bigger puzzle that, when assembled with other clues YOU are picking up where you live, completes a larger picture of just how much 2008’s “Hope and Change” became “Misery and Ruin” by 2013.
[ Click above to embiggen: the actual filthy carpets at the Hinshaw & Culbertson offices that inspired the “dirty carpets in a big law firm” idiomatic meme ]
I took a walk around my neighborhood here in Boystown today and tried to keep aware enough of my surroundings to detect any oddities similar to the filthy lobby carpeting at Hinshaw & Culbertson downtown. It’s stunning how little time or effort it took to see that our emerging economic theory is right…and that all around us there are serious indicators that the Obama Regime’s impact on our economy has caused all sorts of “stress fractures” that are visible to anyone who cares to see them. And this, I remind you, is before the full blow of Obamacare hits business in January 2014 (with massive layoffs expected across the board in all industries where some of Obama’s mandates can be avoided by drastically shrinking an employer’s payroll).
This all makes me think of a very heavy, iron weight placed haphazardly atop a block of ice or a glass container…and the heaviness of that burden has caused chips and cracks in what’s trapped beneath it; it is now obvious to observers like us that a collapse is coming (though we still don’t have enough information on the system to determine precisely when total failure will occur). I don’t know very much about managing a law firm, but I at one time was a manager in a large hotel back in Cleveland and I can assure you that if we ever allowed our carpets to look like those photographed above that it would be a matter of just a few months before the hotel would have to close its doors. That’s because the very last thing we would ever cut back on before we could no longer stay in business would be shampooing the rugs and making sure the bathrooms were spotless. If whatever financial weight was upon our business that we felt pressured to stop cleaning the carpets and to turn the men’s rooms back over to nature just to save a few shekels, then Great Merciful Zeus our days as a business would have truly been numbered.
There is just no corner of my wildest imagination where our hotel would have ever been allowed to fall into the sort of ruin I observed in the Hinshaw & Culbertson offices last week.
On my walk around Boystown this morning, I thought about this…and about any hospitality venues in the city who clearly couldn’t survive in the current Obama economy…or who were forced to drastically cutback on goods or services. A great many restaurants and other small businesses have closed around Chicago in the last three or four years (which amounts to a very rapid die-off in a city where these sorts of establishments seemed fairly stable and secure up until 2008); interestingly for our purposes, all of these places that closed appeared shabby and evidenced “stress fractures” (like filthy carpets and uncleaned men’s rooms) in the months leading up to their closings.
Just off the top of my head I can think of the “Orange” chain of breakfast-only eateries that I’ve written about before…which shrank from a four-restaurant chain in the city to just two locations in the last year or so; before Orange closed the Boystown and downtown stores, it seemed like all maintenance and upkeep stopped in those restaurants. Those now-shuttered Orange outlets just didn’t sparkle or seem as clean as they always used to be. I happen to love Orange, so it was heart-breaking to watch their standards decline so precipitously; in retrospect, I now understand that the heavy burden of our current economic woes just forced this company to skimp on essentials…until the Obama economy necessitated laying off half its staff and closing two locations.
A pattern’s emerging here, where first a place starts to look shabby…then the quality of its services drops…and finally it cuts its staff and eventually shuts its doors for good.
Other restaurants in the neighborhood have drastically shrank their portions and have stopped doing elaborate menu changes for the seasons (since it’s much cheaper not to change gears and do creative or special things for a limited time only). Nookie’s Tree, a favorite eatery on Halsted, was seemingly unable to afford a reprinting of their menus…so they just ran-off copies of a Word document for inserts and used a black Sharpie to cross out all the things they no longer offered their customers. Based on my understanding of the hospitality industry, I saw a direct correlation between expensive ingredients and the drastic cuts to the Nookie’s menu…since everything crossed out was either too costly to continue serving or was very labor-intensive (and, thus, a drain on the bottom line if perhaps the kitchen staff was sliced in a budget cut behind-the-scenes). You might not realize just how sensitive restaurants are to changes in food costs…or how little wiggle room for error there is in budgeting a restaurant to stay in business and remain worth the time and energy of keeping the doors open.
