Customer Review: Bates Motel

Justin Courter
Slackjaw
Published in
3 min readJul 13, 2020

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Photo by Michael Liu on Creative Commons

Talk about understaffed! There was just this one guy, Norman, who seemed more interested in taxidermy than guest services. I have to say, if your passion is dead animals, maybe you’re not a people-person, and shouldn’t be in the service industry.

Also, we weren’t at all tricked into believing that there was a second staff person, if that’s what he was trying to make us think — it was obviously just Norman dressed as a woman, telling us his name was Norma. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with Norman’s choices or how he identifies, gender-wise. I’m just saying it wasn’t what we expected from a place advertised as a family motel.

Also, the motel itself is boarded-up, and you have to lug your own bags up a hill to the main house. So, you’re in more of a B&B situation.

The room service I must describe as pretty haphazard and somewhat invasive.

Maybe it was partly my fault. I called down to Norman, who I guess was in his Norma mode at the time, because it sounded like he was impersonating an older woman. I asked if she (they?) could bring us up a few grilled cheese sandwiches for the kids, as well as some ice. My wife and I were going to have a drink in our room while the kids had a snack in theirs.

I say it was partly my fault because I also mentioned that we could use some more towels. Then, as my wife got in the shower, I went over to the kids’ room to tell them to quiet down. They were having a pretty rowdy pillow fight with some stuffed-raccoon throw pillows. I don’t think there were any other guests at the time, but still, I wanted my kids to be respectful.

When I came back into our room, Norman was there, in the bathroom. He had a large carving knife in one hand and was just about the pull back the shower curtain with the other. He turned to me with an expression on his face that made him look more than ever like a taxidermy fanatic. I demanded to know what kind of towels he thought was delivering. Clearly, my wife would not be able to dry off with kitchen utensils.

He told me that the message Norma had relayed to him must have gotten mixed up the instructions to cut the grilled cheese sandwiches into triangles with the request for towels. It didn’t make much sense to me, but I decided to let the matter drop as he stammered and backed out of the room. It wasn’t until after he’d left that I noticed he’d forgotten to bring any ice or sandwiches.

There was another weird thing. Norman talked to himself a lot, referring to himself as “mother.” It was kind of annoying, and sometimes you had to raise your voice just so he’d be able to hear you over his own, and then he looked at you like you were interrupting a real conversation or something.

So, I really can’t give this place more than two stars. If they would put some money into renovating the place, clear some of the literal skeletons out of the closets, and hire more competent staff, it might be all right.

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Justin Courter
Slackjaw

More humor pieces at McSweeney’s, Little Old Lady Comedy, Points in Case. Books include the novel The Heart of It All.