Stealing Hotel Linens Will Get You Caught Now


We’ve all done it at some point, that is, swiped the hotel linens, because who’s really going to stop you from stuffing a one-size-fits-all bathrobe into your suitcase? Or so we thought. Now the answer to that question is Linen Technology Tracking, a Miami-based company that has placed RFID chips in sheets, towels, and robes, allowing three hotels in three major cities (including Manhattan) to crack down on those of us who find solace in taking home part of the vacation.

So far, the concept has proved highly beneficial, saving one Honolulu hotel nearly $16,000 a month and lowering the rate of stolen towels from 4,000 a month to 750.

One wonders, do hotel officials go after said linen bandit just after he or she exits the establishment? Or do they allow suspects to escape first, letting the culprits be momentarily thrilled that they have yet another towel to place in their closet, meaning one more week of avoiding laundry, before pressing the magical button that sends the towel back to the Marriott? (Probably, they just charge you for the stolen item.)

Until the government approves microchip implants for babies and criminals and whomever else they need to keep track of, we’re going to see a lot more companies across the nation scramble to get their hands on RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) technology, making it that much harder to take anything these days. Unless, of course, it’s hotel shampoo and conditioner. In which case, that’s all yours.

The Manhattan hotel implementing this technology didn’t want their name used. So…watch out.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 19, 2011

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