Goodwill And Hospitality Theft Continue To Drive Up The Cost Of The Holiday Season

from the 'silent-night,'-my-infringed-upon-ass dept

Original concept and co-writing by Techdirt community member Nick Dynice.

This holiday season many lawyers, executives, lobbyists, and politicians will have their relatives, friends, and family members stay in their households. With the economy slumping, some out-of-town visitors can't afford to stay at hotels. When money is tight, these visitors know they can count on the hospitality of family and friends, who will welcome them in with open arms and good cheer.

However, these hosts need to remain vigilant and avoid being swept up in the general goodwill of the holiday season. In the rose-colored fog of the Christmas-to-New Year's festivities, it's easy for these situations to get out of hand. Guests have a tendency to get too comfortable very quickly and before you realize it, it's nearly February and a variety of house guests have begun to refer to you as "Dad" or "Grandpa" and you're on the hook for video rentals, dry cleaning bills and dental appointments. Your vehicle is now referred to as the "family car" (often by non-family members), your house has become a combination day care/animal shelter and your walk-in closet is now home to a family of Guatemalan refugees.

What starts as selfless "giving" swiftly becomes one-sided "taking." These interlopers are not only stealing the relatively priceless* time of their hosts, but also their unbillable goodwill. While "goodwill" would seem to be in infinite supply during the latter part of December, the available supply dwindles at a rate inversely proportionate to the number of hours the "family car" has been missing.

*Not actually "priceless." Billing for used time runs anywhere from $400/hr. [lawyers] to $55,000/hr. [executives] to $20+ billion/hr. [politicians].

The result of this goodwill "piracy" is nothing short of tragic. As time and goodwill are swiftly "stolen" by house guests, the host's direct family often finds itself having to do without. At best, they can only hope to have a few moments between meals and Immigration raids to angrily discuss efforts to block the rogue infringers, perhaps by seizing the guest bedroom and posting a sternly-worded warning on the door.

Fortunately, someone is doing something about this rampant thievery, and by "something," we mean making concerned noises and crafting acronyms. Harry Herman, chairman of PARFF (People Against Rude Family and Friends) noted that theft of hospitality is causing an estimated $300 million in losses to American families, resulting in fewer presents and lower quality meals.
"And that's just the stuff we can quantify," Herman said. "We have also noticed a distinct decline in the 'quality' of 'quality time' spent with originating family members as overstaying guests continue to erode the remaining goodwill. Did you know that 1 out of 10 'tweens' will be expected to cobble together an understanding of the 'birds and bees' using only 1970s back issues of National Geographic and filtered Cinemax? And that 4 out of 10 children under the age of 10 will spend nearly 400 hours over the holiday season being raised by the internet? It makes you fear for the future of humanity."
Chris Dolt, spokesperson for the AIL (Anti Infringement League) adds:
"The encroachment of friends and family during the holidays is the true Grinch Who Stole Christmas and Some of January. These infringing 'guests' are as much a threat to family harmony as the VCR is to the woman home alone. It starts out with too much bourbon-spiked eggnog and before you know it, Uncle Joe has committed 'goodwill' robbery in broad daylight, briefly aligning himself with the protesters uptown by hanging an '#Occupy The Robertson's' sign on the den wall before passing out under the Christmas tree. Industry estimates have concluded that hosting rarely-seen family members during the holiday season is equivalent to removing two presents from under the Christmas tree and throwing them into the fireplace."
Dolt continues:
"Not to sound heartless, especially during this joyous time of the year, but when it comes to 'goodwill infringement,' there are no 'innocent' infringers. Uncle Joe may claim that his drunken antics are a 'victimless' crime, but sooner or later, the hosts will find their previously innocent children raiding the liquor cabinet to spice up their Nesquik. The best choice is to take action against the infringer as quickly and harshly as possible. For the well-being of all involved, your best bet is to throw Uncle Joe into the fireplace, thus returning the 'goodwill' back to the long-suffering hosts, who can now observe first-hand that the uncle that is twice as drunk burns half as long. For more handy tips, please see my simple 41-step G.E.T.O.U.T. plan (General Efforts To Oust Unwanted Tenants)."
For suffering hosts whose goodwill, time and energy is in short supply, there is good news. 90% of all goodwill infringement is only temporary, ending by January 3rd at the latest. Both spokesmen caution against hosting mothers-in-law, second cousins, and lazy grandparents, noting that for these risk groups, 'overstaying their welcome' can often occur within minutes of their arrival, resulting in unprecedented amounts of "goodwill theft" with no sure measure of recourse.

The lesson for this holiday season? Good guests don't infringe.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Dec 30th, 2011 @ 12:59pm

    Ripples

    You forgot ripple effects.

    Everyone will suffer if this hospitality piracy isn't stopped. Lost jobs at hotels from "pirate guests" staying in homes. Lost jobs at restaurants from "pirate guests" eating family meals around the dinner table.

    Just think of the advertising executive who works at the company that makes those Holiday Inn commercials. Won't someone think of the advertising executives?

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Ripples

    Indeed - good will is killing the hospitality business.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 1:44pm

    Goodwill?

    Jeez, defamation suit in 3...2...1...

    http://www.goodwill.org/

     

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  4.  
    icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Dec 30th, 2011 @ 1:45pm

    There's a 19yo woman who lives in my second bedroom and calls me "Dad". What cheek!

