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Futility Closet: Misquamicut, RI Recap

Anthony goes to Rhode Island and Misquamicut Beach, which started booming in the 1950s. He's there to help the 34-room Sandy Shore Motel, which has a view of the ocean. Online reviews say that it's a dump. The motel is only open during the summer season, so the owner, Gene, only has a couple of months to make money for the entire year.

When Anthony arrives from the beach, he sees what appears to be a bar. The furniture is rusty with stained pillows, and there are peanut shells on the chairs. The bartender, Brenna, introduces herself and admits that diplidation is a recurring theme at the Sandy Shore. She says that Hurricane Sandy did a number on them, but Anthony points out that it was three years ago. Brenna shows Anthony where the sink drains into a bucket, and that's all the plumbing she has. There's no point-of-sale system in the bar, and Brenna has to know what everything is. She makes things up as she goes, and admits that she has never worked at a bar without a POS. There's no soda gun,. Brenna says that Gene is there every day and knows that the bar problems exist.

Anthony goes to the motel from the beach and sees garbage along the side of the building. There's a cheap sign identifying the office, and Anthony tears it down. The picnic tables are falling apart. Inside, the FD agent Carol greets Anthony. The phone rings and he answers it, and a woman requests a two-bedroom room. It's going for $299, and Carol warns that they're not allowed to discount rooms. The Sandy Shore has plenty of occupancy for the night in question, and Carol admits that they should give the discount and bring the guest in. Anthony lowers the rate and makes the booking, and figures that Gene doesn't know anything about revenue management. Carol confirms that Gene is there and says that it's a money business,

When he checks out a room, Anthony discovers that it's small but has a view of the ocean. The bedspread is old and smells moldy, and there are old sheets on the bed. There is urine on the mattress, and Anthony goes to find the maintenance man, Frank. They look at the room and Frank confirms that there's mold. He says that he took the room out of service when he saw the mold, and Gene put it back in service and said that he's the only one who has the authority to take rooms offline. Frank admits that Gene is a lousy owner, and Frank works there because he cares about the people and hopes that things will get better. He then shows Anthony a utility room filled with garbage. The smell is overwhelming and there are puddles of water from Hurricane Sandy. Gene won't let them touch anything and refuses to spend money on a dumpster. Anthony takes a glass and collects some of the water.

Anthony goes to Gene's office and finds a private hot tub inside. Gene says that he took down a wall to get the tub in. Anthony repeats what Frank said, and Gene claims that they don't get dumpsters in the summer season because there's nowhere to put them. there's a growth in the water, and Anthony offers to pour it in the hot tub. Gene says that he'd rather he didn't, and Anthony points out that it's poison. The owner says that he didn't know there was dirty water in the utility room, and claims that when he went into the room he didn't see or smell anything. Anthony doesn't believe him, and figures that Gene is lying to him. He storms out, furious.

Back on the beach, Anthony talks to another bartender, Stephanie. Stephanie says that they've had a rough summer. Gene hasn't let her improve anything because he doesn't want to put the money into the motel, and Stephanie says that Gene treats her really badly. She doesn't want to give up after all the works he's put into the motel. Stephanie explains that during the summer she worked 18 hour days, 13 days in a row, with no shade. Gene screamed at her so loudly one day when she accidentally went home with the bar keys that he lost his voice. Anthony says that he has three daughters and teaches them to stand up for themselves, and Stephanie explains that Gene got upset with her when she did.

The next day, Anthony brings in Ryan from ServiceMaster by Mason. He checks the rooms and tells Anthony that he's found some serious issues. There are mold spores in the ceiling, and the wood walls in the bathroom are breaking open. Ryan figures that the owner tossed bleach on the mold but it's coming back, and tells Anthony that the EPA no longer recommends bleach as a treatment for mold. The AC and humidifiers aren't being run properly and the mold is breeding. Ryan says that they'd have to strip the walls down to the studs and redo them from scratch. Every single room that they've been through has similar issues. Ryan was called in a couple of weeks after Hurricane Sandy, and there's been no changes in three years.

