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Not So Rewarding
My hotel room on this trip is quite bad. Because the airfare was more expensive this time, I booked myself at the $50/night place, instead of the usual $75/night place that I've gotten, just to try to even out my expenses.

First problem: the room is noisy. It's a motel with two floors. I'm at the corner of the building on the first floor. I can hear everything happening in the room above, and a lot of what's happening in the adjacent room. The stairs are right outside my door, so I get lots of conversations and luggage movement.

Second problem: shampoo in a packet, like ketchup. Did they accumulate these from magazine subscriptions? Luckily, I've got a surplus of little shampoos from other places in my travel kit.

Third problem: a radio that might be able to pick up the NPR station under the right circumstances, but only seems to get Spanish pop music when places on the table of my room. I think I'll stick to podcasts.

Fourth problem: what wireless network? Expedia said there was one.

Fifth problem: isn't there supposed to be a smoke detector plugged into that socket on the wall?

Sixth problem: what are those dangling wires near the ceiling in the front of the room?

Seventh problem: is that a burn mark from an iron embedded in the carpet in front of the sink? I guess that explains why there's no iron now, and maybe why

While unpacking on Monday night, I see a card on the table about their frequent guest program, and the thought of getting a free night here after nine paid nights seems like a disincentive to stick around rather than a good marketing move.
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you might want to check out an extended stay sorta plce. If you're there for a couple/few weeks at a time, even if you're flying home for weekends, it can be pretty darn cheap, and the amenities and space tend to be a lot better.

I've stayed at a few places like that, and I really like the St. Francis Arms apartments, which is an extended-stay place on El Camino. However, at my usual trip length (three or four nights), they tend to be in the $75/night range -- this was my not-so-happy experiment with the low end.

making the best of a bad situation...

shampoo in a packet, like ketchup
Are you sure it was shampoo? It might have been mayonnaise. Which makes an excellent hair conditioner.

Spanish pop music
I totally would have danced to that. And perhaps even invited those noisy neighbors.

what are those dangling wires near the ceiling in the front of the room
For the mirrored disco ball, of course!

isn't there supposed to be a smoke detector plugged into that socket on the wall
Not since the last disco party. Burn, baby, burn! Dis-co in-fer-no! Burn, baby, burn! Yeah! Burn da mother down! *shaking my groove thang*

At least you're not talking about crawling critters (ala the tres cheap Motel 6 on I-10 in Houston).

Just think of it as an opportunity to really enjoy coming home.

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