Charlie Trotter’s, a gourmet Chicago staple for over a quarter century, shuttered late last year…under a weird cloud of obfuscation that it was because the eponymous chef “wanted to do something else with his life and maybe study philosophy”. That sounds a lot like when a politician is forced from office but cites a sudden desire “to spend more time with his family” as his primary motivation for disappearing into obscurity. At one point prior to 2008, Trotter sat atop an empire of restaurants, publications, retail, and even a tee-vee show…but one by one his restaurants in other cities closed, he stopped putting out new books, his “Trotter’s to Go” epicurean shop boarded up, and then his signature Chicago restaurant folded. I just don’t see any of this as being voluntary, because the man loved what he did and was the sort who spared absolutely no expense to bring the world’s greatest ingredients to the platings on his degustation menu.
Seeing Charlie Trotter’s close and the entire Trotter’s gourmet brand essentially vanish in the last few years was shocking…because even in the Great Depression the fine-dining and luxury brands didn’t collapse, because people who had the money to afford the 1930s equivalent of Trotter’s never lost their ability to keep drinking champagne and enjoying 12-course “tasting menus”…even while everyone else around them wondered where their next meals would be had. We are in uncharted territory where it’s not just the places like Orange or Nookie’s that are evidencing economic “stress fractures” in service and staffing cuts…but the likes of Charlie Trotter lose empires they built painstakingly by hand over 25 years (and their collapse happens in just three or four years under Barack Obama’s stewardship of our country).
Honestly and truly wrap your heads around this, but Trotter is a man who lost an empire he built and successfully ran for 25 years…but it all crumbled to pieces and was then swept away by changes made to our country by Barack Obama and the Democrats currently in power. I know you see this happening where you live, too, with people always known in your community for building something wonderful from scratch that has just not been profitable since 2008 when our entire world was changed by the Left.
The grocery stores around here seem to lack a lot of the more exotic fruits and vegetables that were always so plentiful before 2008. Pomegranates and water chestnuts are just two ingredients that I used to enjoy including in various dishes that are suddenly difficult to find, even at Whole Foods. I put pomegranate seeds in salads and also enjoy making jelly and a Persian chicken dish with them, but I have not seen the giant baskets of pomegranates in any store in Chicago in the last three years; when I first moved here, every year during pomegranate season there would be enormous displays of this fruit (but now, there’s none to be found). Similarly, the fresh water chestnuts that I like using in kung pao or orange chicken are never in the produce section any longer…and the canned versions are about a dollar more costly since Obama took power. I’ve talked often on this site about the chicken itself being around two or three dollars more per pound than it was when George W. Bush was still president…and the same is true for every other meat I buy at the store. Even the once “cheap” meats like short ribs or pork belly are ridiculously expensive all of a sudden. So much so, in fact, that sometimes going to the grocery store I feel like those old pictures I remember in textbooks of life just after WWII in Germany, where it took barrels of marks just to buy bread and milk. This is, indeed, the “Change” we were delivered by Democrats.
All of this, I believe, is attributable to the Left’s desire to hike gasoline prices as high as possible…because I think it’s the fastest way they have come up with to tank our economy completely. Grocery stores and restaurants are uniquely impacted by hikes in gasoline because everything they sell is shipped on large trucks from farms, and then shipped two or three more times on various modes of transportation until it’s received at a loading dock and prepared for customer purchase. Each step in that supply chain adds a higher fuel charge that the shipping companies are passing onto consumers…and that ultimately results in me feeling like it’s now costing barrels full of cash just to keep dinner on the table for Justin and me.
I applaud and deeply respect all of you out there who are somehow managing to do this for large families, because I have a $300/month grocery budget that I need to be more creative each month to survive on for the two of us…and I couldn’t even imagine how I’d be able to stretch even double that to feed a household with children.
