Complimentary soap is one of the few ubiquitous things about American hotels. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a five star resort or a dumpy motel next to the interstate. When you enter the bathroom there will be soap and shampoo available for your use. But here is an interesting question to consider. Why is soap complementary and toothpaste not? After all, TSA regulations have made it far more difficult to bring toothpaste onto a plane and there is a real need for it among travelers, but you will never see it in your bathroom. This still persists even as high end hotels add more and more complimentary bathroom amenities like lotions, shaving and grooming kits, and nail clippers yet only Hyatt actually provides toothpaste in all of their rooms.
Daniel Engber of Slate did a very in-depth investigation to find out why that was the case. It turns out that the hotel industry executives cite a lack of demand for toothpaste and just general inertia. Hotels in America have never historically provided complimentary toothpaste and most of them continue to not do so because not enough of their customers ask them to provide it. Here’s the thing though, customers often don’t know that they can even ask their hotel to give them toothpaste to begin with so it’s kind of a vicious cycle. It’s not a matter of cost either. While more expensive than a bar of soap, a travel-size tube of toothpaste doesn’t cost nearly as much as some of the other complimentary amenities that many hotels offer. I just find it amazing that five star hotels offer you a wide array of skincare products and brand-name luxury soap and shampoo but not a little bit of toothpaste.
Nice bathroom, where’s the toothpaste?
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