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 1:48pm

    Re: Goodwill?

    The company chose a generic term as a name and it's therefore defamation to use the generic term in its original context?

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Dave, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 1:48pm

    Goodwill theft = pro-terrorism

    I'm pretty sure there's a study somewhere that absolutely proves that hospitality theft also promotes terrorism. It was on the news or facebook or something.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 1:49pm

    If you have these sorts of guests, it's really easy to cure.

    You tell them their time is up. You don't mind helping folk that want to help themselves but will not stand to be taken advantage of.

    If it's a free meal and lodging, it's time for them to visit the nearest homeless shelter as the parking meter time for 'home' has run out. Or they can always head for their 'home' which isn't where they are now.

    Grow a pair and tell them it's time to leave.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 1:51pm

    Re:

    If parents had been rich throughout their offspring's childhoods, the children would have grown up socializing with other rich people and thus would have connections in order to get good jobs working for lawyers, executives, lobbyists, and politicians.

    So parents, please consider being rich if you want your children to succeed without really trying.

     

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  9.  
    icon
    DH's Love Child (profile), Dec 30th, 2011 @ 1:52pm

    Re:

    You seriously need to get your fucking *sarc* detector replaced. sheesh

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 1:53pm

    Well, according to Techdirt (*) all the hotel industry has to do to save itself is to offer t-shirts and personalized promos (perhaps put the guests name on the door of their room) and the industry will be saved.



    (*) well, at least according to some readers' interpretations of this blog.

     

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  11.  
    icon
    DH's Love Child (profile), Dec 30th, 2011 @ 1:53pm

    Bravo

    Wonderfully written!

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 1:54pm

    Re:

    WHOOOOOOOOOOOOSH

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 2:12pm

    Re:

    No, they must raise prices and pass laws outlawing hospitality... that's how it's done.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Krusty, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 2:41pm

    LOL...

    Love it...satirical humor at it's best.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 3:12pm

    Have I been asleep for the last 3 months? Is it April 1st already?

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Dave, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 3:15pm

    Re: Re:

    How do you know AC @ 1:49pm wasn't being sarcastic as well? Sarc article with sarc reply. Maybe. Damn it's hard to tell around here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Dave, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 3:19pm

    Re:

    Having to tell the Hospitality theives to leave places an unfair burden on the provider. This is obviously a job for more regulation and a special division of the FBI should be created to deal with this theft of services.

    In fact, we should create Hospitality attaches that will be trained and installed in every embassy and will work with hospitality providers to enforce fair hospitality practices throughout the world.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 3:22pm

    Re:

    I knew a hotel GM who's favorite promotion was giving away little yellow rubber ducks (yes the kind for the bathtub). He was most amused by the businessmen in three piece suites demanding their ducks at checkout.

    /sarc on
    So my recommendation is to pass on the t-shirts and get some rubber ducks. Business folks are so easy to satisfy.

    /sarc off

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Rob, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 3:44pm

    Easy solution for overstaying houseguests . .

    No cable TV service. My in-laws never spend more than one night here.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 3:48pm

    I know you dopes are famous for nonsensical analogies, but this might be the worst yet.

    This is probably the stupidest thing I've ever read on this blog and that says a lot.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    Nick Dynice (profile), Dec 30th, 2011 @ 5:19pm

    The idea is that if infringement is theft, then when relatives infringe on you they are stealing your good will. Not copyright infringement in particular, but just to show how silly it is when you call other kinds of infringement a theft.

    But I guess the hotel analogy can work too.

     

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  22.  
    icon
    TtfnJohn (profile), Dec 30th, 2011 @ 5:56pm

    I get rid of mine by telling them they have to eat 1964's rum plum christmas cake if they want another meal, They're packed and gone in seconds.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Ilfar, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 6:04pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    My brain is full, can I go home now?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 9:39pm

    Re:

    I'll take her off your hands, even though I have only one bedroom.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 10:46pm

    Re: Re:

    little yellow rubber ducks (yes the kind for the bathtub)


    Thanks for the clarifications on the rubber ducks...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 31st, 2011 @ 6:53am

    Re: Re:

    Obviously part of the burden should rest on the furniture, home appliance, and car manufactures since these hospitality thieves are spending most of their time using technologies they made available. The wild wild west days of the living room need to end and the only way we can do that is if we create legal liabilities for these third parties if they don't include ass filtering technology for couches or eyeball filtering technology for TVs to filter out non-immediate family member asses and eyeballs. Frankly such technology would be so trivial to implement it's a blessing we don't hold them all accountable right now for not including it in the first place.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 31st, 2011 @ 6:58am

    Re:

    Assuming there's an analogy in the above at all what two things do you think it is comparing?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    nonanymous, Dec 31st, 2011 @ 11:52am

    Re:

    I know you dopes are famous for nonsensical analogies, but this might be the worst yet.

    This is probably the stupidest thing I've ever read on this blog and that says a lot.


    That only tells us about your limited comprehension skills, that's all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Jan 1st, 2012 @ 7:36am

    Re: Re: Re:

    In addition, there should be new laws which allow for the forced removal of these free loading hosp-pirates based solely upon an accusation from a neighbor.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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