I think the restaurants that have gone out of business or have dramatically shrank their operations were victims of the gasoline hikes, since their purchasing costs are much higher than a family’s would be. The grocery stores are probably decreasing the number of shipments they receive, or just forgoing certain items because they’ve become too costly to order from their purveyors…and there’s no longer a justifiable profit margin in even carrying the pomegranates, water chestnuts, or whatever any more. Why spend limited resources bringing in things that aren’t helping the bottom line in a period of history where loss-leaders and exotics just aren’t worth the effort anymore because of the gasoline prices?
I bet you can think of all sorts of things like this that you notice where you live…and I invite you to add them in comments below, because one of the worst fears of those in the Ministry of Truth is that regular people on the ground will communicate amongst one another the things that they see happening where they live…and then start piecing it together that none of this is isolated or specific to one city or town. This is not just something that’s happening in Chicago because our sales tax is high or because Illinois is so messed up. It has nothing to do with winter here or other common excuses. It’s all part of a much bigger picture that indicates that, YES, we are currently in an economic Depression (and this is precisely where the Leftists want us to be, since they see a manufactured crisis like this to be the perfect opportunity to cease complete power).
People often feel powerless in the face of a reality like this and wonder, “Well, what can I do?”…and I think the first thing to do is to start talking openly about all of it. That’s one of the things that totalitarian and repressive regimes dread the most…when ordinary people start effectively communicating with one another and everyone can see that the same terrible things that are happening in Chicago are going on in Cleveland and Pittsburgh and Los Angeles and Houston too. Democrats gain and maintain power by carving everyone up into tiny fiefdoms and increasingly more specific buckets…but if communicate with each other and talk about all the warning signs we can detect that this really is a Depression and that things are indeed going to get worse before they get any better, then the Ministry of Truth will ultimately not be able to suppress the truth any longer.
“The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpets” might not have made sense to some of you when I first launched this important investigation last week, but I truly do believe the Holy Spirit pushed me to see a deeper meaning in those dirty stains at the Hinshaw & Culbertson offices (and their pigsty of a men’s room) that relates to this sort of thing happening all over the place…in businesses that before 2008 would have never dreamed they’d allow their offices to become so filthy or their store shelves to go bare. But, here in 2013 we’re all encountering surprise filth in places we used to take for granted would be immaculately clean…and I can honestly say I never experienced anything like this before in all of my life. It really is the sort of thing I only encountered in communist countries or dreadful places like Mexico or India…and I never thought skyscrapers in Chicago would fall into this sort of similar neglect and disrepair.
Several days ago, after my investigation was launched, Scott M. Gilbert (the young partner in the Hinshaw firm whom I was supposed to meet with the day I went there) asked a judge here in Chicago for a court order to silence me…because he claimed it was “harassment” for me to tell all of you about the filthy carpeting and the dirty men’s room at Hinshaw’s corporate headquarters. I think he was mad because I let the Senior Partners know that I was there because he was supposed to have a meeting with me and maybe they were upset with him for having me come to their offices when they all knew it was so dirty up there. The judge refused to give Mr. Gilbert such a gag order and told him that if he wanted to complain about me that he’d have to write a motion and present it to her (since apparently you have to do this sort of thing in writing and Mr. Gilbert wasn’t allowed to just blurt it aloud in open court because he was so upset at that moment). I personally think this was all kind of ridiculous of Mr. Gilbert to do, because if you really are embarrassed and don’t want anyone to know about how filthy the carpets were in your offices or how stinky your men’s room was then I don’t understand the strategy behind trying to get a court order to silence the guy who is talking about it. The net effect of that is really just the “Streisand Effect” of drawing more attention and interest to the story than ever would have existed if you hadn’t tried to make it a federal issue (literally…in a federal court, before a judge who is widely believed to be on the shortlist for a future Supreme Court nomination). This is totally the sort of embarrassing thing I’d pretend wasn’t even happening, instead of making it more interesting for everyone following the ongoing investigation into “The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet”.