Anthony meets with five of the employees to get their opinion. One woman says that Gene gave her a hard time when she filled in with Stephanie so that Stephanie could talk to Anthony. They say that Gene has been upset when they came to talk to Anthony, and warn that Gene doesn't like to be told that he's wrong. Three of the employees agree that Gene is the biggest problem. Frank says that he doesn't have the tools or supplies to do what the motel needs. There are not enough blankets and bedspreads and they get daily complaints from the customers. Anthony tells Frank that Gene blamed Frank, and Frank says that Gene complained that Frank talked to Anthony.

The staff is unaware that Gene has been watching remotely. Anthony tells the employees that Gene is watching, and the employees figure that Gene would like them being honest. When Anthony brings Gene down, the housekeeper points out the bedspread shortage. Gene says that he's spent $9,000, and Anthony points out that's only $250 per room. Hotel industry standards indicate that's less than half of what should be spent. Gene complains that the tools he buys are lost and blames the staff, and says that he took shifts away from Stephanie because she's overworked. Stephanie says that Gene made fun of her sunburn, and Anthony asks Gene what he's done wrong. He asks Gene if he's a moron, and Gene asks how he would fix it. Anthony says that half his house was taken out by Sandy, and he dealt with it. Gene insists that he didn't know about the water in the utility room, and Anthony points out that he blamed everything on his staff. Disgusted, he tells Gene that he's leaving and Gene can figure it out for himself.

The employees ask Gene to stay, and he tells the camera crew that he has nothing more to say. He walks off, and Frank goes to see Anthony. He asks Anthony not to go because they need his help, and Frank warns that if Anthony leaves then he's leaving. The maintenance man convinces Gene to talk to Anthony again. When they get together, Gene says that he needs a professional to tell him what is wrong. Anthony is impressed that he's telling him that, and says that Gene is the number one problem. The hotelier figures that Gene goes after Stephanie, and Gene points out that Stephanie is serving Breanna drinks when she knows she isn't supposed to. Anthony says that if it was his hotel, he wouldn't let any employee drink at the bar. He explains that he's there to prevent problems and Gene has to do the same. Anthony tells Gene that he has to be truthful with him and then things will improve.

Anthony meets with designer Brittany Simon on the beach, and has her check the dock. He says that he needs her to do the bar and a room, but he can't take her into a room because an expert is checking for mold. Washburn Construction redoes the interior of a room and Brittany goes to work on the redesign.

Next, Anthony meets with Gene and Stephanie. He says that they don't have a professional relationship, and Gene admits that sometimes he swears. Anthony tells him that it's not acceptable, and Gene apologizes for anything that he said. They agree that they respect each other, and Anthony tells Stephanie to quit if Gene raises her voice to her again.

Later, Anthony has Angelo from Mobile Shop bring in a HT engineering cart with tools and parts to keep the hotel in shape. Among the tools is a pair of chopsticks that let them reach into small area and grab loose items and conductive wires. Angelo donates the cart to Frank, and Anthony says that if Frank leaves then the tools go with him.

Next, Anthony brings in a dumpster and workers to clean out the storage room. He takes Anthony in, and Gene can smell the mold. They confirm that there's nothing that's salvageable. Meanwhile, Brittany is finishing the renovation.

Anthony talks rates with Gene; He says that if Gene renovates then he can get $500 a room. If Gene doesn't then the hotel will be in trouble in a couple of years. Anthony then takes Gene to the room and introduces him to Brittany and Steven from Washburn. Brittany that she wanted the room to feel fresh, original, and playful. The furniture is new because the original furniture was full of wood. The floor is vinyl wood and super durable.

They go to the bar and Anthony shows Gene the new soda gun. There are portion control spouts that measures what is poured and when. AQuest has donated inventory control software. Seaside Casual Furniture has donated new furniture and the lounging area. Anthony asks Gene if he met his expectations, and Gene assures him that he exceeded them.

Written by Gadfly on Apr 26, 2016

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