I haven’t heard anything more about any motion since, but I don’t see how it’s possible for a big law firm like Hinshaw & Culbertson to prevent a visitor like me from telling all of you about the filthy and unsanitary conditions I found when I came to their headquarters for a meeting (especially since I took pictures as proof of how bad it was). If a company really was able to order someone’s silence, then I don’t see how YELP! would still be in existence…since frequently people write on that site about filthy conditions in restaurants, bars, hotels, doctors offices, etc. and I don’t see how law firms have any sort of special privilege afforded to them that would prevent people from describing the dirty carpets they find in such big law firms.
Hinshaw & Culbertson might not like the fact that their filthy carpet and stinky men’s room inspired not only my investigation but a new Internet meme…but considering the First Amendment I don’t think there’s a whole lot that they can do about it (besides regret not keeping the carpets cleaned and the washroom tidied to begin with).
Mr. Gilbert was very upset, however, that I told people about what I’d seen…and he also seemed clearly very embarrassed by the condition of the place when I spoke with him the day of our meeting. He sheepishly admitted that he didn’t have a conference room available, but then gingerly danced around the fact that he couldn’t have our meeting in his own office on another floor. That was so strange, and felt a little like back in the days before I met Justin and I’d be on a date with a guy and he was embarrassed to ask me back up to his place because he knew it was too dirty for company. That’s one of the most tense and heartbreaking moments in gay dating…when you’re having a nice time and are inclined to head somewhere private, but the guy just knows that he’d be mortified if you saw how dirty and messy his place was. It’s totally apocryphal that gay guys are neat and clean…when in fact we’re all just like straight guys in this regard, only we like dudes (so a lot of times apartments get even messier because gay guys figure the other guy won’t really care). I felt really bad for Mr. Gilbert in that moment, actually, because he seemed like a nice man and was very polite to me…but I believe the filth in the lobby may have been nothing compared to what the rest of the behind-the-scenes Hinshaw offices must have been like if he couldn’t just meet with me in his office or elsewhere.
I almost wanted to tell him that it would be okay and that I wouldn’t tell anyone about it being dirty in his office and that we could really have our meeting there, but I didn’t want to embarrass him any further than he already was. He never asked me not to take pictures of the filthy carpet in the lobby or to not tell anyone about that or the stinky men’s room…so I didn’t even realize it would become a federal issue for the Hinshaw & Culbertson firm that I’d write about it all. They clearly know I’m a writer and that all of my work is based on my life experiences, so I don’t really know what they expected in having me come to their offices when anyone could clearly see that the place was so rundown and shabby.
It’s scary to think about just how much trouble the entire country’s in if this is what a corporate headquarters of a big law firm is now like in “The Golden Age of Hope and Change” delivered unto us by Barack Obama. Filthy carpets, not having a presentable location to meet, disaster areas in a washroom…these are the kinds of embarrassments that people had to cope with behind the Iron Curtain in states controlled by the Soviets (and their particular brand of resource management and wealth distribution). But the Chicago corporate offices of Hinshaw & Culbertson prove this is happening HERE with Barack Obama and his motley crew of Chicagoans in the White House.
“Dirty carpets in a big law firm” really has become a fitting update of the “canaries in a coal mine” warning sign…and so it just remains to be seen how big of a disaster this alarm indicates. That’s what I’m now trying to determine, as our investigation continues and I attempt to collect everything I’m learning into one unified economic theory. Since none of this is good for the Left or the Obama Regime, I just know that nobody in the national media or academia will ever be inclined to investigate and study it. That means it’s just up to me and my friends and all of you out there reading this (which is kind of redundant, since I’ve come to regard all our regular readers as friends of the variety that “I just haven’t met yet”).
In thinking of who to reach out to next in our continuing investigation into what “dirty carpets in a big law firm” means for the country’s economic health as a whole, I remembered the story of The Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee and how it survived the Great Depression…but had to close down for a spell in the 1970s because of the urban decay and financial malaise of the Carter Administration. The Peabody is also famous for maintaining a collection of wild ducks in the hotel, and at one time housed alligators and other creatures…which no doubt all made all sorts of messes. Oprah Winfrey stayed there a few times, I think, which also couldn’t have been beneficial to the carpets.
Memphis is a city with a massive boondoggle of a public works project in its “Pyramid Arena”, that was built with plenty of taxpayer money under a grand delusion that it would save the city from ruin. Currently, the building’s scheduled for conversion into a Bass Pro Shop, but there’s a lot of squabbling between the company and the city about just how ugly it all will be. I figured writing to The Peabody might elicit some insights into any warning signs the staff could remember before the hotel shut down when Carter was president…and possibly could give us some scoop on if the staff’s seeing any augurs of another closure ahead during the Obama Regime. I have not heard back (yet) from the Senior Partners of Hinshaw & Culbertson, actress Ann B. Davis, Heloise the Household Hints lady, author John Grisham, or HRH Princess Caroline of Kennedy…but the mail here in Chicago is just dreadful and it often takes a while for things to reach people in different states (so I’m sure that’s the main reason for why I don’t have a response from any of them yet).
When letter-writing for assistance in solving important mysteries, I have found that the more people you write to then the greater chance you’ll receive a response from some of them. I also think it’s very helpful and quite nice when those of you reading this give me your take in comments or via email as well…since often hearing from you is much more enjoyable than getting a letter from a member of the “Kennedy Family” or whomever any day.
VIA US MAIL — 2/27/2013
The Peabody Hotel (Memphis)
149 Union Avenue
Memphis, Tennessee 38103
Dear Mr. Duckmaster,
As you’re aware, this week I’m hard at work putting the finishing touches on a groundbreaking new economic theory that my readers and I have been developing…which seeks to provide a warning sign for approaching economic collapse in much the same way that “canaries in coal mines” once warned miners of deadly toxic gas when they were deep in the bowels of the Earth. The inspiration for my sudden entry into the field of economics came from a foul experience I had in the law offices of Hinshaw & Culbertson here in Chicago; specifically, it was the filthy carpet in their lobby waiting area and the stinky mess that defiled their men’s washroom that made me think about places I expect to be spotlessly clean in any economy…but are noticeably disgusting here in 2013.
This leads me to believe that we’re currently in a global Depression, but the Ministry of Truth that is our national media just won’t admit it for political reasons…and that things are going to get much worse economically before they get even a little better.
I thought to seek your input into all of this because, obviously, as a “Duckmaster” you have experience with all things “fowl”…and must certainly have encountered all manner of stains and odors as a result of your unique position. I also think that from your perch at The Peabody you know a thing or two about buildings that might be closed in a bad economy, since The Peabody itself ceased operations and was boarded up for a period in the late-70s and into the early 80s (if memory serves, it seems like that overlapped quite perfectly with the Carter Administration in Washington and all the corresponding damage it caused to our country).
I originally wrote to the Senior Partners of Hinshaw & Culbertson about the neglected and shabby appearance of their offices…and told them at one point that I believed it looked like they rented their lobby out to a veterinary clinic or livestock auction house on the weekends to make extra money. I wonder if you could have a look at the photographs of their carpeting that I’ve attached and determine — once and for all — if you believe that animals of any kind were involved in making these stains. I know that might seem ridiculous to you, but I need this information for my important economic theory…because animals on the loose in a law office would skew the anecdotal and idiomatic value of my experience at the Hinshaw firm. For me to assert that “dirty carpets in a big law firm” is truly a warning sign of a major economic crash on the horizon I need to be 100% certain that the filthy carpeting in question was just the result of upkeep and maintenance failures…and not evidence of a Noah’s Ark-style parade of all God’s creatures through this lobby several times a day on (at least) the weekends.
Can you tell from photographs if the filth in the Hinshaw & Culbertson offices was caused exclusively by human foot traffic or if at least some sort of animals had to be involved? I know you’re a Duckmaster and not a zoologist, but I remember “Bones” from Star Trek always screaming about how he was a “doctor” and not a “engineer” or a “Duckmaster” and that guy always managed to come through in a pinch once he got all the drama out of his system.
I don’t know if all my readers know this, but The Peabody Hotel is famous for keeping a flock of ducks in its lobby fountain…and the hotel’s “Duckmaster” is responsible for training the ducks to be able to walk from their “Duck Palace” on the roof to an elevator and then along a red carpet to the fountain. Apparently, there’s a similar position in the current White House where someone more or less does the same thing with Michelle Obama (whom I imagine is not as easy to deal with and as fun to be around as the Peabody’s wild ducks). Glad I don’t have to worry about cleaning those carpets!
From what I can tell, the Peabody ducks are all female except for one green-headed drake…and they only live at your hotel for a few months before they are returned to a farm where children are told they “choose to head back into the wild”. I’m 36 years old and still like believing there’s a Santa Claus and that our votes actually are counted and mean something at election time, so I’ll also go along with the story that these ducks never, ever end up on anyone’s dinner plate after they’ve been entertaining the guests of The Peabody. I even want to believe there’s really a place called “Duckburg” and that the happiest and safest ducks of all live there, having endless adventures and having Duckmasters a plenty to care for their every need. Life is pretty bleak here in Chicago after what Barack Obama has done to our economy for five years now…so “Duckburg” might be a place that far too many others out there would dream of living now as well.
In many years past, the hotel apparently had alligators and other creatures in the lobby fountain…which is a fun and interesting tradition that survived even the worst economic collapses that hobbled just about everything else around the hotel at various points through the years. I’m wondering if there’s any pressure to eliminate the ducks or the “Duckmaster” position at The Peabody in these depressing economic times. Here in Chicago, it feels like every day some longstanding tradition or spark of local color’s being mothballed…because there just isn’t any money left to keep these marvelous things going in the age of Obama-induced austerity.
I know you weren’t around when The Peabody closed its doors due to the Carter-provoked economic ruin of the 70s, but I wonder if you have any historians at your hotel who have ever given you insight into what cutbacks management made to the building that in retrospect could have been seen as signs that The Peabody just couldn’t stay in business any longer. I used to work in the hotel business while I was in college and graduate school…and 9/11 occurred during the time I was head of security of a major hotel in downtown Cleveland. The penny-wise but pound-foolish General Manager we had at the time decided to scrap a lot of the maintenance and upkeep programs that he felt were “too expensive” at time when his quarterly bonus depended on slashing hotel costs. One of the stupidest things he did was to fire both the marble cleaning company and the sprinkler system inspectors…because he felt they just cost too much and that the hotel’s own housekeeping and engineering staff could just work a little harder and take care of these things.
Well, the housekeepers (who were never trained to clean marble properly) ended up damaging the very expensive flooring in parts of the lobby…because they used the wrong solutions and equipment when trying to clean that marble. Engineering just didn’t understand the sprinkler system well enough to detect any problems that the professional inspectors would have quickly found…and about five months after the General Manager fired those guys a sprinkler line burst and flooded several floors of the hotel. That ruined carpets, wall paper, bed linens, and caused us to lose those hotels to paying guests for several months while it all had to be remodeled. Not surprisingly, the General Manager soon “early retired” from the company…and now works at a small bed and breakfast somewhere in Montana that few people ever visit.
It’s been a long time since I worked in a hotel, but I wonder if your staff is under pressure to keep cutting back on cleaning and maintenance in this depressed Obama economy. I also wonder if you could show the photographs of Hinshaw & Culbertson’s filthy carpeting to the housekeepers where you work and see if they can either identify what caused all those stains or offer advice on how Hinshaw can remove them. I am very much inclined to believe that budget cuts at this big firm resulted in the carpeting becoming so filthy…in much the same way that the foolish General Manager at my old hotel believed saving a few bucks on marble cleaning and sprinkler upkeep would make him look good to the accountants (who surely stopped patting him on the back when they processed the enormous bills for marble replacement and the renovation of three entire floors that those cutbacks to maintenance ultimately caused).
I am sure that taking care of five ducks in a very large building must keep you endlessly busy…but I appreciate any information you can provide us in the matters of stain identification and possible removal, as well as anything you can find out about what The Peabody was like immediately before it was closed for that spell in the 70s during the worst of the Carter-induced economic malaise Americans suffered back then.
Best of luck with all of whatever it is you do in this most unique and interesting position,